FAS election 2017

Football: Low-key Bill Ng makes bold statement

Game Changers leader Bill Ng walking into the Fullerton Bay Hotel last night to applause from his team members, including (from left) Lai Boon Teck, Samad Allapitchay and Christopher Wong.
Game Changers leader Bill Ng walking into the Fullerton Bay Hotel last night to applause from his team members, including (from left) Lai Boon Teck, Samad Allapitchay and Christopher Wong. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Citing work with past clubs, the Hougang chief vows to shake up and revive local scene

Low-profile and media-shy, Bill Ng tends to avoid the public eye but when he did step into the spotlight yesterday, he demonstrated strong oratorical skills and rammed home his points emphatically.

And the Hougang United chairman, who is fronting the Game Changers team in the April 29 Football Association of Singapore (FAS) election, revealed that he is upset with how the sport is run and how he had been treated and he wants to bring sweeping changes if he is voted in as president.

At the Fullerton Bay Hotel, where the team unveiled its manifesto, the 57-year-old was fiery in his opening remarks. In his booming voice, he said: "If you want change, vote us in and we will change Singapore football together.

"We are not Team LKT (referring to side fielded by his opponent Lim Kia Tong). We can talk, we can do and we can roll out these schemes (plans outlined in his manifesto)."

Before last night's presentation started, the estimated 200 guests, which included players from Tampines Rovers and Hougang, and media, were treated to beef rendang dinner. But Ng spiced up the evening another notch by revealing his beginnings in the game and why he is upset with the current FAS management.

WE CAN WALK THE TALK

We are not Team LKT. We can talk, we can do and we can roll out these schemes (plans outlined in his manifesto).

BILL NG, Hougang United chairman, casting doubt on the ability of his rival for the post of Football Association of Singapore president, Lim Kia Tong, to change.

Ng, a corporate rescue specialist, recalled that he was first roped in by the FAS to help Tiong Bahru FC, a National Football League (NFL) side, in 2004. Then, he helped to restructure its clubhouse operations.

"We spent four years there before it (Tiong Bahru) can float," Ng said.

"After that, we went several times to Winston Lee (FAS general secretary) telling him we would like to come back to the S-League but we were told to stay in the NFL."

In 2008, Ng claimed he was asked to help another ailing club, Sengkang Punggol. He turned the strugglers, now named Hougang United, into an outfit with a healthy bank balance as a result of its successful jackpot operation. He added that in 2010, he was asked to help turn other strugglers like Gombak United, Woodlands Wellington, Super Reds and Sinchi FC, around.

Ng said that in 2012, he secured a $200,000 sponsorship for the Cheetahs but was asked by the FAS to donate the amount for the LionsXII's travelling costs in Malaysia.

"That is why we (Hougang) didn't have a title sponsor," he said.

He added that in total, he had donated about $850,000 to the FAS. On how the money was used, Ng replied: "That is a big question. I'm not in the FAS. The best answer is to call Winston Lee."

The Straits Times was unable to reach Lee last night for a response to Ng's accusations.

But the bombshell highlighted a lively session hosted by the Game Changers, where they wheeled out a comprehensive plan which they think can nurse Singapore football back to health.

Lawyer Lau Kok Keng, who is the teams' candidate for vice-president, urged the 44 affiliates to vote for a change. He said: "Do not start April 30 with broken pieces of yesterday. Vote for a fresh start and a new beginning."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2017, with the headline 'Low-key Ng makes bold statement'. Print Edition | Subscribe