It sounds like a horror story in a third world country.
But actually, this is a story of what’s happening in a professional football club in Singapore.
Professional in name, but just how professional is this professional football club?
While the club insists on players behave like consummate professionals, does the management look at itself in the mirror and realise how horrifyingly unprofessional they are?
This is the story of Tanjong Pagar United Football Club, a club which has had a storied past, which is now being run like no better than an amateur one.
ZERO ENGAGEMENT ON PLATFORMS
For more than a month, the Jaguars did not put up a single post on its Facebook account.
Prior to a post put up on 6 June, the last posting put up was on 25 April, when it wished Mirko Sugic a happy birthday.
After that, the club’s Facebook page went silent, like it was on a strike.
Sources whom spoke to TMSG explained that it was because the club lost two of its management committee members – former journalist Wang Meng Meng and former Tampines Rovers player Yunos Abdul Samad.
Wang, it is understood, was running the club’s social media accounts.
It is not known why the duo left the management committee.
From 25 April to 6 June is a gap of more than 40 days, and fans wondered why the Jaguars just went silent.
See post on 6 June.
“How is this normal for a professional football club,” asked a fan who wrote in to TMSG.
Another fan also commented on the club’s post.
The fan who wrote to TMSG also indicated that it was improbable that the Jaguars did not have a website to disseminate information to fans and to share line-ups ahead of matches.
“Isn’t this supposed to be a norm for all professional football clubs? he asked.
Other clubs like Lion City Sailors, Geylang International, Albirex Niigata and Tampines Rovers all have websites.
Hougang United’s website, while existent, has not been updated with content apart from the change of players at the start of the season.
Even the current Singapore Premier League table is so severely outdated.
But back to Tanjong Pagar United.
THE CLUB’S REGISTERED ADDRESS
Suspicions about the club’s registered address were first raised when the Jaguars put up a job advertisement on the MyCareersFuture portal.
At first, the address on the ad showed the Automobile Megamart address at Ubi Ave 2, leaving netizens to wonder why the club’s registered address was a used car showroom.
Then the advertisement was subsequently amended to reflect the Jurong East Stadium address.
But there is one thing the club cannot run away from – where is the club registered with the Ministry of Home Affairs, since it is a registered society.
A check on iRoses – the MHA”s portal for societies, showed that Tanjong Pagar United was indeed registered at an address at Automobile Megamart at Ubi Ave 2.
The question is what’s at the Automobile Megamart?
Our checks show that Ricky Tay, the club’s honorary treasurer, has his motor trading company at that exact address.
In addition, our checks on Bizfile show that Raymond Tang, the club chairman, has his used car sales showroom at the same location but on a different level.
Tang is a recognised active grassroots member at the Tanjong Pagar GRC.
85-YEAR-OLD MARKETING EXECUTIVE RICHARD WOON
At the end of 2016, the Jaguars organised a testimonial match for Richard Woon, who was set to retire.
But recent checks show that Woon, now 85, has been hired by the club as its Marketing Executive.
This was also confirmed by a club source.
He works from home most of the time, as the club does not have its own office and the space at Jurong East Stadium is limited, and mostly taken up by the technical team.
How this makes sense to the club’s management team is beyond explanation, with no disrespect to Woon, who has devoted his life to football, and his interest in fish.
It is understood that the club has no more than three full-time staff involved in the administration and marketing of the club, including the general manager Jacob Wee.
It is not known why the club brought Woon, a former TPUFC chairman, back from retirement and hired him as a marketing executive.
HOW DO THE FANS FEEL?
A TMSG reader who alerted us to the club shenanigans pointed out to a post put up last January by the Jaguar Force, the club’s fan group.
“We plead with the board to really engage with the supporters and throw your unconditional support for the technical team, as they work their damndest to better the results of last season and achieve qualification to the AFC tournaments, at the very least.
“We want the board to think forward and aim high.
“If you love the club, commit your time and effort to build the club. If not, pass it on to someone who does.”
TMSG posed a set of questions to the club via email but the club did not respond at time of publication.
The question for the Tanjong Pagar United leadership team is simple.
Are you listening?
MAIN PHOTO: SVTA