FFT's Forgotten Clubs: Gombak United, the Bulls who want back to the big-time
Gombak United, or the Bulls as they were nicknamed, was founded in 1998 by chairman John Yap, who remains in charge till today.
The Bulls took part in the S.League from 1998 to 2002 and 2006 to 2012 and were known for their brand of slick, attractive football.
Former Singapore internationals Precious Emuejeraye and Agu Casmir also turned out for the team
Although they did not win many major honours, apart from the League Cup in 2008, they were popular among the fans and had a number of exciting players in the team.
This included the likes of Gabriel Obatola, Obadin Aikhena as well as Thais Surachai Jaturapattarapong and Theerawekin Seehawong.
The League Cup final in 2008 proved a watershed moment for Gombak, as it was their first-ever major trophy. A last-gasp winner from Obatola against Super Reds FC sealed the win as Gombak took the game 2-1.
“During the 2008 season, we were trying very hard to compete in the league and finish top four. But it was not within our reach … What drove us to move forward was the League Cup.” said former winger Ridhwan Jamaludin, who played in that final.
After beating a team of Super Reds’ calibre, Ridhwan recalls how difficult it was for him and his teammates to control their emotions at the end.
It meant so much for the club. I could see from all the faces that were in the stadium
“We knew we had to get something for the club and for ourselves. We worked our socks off and gave 120%. It all paid off in the end and I was very proud and relieved with myself," said Ridhwan.
"It meant so much for the club. I could see from all the faces that were in the stadium.”
But this was as good as it got for the Bulls.
The club's best league position was in 2009, finishing third, and they never managed to lift a trophy again. Gombak then left the league at the end of 2012.
“We sat out the league and were working hard to come up with a sustainable business model as we had to pay some of the debt we owed.” Yap told FourFourTwo.
“S.League were not well sponsored and we didn’t have sponsors as well. We had to get funds from our clubhouse and it was not generating much money.
“But since then, we have come a long way. We were not the best club but nonetheless we are consistently doing well.”