by Agatha Oei
The Battle of the Reds – Media Conference
Heads up soccer fans! Physical prowess may be an important attribute in becoming a professional athlete, however, the real ingredients for sporting success is simply just passion and enjoyment as Campus Magazine finds out from the Liverpool and Manchester United Masters in the Castlewood Group Battle of the Reds.
A highly publicised event, since it is the first time that the Liverpool Masters would be facing off their largest opponent, the Manchester United Masters, in the sunny shores of Singapore, we got to meet and greet players from both teams as well as speak to several personalities responsible for organising the much buzzed Battle of the Reds. We spoke to Steve Black, CEO of Masters Football Asia as well as Chris Comer Castlewood Group holdings CEO who were both responsible for bringing the Liverpool and Manchester United Masters to Singapore. Chris Comer, an ardent Liverpool fan had been bringing Liverpool Masters to Singapore for three years much to the happiness of the Kops in Singapore.
In the previous year, both companies had hosted the Battle between Liverpool Masters and Singapore Masters, featuring local favorites such as Fandi Ahmad, which was an immense success with the high turn up rate. In light of Singapore’s Jubilee year, Black and Comer had decided that only a match between the two most rivalled teams in soccer history would be best fitting. In the words of Steve Black, both Liverpool and Manchester United were fantastic clubs in a league of their own with player and supporters both feeling strong affinities for the club. This mak
es them very interesting opponents to witness in the tussle on the field. Steve Black explained that one of the missions for Masters Football Asia is to bring former football legends who have had their careers back to the field so that families, fathers in particular, given the male dominated soccer fan base, could enjoy showing off their heroes to their children.
When asked if the intense rivalry between both teams is capitalized on, Comer jokingly remarked, “Massively so!” He added that the inherent nature of sports, marked by multiple competitors and a thirst for victory naturally spawns rivalry- which is not necessarily a bad thing. Both Liverpool and Manchester United have benefited through this divide which differentiates both teams and helped them forge strong fan bases. He added that given the top notch facilities in Singapore schools, Singaporeans had a high chance of breeding athletes.
Campus also had the chance to speak to Ian Rush and Paul Parker, team captains of both Liverpool and Manchester United FC respectively in the Battle of the Reds.
When interviewed Ian Rush had the following words of advice for aspiring athletes, to which he mused that ‘’main thing’’ was to “enjoy the sport since all else would come naturally after one unlocks this passion”. When further asked about the highs and lows of a life on the pitch, he cited pure enjoyment from playing soccer as the main motivation for his numerous accolades and sports injury as a mere setback. To him, essentially it is “mind over matter’’.
Parker shared the same sentiments as well, and remarked that in Singapore, the lack of athletes could be because academics are prioritised over sports. ‘’If the kids love football, their parents would encourage them to go elsewhere and say it (ain’t gonna) happen here”. However,he expressed belief that the Singapore team would be able improve their skills, citing Japan and South Korea as Asian success stories. “If Japan and Korea have done it, why not Singapore?’’, he asked.
As we concluded the press conference, both teams expressed their desire to win the Castlewood Battle of the Reds once more, displaying their ever-present tug of war. The final takeaway however, remained that getting a “kick’’ of the sport (literally) is the most crucial element of an excellent sportsperson.