ST's Chua has banner day for penning Pennant feature

The Straits Times sports reporter Chua Siang Yee receives the S-League Story of the Year award from former ST sports journalist Joe Dorai. Chua, 27, joined the newspaper in 2013.
The Straits Times sports reporter Chua Siang Yee receives the S-League Story of the Year award from former ST sports journalist Joe Dorai. Chua, 27, joined the newspaper in 2013.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

The arrival of Jermaine Pennant in January brought a buzz and excitement to the S-League not seen in many years.

The 33-year-old former Arsenal and Liverpool winger's presence piqued the interest of many football fans, drawing them to stadiums to catch arguably the biggest name ever to grace the S-League in its 20-year history.

And for his interview with the ex-Tampines Rovers player on his new beginnings, The Straits Times sports reporter Chua Siang Yee won the Story of the Year award at the S-League awards night.

At yesterday's ceremony which brought together the past and present generations of Singapore footballers, Chua received the award from former ST sports journalist Joe Dorai, 73, at Marina Bay Sands. The story, titled "Pennant looking to start over in S'pore" was published on Jan 10 in The Sunday Times.

The feature highlighted the Englishman's reflections on his chequered past, his reputation as a bad boy, and his vow to put his troubled past behind him.

While he concluded his nine-month sojourn in Singapore on a less than pleasant note - he expressed displeasure when he was left on the bench in Tampines' last game of the season against Albirex Niigata in the Singapore Cup final last Saturday - the arrival of Pennant is still a landmark moment for the league.

Chua, 27, who joined the newspaper in 2013, said: "Telling the story behind one of English football's most talked-about characters was thoroughly enjoyable.

"The Pennant experiment showed a way forward for the league and it would be sad if we consigned his signing to a mere footnote in the S-League's history."

ST sports editor Lee Yulin said of Chua's win: "Jermaine Pennant was not just the biggest name to play here but also one of the most interesting.

"His colourful and controversial history, his legacy of unfulfilled potential, his admission of underachievement, and determination to right all that before his career is up - these were all captured masterfully by Siang Yee in his feature."

Alvin Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2016, with the headline 'ST's Chua has banner day for penning Pennant feature'. Print Edition | Subscribe