It’s been eight years since Manchester United last played in Hong Kong. On that occasion, in 2005, the Reds beat the national team 2-0 thanks to goals by Dong Fangzhou and Giuseppe Rossi.
With David Moyes’ men due to arrive in Hong Kong on Saturday ahead of a match against Kitchee FC on Monday 29 July, we spoke with Bob Yeung, the chairman of the country’s official Manchester United Supporters Club.
What was the reaction among United fans in Hong Kong when the match was announced?
We were naturally delighted to see United returning to Hong Kong. Manchester United is, without doubt, the most popular football team in Hong Kong and this is demonstrated by the fact that the tickets that went on public sale were sold out within four hours. Not many supporters from the Far East can afford a trip to see United at Old Trafford and we just can't wait to welcome United to our hometown.
Were you at the game in 2005, and what are your memories of that tour?
Yes I was. Back then I was (and still am) the webmaster of a Chinese-language United fan site. We organised to have more than 200 supporters gathering at the entrance of the stadium before kick-off for a photoshoot. Those photos were widely seen in the press and in a recent visit to Manchester I even saw one of the photos shown on display at the National Football Museum. I was very proud of this and we hope to do an even bigger photoshoot this year!
What kind of reception can United players expect from Hong Kong fans?
It will be massive! Although the Barclays Asia Trophy (featuring Manchester City, Tottenham and Sunderland) will be played just a few days before United arrives, this is nowhere as big as United's game in Hong Kong. As I've said, United is Hong Kong's favourite team. You can expect to see flocks of supporters hoping to see the players at the airport, in the hotel, or basically anywhere they are going! As for our Supporters Club, we are keen to recreate the Stretford End atmosphere at the South Stand of the stadium during the game. We have quite a number of very vocal supporters and we will make sure United becomes the home team for the day.