“I saw him play Blackpool of Armfield and Stanley Matthews in Hong Kong and it was clear to me that I wanted to be a professional England”. This is how he defined his desire after being absorbed by a football display that is difficult to see outside of Europe and South America. He decided to cross two continents and 10,000 km and show that he also has a place among the best.
Cheung Chi Doi (Hong Kong3/30/1941) was only 17 years old when the Blackpool He arrived in the city in the summer of ’58. Hong Kong It was far from the megalopolis it is today, but the seeds had certainly been sown, with the region re-emerging after the end of the Japanese occupation. When the teenager saw the exhibition of Blackpool he knows what he wants.
The tour of Blackpool FC for him Peaceful brought to Australia a group with more posters for achievements years before in FA Cup and a runner-up finish with real football potential, winning 12 games and scoring 67 goals. Currently he continues to fight from League One (third category) to reappear.
On the way back, the ‘Seasiders’ visit Hong Kong to play two exhibition matches, one against a local team, All Hong Kong, and another against a Chinese team. He Blackpool winning 3-1 and 10-1 respectively.
Fate conspired against him
Cheung He started in the lower categories in the local teams and even played in the Chinese team in a qualification match for Rome Olympic Games 1960 against South Koreabut his desire was something greater.
Two years after the English visit, at 19, Cheung traveled alone to Bloomfield Road and convinced the club to give him a trial in two friendlies. Impressed against Liverpool and Everton and the Blackpool he was signed as a professional in October 1960, a path that led him to become the first player of Hong Kong to play in the top flight of English football.
Announced at the starting eleven of Ron Suart At a time when there were very few foreign players in the English First Division, fate conspired against him as the moment he had been waiting for since 1958 was cut short. wolves, on January 14, 1961, was suspended after nine minutes due to fog. Instead, he made his official debut the following week against the Bolton Wanderers. By then, the stadium had already made history by hosting the first televised football match in England, but its debut was another notable occasion in history.
After playing with the first team, Cheung He returned to the reserve team where he established himself at the start of the 1961-62 season. A hat-trick in the opening match against Barnsley It set a good precedent. With nine goals in 17 Central League games, Cheung He had another opportunity in the first team as a right midfielder on November 25 against Sheffield Wednesday. He didn’t waste the opportunity and scored his only goal.
He played only one game in the reserve team, a 4-3 loss against Bolton the following Saturday. Before flying home for Christmas 1961, he canceled his contract by mutual agreement with the club. At the time of his departure, he was the top scorer of the reserve team. The main reason, the longing for his loved ones.
the american adventure
After playing for his country between 1962 and 1968 in various teams and becoming the team’s leading scorer Sing to Tao With 58 goals in 102 games over four seasons, a call would have him packing his bags in search of a new team away from his Hong Kong native And it will come from myth Sir Bobby Robson.
Robinson He started his sports career in Fulham and in the same Fulham He finished it in 1967. He then decided to get his coaching degree and gain experience in a league and a team where the demands were not so high. A newly created team at Canada as a franchise offered him the court: their names are Vancouver Royals and they will play on NASLthe football league USA which brought together nearly 5,000 fans. Robinson He signed for three years and became a player-coach. Unbelievably, he remembered that boy from his days at Fulham and the West Bromwich Albion and he looked for it. Cheung Chi Doi Not only did he become the highest paid player on the team, but he became one of the first signings of Robinson as a coach. But Robinson never ended in team management: a merger with another team of San Francisco with the Hungarian footballer Ferenc Puskas on the bench he made Robinson surrendered and in January 1968, the Fulham He was offered a contract as a coach, he accepted the position in Craven Cottage.
Not being one of the players of Puskas, Cheung It is not used regularly. He played only 11 games and scored two goals and decided in the same year to join the St. Louis Stars before returning to his hometown.
Cheung He is not the first player of Asian origin to play for England. That honor has fallen Frank Sooa Chinese-English footballer who went international with the ‘pros’ during the second world war in some friendships while he was at RAF (Royal Air Force). But this is another story that maybe one day will appear here
Source: La Verdad
I’m Rose Herman and I work as an author for Today Times Live. My expertise lies in writing about sports, a passion of mine that has been with me since childhood. As part of my job, I provide comprehensive coverage on everything from football to tennis to golf.