So the 2012 S League season has finished with the culmination of the awards ceremony, where deserving winners getting the accolades. It has been a dramatic year of football for the Singapore scene. With the Lions XII participating in the Malaysia Cup, the kind of atmosphere last seen in Kallang, was being brought back many times during the season. Tears of joy and disappointment, elation and frustration at the tactical play, seemed to bring the Singaporeans back to the glory days of us cheering as one. If the national team, which is mainly made up of Lions XII players, goes on to achieve respectable success at the Suzuki Cup, and then this project can be considered a success.
Back to the local front, even though the competition for S League has seen fierce competing, right up to the last day of the league, the crowd just don’t seemed interested in this local product. A new CEO of the S League was appointed in the beginning of the year, and the campaign that he started, “Support your S League” simply can’t take off. For a sensible guy who would look at comparison, it simply means “Save Our S League”. If FAS are able to cough out money to market the Lions XII, I supposed the same things can be done to the S League teams, rather than leaving it them to run their own campaigns. If we are talking about grassroots development, the clubs are the major stakeholders in development of future generations of footballers.
Sponsors will always be hard to come by as there is simply no mileage in putting their brands on the teams with limited coverage. With limited participation in the regional and Asian level competitions, corporate sponsors looking to expand their branding to overseas would not be interested in the limited local mileage.
FAS may be helping the clubs in some ways or another, in terms of reducing their expenditure, but I feel that they should let the clubs have a free reign of running the stadiums which they are being based. Some of the pitches of the clubs are really poorly maintained, although the property belongs to SSC, I believe the clubs being the main user definitely can propose better ideas in the maintenances as it is considered their homes. Just because the clubs do not actually own their home stadiums, you will only see this type of scenarios happening in Singapore, where Tampines Rovers are housed in Clementi stadium this year. It is as if UK Sports asking Liverpool FC to shift their stadium to Newcastle just because the government wants to do an upgrade of the stadium.
As the list of players being drafted into LionsXII yet to be released, and with Gombak United pulling out and a revamp of the S League next year, the majority of the clubs will be playing a round of musical chairs with the players, the 2013 season is seemingly yet another season of struggling to “Save our S League”.