BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
During the 2018 Selangor kit launching event that was held in Shah Alam on Sunday, club president Dato' Seri Subahan Kamal made a bold promise to the fans in attendance.
He vowed that if he were still president in the next term, the Red Giants, who are currently still in search of a home ground for the coming season, will have their own venue.
"If we can maintain the current momentum, I promise that if I were still president, in five years' time the Red Giants would have our own stadium. We wouldn't need to rely on the assistance of others!" proclaimed Subahan.
But when interviewed by the press after the event, Subahan, who is also the Malaysian FA deputy president, clarified that the statement is only his hope instead of a concrete plan, and chastised the reporters who grilled him on the stadium talk.
"It's just my dream as the club president. I saw how in other countries, for example in Thailand, their clubs own their stadiums. Some may say it's impossible, but we don't need a big stadium, just one for football only.
"But let's not be hasty; you (reporters) sometimes ask me the most illogical questions, sorry to say. It's just my hope. Don't ask me yet about the name and location! My point is we should own our own ground eventually.
"But everything is down to the supporters because we want to give our best... However they need to be patient and keep supporting us," explained Subahan.
When asked about the funding received from sponsors and the club's budget for the 2018 season, Subahan declined to go into detail, simply explaining that their budget this year is around RM12 million (USD3,097,200) the same amount they spent in the 2017 season.
"It's very hard to say, but our budget will be within RM12 million, just like last year. This year we definitely want to spend more prudently because the amount also covers our administration, the youth teams, so RM12 million is a good figure.
"These guys (sponsors) have come on board, I can't say the figure now as I will disclose it later. We're hoping that more will come on board. God willing, that will be enough to run the team," he said.
He also revealed that several players have accepted pay cuts in order to stay with the team this season, further reducing the Red Giants' spending.
"I'm very thankful that some of these players have decided to stay on, when they could get better salaries playing for other clubs. But I told most of them such as Razman (team captain Razman Roslan) and Amri (former Malaysia international Amri Yahyah), 'We have to spend within our means this season, while some of you are paid very high. Is it possible for you to take pay cuts if you were to stay with us?'
"However I told them we would not stop them from leaving, if they thought they could get paid more playing somewhere else. But they decided to stay on, and that shows they have love for Selangor, and that is what you look for in players. That's one advantage we have this season, having players who are not just in it for the money, but also passion," explained Subahan.
He also took the time to praise the cash-strapped club board, who according to him did a good job of steadying the ship since the Selangor state government funding for the club was cut off at the end of the 2016 season.
"I'm very pleased with our management. Last year our budget was around RM12 million and we've used it all up. It was nearly impossible for us to find that amount, but we put on our thinking caps, and praise Allah we managed to secure it... When we get our house in order, God willing we'll get stronger.
"We are in the midst of strengthening (the club), we'll get stronger this year, and in a few weeks' time we'll announce many more sponsors who will join us. We are on the right track," stated Subahan.
The Red Giants will be wearing three Al-Ikhsan supplied Lotto kits this season, including an alternate set that bears striking resemblance to the home kit of Ligue 1 giants PSG. The player edition tops are sold to fans for RM139, while the fan edition jerseys are reportedly sold for RM69.
Selangor's first Super League match this season will be on February 4, against newly-promoted Klang Valley rivals Kuala Lumpur at the KLFA Stadium, Cheras.