Thursday, March 31, 2016


Houllier To Be Stags Ambassador

There is so much money swirling round in football no big name pro need be out of the limelight for long. Football has this capacity to invent jobs for people, jobs that essentially are all about a name and keeping that name out there.

English clubs have been going down the ambassador role for several years now. The idea is pretty simple. They appoint a 'name' who fans around the world can identify with and then send him around the world, at great expense to local sponsors as these people won't sully themselves in cattle class or even business class, so they can provide some photo opps for the desperate and devoted. Arsenal for example have Robert Pires a phone call away from dusting off his passport in the name of the club.

Now Tampines Rovers have got in on the act by appointing former Liverpool coach Gerard Houllier as their ambassador. Ok I am not sure what link the Frenchman has with Singapore football or whether he knows the difference between Warriors and SAFFC but then I don't think that is the point. Tampines are paying for a big name who, they hope, will open further doors for them in the places where Houllier hangs out. They are paying for the contacts in his rolodex.

Apparently they are hopeful Houllier will come to Singapore in September, or is that December, to visit the football club and give his opinions on the local game. And no doubt local Liverpool fans will be buzzing at the prospect at seeing someone up close and personal who has actually touched the famous This Is Anfield logo in the players tunnel.

But you wonder what Tampines really expect from the deal beyond a few more column inches once in a while as Houllier tells everyone how brilliant Singapore is and what good players the Stags have like Jermaine Pennant and Billy Mehmet (do you think he will make the effort to swot up on the local players?) Will Houllier be given KPIs to meet? Or is this just another example of the football gravy train looking after its own and keeping people in employment after they have reached their sell by date?

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