Fans can help football move forward, says Shamir Osman
It's a question of leadership and YOU, the fan
It is not rocket science.
That phrase rears its cliched head all too often in conversations with football folks, when problems are discussed and solutions offered.
What is the best way forward for Singapore football?
A proper club-based youth development system overseen by quality coaches, supporting a strong and sustainable league featuring the country's best and even better players from foreign shores.
The S.League must have a structured calendar built around the national team's requirements, and a sustained presence in the media - print, online and broadcast.
It is an ecosystem, they say, and one part is just as important as the next.
It's not rocket science.
We've been singing from the same song book for years, and a look back at recent history illustrates this.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) puts out one plan, works on it for a couple of years, then later announces - with different bells and whistles, and often a different crew - a rehashed version of essentially the same blueprint.
It is a merry-go-round process that has taken the sport on a head-spinning journey - to the very same spot.
The Goal 2010 project, launched in the last century, was aimed at taking the Lions to the World Cup Finals.
It featured blueprints on youth development, bringing in top foreign talents, and sending our best to train overseas.
The FAS' Strategic Plan came later, in 2009, and featured similar moves, as it aimed for entry into the upper echelons of Asian football.
Both fell short of their primary aims.
If every trip back to the drawing board brings out similar pictures, then at least one of two things must have happened:
1. A misreading of factors that shaped the plan.
2. An inability to follow through with plans.
It's not rocket science, is it?
The first point of analysing existing factors has been done by the FAS, and can be done better with professional help.
The second point is a question of leadership, organisation, staffing and funding.
These are serious issues which are impossible to trivialise, and there are management gurus who have broken these things down to a science.
A trip to Google is all it takes to show the treasure trove of literature available, even a top-50 list of gurus from Stephen Covey to Bill Gates and Malcolm Gladwell.
The experts are out there, some even here on our sunny island.
But there is a critical ingredient that remains difficult to pin down.
And that's YOU, the average football fan (below) in Singapore.
There is love for the sport here.
You showed that when you came out with hearts on sleeves for Khairul Anwar and his cerebral palsy team at the Asean Para Games earlier this month.
That was a clear show of national pride.
You asked for a return to the good old days of Malaysia Cup fever and your wish was fulfilled.
Some of you came and, for a while, made Jalan Besar look like the National Stadium of old, albeit a miniature version.
But, for all that pride and that sense of ownership, many of you continue to shun the S.League.
Now it's time to act.
The issue of leadership is one that the average fan has little influence over but, with the FAS elections scheduled for next year, it is something that will likely change.
But, even if the leadership issue is fixed, Singapore football still cannot do without you.
Next year is a critical year for Singapore football, but will you show up at S.League matches?
There is still no clear answer to that, even in rocket science.