Evertonians' futsal event draws British side

Members of the Singapore Everton Supporters' Club - (clockwise from top right) Daniel Tan, Miki Khoo, Keng Wei Terk, Tommy Low, Eugene Beh and Ronnie Lim - hope to draw fans from other countries to the activities they have arranged to tie in with the
Members of the Singapore Everton Supporters' Club - (clockwise from top right) Daniel Tan, Miki Khoo, Keng Wei Terk, Tommy Low, Eugene Beh and Ronnie Lim - hope to draw fans from other countries to the activities they have arranged to tie in with the visit of the English Premier League team here.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The Barclays Asia Trophy will reach these shores next month. The Straits Times begins the countdown by featuring fans gearing up to welcome their football heroes.

IT IS rare to find an Everton fan in a nation obsessed with the "Big Four" of English football - Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.

But Tommy Low, chairman of the Singapore Everton Supporters' Club (SESC), believes that it is this rarity that makes them a close-knit and passionate bunch of fans.

"It is hard to get an Everton jersey in Singapore, so if you have one, it is very likely that you are a dedicated fan," said the 42-year-old.

  • Barclays Asia Trophy 2015

  • Wednesday, July 15

    6pm: Everton v Stoke City

    8.30pm: Arsenal v Singapore Select XI

    Match-day tickets: $25-$145

    Saturday, July 18

    6pm: 3rd place play-off

    8.30pm: Final

    Match-day tickets: $28-$155

    Tickets are available through Sports Hub Tix at:

    • www.sportshubtix.sg
    • Call 6333 5000 or 3158 7888.
    • Box office at the Singapore Indoor Stadium
    • All SingPost outlets

The SEC have around 500 members who will have their sweet tooth satisfied when they get to see their beloved Toffees grace the National Stadium when Everton arrive for the Barclays Asia Trophy from July 15-18.

Most of the fans, who are known as Evertonians, started supporting the club in the 1980s when they were one of the top English sides, winning two league titles (1985, 1987) and the Uefa Cup-Winners' Cup (1985).

The SESC are the official affiliated supporters club of Everton in Singapore, with Low and club treasurer Keng Wei Terk having visited Goodison Park earlier this year to meet the club's ambassadors, as well as manager Roberto Martinez and the first-team players.

They have a Facebook page which is updated regularly with timings of matches and other events for the fans.

Their "home ground" is Victoria Bar at the Intercontinental Singapore, where they have gathered to watch Everton matches for the past two seasons.

And although the SESC may not boast membership numbers to rival those of the other supporters' clubs, they have been gaining popularity among the younger generation, which Low attributes to the club's "attractive style of play" under Martinez.

Honorary secretary Eugene Beh believes that the SESC are on the rise.

For instance, The Liverpool Echo, a daily newspaper on Merseyside, interviewed Low when he visited Goodison Park.

"Everton tend to be quite a low-profile club but now everyone wants to interview us," said Beh.

"It's good because then so-called 'closet Evertonians', who support the club on their own, can get to know about us due to this increased media presence.

"Overseas fans can also just Google us and find our Facebook page."

The executive committee of the SESC have already planned a host of activities when the Toffees arrive in Singapore, starting with a rousing welcome for the team at Changi Airport and a session for fans to meet the first-team players.

They will also be hosting a futsal tournament on July 18, the day of the Barclays Asia Trophy final.

Eight teams have already signed up, with three from Singapore and five from overseas, including one from Britain.

Everton FC ambassadors and former players such as Graeme Sharp and Graham Stuart will be invited to present the prizes at the tournament.

For Low, it will be the second time that he is watching his team play live but he is just as excited as anyone else.

"We want to get to know Evertonians from other regions as well," he said.

"All of us are really looking forward to it."

isaacneo@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2015, with the headline 'Evertonians' futsal event draws British side'. Print Edition | Subscribe