Woodlands Wellington FC

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Woodlands Wellington FC
Woodlands Wellington Football Club logo.png
Full nameWoodlands Wellington Football Club
Nickname(s)The Northern Rams
Founded1988; as Wellington FC
GroundWoodlands Stadium
Woodlands, Singapore
ChairmanGary Tan

Woodlands Wellington Football Club is a former professional football club which last played in the S.League, the top division of football in Singapore. They are based in Woodlands at the 4,300 seater Woodlands Stadium, where they have played since their establishment.

Woodlands Wellington FC are known for being the only non-Premier League team to be inducted into the S.League in its inaugural year in 1996.

Woodlands Wellington FC's honours include winning the inaugural Singapore League Cup in 2007, defeating Sengkang Punggol FC 4–0 in the final, they also finished runners-up in the Singapore FA Cup in 1997, and also in the Singapore Cup in 2005 and 2008 and won the President's Centennial Cup in 1998, a cup competition organized by the Philippine Football Federation to celebrate the centennial of Philippine Independence by defeating Hong Kong Rangers FC 2–1 in the final in Bacolod.

Their best finish in the S-League came in the 1996 Tiger Beer Series where they were runners-up, they have also achieved 3rd place in 1997 and 2005.

Woodlands Wellington FC planned to merge with Hougang United but the merge never happened. Woodlands Wellington FC plays in Island Wide League and they plan to re-join S-League in the future.


Wellington Football Club (1988–1996)[edit]

Wellington Football Club team photo, taken in 1993

Woodlands Wellington was founded as Wellington Football Club in 1988 as a splinter group of Delhi Juniors (a team of Singaporean football enthusiasts, dating back to the 1940s, that were among the pioneers of football in Singapore). Despite their name, the team did not originate from New Zealand as many believe. Instead, the name stems from the Deptford Ground located on Wellington Road in Sembawang where the team started playing football in 1988.

In 1991, they participated in the Sembawang Group League and National Island-Wide League, winning as champions in both competitions and setting a national record by beating Seletar Football Club by a 27-goal margin; this was one of the biggest wins the club had ever achieved, as they beat their opponents 28 – 1 at the Woodlands Stadium on 17 November 1991. Amalar Louis scored a record 12 goals in that match.[1]

The following year, Wellington FC joined the Singapore National Football League in Division 2, from which they were promoted as champions in 1994; the following season they finished first in Division 1 (going unbeaten for 24 matches) and were runners-up in the FA Cup.[2]

Woodlands Wellington Football Club (1996–2014)[edit]

Wellington Football Club were selected as one of eight clubs to compete in the newly formed S.League in its inaugural season in 1996, prompting the club to adopt Woodlands Stadium as their home ground and to change their name to Woodlands Wellington Football Club.[3][4]

Following their admission to the S.League, Wellington FC's founder, R. Vengadasalam, was appointed as the Team Manager of Woodlands Wellington and Bandai[5] were announced as a sponsor in their maiden season in the S.League. Following this, they signed Jan Janostak, Joe Caleta and Ervin Boban, from the M-League, as well as Singapore national players Borhan Abu Samah, Tamil Marren, Zakaria Awang and Croatian goalkeeper Sandro Radun, who played for the Singapore FA in 1992. Woodlands Wellington played to capacity crowds, including their pre-season friendlies.[6]

Woodlands won the President's Centennial Cup in 1998, a cup competition organized by the Philippine Football Federation to celebrate the centennial of Philippine Independence, beating Sembawang Rangers 4–2 in the semi-final and Hong Kong Rangers FC 2–1 at the Negros Occidental Sports Complex in the final in Bacolod with both goals from Razali Ahmad.[7]

While they enjoyed a relatively successful period throughout the late nineties, Woodlands finished last in the 2001 S.League season, prompting them to sign Singapore internationals Zulkarnaen Zainal, Goh Tat Chuan and A. Siva Kumar.[8] The transfers of Goh and Siva Kumar were particularly controversial as Woodlands and Jurong were well-known rivals in the league.

