Former National Stadium, Singapore
|Owner||Singapore Sports Council|
|Operator||Singapore Sports Council|
|Closed||30 June 2007|
Singapore Sports Council
Southeast Asian Games (1973, 1983, 1993)
The former Singapore National Stadium (Malay: Stadium Nasional Singapura) was located in Kallang. The stadium opened in July 1973 and officially closed on 30 June 2007, and was demolished in 2010–2011 to make way for the Singapore Sports Hub and the new Singapore National Stadium, which opened in 2014. For six to seven years between 2007 and 2014, sports events were temporarily held at the Marina Bay Floating Stadium.
The stadium played host to many sporting, cultural, entertainment and national events, such as the Southeast Asian Games when it was hosted in Singapore, the Singapore Armed Forces Day, the Singapore Youth Festival Opening Ceremony, and the finals of the 2004 Tiger Cup. The National Stadium was also the venue for the National Day Parade 18 times (in 1976, 1980, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996 to 1999, 2001 to 2004, and 2006).
Since the stadium opened in 1973, the Singapore national football team played its home matches there. The stadium also hosted the final of the Singapore Cup since 1996. Additionally, the stadium was the home of the Singapore Lions that participated in domestic football in Malaysia.
The National Stadium had an eight-lane running track and football field in addition to other miscellaneous facilities such as table tennis tables, a weights room and an auditorium, housed underneath the spectator stands.
While the facilities were often used for high-profile sporting events, they could also be used by members of the public and other local organizations for a nominal fee. For example, when not otherwise used, the running track could be used by joggers for S$0.50 per entry.
The headquarters of the Singapore Sports Council used to be located at 15 Stadium Road.
Soon after the end of the Second World War, as Singapore moved towards self-government and independence, the clamour began for a national stadium.
Preliminary studies of possible sites began in the 1950s. Kallang Park was selected because of existing sport facilities in the immediate vicinity. In August 1965, preliminary work on the design of the Stadium began. By the end of 1965, considerable progress having been made to shelter people, educate the young and to find jobs for the swelling population, Minister Othman Wok announced the Government's intention to proceed with the construction of a national stadium of Olympic standards at Kallang, as the first phase of the National Sports Complex. The Minister told Parliament that the National Stadium would give a tremendous boost to the promotion of sports in Singapore and would help improve the Republic's image in international sports.
A state-owned lottery company, Singapore Pools, was set up in 1968 to raise funds for the stadium. Proceeds from the Singapore Sweep and TOTO were used to pay a substantial part of the construction bill. Between 1968 and 1976, the company contributed S$14.5 million towards the project. Singapore Pools also helped the stadium repay a government loan of $7.8 million meant as start-up money for a stadium management corporation. Following the completion of the National Stadium, Singapore Pools remained a major sponsor of stadium, as well as the National Day Parade.
On 7 December 1966, in the year that Singapore celebrated its first National Day, Othman drove the first pile into the ground. For the next three and a half years, piling was done to lay the foundations. Work had to be delayed due to bad weather for about a month. By the end of 1970, the stadium was three-quarters completed and was starting to take its definitive shape. Thirty-six steps, each 76 metres (249 ft) wide, formed an impressive entrance; and a cauldron was built within the stadium to carry a flame that would burn on special events and on the opening of the stadium. By the end of June 1973 when the stadium was completed, 300,000 bags of cement, 3,000,000 bricks and 4,500 tons of steel and timber had been used. The new stadium was opened to the public for the first time on 19 July 1973.
Plans were made to demolish the stadium and build a multipurpose, 35.6 hectares (88 acres) Singapore Sports Hub in its place. Demolition works began in the second half of 2007, and the new Sports Hub was eventually completed in 2014. Three finalist consortia submitted redevelopment plans.
The 2007 ASEAN Football Championship was the last major event held at the National Stadium before its redevelopment.
On 30 June 2007, a closing ceremony titled Field of Dreams – A Tribute to the National Stadium was held at the stadium. 45,000 people attended the event, together with President S R Nathan, members of the Cabinet and Singapore athletes, past and present. Before the ceremony, a football match featuring ex-internationals from Singapore and Malaysia like Quah Kim Song, Terry Pathmanathan, Samat Allapitchay, V. Sundramoorthy, David Lee, Dollah Kassim, Soh Chin Aun, Santokh Singh, Chow Siew Wai and K. Gunalan was played.
