Friday, February 21, 2014
Tanjong Pagar Strive For More Fans
Singapore — They were one of the best-supported clubs in the S-League last season with an average attendance of 1,500 fans per match at Queenstown Stadium, which was higher than the league average of 1,200. Yet Tanjong Pagar United were unable to translate that support into success, eventually finishing only sixth in the standings.
This season, the Jaguars are aiming higher — both on and off the pitch. Club chairman Edward Liu has not only set a top-three finish for the team, he has also declared a target of 2,000 fans for every home game.
“It’s a challenge but it’s achievable,” said Liu at a press conference yesterday that saw the club signing a three-year sponsorship deal with British sports goods firm Mitre worth S$255,000.
And just like last season, the club are putting their hopes on their French connection to take them there. They have four French players on their payroll — goalkeeper Aurelien Herisson, defender Anthony Aymard, midfielder Kamel Ramdani and new midfield signing Sebastian Etiemble, who was unveiled yesterday, and French-born Moroccan striker Monsef Zerka, who was their top scorer last season with 20 goals.
The top-three challenge was one which coach Patrick Vallee — who is also French — has readily accepted.
“The chairman is right to set a top-three finish. We have to do better than last season,” he said.
But it is the desire to see better crowd attendances, at one of Singapore’s oldest stadiums, which is driving the club forward.
“We used to have 300-500 fans only when we rejoined the S-League in 2011,” said Liu. “But things improved and even the S-League has acknowledged that we were one of the best-supported clubs last season.
“It means our outreach programme to the community, telling the residents in the housing areas around us of the club’s existence and asking them to come to our home matches, is paying dividends.”
Liu felt that playing attractive football is another weapon that Tanjong Pagar must deploy to get the desired numbers through the turnstiles.
COMMENT - I like stories like this. And it os good to see Tanjong reaping the rewards. Remember, they joined the SLeague at a time when all and sundry were slagging it off, got thumped by everyone in their first season yet are still here tp tell the tale. Respect!