When FC Meralco Manila formally announced that it was ceasing operations immediately, many fans and members of the football community took it as an end of a once football-hopeful era.
FC Meralco Manila, the football club backed by Manila Electric Company (through its sports CSR One Meralco Foundation), announced on January 8 that it was folding and no longer join the Philippines Football League (PFL) where it emerged as third placer in the inaugural season.
“Circumstances beyond our control have made it difficult for FC Meralco Manila to continue,” the club said in a statement posted on its Facebook page. “The board and management of the Sparks have tried to arrange for new investors that would keep the organization running, but those efforts have sadly fallen short,” they added.
Among the players in the FC Meralco Manila roster were Azkal Curt Dizon, former Azkal Simon Greatwich, and UP Maroons standout Daniel Gadia.
FC Meralco Manila started seven years ago (2011) when millionaire-businessman and sports enthusiast, Manuel V. Pangilinan took over the Ateneo alumni and employee-founded Loyola Agila FC and changed its name to Loyola Meralco Sparks.
Meralco had their first major championship title during the 2013 United Football League (UFL) that was followed by PFF National Men’s Club triumph the following year and dubbed as one of the most prestigious football club in the Philippines.
The Meralco Sparks lost 3-2 aggregate to Global Cebu FC during the semi-finals and finished with as third placers in the inaugural season of Philippines Football League (PFL) against the Kaya FC.
In the seven years that they were in existence, FC Meralco Manila had acquired a considerable base of supporters and fans. In 2017 when PFL adopted a home-and-away format, many of their fans patiently trooped to wherever the club had matches against their rivals, whether the venues were in Laguna, Makati, or even as far up north as Vigan, Ilocos Norte. One time when Ilocos United FC forfeited its match versus FC Meralco Manila, a group of fans had already arrived in Vigan with a plan to watch but was unable to do so.
That is how FCMM fans are: persevering, undying, faithful.
We’ve compiled some of the most noteworthy social media posts regarding this latest development from fans, supporters and members of the football community. Their reactions range from downright angry to sad but hopeful. This is our small tribute to FC Meralco Manila, the people who comprised it and the fans who will keep the flame for Philippine football burning — truly, madly and unconditionally.
From Ernest Nierras, head coach of Stallion Laguna FC
The sadness is palpable in Dan Onil Galang’s FB post
Gratitude and goodbye from FCMM player Milan Nikolic
Similar sentiments from Ethan Kyle who noted that the rivalry of Kaya Futbol FC and FCMM has come to a halt
Tearful message from Dominique Chico Turla
Tweet of Atty. Mickey Ingles, one of the first players of Loyola Sparks when it was still a team composed of footballers from the Ateneo
From Justin Rey Lenard who seems like a long-time fan
Statement from Frente Naranja, an organization of FCMM fans
Farewell message from FCMM player Tahj Minniecon who was named Man of the Match a couple of times
To end on a more positive note, we’ve saved this message for the last. Good to see a diehard football fan has not lost his sense of humor. Thank you, Soliven Freddie Mar!