A chance to sing Arsenal ditties to the team here

The Official Arsenal Singapore Supporters Club hosted an event in which they distributed to members match tickets and commemorative T-shirts on Thursday ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy.
The Official Arsenal Singapore Supporters Club hosted an event in which they distributed to members match tickets and commemorative T-shirts on Thursday ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Part three of The Straits Times' Barclays Asia Trophy countdown featuring fans gearing up to welcome their football heroes

Even as they celebrate the arrival of the likes of Mesut Oezil and Santi Cazorla to these shores for next week's Barclays Asia Trophy, the Official Arsenal Singapore Supporters Club will also roll out the red-carpet treatment for Gunners fans from around the world who are making the trip to Singapore for the tournament.

Eric Ong, 37, a fan of 26 years, helms a club that was founded in 2006 and which now has an impressive 660 members.

He and his executive committee have lined up a series of festivities for their fellow Gooners.

"We have organised an eight-a-side tournament at Jalan Besar Stadium for the morning of July 18. Arsenal supporters from Vietnam, Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Arsenal Staff from England and our Arsenal Singapore team will all be playing," he said.

The official hangout of the Arsenal Singapore supporters club, Molly Roffey's at Bras Basah, will offer 10 per cent off food and drink prices outside happy hours to those who display their team colours at the pub from Sunday to the next.

Said Ong: "Fans can go to the pub to eat, mingle, then make their way down together for the match."

Club vice-president Tiong Jin Yan, 56, a Gunners supporter since 1969, added: "A lot of work and sacrifice have gone into running this supporters club and planning the activities but this is all done for the love of Arsenal."

Ong, who lists defender Lee Dixon and midfielder David Rocastle among his favourite players, cannot wait to sing Arsenal ditties in front of his heroes at the National Stadium on July 15 when they take on a Singapore Selection.

"All of us gather to cheer them on TV every weekend, now is our chance to sing our songs directly to them on home turf," he said.

Looking ahead to the next season, fan Edmund Cheow, 49, believes greater squad depth is needed to vie for the title with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.

"(Goalkeeper) Petr Cech is a good signing but we need another defensive midfielder and possibly a striker before we can think about going for the title," he said.

A good start would be Arsenal winning the Barclays Asia Trophy to cap the festivities next week.

Said Ong: " The beauty of football is that it brings people together, regardless of which country you come from - as long as you have that cannon on your chest!"

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2015, with the headline 'A chance to sing Arsenal ditties to the team here'. Print Edition | Subscribe