As a youngster, I was pretty obsessed with playing football. Every spare moment was taken up with pursuing opportunities for a kick around and I was fortunate to live opposite another boy who was equally keen. Indeed he was good enough to play in the Gillingham squad in later years (and believe me when you come from small town Maidstone, playing for Gillingham - the only Kent team regularly playing in the league (albeit in the old third division) - one cannot count Maidstone United's ill-fated few years - was about as good as it gets). He had a friend who often came around who was also pretty good - playing Striker for Tonbridge Angels for a few years and so during the long hot Summers we played alternately cricket and football in the back garden. Cricket was if anything a bigger obsession in my younger days - I even used my Father's heavy roller to flatten the "wicket" at the bottom of the garden. The three of us used to play for a local junior side called "South Celtic" (sporting the famous green hoops on our jerseys) and also for our local village cricket team (with the unfortunate name of Loose)so sport was very much part of my early years - my Father was also a keen cricketer although his main game was rugby union.
Fast forward 40 years and A. is equally keen on football. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of premiership players as a result of his own obsession with Match Attax (the modern day equivalent of "Top Trumps" from my early youth), and this afternoon we played football in the bright sunshine at the Lakes Club. Apart from being quick, he has at the moment an ability to kick with both feet without apparent preference as well as a desire to "play football for a top premiership club when I grow up". He has promised to take me and E. to the Burg al Arab (a la Wayne Rooney)for a holiday if this happens so obviously we are very keen that he carries on playing!
Hong Kong did not really lend itself to playing casual football due to the lack of grass, space and the high humidity. The desert (certainly at this time of year) makes football very much more accessible - the local park has a great little area to use as a pitch and Al Safa park has acres of grass in which to play - all in pristine condition so whilst he is obviously going to need a lot of luck (and talent) at least he has the opportunity to enjoy and play the game.