By En Lim
Competitive, driven and an optimist.
Those are the words of Tom Beattie, Hougang United’s latest foreign signing for the new S.League season, when he was asked to describe himself. If that’s just an inkling of the kind of player the Englishman is, the Hougang HOOLs and football fans will be in for a treat come the start of the season.
A Hull City boy at heart, Beattie started his career with The Tigers but left at the age of 20 to pursue his studies in the United States.
After several training stints and opportunities with clubs in Scotland and Norway, Beattie eventually signed for Ottawa Fury in Canada, where he won personal honours such as Rookie of the Year and was nominated for the Canadian Soccer League’s Most Valuable Player award.
As to how he ended up coming to our sunny island, Beattie shared with Goal.com Singapore that it was a suggestion from an old team-mate who currently coaches in Japan that pointed him in the direction of trying his luck here.
With several clubs looking for new foreign signings to boost their ranks for 2013, the 26-year-old revealed that he had initially trained with Home United, but joined Hougang after a call from the Cheetahs’ new coach, Alex Weaver.
“I got a call from coach Alex, so I went down and trained with the club and after the session he said he wanted me, the rest they say, is history,” Beattie recalled.
The latest addition to the club clearly thinks well of his new coach, believing Weaver to be someone 'who can get the best out of not only myself, but the rest of the players too' .
With every move to a new country comes adjustment issues, but when asked about how he has settled in so far, Beattie was full of optimism as he let on that things have been very good.
The midfielder said that he received a warm welcome from his new teammates, who have been 'brilliant', and also expressed his hope that the close-knit group of Hougang players can gel together and become successful.
In addition to the Hougang boys, Beattie is also good friends with former Singapore international John Wilkinson, who has helped him to settle down in the country.
“He’s a good mentor," Tom explained, before adding that he has a lot of respect for Wilkinson as a person and as a player.
Listing Steven Gerrard, David Beckham and Neymar as his footballing inspirations, Beattie shared that he is a fan of good attacking positive football in general. If local football fans need any more convincing about his attacking abilities and eye for goal, his first match saw him open the scoring against the Singapore Under-23 side in a pre-season friendly.
That game was also the first time Beattie came into contact with the voracious Hougang fans, affectionately known as the HOOLs, whom he described as 'brilliant'. He has since received many messages from the HOOLs via social media, and is very appreciative of their support.
“Hopefully I can work hard and repay them [for their support]!” he gratefully said.
Looking ahead to the new season, the humble Englishman expressed hope that the club can better its 2012 performance and that he is just happy to “enjoy the adventure and embrace the culture.”
As he ended the interview, Tom shared his wishes for the new year in Singapore: “I just want to work hard, do the best I can and enjoy the adventure. Hopefully the results will follow!”