The letter below appeared in The Straits Times today, and truth be told, I was expecting something like this to be published sooner or later.
I had refrained from commenting on the way Liverpool were cheered on by the majority of the 45,000 crowd at the Nationa Stadium and how Singapore only reportedly received ‘polite applause” from the fans simply because this is something you can’t pass judgement on.
How can you tell a die-hard fan of an English football club that he was an unpatriotic moron for supporting his team in action, and for applauding the players he idolises whenever they scored? You can’t, because this is what being a football fan is all about.
Yet, in the same way, how can one not feel upset that Singapore fans opted to back an English football team instead of giving their undying support to their own national team? You can’t, either.
At the end of the day, I blame the Singapore Sports Council and the Football Association of Singapore for all this: for letting the match organisers run riot with their ideas and allowing them to turn the National Stadium into a version of Anfield.
Where was the foresight here? Was that dimmed by the excitement of having one of the world’s top clubs play here?
At the end of the day, aren’t the SSC the masters of the National Stadium and the FAS the governing body of football in Singapore?
Shouldn’t they have stipulated some do-es and don’ts for the organisers before renting the stadium to them and sanctioning the match?
In other words, this farcical situation could possibly have been prevented.
Maybe it’s a valuable lesson learnt for next time? (at the expense of our Lions and their fans suffering the embarrassmen of seeing the Grand Old Dame being turned into a version of an English football club’s home ground)
I also think Jamie Yeo was a real twit for having the gall to announce “THIS IS ANFIELD” over the public address system. One would have thought that she would have some sense or maturity to not do something like this.
But then again, she apparently spent most of her life growingup in the US, and she has always struck me as a dimwit, so I can’t say I am surprised.
Here’s one more thought: would we feel more affection and pride for the Lions if there weren’t so many naturalised citizens playing in the team these days?
Well, back to the letter that was published in today’s Straits Times:
Lions were forgotten amid the swooning
(The Straits Times, Forum Page, 28 July 2009)
YESTERDAY’S reports, ‘Kallang to KOP – Fans transform National Stadium into ‘home ground’ for Liverpool’, left me disappointed, but not over the 5-0 victory by Liverpool over the national team.
I was struck by skipper Noh Alam Shah’s lament that he felt insulted that the emcee should have called the National Stadium – the home ground where he and his teammates play their hearts out for Singapore – as the home stadium of Liverpool.
‘This is Anfield,’ crowed the emcee, and it left me feeling as disheartened as Alam Shah.
Where was the national pride when our players walked onto their own stadium? The stadium swooned to the Liverpool anthem, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, but where was Majulah Singapura? Unplayed and forgotten.
If the fans on Sunday night had cheered on Singapore as well, would it have motivated them to play better and achieve a more respectable result?
I commend the Lions who played well and tried their best. I am proud of the national team.
The Football Association of Singapore and future organisers of such high-profile exhibitions should put in more effort to encourage our fans to support our own Lions.
And yes, please remember to play the National Anthem, and remind the emcee to get it right: this (the National Stadium) is not Anfield, this is Singapore.
Lui Teow Eng
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan