Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Tampines To Welcome Selangor To Sports Hub

Jalan Besar Stadium holds about 7,000 fans. The new sports hub, is that really its name, holds about 55,000. Tampines are pulling around 3,000 per game this season?

Why then would the Stags want to move their AFC Cup tie against Selangor to the new national stadium? They would be lucky to fill a quarter of it. And the fact it is being reported discussions to get permission to use the stadium took two months suggest the owners, well known for their eye on the bottom line, were as ever playing hard ball.

This is a massive risk for Tampines but they have shown this season a willingness to take risks if they think the results will benefit the football club. Look at Jermaine Pennant for example or the appointment of Gerard Houllier as ambassador.

Say what you like about the decisions but Tampines are doing their bit to raise the profile of the domestic game and they are spending big bucks along the way. This is undoubtedly a brave decision but one that deserves reward with a large crowd.

In the old days of 1994 and before Singapore playing Selangor was the highlight of the football calendar and there is no harm in trying to recapture that intensity even though Singapore no longer plays in Malaysia. In the eyes of many Selangor will always be seen as a rival and to promote Tampines v Selangor in such a way, a promotion that includes moving to the bigger venue, is a smart way to evoke the past but give it a modern twist.

There is also the possibility of large numbers of Selangor fans making the journey south, if immigration let them in, so everything points to a large, loud atmosphere when the teams meet. And that is after all what football is all about.

Kudos to Tampines for thinking big. Let's just hope other clubs can follow in their footsteps and look beyond a couple of one arm bandits in the club house as a raison d'etre.

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