Theirs is a name which conjures up images of fanatical support and intense devotion to one's football team. It can be said that in a santised league such as the Singapore Premier League, where fans keep away from stadiums, the Hougang Hools are an anomaly.
Their loud unabashed chants are a sight to behold while their banners and drums can make the stewards guarding the stadium uncomfortable. Nonetheless these bunch of supporters must be saluted for pioneering the culture of the 'Ultras' in Singapore. Also it must be said that Hougang United can consider themselves very fortunate to have a set of fans totally devoted their cause.
Goal Singapore decided to ask the Hougang Hools five questions to get to know them better.
1) How were the Hougang Hools formed?
By a group of Manchester United Supporters Club SG members who accepted an invitation by Aide Iskandar, then Sengkang Punggol coach, who was a regular at our hangout. He liked our random cheers and invited us to a game against Beijing Guoan in July 2010. The Hools decide to formally form on Jan 1, 2011 and decided the name Hools to represent Hougang Only One Love
2) The Ultras Eagles and the Hougang Hools can be deemed as the two most fanatical support groups of local football. What can be done more to perpetuate such a culture in local football?
Gather a group of like-minded individuals who support the same team, and stay around the same place. Make as much noise as you can. But of course, positive noise to provide a vibrant match day atmosphere.
3) What are some of the challenges the Hougang Hools face in trying to sustain such a culture of fanatical support?
Shy individuals who are not used to organized support. Also other fans who think we are a nuisance in our early days and ask us to sit down and shut up. Lastly, commitments between members due to work and family commitments at times.
4) In European football there are lots of devoted supporters similar to the Hools, for example in Italy there are the Ultras. Is this sort of example the main source of inspiration for the Hools to keep on going?
Difference between some European groups is that some of them are real hooligans. There is hatred between different groups, and always out to find trouble and have fights, sometimes out to injure opposition players.
However, we are addicted to match atmospheres that they create. Cited examples are the Torcida Ultras of Hajduk Split and the Sudtribune of Borussia Dortmund. How these fans carry their team during hone games to create a vociferous atmosphere to create fear against opposition teams.
However we don’t condone violence and racism. We only want to gather a group of friends and gather to support our beloved team, regardless of race, language, religion and results. To us, three points is a bonus.
5) Lastly, where does the Hougang Hools see themselves in five years time?
Growing older together, and probably some of our kids joining us and sing together.
And also to have like-minded individuals join us, and create fun while contributing the match atmosphere, regardless of results.