The atmosphere is quite tense, Stephen thought to himself
‘Subdued Steve. The atmosphere is subdued’ he heard a voice yell to him
‘Who said that?!? How did you know what I was thinking?!?
Lo and behold, sat there with that shit eating grin of his was Steve Kean, in the seats right behind the Hougang bench.
‘For Gods sake. I thought you were loving life in Qatar?’
‘I am, we’ve got an international break’ Steve Kean replied
‘So why, pray tell, are you here?’
‘Officially I’m scouting, I’m in the market for a new forward’
Shaking his head, Stephen asked ‘And unofficially?’
‘I’m here to watch you fail to win the league, and to watch my old team of course, out of respect’ he said with a wry smile
‘You silly twat they sacked you! You’re only here hoping to rub it in my face’
Stephen was fuming. Rob Friend and the subs could tell something was up, but Stephen didn’t say anything as the game kicked off.
The ref blew the whistle to start the game. DPMM kicked off and kept the ball early on. The intent to win was there from the off. A ball out wide was controlled perfectly, then a long looping ball into their big man Ramazotti, who Stephen thought Steve Kean was scouting, he headed it down into the runners path and he hit it first time but Baruddin in the Hougang goal was equal to it and palmed it out for a corner.
As the ball went over the bar an angry scream came from the stands. Rob Friend turned and saw Steve Kean steaming. ‘What’s up with him this time? Stephen asked
‘Dunno, looks like he’s not happy they didn’t score from that chance’
But that wasn’t it at all. News broke quickly that Tampines had conceded right from kick off and were losing to Young Lions. As it stood after 60 seconds, Hougang were top of the league
The players fed off that news and dominated the game from then on. 4 minutes later and the ball was in the back of the DPMM net. Stipe Plazibat, playing in his favoured left wing position tried picking out Pablo Rodriguez in the middle, but the cross was tipped over the line by Ruslan in the right back position to give Hougang the lead
On 16 minutes the score was doubled. Plazibat this time finding Rodriguez in the middle, and his header was so powerful 2 keepers wouldn’t have kept it out. 2-0, 2 points above Tampines, advantage Hougang
‘Rob, get your phone out, any more goals at Tampines?’
‘Yes boss, 2 more’
‘Fuck sake, are they winning?’
The Young Lions were doing their but in Hougangs quest to become champions, but they weren’t resting on their laurels. Another surging run down the left by Plazibat saw yet another goal. This time Rahman, playing in central midfield timed his own run to perfection to stroke the ball home after only 21 minutes had been played. Game. Set. Match
Tampines were still losing 3-0 at the half but were they likely to mount a comeback, Stephen thought. Do we go for more goals or keep it tight in the second? The decision at the half was to see how the first 10 minutes or so of the second period started, whilst also keeping an eye on Tampines game.
By the 70th minute of the game, DPMM hadn’t managed to get any more shots on Hougangs goal, and Stephens team were content to sit back and hold on to the ball. The fact that Young Lions were now 6-0 to the good meant that unless something extraordinary happened in the next 20 or so minutes, Hougang would be S League champions.
The minutes ticked away, and before long the croud roared as the final whistle went. Hougang United, lead by an unknown Canadian manager, had won the S League on the final day of the season. This was not only the clubs first ever league title, but it’s first piece of silverware ever in their history
Next chapter – FROM QUEBEC TO THE WORLD – FOUR LITTLE WORDS
Previous chapter – FROM QUEBEC TO THE WORLD – LOSE YOURSELF
First chapter – FROM QUEBEC TO THE WORLD – THE BEGINNING