Asia goes football crazy

May 1st, 2014 by admin

In the UK the presence of football stars in public during the off-season is usually a chance for some photos, autographs and a few squeals of delight. It’s not named the “silly season” for nothing and, between May and August, British newspapers run odd and often trivial stories about the English Premier League because, well, they have nothing better to do.

The term “silly season” was actually coined in 1861 and, in 1894, was listed in the Brewers Dictionary of Phrase & Fable.  But if you think that fans in the UK get silly during the EPL’s break,  you really haven’t seen anything. In Asia they go absolutely hysterical when teams like Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United go there during their preseason tour, turning all of Asia into the center of football madness and crazy behavior.

Much of the histrionics in Asia put anything in the UK to shame during the silly season and, if you’re really looking for something silly, you have to catch what some of the fans there will do in order to get a chance to meet and greet their football idols. It’s gotten to the point where, when the stars from the EPL return to Britain, they talk about the craziness with newspaper columnists and TV talk show hosts to no end.

For example, Arsenal team members will tell you about the Vietnamese fan who, when their sightseeing tour bus drove through Hanoi, ran alongside them for nearly 8 km.  He kept up with the tour bus the entire time, despite colliding with some trees and lampposts along the way and, in the end, he actually won the hearts of the players, who invited the spirited young lad onto their bus for a well-deserved picture and autograph session. The fact that these same fans spend millions on betting online for their stars to score or win or websites like M88 Vietnam, its crazy!

Then of course there are all of the screaming female fans, including one young Indonesian girl in Jakarta who, when she spotted Steven Gerrard, the captain of Liverpool, shouted out “Gerrard, I love you!” as he was taking part in a training session. When you consider that he plays for a team more than a 12-hour plane ride away, you realize how obsessed with the football many Asian people can to be.

The fact is, from Bangkok to Jakarta, Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur and practically every other major Asian city, you’ll find millions of people crazy about EPL teams. When they make their yearly tour there, fans seek them out morning, noon and night and literally besieged the hotels where they stay in hopes of getting even a glimpse of their sports idols.

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