The Special Olympics Asia Pacific and Tottenham Hotspur Foundation (THF) organised a three-day football coaching program at the Singapore Sports School to train football coaches in Asia for athletes with intellectual disability.
The football coaching programme, in partnership with the Special Olympics, is part of Tottenham Hotspur Foundation's community development program aimed at improving access to sports opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.
The program improves their sport skills which helps them to improve their self esteem and develop positive attitudes. This is the first time the program is being organised in Singapore since the partnership was established almost nine years ago.
SSSC was invited to collaborate in the program and six of our members attended the intensive football coaching program. During the coaching program, our members learned more about the Special Olympics and more importantly Tottenham Hotspur's playing philosophy.
Tottenham Hotspur Foundation coaches, Richard Allicock and Dan Slaughter were generous with sharing and imparting their skills and knowledge over a wide range of topics ranging from improving technical skills to organising a more fruitful coaching session.
Vice Chairman Thomas Lau, who was also one of the participants in the coaching programme said "Over the years, SSSC have through different ways contributed to the community. This include organising blood donation drives, and conducting fund raising activities for local charities. Our support in the program reaffirms our commitment to contribute to the community."
A write up from a few fans who made the trip with us to KL. Enjoy!
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A series of speculations kicked off when Tottenham announced that it will be sending its first team to play in Sydney in a post season friendly way before they played their last game. Surely, they would have to break that trip – would they be stopping over in Singapore? I had to miss that one when they were here last in 1993 as I was still in my greens and probably in a guard room somewhere on Pulau Tekong. Would they stop in Hong Kong again? I always look forward to the popular tram rides. Or even better still – Bangkok for rides of a different kind perhaps? On an elephant, in between temple visits.
All speculations and fantasies came to a screeching halt when it was announced that Spurs will be playing Malaysia XI in the AIA Cup Kuala Lumpur on 27 May 2015. It did not take long for Singapore Spurs Supporters’ Club (SSSC) to announce that it will look into making match ticket arrangements for members of SSSC. After setting my priorities, I applied for leave and waited for more information and checked with fellow spurs fans from Singapore if they were going as well. Yes, there were some disappointments, one being that it was not going to be in Bangkok . Why am I not surprised? And lastly before I forget, to let the wife know.
Living up to their previous deliveries, trips to HK and the holy ground of White Hart Lane itself, we waited in anticipation for SSSC to send out their plans for us.
By the end of April 2015 everything was arranged, booked the match ticket and bus through SSSC for only $35 – all in. That also reminded me to renew my membership just before the trip. Oh yes, received a nice Polo Dry Fit Shirt as a free renewal gift this time, not a bad deal for a $30 membership renewal fee. The shirt would be the official shirt of the trip.
During SSSC’s membership renewal night on 16 May 2015, it was announced that SSSC will receive passes for some lucky members to meet and greet players after their Open Training Session the day before the match. Brilliant – it just gets better.
I was on the bus that left Tanjong Pagar at 6.30am on Tuesday, with about 20 others. I learnt that there will be at least about 100 of us from Singapore in KL that we know of. For some, the beers were already flowing from the first stop at Yong Peng. Yes, from 10am. To Dare is to Do.
There was never a dull moment. From the temporary set up beer garden at row Z to the 2 LCD screens projecting Spurs DVDs, it was a carnival mood throughout. Little wonder we reached KL at supersonic speed and just as quickly we checked in to our respective hotels. The bus was probably running on Tiger as well.
After a quick washdown to sober up, we were all ready for one of the highlights of the trip - The Open Training & Autograph session. Wonder if they let me get on the pitch for a little kickabout. I can wonder all night. This time our bus took an eternity to reach Shah Alam stadium. The KL traffic worked its havoc on our patience. The lucky 14 were given their "golden ticket" but still were not told what to expect. Great, surprises never go out of fashion, even for grown up men like some of us.
