The Grand Old Lady takes a bow

4 06 2010

I guess the time has come to finally say goodbye to the Grand Old Lady, who for the many fanatical fans of the Singapore team during the days of Singapore’s participation in the Malaysia Cup, was the holy ground of football, to which they could be mesmerised by the magic of their football idols who carried the hopes of a nation, hungry for the taste of success that seemed for a while to elude the national team.

The grandstand of the Grand Old Lady.

The newly constructed stadium, opened in 1973 and was the most modern in South East Asia.

The “Boys in Blue” or the “Lions” as the national team was called had narrowly lost to South Vietnam in the semi-finals of the first major football competition to be played at the stadium after it was opened in 1973, and had not won the Malaysia Cup since 1965. Crowds of Singapore fans, packed the terraces for the first season of the competition in which Singapore’s home matches were played at the stadium, with as much as 70,000 people who literally shook the stadium with the sound of voices cheering in unison as tens of thousands of pairs of feet stamped on the terraces generating a thunderous reverberation of noise that came to be known as the “Kallang Roar”. The Kallang Roar was certainly instrumental in Singapore’s home form, and success soon came in the 1977 campaign. By then, the capacity of the stadium had been scaled down to 55,000, but that didn’t have much impact on the roar.

The gates that Singaporeans from all walks of life passed though as one Singapore.

The stadium was the place where Singaporeans from all walks of life came together as one, the terraces hosting a microcosm of Singapore. There, we were all Singaporeans, where we could forget the ethnic labels that serve only to keep us apart. There, we all spoke the same language, expressed the same emotions, and cheered as one united Singapore. I suppose it was fitting that the stadium in her old age, became a venue for the National Day Parades, where again, we could act as one Singapore.

The terraces were often packed with up to 70,000 fanatical spectators during Malaysia Cup matches in the 1970s.

We have been anticipating the day she will say goodbye to us, it was meant to have been a day some three years ago, but the old lady resisted, and came back to life for a while. This time, it does look that it is for real, and from the sound of it, demolition would begin after the Youth Olympic Games in August, as the old stadium makes way for the long delayed Sports Hub. So farewell my lady, and thanks for the wonderful memories you have provided over the years.

Masses of Singaporeans young and old were provided the opportunity with the construction of the stadium to follow the successes and disappointments of the Singapore football team.

Views in and around the stadium that would soon not be seen again:

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The National Stadium was opened in 1973 by Mr. Lee Kuan Yew.

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12 responses

1 07 2010
yang^2

Looking at these pictures brings up nice memories of sports meets, SYF opening ceremonies, Big Walks as well as NDPs!

I wonder when it will finally be torn down to build the Sports Hub.

2 07 2010
The wondering wanderer

Yes, we do collectively and as a nation have many wonderful memories of the stadium :). It does seem that we will soon see the last of her … the SSC is closing the carparks from 16 July this year and will hand the stadium over to the Sports Hub Consortium for demolition which will take place after the Youth Olympics in August.

2 07 2010
A last look at Kallang as it was « The Long and Winding Road

[...] for the long awaited and long delayed construction of the Sports Hub. The car parks around the old National Stadium would be closed from 16 July this year and from the sound of things, the National Stadium would be [...]

16 07 2010
This time it is for real … « The Long and Winding Road

[...] report and photograph in the sports section of today’s Today newspaper. Having already said a fond farewell to her, and to the area around her for which I have many fond memories of from the days passing by [...]

15 08 2010
Jeffery Abdullah

I have fond memories of this Grand Old Lady once watching NPD (can’t recall which year) when my younger brother took part in the parade. Not to forget I used to visit the little gym there and use the facilities. Its sad to know that this place has to go soon. :(

16 08 2010
The wondering wanderer

Thanks for sharing Jeffery … I think we have collectively as a nation had many fond memories and shared experiences of the old lady and many of us would be sad to see her go …

26 08 2010
All stripped and ready for action in a wonderful celebration for Singapore! « The Long and Winding Road

[...] I have expressed a tinge of sadness that the beloved National Stadium will soon be gone, her demolition is scheduled to start in [...]

31 08 2010
The next poster boy of football? « The Long and Winding Road

[...] inspired many taking the sport up, as well motivated the tens of thousands of fans who packed the National Stadium, and before that, the Jalan Besar Stadium, to cheer their exploits on the [...]

8 09 2010
Adios Amigo! The beginning of the end of the National Stadium « The Long and Winding Road

[...] work for the long anticipated demolition for one of places in Singapore for which I have many fond memories of, the National Stadium, has finally begun. Last Friday, heavy equipment started moving in, occupying [...]

25 06 2011
CLTiongBahrueditor

Hi, Thanks for this. You should check out this film tribute to the National Stadium, too: http://vimeo.com/14964758

27 03 2012
wan

wish that the mrt was built before the closure of national stadium and now it’s already too late sadly

8 06 2012
Bernard

Don’t forget to retreive the famous TIME-CAPSULE first.

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