Hong Kong Soccer Sevens blog: Total football and Kiwis reunited
Dan Harrison's latest blog from the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens 2013.
24th May 2013
Hong Kong Soccer Sevens blog: Total football and Kiwis reunited

Villa's young guns were able to pick up a few tips from the architects of Total Football when the Hong Kong International Soccer Sevens officially got underway.

The event kicked off with a series of games in the Masters competition on Friday evening.

Darren Anderton had the honour of scoring the first goal of the 2013 tournament as Discovery Bay opened up with a 1-0 win over the HKFC Chairman's Select.

But the big crowd-pleasers were defending champions Ajax, who turned on the style with a 3-1 win over Kowloon CC Veterans.

The Villa players and staff were keen observers as the likes of Jari Litmanen, Kenneth Perez and Aron Winter produced an elegant display on the astro-turf.

Not a bad group of players for the boys in claret and blue to watch and learn from.

Hong Kong

Jordan Lyden and Henry Cowans caused a chuckle amongst the Villa staff after testing out Hong Kong Football Club's golf simulator - and it had nothing to do with the quality of their play.

The impressive piece of technology allows golfers to have a crack at simulated versions of the world's top courses.

So, having flown thousands of miles around the world to pitch up at Hong Kong Football club, which course did the young duo opt to tackle?

You guessed it, the Belfry - which is, of course, located on the doorstep of Villa's Bodymoor Heath training ground!

Hong Kong

Joe Jordan was the guest speaker at the traditional pre-tournament Sportsman's Dinner held at Hong Kong Football Club.

The Scotsman told a host of entertaining anecdotes from his playing career - notably his spells at Leeds, Manchester United and Milan - as well as his extensive coaching career.

In one particularly amusing tale, Jordan recalled how he was approached by Bayern Munich via a phone call from legendary boss Dettmar Cramer.

Suspecting it may be a wind-up by Leeds team-mates Johnny Giles and Billy Bremner, Jordan allowed close pal Gordon McQueen to deal with the call.

In reply to Mr Cramer's advances, McQueen mischievously said: "I'll only come if you sign the great Gordon McQueen too."

Needless to say Jordan's big move to Bavaria never materialised!

All of the teams in both the Main and Masters tournaments were present at the dinner, with Soccer Sevens chairman Tony Bratsanos once again giving Villa a warm welcome during his introduction.

Hong Kong

Last night's Sportsman's Dinner was also the scene of a reunion for two of Villa's backroom staff.

Performance analyst Chris Bradley and physio Adam Crump had the opportunity to catch up with New Zealand national team head coach Ricki Herbert, who is taking charge of a star-studded Discovery Bay side in the Masters tournament.

New Zealander Crumpy previously worked with Herbert at A-League side Wellington Phoenix, while Australian-born Bradders was part of the All-Whites staff for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, along with another ex-Villa employee Kenny McMillan.

Herbert - who spent two years at Wolves as a player under Tommy Docherty in the mid-1980s - has the likes of Teddy Sheringham, Peter Beardsley, Darren Anderson and David Howells at his disposal this weekend for Discovery Bay.

Once again the Soccer Sevens organisers have done a fine job of pulling together a classy 68-page official tournament programme.

The publication features a comprehensive guide to all the teams, fixtures and competition rules in both English and Chinese.

There is a double-page spread on five-time winners Villa, including a prominent action shot of last season's player of the tournament Daniel Johnson.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Don't forget, you can follow Villa's Soccer Sevens progress here with our live text coverage when the action gets underway on Saturday morning.

But UK supporters will have to set their alarm clocks for the early hours, with the first match against Kowloon Cricket Club kicking off at approximately 2.50am.

There will be live updates, team news, reaction and supporter interaction throughout the day as Sean Verity's team play their three group matches.

To whet the appetite for the tournament, check out AVTV's Hong Kong Soccer Sevens preview video now.

Snap up your season tickets for 2013-14.

dan harrison,
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