Shebby Singh – Love him or loathe him what cannot be disputed is his opinionated approach to analyzing football games via his punditry role divides opinion. Shebby, who has graced our screens for nearly two decades is a producer’s dream because his ruthless attacks on players and coaches alike riles fans up and most importantly create discussions in the bars and living rooms around the region during high profile games. The fact that I am even writing this article is a win to the producer at Fox Sports, so kudos to him.
Watching the EPL, personally, I have always been uncomfortable with an individual who had a decent career in Malaysia sitting 20 meters behind the centre-back, playing as a sweeper and barking instructions, launching scathing attacks on world class players & coaches who are plying their trade in one of the world’s best leagues. How can you critique players and coaches so aggressively when you were not good enough yourself to play at that level? I note that Astro SuperSports now have a policy whereby only individuals who have played at that EPL level are qualified to be pundits on their live EPL games and on reflection I commend them for bringing integrity to their product.
But I digress, back to Shebby. His savage and brutal attack on Darren Lok after the Malaysia vs Myanmar AFF Game on Saturday night was one of the most disgraceful acts that I have seen during my time in football. To single out a young kid in such a ruthless manner is cruel and unwarranted. He did not mention any of the other 3 strikers’ performance, he did not mention any other players’ performance, his sole objective was to slaughter a young kid playing in only his 4th international match. And let me add, Lok was brought on with 20 minutes to go against Myanmar and the best chance created during the last 20 minutes was Lok getting in behind on the left hand side and crossing to Safee Sali who unfortunately could not make the right connection and the chance was lost.
Shebby asked on what basis was Darren Lok chosen to represent Malaysia in the AFF Suzuki Cup. While not privy to the National Team selection process under Dato’ Ong Kim Swee, I would imagine Lok was selected based on his performance during the 3-week training camp and his Man of the Match performance vs Papua New Guinea prior to the final squad selection. Shebby asked: “Who does Darren Lok think he is to come from low level football in England and play for our national team?”. Darren’s former team is Eastbourne Borough, who play in the Conference South National League which is essentially the 5th Division of English Football behind the Premier League, Championship, Division 1 and Division 2. I ask the rhetorical question, how many of our Malaysian players would be selected for Conference Level in England if they go on trial?
Let’s talk about Shebby’s embarrassing 2-year stint at Blackburn Rovers as their Global Advisor. He got the ball rolling at his first press conference by claiming Blackburn’s longest serving player Morten Gamst Pedersen was a ‘Pensioner’ and he could no longer be counted on for high-level performances. Things deteriorated after that and Blackburn became a circus. The list goes on and on:
– Shebby’s appointment of rookie manager Henning Berg was a disaster
– The signing of unknown Portuguese players including a massive agent who didn’t last till Christmas
– Exorbitant wages on over the hill players which saw the club lose $2 million pounds a month.
– Fighting and just surviving relegation.
Shebby’s role at JDT was then essentially given to my close friend Alistair Edwards. I also have a close relationship with JDT through mixed heritage players. Again important to be transparent. So let’s create a chain here – Shebby out at JDT, Alistair Comes in, I work closely with Alistair in football related matters, Darren Lok is managed by me – is there an agenda here? You be the judge!
Don’t get me wrong, nobody is above criticism – Darren Lok included. You have issues with his performance then critique him in a constructive manner. But to single out just 1 player from a squad of 23 is simply slaughter done in a malicious cruel manner born out of vindictiveness & spitefulness.
I know Shebby believes he is the chosen one for football in the region. Delusion can attack anyone at any given time. Delusion affected me a few years back when I actually thought I was handsome. Thankfully clarity came back and I realized I had a face only for radio ☺
For too long now Shebby has had a free rein to attack whoever he see’s fit and I for one have had enough. I repeat, Saturday night’s tirade against Darren Lok was simply wrong and needs to be highlighted.
Shame on you Shebby.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of FourthOfficial.com