Stags go hip, hip Houllier
First Jermaine Pennant, then Ronaldinho, now Gerard Houllier.
S.League giants Tampines Rovers are sparing no effort to make their mark further afield after they confirmed their third big acquisition of the year, following the signing of former Liverpool star Pennant as a marquee player and the partnership with Brazilian great Ronaldinho in a football academy here.
Former Liverpool and France manager Houllier is now an international ambassador for the Stags and will help the S.League club in their youth development programmes and offer advice on how to improve local football.
Speaking to The New Paper last night, Tampines chairman Krishna Ramachandra said: "I have been in close and regular contact with the FAS technical director Michel Sablon. He has a great vision for youth development which Tampines Rovers are really focused on.
"We wanted a credible name as an ambassador to help with youth development and Sablon suggested Houllier and put us in touch.
"I'm impressed by Houllier's commitment to youth football and I believe someone of his calibre and experience has a lot to offer.
"While I can't share how much we are paying for his services, I can tell you he wasn't motivated by monetary gains, but rather the desire for youth development worldwide."
Houllier, a friend of Football Association of Singapore's technical director, Belgian Michel Sablon, is expected to visit Singapore in the final quarter of this year.
The Frenchman won two League Cups, one Uefa Cup, the FA Cup and Uefa Super Cup while with Liverpool from 1998 to 2004.
The 68-year-old told The Straits Times: "Singapore is a unique footballing nation and I am delighted to serve as an international ambassador to one of Singapore's leading football clubs, Tampines Rovers.
"I hope I can provide some guidance to the Singapore footballing fraternity as a whole.
"Football is becoming increasingly international and it is useful to have an understanding of modern football trends."
Ramachandra added that "there is something more altruistic with Houllier's appointment".
"We want Houllier to be made available to and accessible by the Football Association of Singapore and all S.League clubs should they wish to consult him on his views on football development," said the 44-year-old lawyer.