|Nicky Butt (right) celebrates after scoring on his debut for South China. (Photo by AP, taken from BBC Sport.)|
Alas, this is not to be as South China are drawn into Group H alongside Thai FA Cup champions Chonburi FC, Indonesian side Persipura Jayapura and Indian side Kingfisher East Bengal.
While Tampines Rovers will await one of the losers of the 2011 AFC Champions League playoffs, V-League champions Hanoi T&T and Maldivian FA Cup winners Victory SC, it is the fate of the draw that ensures Butt will not step onto Singapore soil since the Red Devils' Asian tour in 1999.
The Indonesians will be relatively cool about all things English football, but the Thais and Indians could go crazy over this potential appearance of one of the most famed Fergie Fledglings, who emerged alongside David Backham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and the Neville brothers to become one of the stars for Manchester United.
The Thais will fancy their aging ace Therdsak Chaiman pitting his abilities against the one-time World Cupper while the Indians, with their one-time affiliation with English club side Leicester City, could relish his presence on their soil.
As for the Singaporeans, they will have to keep waiting for the next English star after Robbie Fowler, Jamie Carragher and Bryan Robson in 2009. Until then, they will have to be content with the Maldivians, Vietnamese and possibly the Arab shiekhs.