The construction of the National Stadium of Singapore started in 1966 and was completed in 1973. Situated at the Kallang Basin area, it was built at the former premises of the Kallang Airport.
On 21st July 1973, former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew conducted the official opening of the National Stadium. Singapore, after its independence in 1965, finally had a respectable stadium to host local and international events. It soon became an iconic landmark and a source of national pride for the people. Throughout its history, the 55,000-capacity stadium had hosted three Southeast Asian Games (1973, 83, 93) and 18 National Day Parades.
Perhaps the greatest memories of the National Stadium came from the days of the Malaysia Cup, where Singapore participated and won the tournament three times in 1977, 80 and 94. The hardcore football fans, packed fully into the stadium and sat closely to each other on the concrete slab seating, would never forget the famous Kallang Roar as well as the Mexican Wave that circled round the stadium during the cheering for the home team.
Cheers, chants and drums once filled the stadium with emotions running high.
“Referee kayu!!” or “Referee bodoh (stupid)!!” One often could hear the fans’ blasting of the referee whenever mistakes were made.
Famous football clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Newcastle United and Celtic once played their friendlies at the National Stadium.
Beside sporting events, the National Stadium had also hosted numerous concerts by superstars such as Michael Jackson, Elton John, Mariah Carey, Steve Wonder and Zhang Hui Mei.
At the end of June 2007, the National Stadium was closed officially, bring down the curtains of its glittering 44-year history. It was to be demolished to make way for the new integrated Sports Hub. However, due to the delays of the new project, the stadium continued to host the East Asian, Asean and World Cup qualifying games until 2010.
The stadium started its demolition in September 2010. By November, two of its four iconic flood lights were removed and half of its structure torn down. The National Stadium was totally flattened by the New Year of 2011. A headline hit the news soon after when a valuable time capsule, buried on 23 February 1970 and contained newspaper articles, coins, dollar notes, books and sport memorabilia, went missing and could be found.
Published: 14 November 2010
Updated: 01 November 2016