One of the things that has been missing from my life for some time is a sense of routine. Now, don’t get me wrong; I don’t miss the boring 9-5 routine that I left behind some time ago but there are some aspects of my old routine that I do miss.
Two of my biggest passions in life are music and football. Back home, barely a week would go by where I wasn’t going to a gig or going to watch my beloved Rochdale AFC. Missing only the second Rochdale promotion in my lifetime was one of the major downsides to my time spent travelling so far, especially when you consider I was hungover in bed in Chiang Rai having missed the boat to Laos.
When I moved to Singapore to start my job, I felt something of a sense of relief that I would be settling into a routine of sorts and within a few days, I’d made it my priority to catch some live football. I’d done something similar in Chiang Mai, but as I was due to be Singapore for a while I decided to try and pick a team to follow.
The second S. League match I attended was the game between Hougang United and Home United at the Jalan Besar Stadium. It was an entertaining game which ended 3-1 to Hougang, but I’ll remember the game for another reason…
The Hougang Hools
Hougang have a core section of their support that dedicate their time to providing a rocking atmosphere on match days, with drummers, flags and a repertoire of so many songs that it’s impossible to name them all. Despite attendances not being mind blowing, the “Hougang Hools” create an atmosphere that wouldn’t be out of place in many bigger grounds.
In a continent that is largely fixated with the Premiership and La Liga, it’s great to see that there are people who are so passionate about grassroots football. It’s just a shame that more people don’t embrace what they have on their doorstep; it’s only $5 a ticket – I was paying £18 a pop to watch fourth tier football last season!
Towards the end of the Hougang v Home United game, the Hools asked me to join them for the remainder of the game and with that; I had found my Singaporean football team. So far I’ve been to three games, seen three victories with eight goals scored and only one conceded. The club’s Brazilian strikers – Diego Gama and Geison Moura – have also scored in every game I’ve seen so far. I’d claim to be a lucky charm were they not on a ten match unbeaten run!
I’ve found that football is not only a great way to get my fix, but has also helped me make a whole new bunch of friends that I would never have had the chance to mix with otherwise as well as allowing me to see parts of the country I’d probably never visit. The fact that Singapore is such a small country is undoubtedly a positive in this aspect, as you can never complain that an away game is too far!
Tomorrow sees Hougang play host in the League Cup to Brunei DPMM – who are managed by none other than Steve Kean of Blackburn Rovers infamy. He’s obviously no stranger to rowdy atmospheres; I’m sure he’ll probably be grateful that for once every song isn’t aimed at him!
Satu Hati – Satu Hougang!