We all gathered at Manchester Airport in eager anticipation of the big trip to see our heroes in the Far East.
How different from those nights in Halifax, Rochdale and Newport, but it made us realise how it had been so worth it, and now we were about to do the unbelievable, Hong Kong to see the mighty Pompey
The tour party in no particular formation
Dave Riley and his wife Jayne
Andy Chambers and his wife Ruby
Rod (don’t call me Rodders!!) Johnson and his wife Lea
Don White and partner Suzy
Bob Middleton and Dawn
Steve Watson and Clair
And finally me Chris Owens and my wife Valerie.
We all live in the north of the country so our flags are the Northern Blues ones that you may have seen at games.
Our flight time was12.20 from Manchester with a stop in Paris then on to Hong Kong International.
We arrived at the airport, checked in no problem and then met in the departure lounge about 30 Liverpool fans on their way out to the tournament, they were amazed at the Northern Fan base of the mighty Pompey but we settled down to lunch and beer and a chat about the game we love.
Everything was good natured and the other travellers were amazed at our loyalty to our clubs, my bloody wife kept insisting that it is only a game of football I tell you I will swing for her one day!!
We had a great flight, and it passed as quickly as these long haul flights do, we had our own quizzes, which we do on long journeys, watched the movies on board and dreamt of Pompey successes and then at 0730 our time and two o`clock local time we were there.
We are staying at the Intercontinental Grand Stanford in Kowloon, arranged by Dave’s brother who works in Hong Kong and arranged the tickets and everything else he could for us, how good is that, plus he is another Pompey fan.
The hotel is great and we all feel very proud to be here watching our team, and we have already seen a few Pompey fans in the city and Liverpool fans looking very oriental.
We all had a nap etc and went for a walk around the town and the resort of Kowloon, we ended up at a restaurant called Ned Kelly’s Last Stand where we were treated to some brilliant jazz music and great food both Chinese and Cantonese, we all had a great time and forgot about the inevitable jet lag for a few hours
All up early and off on a trip organised by Dave to the Guangzhou China Temple of the Six Banyan Trees which was excellent and helped us to realise that this is such a wonderful place, it is hard to realise that this was all owned by Britain for so long. The journey took an hour on the coach where we visited the market (girls happy) and then to see the Terracotta Warriors known as the eighth wonder of the world and various other pieces of ancient history the warriors here in Harry’s away formation 33-33-33 give nothing away!!
We went to a couple of temples and had a meal all fantastic and enjoyable and we travelled back be express, and I mean express train so quick the 657 would not have got through their first beer before arriving home. And all for about £25, not bad value.
We finished the day off at the Hong Kong Harbour Lights and Lei Yeu Mun Seafood Village Cruise, which served fantastic food and we had a truly memorable way of seeing Hong Kong, the food was brilliant and the San Miguel was brill too and the girls got all tiddly on the cheap wine, go for it girls.
Game tonight at 1800, we saw the lads training on the television as they are really proud of the fact that these teams are here to play in their country, loads of Liverpool fans in the city but not too many Fulham, we went to the Festival Walk Shopping centre so the girls could do their thing, Burberry, D&G and Hermes etc, so they are really going for it, but as long as they are happy.
Well we won, and good old Benji did the business, mind you I admire the players for their stamina and fitness, it was so humid, even the singing tired us out !!
You cant explain how hot it was without being here, with the hotels and shops being air conditioned you cant get used to this type of heat, in fact it is enough to drive one to drink or as we put it re-hydrate.
Overall happy with that, Krunchie looked good, Sulley tried a little too hard but looked alright, Sol and Jamo bloody wonderful, and had to be candidates for man of the match, so now we will be in the final on Friday
Did not stay to watch the second game as the girls needed to eat, so we watched it on the television while pretending to pay attention to what they were saying.
Just a word about the locals, they are brilliant and love the fact we are here to support the team, they swapped shirts, gave us a drink of their local brew and cheered loudly with Westwood for POMPEY.
Kamara, one chance didn’t take it, we have seen that a few times at Fratton haven’t we, and I did see a Fulham fan somewhere, what a poor turnout from one of the Premierships big clubs, that’s what Diomansy thinks anyway.
