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SPL clubs could lose identity due to shared premises decision

02:41 EAT 15/12/2018
hougang hools
The upcoming 2019 SPL (Singapore Premier League) season will see all local clubs share stadiums, meaning only four stadiums will host regular matches

 The upcoming 2019 SPL (Singapore Premier League) season will see all local clubs share stadiums, meaning only four stadiums will host regular matches - Our Tampines Hub (Tampines Rovers and Geylang International), Jalan Besar Stadium (Young Lions and Hougang United), Bishan Stadium (Home United and Balestier Khalsa) and Jurong East Stadium (Albirex Niigata and Warriors FC). 

Now such a move will definitely have an effect on the fans and also the clubs. For example, Hougang United is one of the clubs that enjoys boisterous support from its fans. Its home ground up until the decision of shared stadiums was announced is the Hougang Stadium which is situated in Hougang and as such causes the club to have a stronger attachment to their surrounding. However, the Cheetahs will now find themselves playing at Jalan Besar Stadium, a completely alien environment for them which makes the decision of shared stadiums seem as if it is a plan to uproot certain clubs.

Hougang United also boasts a unique set of supporters in the form of the Hougang Hools; a group of fanatical supporters devoted to supporting the club. The group can always be seen at the Hougang Stadium when its team plays and what they do is create a lively atmosphere through their chants and the putting up of colourful banners. For most of them Hougang Stadium has been their home and shifting to Jalan Besar will no doubt affect the way they operate although I have no qualms these will not waver in their support for the Cheetahs.

Although the negatives have been pointed out, there will be no doubt some who will welcome the move as there are clubs who will benefit. One such club who may benefit is Geylang International as playing their games at Our Tampines Hub which boasts excellent facilities can encourage more supporters to come down compared to the rundown Bedok Stadium. But at the end of the day, what's affected here is a club's sense of belonging to its environment and its loss of identity could have grave consequences on the league's health in the near future.