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[Annual Review] "How is S.League?"

Some of those "ice-breakers"

"How is S.League?" asked a colleague whom I chanced upon months ago.

I replied: "If you ask this question, it would mean I didn't do my job properly,

"It means somehow the league itself and its relevant information did not reach out to the wider audience they intended to."

"Should have it done so, you would not ask me in the first place, isn't it?" I added.

Another ice-breaker conversation that took place not long ago went like this after a day's work.

"So Bishan stadium plays host for Home United (games), isn't it?" queried another colleague of mine

"Yeah, it is," I answered.

"Sorry lah, I don't quite follow the S.League, I just being confused lah." replied this colleague in an apologetic tone.

"What's the problem again?" (imaginary dialogue)

No worries, small chats as such are not uncommon since those guys are aware of my involvement with the local scene, although these can be pretty nerve-racking when the conversation can't proceed further other than staying put on the negative side of things, and those icebreakers.

After all, what can be more intriguing than discussing in depth those negativities than singing praise on those who did well in local football (admit it)?

What can be more pathetic when we harp on issues that are problems still looking for viable solutions (and you know which are those I refer to)?

Nonetheless, those perceived negativities did not deter the league authority from keeping assuring the skeptic masses things are on right track with the proclamation that the league attendance rose 45% as compared to last year.

Snapped the back of CEO Lim at one game

Whether that figure is too good to be true is up to an individual to decide, although, honestly speaking, most of the matches I attended this year looked no different from the past (or maybe those matches I went to were poorly attended).

In between the just concluded season, various initiatives were undertaken by the league authority to entice the fans to turn up such as the "Win-A-Car" contest, the "S.League Teddy Bears" and probably the most "out-the-box" of all - the distribution of the potato chips to residents at home to draw them to the stadiums.

I am not sure if the league authority isn't showing much faith in their own product so they decided to bank on some external factors to market the league on their behalf.

Had we not been told to retain ticket stubs of certain "glamorous" matches to gain complimentary entry to some S.League matches?

The point is - why does the league look so cheap and desperate with those "lobang".

Such a lack of faith was illustrated in a recent promotional poster for the so-called "Football Extravaganza" (pictured below and reproduced with permission) that drew brickbats from many supporters.

Meant to be a tool to draw awareness for the double-header on that 8th of November "red-letter" date which featured both the FA Cup and Singapore Cup finals, the poster did not place emphasis on the main theme (i.e.: the teams, the players, or even the trophies).

Instead, the images of the cast from an old movie and a group of cheerleaders were placed prominently on the poster which offered a little hint that it was a football event going to take place.

Whether the objective of the poster was the result of thinking "out-the-box" to be bold and different, I would say such a "stunt" should be minimized at the lowest.

Of course, there's nothing wrong to be bold and innovative in any initiative but when the first impression cannot drill home the message, an immediate remedy should be put in place.

This incident was just one of too many that took place in the past 12 months when I mentioned last December we should judge S.League CEO Lim Chin's work at this juncture.

Has the former Chief of Artillery delivered? I think this review has answered that.

And for that... Thanks for the support for the past 17 years...


  1. Been a while since I checked in here... unfortunately doesn't seem like much has changed, hasn't it Po Hui? Still, love the work you do in trying to promote your local game. Those ice-breakers though, lol. Have had discussions like those about South Melbourne over the years, perhaps best to leave the complaining at home though for now and focus on another solid year of reportage.

  2. Seriously S League needs a major revamp. with the presences of foreign teams in the league it makes our DOMESTIC league looks like a joke. I still prefer how S League is during 1996-2002 when there was no foreign teams and national youth team inside the league. Also not forgetting the involvement of foreign teams in our DOMESTIC cup competition.

    I think it would be the best for S League to reorganise into a league with 10 teams - ALL LOCAL TEAMS with one playing one another 4 times per season and also Singapore Cup and the League Cup should be retained but with only local teams participation.

    If you look at those more advanced leagues in the region like Japan, South Korea, China and those middle East countries and even Indonesia and Thailand, the league consists of only local teams and I strongly feels that S League should go in the direction of participation of local teams only. Also the presence of foreign teams in S League was one of the reason why Singapore teams were denied a chance to play in ACL recently.

  3. Especially at JBS, fans are put off by loud music played before, half-time, full-time in every game there by the DJs given the freedom by SLeague and FAS. That includes MSL games by LionsXII. We fans can't hold decent conversations or make phone calls etc. Even the team coaching staff have a hard time giving out instructions pre-match


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