Newcastle fans at the Hong Kong Football Club Citibank Soccer Sevens


By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor
In Hong Kong

They may be thousands of miles away from home, but Newcastle United have received great backing in the Hong Kong Football Club Citibank Soccer Sevens this weekend.

Peter Beardsley's side are into the semi-finals of the competition having topped Group A with two wins and a draw and then eased past Rangers in the last eight, and they've been supported all the way by their Far Eastern fan club.

They include Scotsman Ali Carr and his friend Ben Furniss. "We're both teachers at an international school in China in Guangzhou," explained Ali. "My uncle's a Geordie so I had no choice but to support Newcastle.

"And we're trying to convert as many kids as we can at our international school into Newcastle fans as well."

Ben added: "Peter Beardsley's my all-time favourite player. I've not seen him yet but I'm dying to get a photo.

"I met him once when I was about six and I had a little Peter Beardsley badge on so I'm going to see if he remembers that!"

Chris Brady, who helped to build the Tyne Tunnel before moving to Hong Kong due to work, said: "It's a brilliant tournament and I wouldn't miss it. The football has been really good and I'm very happy with how Newcastle have done so far.

"I want a Newcastle-Sunderland final!"

David Atkinson and his partner Stephanie Bell are originally from Chester-le-Street, but now live in Hung Hom.

"Rolando Aarons has impressed me - he was touted up before the tournament and this has been my first chance to see him but his pace is electrifying," said David.

"To see him running from one end of the pitch to the other without even breaking stride is really good to watch.

"I think the lads were a bit nervous to start off with and they needed to get used to the heat but it looks like they're doing that as they play more games so hopefully it'll continue until the end."

Stephanie added: "There are a lot more Newcastle fans than there were last year and a lot more chanting going on. The atmosphere is really good.

"It has surprised us how many black and white shirts there are because you don't meet them until you're around them. We've never met any Newcastle fans in the two years we've been here until we came here to watch Newcastle.

"They just see the shirts and everyone comes up to each other and says hello. They do say people are friendlier up north..."

Sha Tin-based Danny Shek said: "I've supported Newcastle all my life. I was born and bred in Newcastle and only moved over to Hong Kong two-and-a-half years ago.

"Wherever I go, Newcastle will always be in my heart and St. James' will always be my home.

"I like Rolando Aarons - he's caught my attention with his pace and I'm hoping he'll get into the first team next season."

But another player who is popular among a section of the supporters over here is Adam Laidler, whose aunty, Karen, and cousins Ruth and Elspeth all live in Hong Kong.

"It's nice for us to see him in action," said Karen. "My husband is a policeman here - he moved out 27 years ago, while I moved here from the United States about 20 years ago.

"We normally come to this event but it's particularly exciting because Adam's playing.

"It's a good atmosphere and it's great to see the Hong Kong teams playing against international teams."

For unrivalled coverage of the Hong Kong Football Club Citibank Soccer Sevens, stay logged on to nufc.co.uk. Meanwhile nufcTV will be bringing subscribers exclusive interviews and extended highlights from the tournament