From the period after 1993 onwards when Singapore no longer had any representatives in any of the Asian club competitions, the Asian Club Championship and Asian Cup Winners’ Cup, Asia underwent changes with the Asian region divided into West and East and clubs in each region only meeting from the semi-final stage onwards.
More importantly though were the waves of changes sweeping Asia especially after the birth of the professional J-League in Japan in 1993; which saw the rise of Japan as an Asian powerhouse and the rest of East Asia quickly caught the ‘professional league’ bug with almost every Asian nations deciding that this was the only way forwards. Professional leagues were formed in the hope they could create a whole new football future. In West Asia, it was the ‘Saudi’ bug as boasted by
At the same time, it also had the negative effect of downgrading the Asian club competitions with each nation seemly more interested now in developing their own domestic league first.
Therefore it was with much relief for the local clubs when in 1995 FAM finally came to a decision with FAS to pull Singapore National Team out of the Malaysian League again for the second time in Malaysian football history.
The birth of a new professional league in
With the rest of Asia catching the J-league and Saudi bugs, anymore delay would cause
In 1996, the S-league was born and the first ever champion was Geylang United (New name of Geylang International).
While that was the step in the right direction, that was a big difference between why
It should not have been a case of no other alternative but rather like J-league it should have been for the long haul; which is to develop
Therefore, it is no surprise that S-league suffered as in the rush to give birth to the S-league, old ideas were not wept away with the worst of them ingrained in certain clubs, they were more than content with local fare, having no wish to venture beyond the shore of the S-league viewing it as a complete waste of time.
This negative thinking meant
Fortunately, by the end of New Start era, the emergence of far thinking clubs like Home United brought new hope into the New Era stage where it will be needed with AFC wanting to bring a new emphasis back into Asian Club competition.Taken into context the way NFL and SPL had totally ignored Asian Club competitions, the New Start era can be viewed as a positive time for this time it looked as though S-league clubs will be in it for the long haul and the efforts taken this time will not be wasted like in the past.