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The Clarets in Singapore

As a part of their pre season preparation, the Clarets toured Singapore in July of 2010, perhaps this is a sure and certain sign that Global warming is already a consideration at Turf Moor. The Clarets played 3 games, the first against Gombak United and the second against Home United. Both of these games being closed door friendlies at Tampines stadium (but we were there of course!). The tour culminated in the FIS Asian Challenge Cup with Burnley taking on a Singapore selection at the famous Jalan Besar Stadium. If you want to know more about Gombak United you can link to their website HERE and the Home United website link is HERE.
Here is a taster of what it was like.

The Video's

Moving pictures of some of the tour, in the unlikely event that you want to see one in high definition and you have the bandwidth you can also see them on YouTube.


Day 1, Arrive, Meet, Match.

At 8.20am, we arrived at Singapore's soon to be closed Tanjong Pagar KTM Railway station AKA "Keppel Road Station". The journey to Singapore had taken just over 24 hours, but that is another story and if you want check it out it is on BigAlswebsite and you can go there by clicking HERE. But wait a while, it isn't on there yet!
Having gatherd our things and taken a few pictures of the "Murials" as Hilda Ogden would have said, we went for a taxi. Carlton hotel? I said, but the taxi driver said NO. So what's the problem I enquired? Is it close, can we walk to it? He said I don't have to take you and drove off! However the next taxi was much more helpful and off we went.
The Hotel was brilliant allowing us to check in and go to our rooms straight away where we were able to unpack shower and relax before setting off to get to our declared meeting point, Brewerks at Clark Quay.
Not familiar with the city, we took a taxi to Clark Quay and a few minutes and $5 later we were dropped at the Quay ready to find out meeting venue.
Brewerkz proved to be a good venue for meeting prior to the 5pm kick-off games, right by the river with its own micro brewery selling quality beer at happy hour prices between noon and 3pm. the food is pretty good too but be warned, the portion size is huge!  Pin and I settled down to eat as we were a little earlier than the rest of the small group to arrive but as the time that everyone said we would meet approached, the heavens opened.  We were just glad to have been undercover. Downpour over the rest of the CiT group arrived giving us time to have a beer or two, chat and get to know each other. As well as the CiT body, John B came down to say hello, the tour sponsor. It was great that he called in for a beer and got to know out group, thanks John.
Around 3.30pm, and a number of beers later, we walked to Clark Quay MRT for a short leg on the purple line before continuing on the green line to Tampines, quite a way out close to the airport. The Singapore MRT is clean and efficient and often crowded so getting to Tampines was no problem. The stadium was probably a kilometre away, a pretty easy walk so soon we were joining other Burnley supporters there.
Burnley fielded a pretty strong team, certainly not players who you had never heard of. To be honest the sheer physical difference between the Clarets and the Gombak players was massive and whilst the Singapore S league team worked hard and showed flashes of play, Burnley were deserved winners 0-5. I actually felt a little sorry for the Gombak team but I was pleased that the Clarets were willing to work hard in the hot environment.

Post Game and we get to meet the Clarets

Picture
Happy fan Phet meets Wade
What was really special was just how close we were to the Clarets and how approachable everyone was, just a bloody good time with more games to come. We loved the photo opportunities, just look at Phets expression with Wade Elliott!
Just about everyone went out of their way to make the game a real event for the fans, one of the reasons why Burnley is so special. Lots of Singapore locals got photo's and autographs and I would be willing to bet there were quite a few converts made out there.
As for the game, I bet it was quite an experience for both sides, Gombak coming up against a side with skill and a physical presence the can't be used to and Burnley in the heat and environment of playing in Singapore for the first time.


Day 2, A day of rest(?)

No game on day 2 so time to relax, or so I thought. I should have known better as Pin decided we would explore Singapore by foot. Here are some of the 200+ photos we took that day.
The Developments at the Marina Bay area are quite something and in August Singapore host the Youth Olympics too. Having gone to Singapore's highest mountain, Pin preferred visiting the Merlion rather than taking a trip on the Singapore flyer. I decided this was fine provided we stopped for a beer en route and the esplanade has a good choice of places to do just that. This one, Barossa had cheap beer from noon until 2pm. Thirst quenched we crossed the Bridge to the Merlion stopping to take a picture of the "Durian" . 
From the Merlion we went up the river a short way and crossed at the next bridge which enabled us to take in the Victoria Theatre, the Law Courts, the Arts House and the Parliament before walking back to the hotel. En route I called in Harry's Bar in Chijmes just to orientate myself for the post match get together on day 3.

Day 3, Eat, Drink, Football, Drink, Eat...

Day 3 started with a damp stroll down to Clark Quay, via a couple of malls I should add. We had said we would be at Brewerkz (again) if anyone wanted to meet up there although there were no actual meetings scheduled. At Clark Quay they have a $15 set lunch offer where in many of the bars and restaurants you can get good food at a good price (well a good price for Singapore). We chose to do Chinese at Hutong, soup, seafood noodles and a coke. 
Back at Tampines Stadium for the game against Home United. I am still not sure if the Home United fan was giving me a victory sign or telling me to * off!
Already their were tour sponsor John B and the Burnley management as well as may fans including, of course, Dave Burnley.
Home United fought hard and had some chances but the Clarets were always on top winning 0-5
Post match and once again the Clarets players were good to both visiting Burnley fans and Singapore fans, real ambassadors for the game and the club.
Post game we went to Harry's bar for the meet the fans event where the chatting and drinking took priority over the photography. Food was always going to figure and Pin had found this food court a few hundred metres from out hotel, cheap prices and great food. 

Day 4, a stroll down to China Town

With no footy today the day is dedicated to exploring with China Town being the chosen venue.

Day 5, Playing for the Cup

The last day and the culmination of the Clarets Singapore tour with the playing for the FIS Asian Challenge Cup. The day started with trip to Sentosa where the plan was to visit Universal Studio. I had totally forgotten what day it was so when we got there it was full. Piss poor planning and all that!
We still had a fantastic time, it is so well organised with free transport around the island.