There was a good turnout of fans at the stadium, some look familiar from our Hong Kong and WHL visits. We caught up with the rest of the members from SSSC who travelled separately and also those who were there earlier for a futsal tournament. Don’t think our boys did too well, as they were not really talking about it much, but definitely a good time to catch up with the other fan clubs from region and also the coaches from THFC. Kudos to them for going up a day earlier and sending out a team for the tournament.
While that was going on the players were put through their paces of stretching, short passes and a good session of keep ball on the pitch. Mauricio Pochettino amused himself with his coaching team with a cross bar challenge. He did quite well, I must say.
As we watched our heroes go through their paces on a windless, 32 Degree Celcius Malaysian weeknight, the stadium announcer finally made the call we've all been waiting for. "Can those with golden tickets, please line up along pitch side". That was the cue for action. In an orderly (read frantic) fashion, we made our way to pitch side. Andros Townsend was the first to come over, gleefully signing autographs and indulging in taking selfies with the excited fans. Soon he was joined by Jan Vertonghen and Nacer Chadli, who opted to start from the other end of the beeline. One by one the players came by, with huge smiles on their faces. It looked like they were more glad to see us than the other way round?
The star of the show was of course - Harry Kane. The last to sign our shirts, posters, shorts, whatever we could grab hold of, it was as though the officials knew he would take the longest time. True enough, fans mobbed him, security was tighter than others as he had 2 bodyguards on him. His minder constantly reminded us "only one autograph per person!" He was truly the man of the moment and if that's not evident of his new found fame, let me tell you he was the only one who signed with Blue Ink. Yes he is indeed quite special, our golden boy, one of our own. And no, the rest did not sign in red, it was black.
To the lucky 14, the KL trip has ended. We all walk away from the stadium feeling this WAS the epitome. Never mind the side shows of the trip or the main match against the Malaysian makeshift team the next day, all is not important now that we have got our hands on a Tottenham shirt signed by all the players who were there that memorable night. If the experience of meeting the players was invaluable, then our autographed jerseys must definitely be priceless.
After the training session and armed with shirts filled with autographs we headed back to town. Those travelling with family chose to stay in, the boys who were on their own chose to stay out. Gathering from their looks the next day, I could tell they all had a good time.
Next up, on match day was the coaching clinic where we had a few representatives from SSSC learning the finer things of coaching from the coaching team and players from THFC. Wondered if our boys asked the coaches why we stink in taking and defending set pieces. The experience must have been exciting and surreal for them. One of THFC’s greatest ever legend was also part of the KL schedule. Ossie Ardiles met a good crowd following the coaching experience for a Q&A session which I learned was candid and set out in a relaxed atmosphere.
And now for the main event – Tottenham v Malaysia XI. We arrived at the stadium way before kick off and it looked like it has seen its better days. The Malaysian fans kept to their word of boycotting the match and by kick off it looked like we had about 18,000 fans in the stadium. But trust the Yid Army to make the noise, everywhere they go. We were already bursting our lungs nearly two hours before kick off.
The stadium was like an ASEAN melting pot. Fans from official fan clubs of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and China all sang in unison, "Come on you Spurs... Come on you Spurs..." What a surreal feeling! Mixed with the regional version of tweaking “we’re the Paxton, Tottenham” to “Singapura, Tottenham” and “ We’re the Thailand ( or Malaysia and Indonesia), Tottenham”. Well you get the idea.
At a blink of an eye, 3 hours have passed. With hoarse voices, a concoction of booze and hearty singing, we cheered on the starting eleven as they walked onto the beautiful Shah Alam pitch.
It was inevitable that the golden boy would score and score he did, calmly controlling a loose ball which came off the post from a Tim Carroll strike, shifting it to his left before letting fly an unstoppable half volley into the roof of the net. The Shah Alam stadium erupted instantly!
The night ended with Harry Kane scoring a brace and Spurs grinding out a 2-1 victory over a Malaysian select side which honestly impressed. The academy boys, some of whom came on in the 2nd half caught our eyes too, Harry Winks & Josh Onumah being the standout performers.
