Hong Kong Soccer 7s blog: Fuel for Webby and Jones farewell
25th May 2014
It was pleasing to see that the numbers have swelled once again since our last visit.
We've met up with a good mixture of expats - such as Richard Lee, Damian Trimingham and their families - and a healthy number of Chinese supporters such as Hong Kong Lions chairman Kidd So and his pal Sammer Wong.
Here are a selection of fan pictures from this year's tournament.
Tony Bratsanos - the tournament's chairman and organiser - is perhaps best placed to comment on the increase in Villa's popularity here.
He first invited the claret and blues to the Soccer 7s back in 2001 and has continued to give us a warm welcome every year since, apart from 2003 when the SARS outbreak prevented the competition from taking place.
Bratsanos is always gushing in his praise of five-time champions Villa because of the way the club has embraced the Soccer 7s.
The tournament chief also paid a glowing tribute to retiring academy director Bryan Jones at Sunday's closing ceremony.
He thanked Jones for his commitment to the event and his help in boosting its profile by bringing players such as Gabby Agbonlahor, Gary Cahill, Craig Gardner and Marc Albrighton out here.
Check out our interview with Bratsanos, in which he discusses Villa's Soccer 7s history.
Josh Webb took part in his first media interview on Saturday - and we learned about the incentive that "fuelled" his goalscoring exploits.
Webby's dad Chris got up in the early hours back home in England to follow our coverage of Villa's Hong Kong Soccer 7s matches.
And his decision paid off as his son bagged a rare goal in the 2-0 win over Leicester.
We later found out that Chris had promised to fill up 19-year-old Josh's car if he found the net this weekend.
The young defender said: "I'll take that. At least I should have a full tank of petrol when I get home now."
It was great to see former Villa man Alan Wright taking part in the Masters tournament as part of the Citibank Allstars team.
Wright - who starred in the same side as Carlton Palmer, Seth Johnson and Deon Burton - is as down-to-earth and friendly as they come.
However, the disparity in height of almost a foot between the two of us gave the diminutive ex-full-back slight cause for concern when he stood behind me in the queue for the buffet.
"Go on big man - get that plate loaded up," he said.
"I don't mess around when it comes to food," I replied.
"Yeah, I can tell," Wright added.
Cheers for that, Alan!
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