Albirex experience draws the fans

While many clubs have struggled to draw fans into their stadia, the Jurong East Stadium on matchdays has proved a heartening sight.

With pockets of Albirex Niigata orange or white that splatter the stands, the ra-ra of the cheerleaders and that unmistakable pass-and-move brand of football synonymous with the White Swans, Albirex must be doing something right.

Their match against Balestier Khalsa earlier this month drew the season's best local attendance of 2,502.

While it is still early days in S-League version 2.0, the club's average attendance of 1,835 is the second-highest after Brunei DPMM's 6,298.

Despite the fact the White Swans are putting more bums on seats than most of their S-League contemporaries, the club are not satisfied.

When told of the statistic, general manager Koh Mui Tee seemed surprised.

Then he said: "It's still not enough.

"We didn't set any targets, but we need more people to come and watch our matches, and matches of the other clubs."

While he was adamant that there is no special formula for Albirex's relatively impressive attendances, he did highlight that to keep fans coming, two boxes must be ticked.

The matchday experience in the stands has to be something unique and different from watching on television. On the pitch, the team need to deliver good football.

Perhaps no team in the S-League have evolved as much as the White Swans, with the team's best players either being cherry-picked by their parent club in Japan or by fellow S-League clubs regularly.

In spite of that, the White Swans' brand of graceful football never changes.

It's one of the things which attracted Andy Ng to the club.

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