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Opinion

Supporting The Toon from Hong Kong

3 years ago
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I have always been a Newcastle United fan and always will be.

Before I moved out to Hong Kong I was a season ticket holder in the Milburn stand, along with my dad and my older brother.

I love going to games and always have done ever since I was little.

The first game I can remember was coincidentally a 2-2 draw with Ipswich in which we lifted the Championship trophy!

Quite frankly, at the age of  six I had no idea what was going on. Why are we staying after the full-time whistle? Why is everyone so chuffed after drawing with Ipswich??

After experiencing those wild celebrations I was captivated and never wanted to miss a game. I have managed to get to see some very memorable ones too, including the 4-4 draw with Arsenal at the age of six.

At the age of eight my family moved out to Hong Kong in southern China. A very long way away. We were still season ticket holders for a bit and went to every game we could, during holidays back in England at Christmas and summer.

I soon realised that it is a lot different supporting Newcastle in Hong Kong than it was in England.

The main difference is the time – 3pm kick-offs in England from April to November means 10pm here, whilst from December to March it is 11pm. The changes are due to the clocks going forward and back in England.

Whilst occasionally it can be tough to watch at these times, I personally enjoy watching in the evening because that way the excitement builds up throughout the day.

The real problem comes when we play late kick-offs, especially on week nights. A 7:45 kick off is broadcast at 2:45/3:45 am over here. Trying to watch games at these times and then getting myself to school that day can be quite challenging!

As the Premier League is massive over here, all Premier League games are broadcast live, which is great because we can always watch without the broadcaster only selecting certain games for us.

Unfortunately, coverage of the championship was virtually non-existent. Last season, we had to try and find stream after stream to watch the games. Most of the time they have worked, although you can’t always rely on them.

For the last game of the season, we could only find streams for the Championship relegation battle so I was forced to experience Jack Grealish’s beautiful last minute strike through NUFC TV’s radio stream.

Most people here support a ‘big’team, there doesn’t seem to be many people who support anyone other than a Man United or a Real Madrid type of team.

For example, my best two mates support Barcelona and Chelsea, which means that I am way out of my depth when playing Fifa with them! They occasionally use it as a bit of stick, claiming they support a better team, so winning the league this year was great to brag about, especially to the Barca fan!

Whilst it probably isn’t very practical for anyone, I would obviously really love them to come to Hong Kong soon. It has been great in recent years watching the academy and Wallsend Boys Club take part in the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens (that’s me pictured above at the HK Soccer Sevens at the age of 11) although the academy didn’t take a team this year which was a shame.

I am very encouraged at the moment with what is going on at Newcastle. We are definitely a club on the up, with a great manager, an improving academy and ever lasting great fans. I am really excited about the future for us!

As a 13 year old, I have never really seen us win any silverware – apart from the Championship, so I would love us to really have a go at the cups this year.

With the top teams paying less and less attention to the domestic cups it allows a team like us a real shot at winning it. We got to the league cup quarter-final last year as a Championship side and should have won against Hull, so who knows what can happen this year…

Thanks for reading!

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

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