Houllier boost for Stags, Singapore football

Gerard Houllier at his last public outing, with former Liverpool player Patrik Berger during Liverpool Legends' exhibition game against Australian Legends in January in Sydney. The Frenchman is performing his ambassador role at Tampines for free.
Gerard Houllier at his last public outing, with former Liverpool player Patrik Berger during Liverpool Legends' exhibition game against Australian Legends in January in Sydney. The Frenchman is performing his ambassador role at Tampines for free. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Ex-Reds coach will be Tampines ambassador and assist in areas like development, strategy

Following the capture of Jermaine Pennant, Tampines Rovers have added a second former Liverpool man to their ranks - albeit one in a non-playing capacity.

Gerard Houllier, who won six titles during a six-year managerial spell at Anfield, has signed on as an international ambassador for the Stags.

The partnership will allow Tampines to consult the Frenchman on anything football-related, from youth development to more technical aspects of the game like coaching strategies.

He will not, however, influence first-team affairs, which are under the charge of coach V. Sundramoorthy. Houllier will also be in Singapore - either in September or December - to hold seminars for local coaches.

In an e-mailed statement, Houllier, 68, said: " Singapore is a unique footballing nation and I am delighted to serve as an International Ambassador to one of Singapore's leading football clubs, Tampines Rovers. "I hope I can provide some guidance to the Singapore footballing fraternity as a whole.

LEARN AND SHARE

He is a respected football intellectual and I want to make him available to the whole footballing fraternity. We need to share his ideas and thoughts with everyone.

KRISHNA RAMACHANDRA, Tampines Rovers chairman, on having Gerard Houllier also help the Singapore football scene.

"Football is becoming increasingly international and it is useful to have an understanding of modern football trends."

The Houllier coup is the latest in a series of international moves by Tampines in their bid to raise the profile of Singapore football.

Last December, the club partnered Brazilian World Cup winner and two-time World Footballer of the Year Ronaldinho to launch a football academy here.

A month later, they set pulses racing with the capture of Pennant, arguably the biggest signing in the S-League's 20-year history.

Tampines chairman Krishna Ramachandra said: "What I am trying to create in Singapore football is a belief that it is good enough to attract talent ranging from Ronaldinho to Pennant to Houllier.

"So we must take this initiative and make the most of it in the coming months and to sustain the local football revival we are witnessing."

The corporate lawyer added that while the deal is between Tampines and Houllier, the club will not "jealously guard" the former France technical director.

"He is a respected football intellectual and I want to make him available to the whole footballing fraternity. We need to share his ideas and thoughts with everyone," said Ramachandra.

  • Managerial honours

    CLUB

    Paris Saint-Germain (1985 to 1988): 1986 French Ligue 1 champions.

    Liverpool (1998 to 2004): 2001 FA Cup, 2001 and 2003 League Cup, 2001 Community Shield, 2001 Uefa Cup, 2001 Uefa Super Cup winners.

    Lyon (2005 to 2007): 2006 and 2007 French Ligue 1 champions.

    INTERNATIONAL

    France Under-18s (1994 to 1996): 1996 Uefa European U-18 Championship winners.

Besides coaching Liverpool from 1998 to 2004, Houllier also led the French national team from 1992 to 1993. In 1994, he took charge of the France Under-18s and led them to the European U-18 football championship title two years later.

Ramachandra said it was Football Association of Singapore technical director Michel Sablon who put him in touch with Houllier.

Interestingly, during discussions with Ramachandra and Tampines vice-chairman Leon Yee, the topic of remuneration did not come up.

There is also no end date to the partnership, and Ramachandra said it will continue as long as both parties feel they can contribute.

He said: "Leon and I simply shared with him our vision of the club, and how we are both volunteers trying to help Singapore football.

"We also told him we are no Manchester City, and that what he will be doing is contribute to and help develop Singapore football.

"That's why it's all the more impressive. For someone to do it for free, it means he really bought in to the idea, and shows the type of person he is."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2016, with the headline 'Houllier boost for Stags'. Print Edition | Subscribe