By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
As Newcastle United prepared to kick off their Citibank Hong Kong Football Club International Soccer Sevens campaign on Saturday, a growing contingent of Magpies supporters began to fill the stadium on Sports Road where the competition is based.
Despite the hot weather of the previous two days giving way to rain, the spirit and enthusiasm of the Far Eastern football fans can never be dampened and plenty of black and white shirts were visible in the stands more than two hours before the first game got underway for Willie Donachie and Peter Beardsley's side.
Some were ex-pats while others were from Hong Kong but all were united in their support for Newcastle and delighted to get a chance to watch their team in action.
Friends Ansom Tam, Check Yin, Cyrus Wong and Sherman Chan hadn't had to travel too far to cheer on the young Magpies in Happy Valley.
"It's hard to explain why I support them - it's just a Club I fell in love with and I've supported them for 15 years now," grinned Cyrus, proudly showing his mobile phone wallpaper from a recent visit to St. James' Park.
Anson told nufc.co.uk: "Even thousands of miles away, the black and white is very special to us."
Sherman said: "Sammy Ameobi is one of my favourite players but Alan Shearer is the best. He is one of the best Premier League players of all time."
Meanwhile, Kennedy Chow had made his way from New Territories and wore a burgundy change shirt bearing the name and number of Adam Campbell, one of the outstanding players of last year's International Soccer Sevens.
"I think he's a future star for Newcastle and I hope one day he can wear the number nine shirt like Shearer, the legend," he said.
Originally from near Chester-le-Street but now working as teachers in Hong Kong are Stephanie Bell and David Atkinson, who moved to the Far East about a year ago and love their new home in Hung Hom.
But one thing they miss is their beloved football team - David still has a season ticket at St. James' - and he said: "Any chance we get to watch them, we take so as soon as we heard Newcastle were coming here we made sure we got tickets."
The Magpies are due to begin their bid to retain the title they won last year against Hong Kong Football Club Captain's Select at 3.57pm local time (8.57am British time) although the weather is currently causing a delay to the schedule of around 45 minutes.
United will then take on Southern District and Leicester City in their other group games - and will be cheered on all the way by their loyal fans.
The Club's official website, nufc.co.uk, is the only place to follow Newcastle United's progress in the Citibank Hong Kong Football Club International Soccer Sevens with match reports, photographs, reaction and more