The match was followed by the highlight of the evening, an international friendly between ASEAN champions Singapore and the Asian Cup bound Australian team, the Socceroos. The Australians won 3-0 with goals scored by English Premier League players Mark Viduka (50, 86 mins) and Harry Kewell (75 min).
This was not the last football match to be played in the stadium as it was subsequently used for 11 football matches. The very last goal scored at the stadium was scored by Gholamreza Rezaei of Iran in a 1-3 loss for the hosts against the Iranian national team in an Asian Cup qualifying match on 6 January 2010.
In February 2013, uniquely designed benches made from the wooden planks from the former National Stadium were presented to the public, as a meaningful way to commemorate this historic landmark. These designs were part of the bench project organized by local creative practice FARM, and jointly presented by Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Singapore Furniture Industries Council. Five of the designs were winning entries of the design competition which invited the public to submit designs for benches using the seating planks from the former National Stadium. The rest of the designs were specially created by commissioned local designers from various design fields.
The benches can now be found in various public spaces such as Singapore River, Marina Bay, Gillman Barracks, Esplanade, Gardens by the Bay and the URA Centre.
The stadium's 44-year history is as follows:
- December: Work begins on the S$50 million complex.
- 17 June: First event at the stadium – an international hockey friendly between Singapore and Australia. Australia wins 3-0.
- 24 June: First football match – Sultan's Gold Cup final between Singapore Malays and Kelantan Malays. Singapore wins 4-1 in front of a 32,000-strong crowd.
- 21 July: Official opening by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
- 1–8 September: Hosts the 7th Southeast Asian Peninsular Games. Singapore wins 45 golds, 50 silvers and 45 bronzes. Singapore football team reach semi-finals before losing 3-5 on penalties to South Vietnam, after a 1-1 draw in extra-time.
- 17 September: Practice track and tennis courts are open to public.
- 24 October: Boxing great Muhammad Ali fights in a five-round exhibition bout.
- 28 May-6 June: Singapore hosts the Southeast Asian Games, winning 38 golds, 38 silvers and 58 bronzes. Football team, led by Fandi Ahmad and V. Sundramoorthy, reach their first final but are beaten 1-2 by Thailand.
- Friday, 2 December: David Bowie performs with his band, Carlos Alomar, Carmine Rojas, Tony Thompson, Earl Slick, Frank Simms, George Simms, Lenny Pickett, Stan Harrison, Steve Elson, and David Lebolt in The Serious Moonlight Tour.
- 18 March: Singapore beat J-League club Nagoya Grampus Eight 4-3 in a friendly.
- 12–20 June: Singapore hosts Southeast Asian Games, winning 50 golds, 40 silvers and 74 bronzes. The football team however lose 4-5 to Myanmar in semi-finals on penalties. They lead a comfortable scoreline of 2-0 before Lim Tong Hai scores two own goals.
- 29 August and 1 September: Entertainer Michael Jackson performed 2 concerts there during his Dangerous World Tour in front of 94.000 of attendance.
- 2 October: American rock legends Bon Jovi perform at the stadium on their I'll Sleep When I'm Dead Tour.
- 1 April: Then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong is guest-of-honour at S-League's opening ceremony.
- 1 August: English football club Newcastle United beat S-League All-Stars 5-0 in a friendly.
- 25 October : Entertainer Michael Jackson performed there during the HIStory World Tour in front of 35.000 of attendance.
- 13 March: International phenomenon Mariah Carey performs for the first time in Singapore.
- 24 July: Fire at National Stadium, the National Day Parade NDP's main stage catches fire because of an electrical fault.
- 18 December: Singapore are beaten 0-4 by Malaysia in the Tiger Cup. Singapore, who were joint hosts with Indonesia for the group stages, were eventually knocked out of the competition after only managing a 1-1 draw with Thailand on 22 December.
- 16 January: Singapore clinch Tiger Cup at National Stadium, beating Indonesia 2-1 (5-2 on aggregate), in the second leg of the final.
- 9 August: Stadium hosts last National Day Parade.