2007 Walkout Incident[edit]

Woodlands Wellington made the headlines in the 2007 S.League season for a walkout by the entire Woodlands squad in a match against Tampines Rovers as a protest to the decisions made against them by referee P. Pandian. Woodlands were fined $30,000 for the incident and had six points docked.[9] Tampines coach Vorawan Chitavanich was reported as saying "I spoke to their coach just a little while ago and he said that they acted on the instructions of their club chairman."[10]

Reported withdrawal from the S. League[edit]

A report by The New Paper on 22 November 2012 suggested that Woodlands may be in financial trouble and could be the second club to sit out the 2013 S.League after Gombak United has announced earlier that it would not be taking part in the league in 2013.[11] This sparked off a supporter-driven "Save Woodlands" awareness campaign on the same day;[12] the club held an open meeting with the supporters and press at Woodlands Stadium later that evening and quashed the report. Team manager, Matthew Tay, also said that the club was already preparing a pre-season tour of Malaysia, and that the club would be signing players and would also be aiming for a minimum 8th spot in the table this season.[13][14][15]

Merger with Hougang United[edit]

In November 2014, it was announced that Woodlands Wellington and Hougang United will merge for the 2015 season and a new club name will be used.[16][17]

However, the merge never occurred and the club now plays in 2016 Island Wide League; the club plans to re-join S-League in the future.[18]


Woodlands Stadium's grass pitch

Woodlands Stadium is currently the home ground of Woodlands Wellington, and used mostly for football matches. Apart from being used for competitive matches, the pitch is also utilised by the club for their training sessions as well.

The stadium was officially opened in August 1989 as part of the eight hectare Woodlands Sports Complex, which also consists of the Woodlands Sports Hall and the Woodlands Swimming Complex. All three facilities are owned and operated by the Singapore Sports Council. Woodlands Stadium houses a natural grass football pitch, an eight-lane running track and partial athletic facilities.

Besides the sporting facilities mentioned above, the stadium also has a Singapore Pools outlet located near to the entrance of the away fans' stand, as well as the clubhouse of Woodlands Wellington FC.

Woodlands Stadium, Yishun Stadium and Bedok Stadium are the only stadia in Singapore which has a MRT track overlooking the pitch.[citation needed]

Woodlands Stadium started off with a total seating capacity of 1,600 when it was first constructed. Following the inauguration of the S.League in 1996, where the stadium was assigned as the home ground of Woodlands Wellington FC, the stadium capacity was upgraded to 4,300. This includes a 2,000 seater grandstand, a 1,000 seater semi-permanent stand opposite the grandstand and a 1,300 seater portable stands at each end of the pitch.


Logo and Mascot[edit]


As Wellington Football Club, the team played in a white kit with purple and green trimmings; as soon as they were rebranded into the Woodlands Wellington Football Club in 1996, the Rams changed their home kit to all white with a narrow stripe of yellow and green down the middle.

In the ensuing years, yellow was employed as the main colour of choice for the home kit and this has become the traditional colour for the club.

Kit evolution[edit]

  • Home
1996 – 1997
  • Away
1996 – 1997
  • Third / Special

*The third kit for 2007 was used as the home kit of the 2008 season.

Continental record[edit]

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Position
1992–93 Asian Cup Winners' Cup First round Thailand Sinthana 1–1 4–1 2–5


Woodlands Wellington FC was sponsored by Bandai from 1996 to 1998,[20] after which it was sponsored by Sembcorp from 2001[21] to 2010; the club went without a sponsor from 2011 to 2012 before Singaporean equity company, ESW, took up the sponsorship of the Rams from March 2013.

The team is presently outfitted by Singaporean kit makers, Waga, for the 2013 season, their previous kit sponsors include Lotto, Kappa, Diadora, Umbro, Mitre and Thai apparel makers, Acono.

Kit Sponsors
Season Sponsor Name
1996–2004 Lotto
2005 Kappa
2006–2008 Diadora
2009–2010 Umbro
2011 Mitre
2012 Acono
2013 Waga
2016 Vonda
Main Sponsors
Season Sponsor Name
1996–1998 Bandai
1999–2000 No Sponsor
2001–2010 Sembcorp
2011–2012 No Sponsor
2013–2016 ESW


Coaching staff[edit]

Position Name
Team Manager Singapore Bruce Tan
Head Coach Singapore Salim Moin
Assistant / Prime League Coach Singapore Hatta Ali
Fitness Trainer Serbia Luka Lalic
Kitman Singapore Wan Azlan Wan Adanan

Youth Academy[edit]

The youth academy of Woodlands is the Centre of Excellence, which develops promising young players and grooms them for the future.

