Written by: Kimberly Kwek
Photo Credit: Khalid Baba
Not many S.League players have mentors from the English Premier League, but Hougang United’s new signing Adam Mitter can lay claim to that.
The 25-year-old defender received invaluable advice training alongside the likes of Stoke City midfielder Charlie Adam eight years ago, while he was a youth player at Blackpool FC and Adam was skipper of the Seasiders’ senior team.
Mitter remembers the high spirits and cordial atmosphere at Bloomfield Road when Blackpool gained promotion to the EPL for the first time in 2010.
Being at the unfashionable club at their peak has also gifted the Englishman with priceless experiences which he hopes to share with his new teammates.
Mitter told The New Paper: “It was a real tight-knit team (at Blackpool). Whether you were a first-team player, a reserve-team player or a youth-team player, you were one of the family.
“I knew if I went to one of the pros, they would help me out. Now I look back and it was great for me to be around and pick up the things I’ve picked up.”
But Mitter was unable to break into the first team and left in search of playing opportunities.
He joined Scottish Premiership side Hibernian’s Under-20 team before enjoying a stint at fourth-tier Swedish team Ange IF where he donned the captain’s armband. He also played in semi-professional leagues in England and Australia.
Three years ago, Mitter took the path less travelled.
He packed his boots and flew over to the Philippines – a country he barely knew anything about – to join FC Meralco Manila.
After that, he had stints in England, India and the Philippines again, with top-tier side Ilocos United, before coming to Singapore.
Mitter believes that he has taken away something from every country he has played in.
He said: “I’ve broadened my knowledge playing under different people and places. Putting them all together has only made me a better player.”
Hougang coach Philippe Aw is excited by Mitter’s presence at the club and feels that the 1.78m-tall defender can help fix the team’s shortcomings.
Said Aw: “Adam is your typical English centre back – physical, big, strong in the air, which is one of the reasons we brought him in.
“He’s a good communicator. We felt in games last year, we lacked someone on the field driving the team on. We need people on the pitch rallying each other on and I think Adam will bring us there.
“He has been very professional and I really hope that all the local players, especially our young ones, pick up all the good things.”
Despite offers from India and Malaysia, Mitter described joining Hougang as a “no brainer”.
Talks with Aw and a visit to their Hougang Stadium homeground were enough to convince him to join the Cheetahs.
Mitter believes that Hougang, who finished sixth in last year’s nine-team S.League, have what it takes to cause a few surprises this season, despite being a much-changed side.
Last season’s key players such as defenders Delwinder Singh (Warriors FC) and Atsushi Shirota (Phnom Penh Crown), and midfielders Azhar Sairudin (Geylang International) and Zulfahmi Arifin (Chonburi FC) have left, paving the way for youngsters such as Gerald Ting, 18, and Ashrul Syafeeq, 23, to stake their claim for a starting position.
Said Mitter: “The squad this year has a lot of technical ability and fit, young lads.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication but the coach and staff are getting us in the best shape possible.
“I’ve been around and gained quite a lot of experience, so I want to help and guide the boys and give back to the fans and management.”