Postcard from Hong Kong: Chris Young’s SAFC tour diary

Captian John O'Shea of Sunderland AFC poses with the team mascot and Hong Kong children Keane Wong (9), Lucas Wong (6) and team Manager Paolo Di Canio after the team arrival to compete in the Barclays Asia Trophy on July 21, 2013 in Hong Kong.

Captian John O'Shea of Sunderland AFC poses with the team mascot and Hong Kong children Keane Wong (9), Lucas Wong (6) and team Manager Paolo Di Canio after the team arrival to compete in the Barclays Asia Trophy on July 21, 2013 in Hong Kong.

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IT IS the Far East market which is the principal aim of this jaunt though and the magnitude of the Barclays Asia Trophy is immediately evident on arriving in Hong Kong.

Billboards advertising the tournament are plastered across the airport and on buses meandering through the city’s crowded streets, while tickets for Saturday’s final round of games are in the realms of gold-dust.

The Premier League is big business here. Across the street from my hotel, a branch of the Manchester United Soccer School started training at 8am yesterday morning.

The new Chelsea kit is advertised prominently across the tube network, while the headquarters of Standard Chartered gives more priority to its sponsorship of Liverpool in the foyer than in any of its banking products.

But the prize for the biggest Premier League super-fan has to go to the father of one 10-year-old who presented John O’Shea with a pennant at Hong Kong airport on Sunday.

This whipper-snapper went by the name of Keane Wong. Yes, after Roy.