- 31 January: Singapore beat Thailand 2-1 in the first leg of the Asean Football Championship final. They clinch their third Asean title on 4 February, drawing 1-1 in Bangkok to win 3-2 on aggregate.
- 30 June: Official closing ceremony, as the stadium was scheduled to be torn down by the end of 2007 to make way for the new Singapore Sports Hub.
- 9 August: The stadium's temporary facilities at Marina Bay Float stadium opens and the first major event to be held there, was the National Day Parade 2007. It's now to its last NDP held at Marina Bay on 9 August 2014 before moving back to the National Stadium at Kallang in 2016.
- 26 March: The National Stadium sees the hosting of a World Cup third round qualifying match for the first time, and Singapore beat Lebanon 2-0.
- 3 April: The Sports Council announces that the stadium would host at least two more football games, due to ongoing delays in securing the paperwork for the Sports Hub construction.
- 2 June: The stadium hosted the second home game for the World Cup third round qualifying match, but saw the hosts thrashed 3-7 by Uzbekistan.
- 14 June: The stadium hosted the third home game for the qualifying, but the hosts lost 0-2 to Saudi Arabia.
- 28 July: With the project for the new Sports Hub delayed, the stadium hosted a friendly against the Brazil Olympic team which saw the samba kings winning 3-0.
- 21 December: In the Suzuki Cup semi-finals, the renamed Asean Football Championship, one leg of the game against Vietnam was played at the National Stadium, but Singapore lose to ten-man Vietnam to a goal by Nguyễn Quang Hải, and lost 0-1 on aggregate and were eliminated.
- 27 January: The stadium hosts the first Group E Asian Cup qualifiers match and the Lions beat Jordan 2-1.
- 26 July: English football club Liverpool makes their second visit to Singapore and the Reds beat the Singapore national team 5-0.
- 12 August: Singapore held the Chinese national team to a 1-1 draw in a special National Day Challenge but lost 4-3 in the penalty shootout.
- 4 November: The Singapore national team beat the Indonesian national team 3-1 in a friendly.
- 14 November: The second Group E qualifier on home soil for the Asian Cup results in a 1-3 reverse to Thailand.
- 6 January: The third Group E qualifier for the Asian Cup was a 1-3 defeat to Iran.
- 17 April: Taiwanese pop group May Day's series of 2010 concerts' Singapore leg, initially scheduled to be held at the Padang was rearranged to the National Stadium, due to overwhelming response. This is the first non-football event to be held at the stadium since the official closure.
- June: The grass pitch was stripped bare and the grass has been transplanted to other fields under the Sports Council such as the Kallang Practice Track. This was the first sign of the demolition of the stadium after a three-year delay.
- 29 September: The National Stadium started its demolition and making way for the construction of the Sports Hub.
- February: The demolition of the entire stadium completes.
- 10 June: Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Lawrence Wong visits the construction site of the new National Stadium before its completion.
- 26 November: It was announced that the National Day Parade in 2014 will be the official last one at Marina Bay, as the Sports Hub will not make it on time for the parade.
- 14 February: Sports Hub CEO Philippe Collin Delavaud announced that the Sports Hub will not be fully open by April 2014 as the National Stadium's completion was pushed back to June 2014.
In popular culture
- Singapore Sports Council - National Stadium Facilities.
- Singapore Pools, The Beginning of the National Stadium.
- Singapore Sports Council, News on the redevelopment of the National Stadium
- Patwant Singh (29 March 2007). "Consortium reveals horseshoe-shaped iconic design for Sports Hub". Channel NewsAsia.
- Satish Cheney (28 March 2007). "All 3 proposals for new Sports Hub 'truly spectacular': Vivian Balakrishnan". Channel NewsAsia.
- "A tribute to the Old Lady of Kallang", The Straits Times, 31 May 2007
- Marc Lim, "Sun sets on the Grand Old Lady", The Sunday Times, 1 July 2007
- Terrence Voon, "Old foes' nostalgic farewell to their field of dreams", The Sunday Times, 1 July 2007
- Leonard Lim, "Thanks for a great match, mate", The Sunday Times, 1 July 2007
- "Stadium memories: 1973-2007", The Straits Times, 30 June 2007
- Dangerous Tour
- HIStory Tour
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