Feeling fan-tastic

Feeling fan-tastic
PSYCHED: From far left, Everton fan Tommy Low, Singapore die-hard Muhd Norman, Arsenal faithful Eric Ong and Stoke supporter Elliot Jackson are raring to watch their teams at the Barclays Asia Trophy.
PHOTO: The New Paper

Singapore can be Everton's springboard to a good season

TOMMY LOW, 42, CIVIL SERVANT

How did you come to support Everton?

LOW: Like any young fan, I went for the best team.

And the best at the time (during the 1984/85 season) were Everton.

And blue's a boy's colour, not red.

In addition, Gary Lineker, my favourite footballer, also became an Everton player.

Tell us your best and worst experiences as an Everton fan.

My best experience was going to Goodison Park for the first time, in April this year.

I got to meet three of the club's ambassadors - Ian Snodin, Graeme Sharp and Graham Stuart - as well as former manager Howard Kendall.

After the game, manager Roberto Martinez and some players, including Steven Pienaar and John Stones, came by to say hi, too. And to top it off, we beat Manchester United 3-0!

The lowest point had to be losing the FA Cup final to Chelsea in 2009.

Which Everton player do you most look forward to seeing at the Barclays Asia Trophy?

I would love to meet captain Phil Jagielka, he's a role model for the young Everton players to look up to.

What are you expecting from them at this tournament?

Winning the trophy, nothing less, even though it's still pre-season.

This is a competitive tournament, so I expect the boys to be quite serious about it.

For sure, I don't expect them to "wayang" (slang for putting up a show).

They must take the chance to get ready for the new season.

What are your hopes for Everton in the upcoming Premier League season?

Last season was very disappointing for the fans. It looked so good when we managed to sign Romelu Lukaku. Maybe the Europa League commitments wore them out.

But, this season, we can realistically push for a top-seven place. My hope is that we get into Europe.

Supporting Sundram's team is a matter of national pride

MUHD NORMAN, 38, CUSTOMER CARE OFFICER

How did you come to support Singapore?

NORMAN: My father used to be in charge of the ball-pickers during international and Malaysia Cup games.

I regularly tagged along with him to the old National Stadium.

There was once when one of the ball-pickers didn't show up, and I was drafted in to help out.

That was in 1990, and Singapore beat Selangor 5-2.

Tell us your best and worst experiences as a Singapore fan.

My lowest moment came in 1992, when Singapore dropped to Division Two of the Semi-Pro League after losing 1-0 to Pahang at the National Stadium.

We played our best, but had no luck.

The best moment came a year later, when Patrick Ang, then the general manager of the Singapore team, brought Fandi Ahmad back to Singapore from Pahang.

He came back and turned Singapore football around, winning us the Double the next year.

He was an inspiration.

Which player in the Singapore Selection side do you most look forward to seeing at the Barclays Asia Trophy?

Faris Ramli, because he is improving all the time.

This is a good chance for him (left) to test himself against the best.

We haven't had a winger like him for a long time.

What are you expecting from them at this tournament?

Coach V Sundramoorthy is a proven winner and an astute tactician.

It will be interesting to see how the team fare against the Premiership sides.

They will certainly raise their game.

What are your hopes for Singapore football?

I have always believed in Singapore football.

There may have been some disappointments recently, such as the South-east Asia (SEA) Games and AFF Suzuki Cup, but we must look forward.

Last month's draw with Japan is an indication of what we can achieve

A chance for the Gunners to get into combat mode early

ERIC ONG, 37, PUBLIC SERVANT

How did you come to support Arsenal?

ONG: It started in the 1988/89 season, when I was just 10.

The campaign ended with Michael Thomas scoring an injury-time goal against Liverpool in their final game of the season to snatch the League title from the Reds.

There were so many strong characters in that side, such as Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon and the late David Rocastle. Tell us your best and worst experiences as an Arsenal fan.

The ultimate high had to be Arsenal going through an entire season unbeaten during the 2003/04 campaign. In modern football, that just seemed almost impossible - until Arsenal did it.

It was a far-fetched idea when it was first suggested that Arsenal could finish a league campaign without losing, so that made it all the more incredible.

Losing to Barcelona in the 2005/06 Champions League final was the low.

We took the lead despite being a man down, held the advantage for so long, only to lose it in the end.

It was heartbreaking.

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