Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Free Tickets To Rival Clubs Is Insult For Stags Fans

Tonight sees Tampines Rovers host Selangor in the AFC Cup knowing a win will secure their place in the knock out stage. A pretty important game you would imagine against a regional rival and one I as a football fan would certainly make the effort to go and see if I was in the area.

Moving the game to the National Stadium was a bold move. Normally games are played at Jalan Besar Stadium but Tampines, who have been struggling financially this year after making a series of big money signings, decided to think big and play at the 55,000 bowl. Could it backfire?

It seems ticket sales haven't been that great and yesterday the SLeague and the FAS got involved instructing their clubs to provide free tickets for their fans to go to the game. Tampines fans must pay but everyone else gets in free? How does that work?

In most countries with a deep football tradition this would attract a large crowd on its own merits. Singapore's football tradition died in 1994 and now consists purely of supporting Leicester City or spunking cash on gambling. Attendances may be up so far in the SLeague but generally speaking crowds for AFC Cup ties tend to be on the low side as there seems to be little awareness of football in Asia among the general population.

Asking Tampines fans to pay to watch the game is fine and fans would expect that. But to say to their rivals 'come in lah, free isn't it' is a smack in the teeth for real fans and shows how clueless the FAS are for all their business school speak.

Jermaine Pennant understands what the game means when he says it is the type of game all professionals want to be involved in. Absolutely. And all fans should want to see.

Unfortunately the powers that be that run the game and try to impress with their posh sounding statements and their talk of strategies and key performance indexes are stuck in a rut and their only way out is to offer free tickets and insult a large number of fans in doing so.

Oh, and did you know Balestier Khalsa were also playing in AFC Cup? No? Try wikipedia...

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