Black Sheep – Who are they?
Photography by Justin Qian
Frequent S.League watchers may have noticed a new supporters’ group whenever they attend games involving Woodlands Wellington this season.
Dubbed ‘The Black Sheep’, these passionate voices are the new driving force behind the Woodlands players whenever they go onto the pitch.
While these fans might not be recognised as an official supporters’ group, this detail has not prevented them from throwing their weights and voices behind the Rams, and indeed they have been present at every Woodlands match since the start of the 2012 season.
This contribution has been acknowledged by the club’s management and, most importantly, the players themselves.
Midfielder Han Yiguang, who has been with Woodlands since the 2011 campaign, was one who was evidently appreciative.
“We always know that their vocal support is behind us in every game,” said the 27-year-old.
“In that way, we’ve got no fear at all, because it’s like a home game for us everywhere we go.
“Of course, with or without support, we have to play at our best for every game, but it’s always better with more support,” he added.
Australian striker Hussein Akil, who joined Woodlands this year, also expressed his feelings for the Black Sheep.
“I love them,” he proclaimed.
“Honestly, to have such a passionate group backing up the team is amazing. They are great people as individuals and are even greater as a group.”
Akil added that these fans keep him motivated and “always have something good to say, whether it’s through Facebook or in person”.
“This helps me and gives me confidence,” he remarked.
Formed at the start of this year by three Woodlands residents – Hussain Abdul Razzak, Andrew Him and Aaron Chan – the Black Sheep are an ultra-style group of supporters who pledge their allegiance to the club and the players, at all and any cost.
Their slogan, “Never Surrender”, exemplifies that.
With membership numbers rising, the profiles of the individuals forming this group span the different races and all walks of life.
They have drawn members into the network through social media platforms, with Him and Chan handling the relevant work.
Longtime Rams fan Hussain, on the other hand, comes up with the cheers for the players.
Woodlands team manager Matthew Tay feels that the Black Sheep are a major influence for the club.
“We are happy and appreciate the support from the Black Sheep supporters group,” he stated.
“The club will also try to assist in whichever ways possible to make them feel a part of the team.
“The support from the supporters certainly helps the players in lifting up their performance during matches. Their cheers and encouragement throughout the matches bring up the confidence and motivation.”
While this ground-up initiative has been warmly welcomed by both the players and the management at Woodlands, any plans to make the Black Sheep the official fan club will have to wait, as the club will only review the issue after the current season ends in November.
Not that the Black Sheep committee are impatient about it, as they have not thought that far themselves.
None of this has stopped Akil from leaving these ardent Woodlands fans with a pledge of gratitude.
“I want to thank you guys for having faith in us and being there game by game,” he said.
“We are slowly getting better and better as a team, and it’s your support that keeps the boys motivated. Please, keep it all coming, and we promise to make you guys happy. KAMBING POWER!”