Feeling fan-tastic

Singapore can be Everton's springboard to a good season


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


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


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.

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

Per Mertesacker, because he's one of the most underrated players in the squad, and he's a true leader.

If I were to have a conversation with a player, I think I will be able to connect with him the most because he has embraced what it is to be an Arsenal player.

What are you expecting from them at this tournament?

For Arsenal, this is a very important pre-season test.

They have to make full use of the chance and hit the ground running when the season starts.

Last season, we showed that we can beat the big teams, something that was missing in the previous campaign.

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

I believe we are not that far off from being genuine title contenders.

I hope to see us up there challenging for the league title.

Looking forward to Stoke showing off their physical side


How did you come to support Stoke?

JACKSON: I was born and bred in Stoke.

I was 10 or 11 when I started supporting them, they were my local team. Well, it was either them or Port Vale.

My mates were all Stoke fans, so it kind of got drilled into me.

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

Beating Bolton 5-0 in the FA Cup semi-final four years ago was the highlight for me.

It was a great feeling.

The worst had to be the arrival of striker Carl Asaba in 2003.

Over two seasons, during which he played 70 games, he scored only nine goals.

He was atrocious, probably up there among one of the worst players to play for the club.

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

Bojan Krkic, even though he is injured and won't be playing in the tournament, despite making the trip here.

He seems to just glide across the grass. He has to be the most exciting player Stoke have at the moment.

What are you expecting from them at this tournament?

I expect them to showcase their traditional physical side.

I want them to come out and be Stoke.

I have a feeling Arsenal and Everton may try to show off the fancy stuff, but I want Stoke to be powerful and hard, just like they have always been at the Britannia Stadium.

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

With attackers such as Marko Arnautovic and Bojan Krkic we can challenge for Europe.

It will be nice to break into the top six as well.

It has been eight years since we were promoted into the Premier League, so it will be good time to push on and attract some big names.

This article was first published on July 12, 2015.
Get The New Paper for more stories.