The stadium was emptier than a Rafa Benitez appreciation convention (Balestier Khalsa Facebook page)
Times are hard for the S.League, the top flight of professional football in Singapore. Despite some clubs having a rich histories that extend back into the nineteenth century, average attendances of the twelve-team league dropped to a pitiful 932 last season.
The former British territory is passionate about football, but as someone who visited recently, I can attest to the fact that the locals are primarily concerned with watching the English Premier League. The domestic game, therefore, is neglected like a ginger stepchild.
After the S.League Supergals somehow failed to draw in the punters, Balestier Khalsa FC have taken matters into their own hands. The side from Toa Payoh have sent their players out into local neighborhoods, knocking on doors to try and encourage new fans.
Club chairman S Thavaneson is quoted by Reuters:
"The more often the players go knocking on doors, the higher the chances of them becoming familiar with residents," Balestier chairman S Thavaneson told Monday's Today newspaper.
"Who knows, they may become curious and decide to watch a game or two."
Thavaneson hopes that the door-knocking campaign will help fill the 3,900-capacity Toa Payoh Stadium, reasoning that just three percent of region's residents would be enough for a full house.
Toa Payoh, however, is a former squatter district whose name basically translates to "big swamp", so sending the first team out onto the streets to hawk their wares sounds like a risky strategy.
- Sports & Recreation
- English Premier League
- Toa Payoh