...Calling on Gov. Fashola to revive Stores.
Stationery (Super) Stores, one of Nigeria's biggest clubs, have been in a state of coma for years and years now, thus depriving Lagos, Nigeria largest city, of a top flight club.
Much as Julius Berger, First Bank, Niger Dock and later NPA, have tried, they never could equal the following ascribed to Stores, which ran into millions of fans.
I remember watching the 1990 FA cup final between Stores and Enugu Rangers at the Surulere (then National) Stadium. There was a full house with no standing room left. I do not have official attendance for that match, but I estimate over 60,000 spectators turned up and three quarter of them were rooting for Stores.
Since they slipped into there current state in the late 1990s, potential fans have been lost, especially to the English premier league. Lagos is currently awash with fans of all sorts of clubs, Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona and even Bolton (I kid you not!).These fans could have made up the Stores fan base.
At the moment, Gov Fashola is believed to be the best governor in the current political dispensation as can been in the dramatic transformation of the Lagos metro area. One thing missing is a top flight football club.
This without a doubt can have great economic and social impact on Lagos, but I will not bore you by listing them here. Luckily, the government has invested in metro transportation so movement of fans will not be a problem.
Mega cities all over the world have claim to at least one major club. From New York(Red Bulls),Tokyo(Tokyo FC),London(Arsenal, Chelsea),Cairo(Al Ahly, Zamalek) to Rio de Janeiro (Flamengo, Botafogo etc), these clubs attract crowds in the thousands(even hundreds of thousands in the case of Flamengo),every other week. The same should be for Lagos.
Formed in 1958, Stores have the history and tradition to match some of the aforementioned clubs. Only few clubs have better domestic record in Nigeria, and even fewer have better pedigree. They have won the league once (in 1992) and the FA cup four times(1967,1968,1982 and 1990).They have produced some familiar faces on Nigeria's international set-up, Peter Rufai, Ike Shorumnu, Peter Anieke, Haruna Ilerika and Ajibade Babalade, as well as the former Ghana international Arthur Moses.
They also have two stadiums to choose from, Surulere Stadium, with a capacity of 55,000(all-seater) and Teslim Balogun Staduim with a capacity of 30,000 can accommodate fans, as well generate enough money to help run the club.
I'm not an advocate of state governments running football clubs, but I have a feeling that if the Lagos State government takes over the running of the club, Stores will be run in the in the proper way and perhaps give them the leverage to run themselves without government support in the near future.
I know there has been a lot of issues concerning ownership of the club, some sort of deal can be worked that includes(as well as be of benefit) to all parties involved as long as it ends up in Store being revived to take its rightful place in Nigerian football.