Stories

FFT's Forgotten Clubs: Tanjong Pagar, the Jaguars who hope to roar again

In the first part of FFT's Forgotten Clubs series, we take a look at the team with a long, storied history in local football but who are biding their time for a comeback to the S.League...

We are part of The Trust Project What is it?

Tanjong Pagar Football Club might not have won the coveted S.League crown, but the club has consistently competed for honours in the past, making a name in local footballing circles.

Starting out in the lowly third division of the National Football League in 1975, the club then known as Tiong Bahru Constituency Sports Club (CSC) rose to prominence two years later.

CLUB STATUS IN DOMESTIC LEAGUE

  • 1975-2004 ACTIVE
  • 2005-2010 INACTIVE
  • 2011-2014 ACTIVE
  • CURRENTLY INACTIVE

That year, the free-scoring side won the title and in 1978 was promoted to Division Two, where it finished champions as well.

By 1982, Tiong Bahru CSC were already competing with the big boys and won some of their biggest honours - first, the President’s Cup in 1982 and subsequently, the Division One title in 1983.

But they went one step further in 1987, their watershed year. They swept all the available major titles at stake - the League title, the League Cup and the President's Cup.

Tiong Bahru CSC's 1982 President Cup winning side. Photo: Tiong Bahru Football Club

Semi-professional football beckoned, and with the FAS Premier League started in 1988, Tiong Bahru CSC were part of the first eight clubs to contest the inaugural season.

While Geylang International (then known as Geylang United) ruled the league and won six consecutive titles, Tiong Bahru CSC finished runners-up from 1991-1995.

CLUB MAJOR HONOURS

  • National Football League Divison One - 1983, 1987
  • Singapore Cup - 1998
  • Singapore FA Cup - 1994, 1998
  • President’s Cup - 1982, 1985, 1987

In 1996 the S.League was launched, with the club changing its name to Tiong Bahru United Football Club that same year, making the Queenstown Stadium its stomping ground.

The Jaguars finished runners-up in the league in 1997, changing their name this time to Tanjong Pagar United. Led by master tactican Tohari Paijan, they won the FA Cup and Singapore Cup in 1998, finishing runners-up in the league again.

The club remained a popular one, with its rivalry against Singapore Armed Forces Football Club (now Warriors FC) one of the most captivating in the league.

What eluded the Jaguars, however, was the S.League title, as they finished second yet again in 2000.

Tanjong Pagar withdrew from the S.League on two occasions. Photo: S.League

But due to financial problems, the club withdrew from the league in 2005. 

The Jaguars returned from the long hiatus in 2011 but failed to make their mark in the league, as they finished 11th and 12th during their first two seasons back.

With the backing of the club's die-hard supporters club "The Jaguar Force", new French coach Patrick Valiee managed to steer it to a runners-up spot in the Singapore Cup in 2013, and a runners-up spot in the Singapore League Cup in 2014.

But money woes re-appeared, meaning the Jaguars withdrew again ahead of the 2015 season. Today, the Jaguars only have a team in the Women's Premier League.

[Next: Money matters and leading legends]