EDIT: View the published version. Thanks Today for keeping it pretty much intact.
(I sent the below letter in yesterday after reading Shamir’s report about marquee players. Sorry Shamir, I wasn’t sure about convention for quoting names.)
I read with considerable concern Shamir Osman’s report that S.League clubs might be signing marquee players next season. I concur with Mr. Terence Kua that this is a short-term solution and feel that more should be invested in development and support of our existing talent.
Concerns about ego and fitness notwithstanding, I believe marquee players have a proposed budget which could be better allocated to developing club training and playing facilities. We would be able to better support our local players and take a small step towards building our own football future. For example, the signing fee of S$360,000 alone could be used to raise 20 Prime League players’ monthly wages by S$1,500 for a year or even S$500 for a period of 3 years.
Tampines coach Tay Peng Kee is of the opinion that big-name attacking talent will help to draw the crowds. While this is to some extent true, if a Niklas Bendtner or Park Ji-Sung could be drawn here, the lack of adequate support from the rest of the squad would dull their promise significantly. Football, after all, is a team sport.
The current five-way S.League title race features Harimau Muda and Albirex Niigata (S), development squads which do not have any players who qualify for the tag of marquee player. Yet they are as competitive, if not more, than stalwarts like SAFFC and Home United. This suggests we should focus on development.
If we build a good youth system, family and friends will be more receptive to the idea of a footballing career, and fan numbers will grow organically as people develop interest in the players on the pitch.
Let us not forsake long-term growth for the illusion of short-term improvement.