When the final whistle blew, it did not only mark the end of the game but also our KL Spurs adventure.
Lastly, I think the guys from SSSC who set this trip up did an amazing job. The committee members must have put in a good number of hours during the week to coordinate the KL trip, together with the other events that are being organized over the season which includes the club’s day to day running, behind the scenes. I don’t see all of them all the time, but I sure know they’re doing a damn good job by putting a good shift in.
We've put up a video thanking SSSC for their service and dedication, helping Spurs fans in Singapore organize so many activities for Spurs fans in Singapore. Well done!
This season Spurs brought us to the highs of reaching a Cup Final with a few fine wins against our neighbours and the lows of a poor run of games in the last third of the season. One of the highlights is the emergence of a new hero – our very own Harry Kane, and a team of home grown players that have showed promise and for better things to come in the upcoming seasons.
In my message this year, I will present SSSC’s major highlights over the last season and what to expect in the coming season.
In 2013, the committee achieved a milestone by securing a one year sponsorship with AIA and a two year sponsorship with HP. The agreement with AIA laid the foundations for a longer partnership term with them and last season we inked an extension of another five year programme. The positives of these tie ups have been transferred to our members and have been very evident in major events the last couple of seasons.
In our annual SSSC 5s futsal tournament where we co-organised with AIA for the first time last season, invitations were sent out to official Spurs fan clubs in the region and we were glad to see Malaysia participating. This tournament has been a permanent and an ever popular fixture in SSSC’s calendar and always attracts a good number of teams and supporters. SSSC will continue to explore more of such collaborations within the region, football related or otherwise.
It was also unfortunate to have to move from our previous home ground to Barraka Bar & Restaurant mid-way through the season. We seek our members’ patience and understanding and would like to assure our members that all considerations were evaluated to decide on this move. We look forward to your continued support at live screenings.
The last couple of months were busy days for us as we had to coordinate the trip up north for members for the AIA Cup in Kuala Lumpur. Spurs, as part of their post-season tour went up against a Malaysian selection team. We believe we put together a very good package costwise for our members that complemented the events that took place in KL. The trip also further cemented SSSC’s presence in the region with a strong and boisterous turnout and the committee’s various engagements with their fine counterparts whilst there.
Recently, we have also evaluated the impact of the social media, as an alternative to the existing forum on our official website and a few unofficial platforms that have emerged and have caused confusion within the Spurs fraternity in Singapore. It was decided that we have to move forward and launch an official SSSC Chat Facebook group - Singapore Spurs Supporters' Club Official Chat for both members and non-members to interact with each other and also receive official announcements from us. As a supplement, email updates will also be sent out in parallel, therefore we urge all to be on our mailing list via our website and register or update your email addresses.
Moving forward, SSSC will be holding the Annual General Meeting (AGM) soon during the off season during which the committee will either be re-elected for a new term or electing new members into the committee. All current members are encouraged to attend the AGM where the running and details of SSSC will be shared and discussed.
Another event to look out for is the White Hart Lane trip that is currently being planned to take place in the first quarter of 2016 once the fixtures for the mid-week Europa and domestic Cup games have been announced. If the schedule fits, it will allow our members to watch two games at the Lane with a stadium tour in between. With the above, coupled with the annual year end dinner where we’d be celebrating a huge milestone – SSSC’s 15th Year Anniversary and membership renewal night at the end of the season, it does fill up our calendar for next season quite fittingly.
In conclusion, the success of SSSC depends hugely on the continued support from our members. We have members from all walks of life, different backgrounds and with varying expectations and therefore we seek the understanding that it is sometimes a challenge to meet everyone’s expectations. Having said that, a special mention has to be made to the committee members for their time and dedication in volunteering to run the operations of SSSC whilst juggling their day to day lives.
Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to a better season in 2015/2016 for both Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and Singapore Spurs Supporters' Club.
Cheong Meng Tak
Chairman, Singapore Spurs Supporters’ Club
A brace from fans favourite Harry Kane gave a perfect ending to the SSSC contingent of over 70 members who made trip up to Kuala Lumpur for the AIA Cup where our beloved Spurs take on a Malaysia XI.
”When news that Spurs will be playing in the AIA Cup in Kuala Lumpur broke out, we knew we had to do something. We knew we need to get as many SSSC members as we can up to Kuala Lumpur for the AIA Cup. Kuala Lumpur is so much nearer to home unlike two years when Spurs played in the Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong. So the committee made the decision to heavily subsidise the cost of watching Spurs play in Kuala Lumpur so that cost is not a reason for any SSSC member not to make the trip.” said Vice-Chairman Thomas Lau who was also the chief organiser for the trip up to Kuala Lumpur.
He added: ”The subsidies would not have been possible if not for the support and generosity from our sponsor AIA Singapore. SSSC expresses their deepest appreciation to AIA Singapore.”
For some, the AIA Cup was their first time watching Spurs play live. For others, it was their first time meeting their football heroes in person. 20 lucky members won the golden tickets to get up, close and personal with their favourite players for autographs and selfies.
Three of our members had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be coached in their soccer skills by the coaches from Spurs. Vice Chairman Thomas Lau also took the opportunity to present SSSC’s Player of the Season plaque to Harry Kane.
Our BPL Fan Club league players took part in the Futsal Tourney against other regional supporters’ club and corporate teams. With the help from Malaysia Spurs, some of our SSSC members had a chance to meet up with Spurs legend Ossie Ardiles during the InTeamate Session with Ossie Ardiles.
The AIA Cup also saw SSSC members getting to know Spurs supporters from other countries and making new friends in the process.
Fancy a chance to play a full game at White Hart Lane, the holy ground and beloved home to the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club?
Four fortunate and delighted members from Singapore Spurs Supporters Club, Jasper Richard, Nazeer, Terence Tan, Ervin Chan were handed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of playing on the White Hart Lane pitch recently, courtesy of Asia’s pre-eminent life insurer, AIA.
Alongside the four delighted players, members of official Supporters Clubs across the world also had the chance to enjoy the memorable visit to White Hart Lane in March 2014. The teams were split into an ‘Asia XI’, managed by 1984 UEFA Cup-winning captain, Graham Roberts, and a ‘Rest of the World XI’, led by 1961 Double-winner, Cliff Jones.
Both teams received the ‘superstar’ treatment, starting from the dressing rooms which were utilised by home and away teams for Premier League matches. They were also sponsored with personalised Spurs Home Kit and a new pair of Under Armour boots.
Before the game, both legends gave inspirational team talks to players before they ran out of the tunnel with the match-day music blaring. Fans were roaring from pitch-side to cheer them on and team photographs were taken as memorabilia before kick-off and during the game.
The unforgettable yet noteworthy game concluded with a final score of 6-1 in favour to the ‘Rest of the World XI’ team.
The only consolation goal for ‘Asia XI’ came in the form of a moment’s brilliance by Singaporean Jasper Richard, whom scored in the 80th minute of the game.
When asked about the game experience and scoring in White Hart Lane, Jasper smiled and said, “It was a dream come true and to net the only consolation goal for ‘Asia XI’ in front of many Tottenham legends, fans and supporters was the proudest moment in my life.”
Jasper thanks and appreciates everybody’s support and is grateful to AIA for making this event a ravishing success. Jasper would also like to dedicate his goal to Spurs Supporters Club Singapore and his family.
The ‘Play on the Pitch’ experience was a way in which AIA chose to celebrate their new long-term partnership with Spurs, by recognizing the Supporters for the important role they play. “We are truly delighted to have been able to provide this opportunity for Supporters from around the world,” said Catherine Gibbs, Head of Sponsorship for AIA.
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