Burgeoning Asian interest in English Premier League (EPL) football has not bypassed Jakarta, the city that really never sleeps, indeed a recent survey commissioned by the NtJP, in conjunction with newly arrived SUPERBRANDS, revealed that more than one in two Jakartan cars and motor bikes sport the favours of an EPL team, with Manchester United (MU) ahead of both Chelsea and Liverpool with the others, especially Newcastle United, being also rans.
Keen to capitalise (monetise? – ED) on this, many EPL sides have made the long journey out this way in order to sell more football shirts promote themselves. With primary attention hitherto on China, Malaysia, Japan and Korea, Indonesia’s growing economic power is now attracting the attention of the big boys, with recent visits by star names like Rio Ferdinand and Cesc Fabregas and, yesterday of course, the Mighty Reds of Liverpool FC (LFC).
Everybody with anything to do with Indonesian football was immensely disappointed by the cancellation of the Manchester United visit to Jakarta in 2009, a cancellation brought about by the deadly terrorist bomb attack on the Ritz-Carlton Hotel where the team was due to stay and the nearby JW Marriot Hotel (A few of the dead and injured were pretty pissed off as well – ED).
“That event was a disaster for all associated with Indonesian football” the NtJP was reminded by the interim President of PSSI (pounds per square inch) Bambang Purwanto from Solo “and we have worked tirelessly since to bring another big name club to Jakarta for the fans to enjoy, we are absolutely over the moon that LFC were finally able to agree terms. It has really helped that we now have a four star General in charge of the league; they know how to get things done here. We know that his only other experience of football was a five-a-side game with his kids on Anyar beach in 1989, however, that is not what counts here”
With a capacity crowd of 80,000 at Bung Karno Stadium at Senayan last night to cheer them on Indonesian Independence Day, the Merah Putih did well to hold LFC to 1-1 at half-time before a brilliant second half hat-trick from Louis Suarez and a stunner from Andy Carroll sealed their fate, with the match ending 1-5, no disgrace surely to lose to the rampant five times European Champions?
After a short reception at the Shangri Lah hotel where they were staying, in order to get a bite to eat and auction off for children’s charities a number of football shirts signed by the whole team, most of the players then repaired to the BATS nightclub in the basement of the hotel itself and one of the city’s most notorious, erm, discos. Team management were apparently blissfully unaware of BATS being in the Hotel and their stern warning to the team that they must not leave the hotel was consequently somewhat undermined.
Upon word of the players’ presence in BATS reaching the NtJP news desk, we immediately despatched our Blok M Correspondent to the scene to see if he could get us on the inside track. While reporters from both the Jakarta Post and Jakarta Globe were already present, our correspondent’s Scouse accent and lifelong support of “the Reds” were to give him a distinct advantage and he was to quickly engage star striker Andy Carroll, signed from the Toons for £36 million earlier this year.
Asked what he thought about the game last evening, an Andy draped with two stunners replied, “never mind that shite, look at all these gorgeous women, unbelievable, and they’re all up for it you know, knocks the old Tuxedo Junction into a cocked hat, I’ve already had more offers than I could handle in a month”, adding with a wink, “excuse me, I’m off to show these two my stamp collection upstairs, I don’t need an agent for that”.
Joe Cole, sitting with perhaps the prettiest girl in the place, one Yanti Sularti a hairdresser from Ciamis, was later to share with us that the last time he was in a place like this he was “left shirt-less, phone-less, money-less, covered in blood & bruises and wandering the streets”. Wouldn’t happen here, Joe, so no need for a super-injunction either, they don’t have ‘em here.
Standing nearby, a clearly engrossed team captain and your Editor’s own personal Superhero, Stevie Gerrard, said he had never seen anything like it, adding that “I’ve ‘ad an offer to play ‘ere in Jakarta after I retire from the Reds, an’ you know wha’, even though the money is shite, I may just fucking take it, it’s the business ’ere in Jakarta”.
Signing from Charlton FC last year, the hugely talented Jonjo Shelvey, was clearly delighted to be in a town where Twitter had yet to take hold as he told us, “none of the girls in this city have seen my dick yet, but that is about to change”.
Our correspondent also took time to interview a few of the enormous number of lovely ladies invariably present in BATS, first asking “Dewi” a hairdresser from Pelabuhan Ratu what she thought of the players? “Cakap sumua” or “they are all handsome” she replied before adding, “we haven’t had so much fun since Pak Rio was here and sorted out four of the girls at once in the fire escape!!”. Another “Dewi” this one from Lampung and yet another hairdresser was, in answer to the same question, to say that she had fallen in love with “Looie” as he looked quite like a Menado boy and that she would love to take him home to meet her Mum.
As dawn broke, we caught Team Manager Kenny Dalglish in the lobby giving the Shangri Lah’s General Manager, Gerhard Gecko, the man who never goes anywhere without his Greek silver bracelet, a severe bollocking for having failed to inform the Team Management of what he described as “that knocking shop in the fucking cellar”, evoking only the rather pathetic response, “Mr Dalglish, it really is just a disco and it was certainly in the pamphlet we sent you”
On being asked immediately afterwards what his plans for the day were, Kenny shared with us that finding his missing players “wiz right there at the top af mah fucking shopping list” adding “and youse can fuck off too, son” in that curious mix of the Glasgow and Liverpool patois that has so beguiled Reds supporters over the years. Immediately afterwards, however, he was to turn around and shout after your correspondent, “you live in Jakarta right, why are there so many hairdressers on the fucking game here, and why are they all called Dewi?.” Unable to give an answer that had any chance of being understood, your correspondent left the scene. Aduh, Jakarta yah, enak aja loe.
Shangri Lah management was unavailable for comment early morning but did suggest we check out their website. We didn’t.
We did, however, get through to the British Embassy for once but their only response was, “Liverpool, are they really here, can you get us some tickets?” before we put the phone down though, to be fair, that was better than the multi-layered telephone answering “service” menu we usually get.
MIGHTY REDS, wonderful to share our city with you, come back soon, y’all!!