Manager history[edit]






  • President's Centennial Cup: 1
  • 1998

Performance in domestic competitions[edit]

Season S.League Singapore Cup Singapore League Cup
Pos P W D L F A Pts
1996-1 2nd* 14 8 2 4 25 20 26
1996-2 4th 14 6 3 5 29 25 21
1997 3rd 16 11 0 5 35 29 33
1998 9th 20 4 6 10 27 41 18 Group stage
1999 9th 22 6 4 12 30 44 22 Quarter-finals
2000 10th 22 4 5 13 19 31 17 Semi-finals
2001 12th 33 5 9 19 40 64 24 Group stage
2002 5th 33 17 7 9 75 44 58 Group stage
2003 5th 33 14 4–8 7 65 47 58 Semi-finals
2004 6th 27 12 4 11 48 49 40 Preliminary
2005 3rd 27 15 5 7 57 44 50 Runners-up
2006 5th 30 13 8 9 60 45 47 Third place
2007 7th 33 10 13 10 47 52 37* Semi-finals Winners
2008 8th 33 9 8 16 36 52 35 Runners-up Preliminary
2009 9th 30 8 7 15 23 48 31 Round of 16 Semi-finals
2010 12th 33 4 7 22 18 60 19 Round of 16 Runners-up
2011 12th 33 3 4 26 22 92 13 Round of 16 Preliminary
2012 13th 24 3 5 16 19 44 14 Round of 16 Group stage
2013 5th 27 10 7 10 45 47 37 Round of 16 Semi-finals
2014 11th 27 5 8 14 22 52 23 Preliminary Quarter-finals
  • The 1996 season of the S.League was split into two series. Tiger Beer Series winners Geylang United defeated Pioneer Series winners Singapore Armed Forces in the Championship playoff to clinch the S.League title.
  • 2003 saw the introduction of penalty shoot-outs if a match ended in a draw in regular time. Winners of penalty shoot-outs gained two points instead of one.
  • Woodlands Wellington deducted 6 points for abandoning a match on 5 September 2007.

Last updated on 15 May 2014

Supporters' Club[edit]

The supporters' club of Woodlands Wellington Football Club are known as The Black Sheep,[22] they can be seen at both home and away games dressed in the club's official colours of yellow and blue and are usually seated behind the Rams' dugout. Since its inception, The Black Sheep have been using the warcry "Never Surrender!" to rally their players on.[23][24]


  1. ^ "Seletar meets its Waterloo against Wellington – 28–1!", The Straits Times, 18 September 1991, Page 34
  2. ^ "Wellington Div 1 Champ", The Straits Times, 19 June 1995, Page 29
  3. ^ Malathi Das and Palakrishnan (1996), "S.League: the kick-off", Singapore Professional Football League Pte Ltd, p. 62
  4. ^ "Wellington fires first shot in hiring top guns", The Straits Times, 23 July 1995, Page 31
  5. ^ "Power Rangers to Woodlands' rescue", The Straits Times, 23 March 1996, Page 39
  6. ^ "Woodlands pulling in the crowds in its friendlies", The Straits Times, 16 February 1996, Page 30
  7. ^ "Philippines International Tournaments 1991–1998, President's Centennial Cup 1998". RSSSF.
  8. ^ "Midfielder Zulkarnaen joins Woodlands", Today, 5 December 2001, Page 35
  9. ^ "Woodlands pay the price for walk-out".
  10. ^ "'A sad day for Singapore football'". Channel News Asia.
  11. ^ Another S-League club to sit out?, Page 67, The New Paper, Thursday, 22 November 2012
  12. ^ "Save Woodlands Campaign". Woodlands Wellington Football Club.
  13. ^ "Woodlands to play next season". The New Paper. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014.
  14. ^ "Tay assures supporters of Rams' participation in 2013 S.League, targets top 8 finish". Woodlands Wellington Football Club.
  15. ^ "Woodlands Wellington dismiss reports that they will skip 2013 S-League season". TODAY Online.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ Ong, Terence (4 November 2014). "Jaguars to sit out next S-League season, Rams to merge with Hougang". The Straits Times. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  17. ^ Low, Lin Fhoong (5 November 2014). "Uncertainty over S-League's changes for 2015". Today. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  18. ^ http://www.goal.com/en-sg/news/5098/sleague/2016/01/21/19549152/woodlands-wellington-to-return-to-the-sleague
  19. ^ https://www.myactivesg.com/facilities/sports-recreation-centres/woodlands-stadium
  20. ^ Rams close to new deal, Today – Afternoon Edition, 27 March 2001, Page 30
  21. ^ $700,000 windfall for Woodlands, The Straits Times, 12 June 2001, Page S4
  22. ^ "The Black Sheep Facebook Page".
  23. ^ "Fans of the mysteriously quiet Woodlands Wellington FC say "Never Surrender!"". Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  24. ^ "The Black Sheep - Who Are They? on SLeague.com".

External links[edit]