Hong Kong diary day five: Savouring Emirates ecstasy from afar
15th May 2011
Ian Taylor video blog day two on AVTV - click here.
Ian Taylor video blog day three on AVTV - click here.
Ian Taylor video blog day four on AVTV - click here.
Ian Taylor video blog day five on AVTV - click here.
Oh, what a night. The claret and blue bandwagon was in full force at Maya bar in the busy Wanchai district of Hong Kong.
Our supporters' night could not have got any better - three points against Arsenal, Villa fans savouring the moment together in the Far East and the natives singing "There's only one Ian Taylor."
We even gained a couple of new supporters along the way.
Around 30 people came along to view the 2-1 victory over Arsenal - a mixture of locals, Expats and members of the Hong Kong Lions.
Tayls was engaging company as always and the club legend's presence certainly added to the banter.
"Taylor's on his Twitter," they sang as the ex-midfielder took a brief opportunity to scroll through his phone.
There was also an incredible rendition of "Holte Enders in Hong Kong" before the action got underway.
Even the bar staff got in on the act - donning Villa training tops, while the girls used our limited edition pin pages as earrings.
A prize draw to give away two home shirts - one of them signed by the first team squad - went down a storm.
The result, courtesy of Darren Bent's brilliant brace, made an already brilliant night extra special and the claret and blue gospel was well and truly spread around Hong Kong.
Not only did the claret and blues go out of the competition in the cruellest possible fashion - a penalty shootout defeat to Celtic - they shipped just one goal in open play in six matches this weekend.
The frenetic quarter-final against the boys from Glasgow showed us a few of the unique elements of this amazing tournament, which really comes in to its own in the knockout stages.
Games finishing all-square at the end of normal time are followed by two short four-versus-four golden goal extra-time periods, with the vogue amongst most sides being to replace the conventional goalkeeper with a 'rush' custodian.
It makes for fascinating viewing as we saw yesterday when Chris Herd carried out such a role for Villa - although unfortunately there was no winning goal and the last eight tie had to be decided from the spot.
One team at this year's Sevens came within a whisker of achieving the dubious honour of going home with silverware despite not winning a single match.
Singapore Cricket Club Tigers lost all three of their group fixtures in the Masters tournament.
It meant the Tigers dropped in to the Maters Plate on Sunday, where a semi-final penalty shootout victory left them one game away from the most bizarre of tournament triumphs.
The Masters Plate showdown against KFC Tokyo also went to the wire and, after an epic penalty shootout which seemingly nobody wanted to win, the Expats side triumphed 4-3.
But the Tigers still departed with Masters Plate runners-up medals - without achieving a victory in open play.
Every team in the HKFC International Soccer Sevens has a liaison officer assigned to them by the tournament organisers.
When the chance to take on such a role for his beloved Villa came up Damian had no hesitation in putting his hand up - and he has done fine job of looking after us this week.
Damian left England in 1973 when he was just six-years-old. His incredible journey has taken him to Jamaica, Malawai and now Hong Kong - but he has never lost his passion for all things claret and blue.
His three daughters - Lucy, Lisa and Lilly - all have Villa as middle names.
Ian Taylor and Bryan Jones have certainly been men in demand when it comes to media duties during this week-long trip.
As well as giving interviews to several national terrestrial TV stations at the Nike 'Be A Pro' event, Villa's ambassador and academy director faced the Now TV cameras.
Now TV are the HKFC International Sevens tournament broadcasters, so not only were Tayls and Bryan seen across Hong Kong, their thoughts were also aired on a variety of TV screens located around Hong Kong Football Club complex.
Both briefly chatted about the tournament itself as well as their overall thoughts on Villa's beneficial trip to the Far East.
Numerous readers have been asking me who the youngster was that joined the Villa squad on the podium in last year's Soccer Sevens trophy presentation photo.
As it happens we bumped in to the lad in question, Seb Lee, this weekend.
Local claret and blue fanatic Seb was back to see his favourite team in action along with his dad Richard and sister Lella.
The Lee family, who are based in Hong Kong, were all kitted out in Villa colours - and Seb was even able to lend a hand to Kevin MacDonald's team.
He stood pitchside for all of Villa's matches this weekend and handed out the water bottles to help keep the players hydrated in the sweltering Hong Kong heat.
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