Popped into a small Cantonese restaurant for a speciality fish dish, loved it and it cost £10 per head.
Went to Ocean Park which is a local theme park really good day out and I would recommend it to anyone who goes on holiday there.
So it’s the mighty Reds in the final, a good early test for us, we will now see if we are shaping up wont we?
Went for a meal at a place called Sticky Fingers really good food and great music. On our way back to the hotel saw Westwood and his posse surrounded by locals, autographs and photo call for the legend.
Still amazed by how many of the locals are Liverpool supporters, but they do have a supporters club in Kowloon apparently.
We all went on a trip on the local tram today, you can go anywhere on the island for 2 Hong Kong dollars, and is the cheapest way to tour the island.
We took the girls to a shopping centre called Landmark, where they amused themselves for a couple of hours, whilst we mulled over the game tomorrow, it will be a real test for us and we will see how good we are.
We all agreed we wanted to go back to the Sticky Fingers restaurant, to enjoy their great food and music, plus their cheap San Miguel and Tiger Beer, we had promised the owner a Pompey shirt to put behind the bar, and it got us a free round of drinks.
The locals love the football, and seem to be enjoying us all being here, and comment on the singing and all the shirts that the rival supporters are wearing, they are already using the new Pompey website to buy their stuff, even the Police are so polite and helpful too, just like being at home really.
Quiet morning spent in the hotel getting ready to go home on Sunday morning, the girl went out for a walk and a good look around the island, while we went and had a few beers and mixed with some of the supporters in town. Met the Lads from the Wicor Mill and they attracted a few locals with the flag and their singing, and after we went and looked around the harbour.
After a meal we went to the stadium and met up with all the rest of the Pompey support, it is hard to believe how many are here, I hope the television coverage gives credit to how many are here for the lads, Liverpool’s support is massive but mostly all local and Fulham, well they are Fulham.
The game was quite poor, but the conditions are so oppressive and the team stuck at it well, we were dreading penalties and memories cam flooding back of 15 years ago, but well done to Jamo, what a keeper without doubt the best that there is.
Overall a great workout and a fantastic result, a trophy for the mighty blues, and it makes the trip so worthwhile, let us hope that it is the first of many, and it ensures a good party tonight, bring it on.
Sol, Jamo and Sylvain, were superb and the rest grafted hard for the cause, Muntari is going to be a good one his work ethic is superb and he will be good with Pedro, still a couple of new additions would be good may be another striker and a creative midfielder like Berkovic or D’Alessandro.
However we are off and running and we will celebrate the fact we have turned over the mighty Liverpool, Torres 20 million and he missed his penalty oh Rafa shades of Morientes, so off to party, Play up Pompey.
The morning after the night before, Pompey’s first trophy for 60 odd years was celebrated long and hard in Hong Kong, with no offence to the locals or requirement to be told to calm down by the Police.
We had a great night singing an dancing with the locals and I feel that we have left our mark on the island, there was even talk about a branch of the supporters club being opened, we will see if that happens.
We went to Hong Kong Disneyland today, really good day out as you would expect, and compares to the parks in Florida anyway it will make the kids jealous again so it will be worthwhile when we force them to watch the DVD etc of the trip!!
We had a great day and then finished it at the Knutsford Terrace, which is in Kowloon, great food and drink again, everywhere gives such great value for money. We fly back at 0035 local time and arrive back tomorrow afternoon. It will be along journey back, but we return with a trophy and a lot of great memories.
Our flight time was a bad one as we set off at 0030 and arrived back fifteen hours later and then got back seven hours, what day is it!! What month is it!! Never mind it was worth it managed to sleep most of the way to Paris then just the short hop to Manchester.
Great to be back still got a week off work to get over the trip, still can’t believe we are the Asian Champions.
I have to do this to finish please forgive me lads and lasses Graeme Souness, Ronnie Whelan, Johnny Barnes, Mark Wright, Ian Rush, Dean Saunders, Jan Molby you took one hell of a beating out there!!
Hope the article is ok, my advice to you is if we are invited again, or get into Europe travel it is superb and the support for Pompey is the best, now lets look forward to the new season, one trophy in the bag, who knows what is next for Harry Redknapp’s Blue and White Army.
Written by Owenspompey.