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Thankfully, Fans Did Not Have Their Way

If not, we would not have seen what was claimed by many as the best-ever national team that played and won the Malaysia Cup in 1977. 

I chanced upon the National Library Newspaper archive site one fine day, and out of curiosity, I decided to search through the site to see if I can find some of the clippings of the heydays of Singapore back in the 1970s. The result was these two clippings...

'Fans petition' in 1976 (NLB archive)

It was interesting to note back on 16th December 1976, The Straits Times (ST) reported a fans' petition was organized to ask the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to replace "Uncle" Choo Seng Quee, arguably the best coach we ever had, with Technical Advisor Englishman Trevor Hartley as the national team coach. 

"POOR RAPPORT", "OUT-MODED" CLAIMED FANS

These disgruntled fans claimed the coaching methods of Choo were "out-moded" and felt there was a "poor rapport" between him and several players which led to those "pathetic" results, the petition also called for the reinstatement of several players back to the national team,

"Players like Arshad (Khamis) and Dollah (Kassim) who showed signs of improvement under Mr. Hartley are now playing like beginners ... Time is running short and (Choo) Seng Quee must be replaced before it's too late even for Mr. Hartley to do anything." as quoted in the report by ST on the fans' reasons why the Englishman should replace the veteran coach.

The broadsheet reported the petition had been circulated around Toa Payoh and Katong with plans to submit it to Singapore Sports Council and the then Minister for Social Affairs, Encik Othman Wok after collected 1,000 signatures.

Although it was unknown if this petition achieved its aim or not.

Scene from the 1977 Malaysia Cup final (NLB archive)


Mr Dollah Kassim hoisted the Malaysia Cup in May 1977.

But the question being - should the petition get its way, would we see that historical day on 28 May 1977

Indeed, one of the players, Quah Kim Song, eventually made his way back to the national team after his 2-year ban was lifted and scored the winning goal in extra time to beat Penang to clinch that utmost prestigious trophy after a 12-year hiatus. 

HOW "UNCLE" MADE KIM SONG HUNGRIER

Once I was told when Quah turned up for his first training back with the national team at Jalan Besar Stadium, he was sent away by "Uncle" straight away. 

It was later revealed the purpose of doing that was to make the star striker "more hunger and determined" to play and it seems to work! 

Former national skipper Fandi Ahmad was once spotted by "Uncle" and "asked him to come over", but the young boy then was too "scared to come over", which later revealed to be one of the regrets he had for not doing that.

PS: This article was first published on 22nd April 2010 and is being refurbished with additional details in line with the content repurposing of this blog.

(P.S 1: Some images in this entry were reproduced from NLB online newspapers archives, as credited, should anyone feel it's inappropriate to have any of the media shown, please kindly email me as soon as possible and I will remove them upon request.)

(P.S 2: I stand to be corrected should there be any mistake in this entry, please feel free to email me should there be any mistake, thanks)

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