|By Khalis Rifhan
Decades ago, during the days where the idea of a professional football league was unheard of in Singapore, one man’s vision was the reason for the formation and eventual success of Geylang International.
But despite their amateur status, Geylang had a huge following from all over the island and boasted national players in their ranks.
Current chairman Leong Kok Fann took over the reins in 2012 from Patrick Ang, who had been at the helm since 1997, and has promised to bring back the good old days at Bedok Stadium and the club has produced an video clip featuring their former players from yesteryear.
The Eagles were one of the pioneer clubs when the S.League was formed in 1996 and won the first edition of the competition after seeing off Singapore Armed Forces FC (SAFFC) in the Championship playoff.
Iran international midfielder Hamid Reza Estili scored the opener a minute into the second half, before defender Mohammad Khakpour scored the winner in the 61st minute to cancel out Jure Eres's equalizer for SAFFC.
Geylang United won their next league title in 2001, before winning the RHB Singapore Cup in 2009 by beating Bangkok Glass FC in the final.
That was their last honour as fortunes took an unfortunate turn for the club thereafter, as they ended the season in eighth and eleventh position in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
Geylang is the first club to announce their squad for the upcoming 2013 season at a recent press conference and have also retained the services of their head coach, Vedhamuthu Kanan.