Ever wondered what it’s like working for a football club in Hong Kong? Jeff Hardbattle spoke to Yuen Long FC’s fan page administrator Richie Heung about life working for the New Territories side.
How did you become involved with working at the club?
I live just 5 mins away from Yuen Long Stadium. One day I went jogging and saw a team of handsome, energetic guys warming up, so I took video of them and posted it on Facebook and YouTube after finding out that they were actually the Yuen Long Football Team. Then one of the fans invited me to join their cheering team group to start off all the Facebook promotion. We wanted to use the Facebook platform to interact with the football players, the coach, the boss and the fans. We started taking pictures, making behind-the-scenes videos, and telling stories about different players. We also interview the coach and the team, to create a family atmosphere between the fans and the players.
What kind of work are you currently involved in?
Yuen Long haven’t had the best start to the season, and we don’t have a home game until the 29th November due to maintenance at Yuen Long Stadium. We need to keep up the spirit of Yuen Long’s supporters as well as connecting with fans from other districts, as we have a new coach and new team players that bring with them their own set of fans. So we post on Facebook everyday to keep everyone up to date with the club news and inside stories. We also form a cheering team at every game, to echo the HK Premier League theme “LET’S GO CRAZY”. We are trying to create different atmosphere at every match! We recently made homemade mooncakes with Yuen Long and (Yuen Long FC midfielder) Yuan Yang logos on them and shared them with fans at the stadium on mid-autumn festival day.
Once we’ve played our first home game on the 29th November, we aim to arrange more fan gatherings and a BBQ party with the team. Many of the Yuen Long players are now also teaching kids football for the club’s ‘SEED’ training programme. It’s very meaningful to bring together the whole community – the parents, the kids, the youth team, the fans and the team as a whole to support local football.
We do have some European, Brazilian, Spanish and Japanese fans who currently follow our page, as they are friends or family of our foreign players. We also welcome any foreign expatriates who live in Yuen Long who want to support the team. We will try to provide information bilingually as much as possible. Once we see there is a need, we will definitely do something more tailor-made for this set of fans.
What makes supporting Yuen Long stand out from other clubs?
Yuen Long has the biggest base of fans among the three district teams in the HK Premier League. Our attendance last season was the 4th best in the league, and we had almost 2000 fans coming to watch the final game of last season. We treasure our community. Yuen Long itself is also a developing town with lots of new residents moving in, and it would be so meaningful to use football as a key to make people feel at home here.
Finally, what’s been the highlight of your time with the club?
The highlight, of course, has been meeting our idol and heroic player Yuan Yang, who really treasures the fans and treats us as his friends. We learn a lot from him – to strike for life, determination, and no matter how hard things get to keep going and fight for Yuen Long!
Yuen Long play their first home game at Yuen Long Stadium on the 29th November where they’ll be taking on Southern. Fans will be able to purchase membership cards for $240 ($80 for senior citizens and children) as well as the club jersey which will be on sale for $459 for membership card holders (RRP $499).