F.A. Ambassador's trip to China - 27/10/2002
I’ve just arrived in Singapore after spending three days in China. It’s been a whirlwind tour of embassy’s, schools, and football stadiums. I’m working with Gary Mabbut for the F.A. who are wishing to promote the English game over here. It’s really an honour to be asked to become an F.A. ambassador, and I’m delighted to be given the opportunity. Every one's heard about the massive potential in China, and after seeing it myself, I can only agree.
On Thursday we had a working lunch in Pudong, an area of Shanghai on the east coast of the country. We met a British guy who runs a charity called ‘Care for Children’, we then visited the British School where Gary and I pulled our boots on and helped out with some coaching. After the coaching we went to Shanghai Shenhau football ground where we took in a game. The following day was made up of similar meetings and appointments. On the Saturday night we had a bit of a laugh, we were in Shanghai Sally’s, a British pub and comedy venue, and yes there was a bit of comedy as Gary and I were the captains for a ‘Question of Sport’ style competition (luckily all the questions were on Premiership football).
Looking back on the trip as a whole, I'm more convinced than ever before that China will one day be a world power in the game. As long as there’s enough patience, because it’s not going to happen overnight, but in ten to twenty years China will be talked about in the same breath as Brazil, France, and England.
Having flown out last Wednesday I missed the Juventus game, and from all accounts, it seems I missed a cracker! We’re now in with a chance of making the next stage and I’d like to think the UEFA Cup is definitely achievable. Although we had a bit of luck, I think that after the three previous games, we were certainly due some! But with Nobby creating two good chances and Al nearly scoring from the free kick, it sounds like we could have had more than one?
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