Spartans has a proud tradition of arranging football tours around the region, starting with loosely named touring teams such as Western Dragons and Barnestoneworth United that were comprised mainly of players playing for Wanchai Spartans. In total the club has toured 12 different countries since 1991/1992, including North Korea, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan, China, Macau, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and now South Korea. There are plans in the next year to tour Vladivostok, Russia and Gold Coast, Australia….who knows where the Spartans may end up.
Spartans on the whole have very rarely done well on tour – football-wise that is. However, the tour is always rescued by some quite prodigious extracurricular activities. Under the long standing Kai Tak Rules Treaty of 1845, what goes on tour stays on tour, but suffice to say socializing and drinking plays a large role in this department. We asked a few Spartans what was their most memorable tour and why…
“The recent Sohos tour to Hanoi was definitely my pick of bunch. The hottest game of football in the most hungover state in the most dilapidated Soviet-era pitch ever; El Tel’s ‘Man of the Tour’ antics; Rick Man‘s face when he won ‘Mug of the Tour’; drunken moto-rides through back streets at 3am; Rob’s cock-blocking hotel manager and Randy’s subsequent TripAdvisor review; and the whole squad singing Robbie Williams’ Angels in the bar at the backpackers after far too many ’hand-grenade’ tequila/jagerbomb shots “….. Paul (Pablo) Kay
“Always the BKK tours were the best. For older Spartans, we will remember.” …..Jon (Flabbo) Southgate
“The best Spartan that was never a Spartan” and this was Kevin Faure. A truly awful footballer but my first name on any tour sheet despite him never playing for us. I recall one time we were in a charming massage establishment and from another room I heard Kevin’s voice… “Clive she wants me to take all my gear off, what do I do?”, to which I immediately advised him to get his kit off but keep his beautiful fluffy socks on that he so loved. A legend was born: Kevin ‘Fluffy’ Faure“ …….Clive (Hitler) Bunyard
Andy “Boris” Blank has been involved in the Hong Kong Football scene forever. Not only did he help create Wanchai Spartans FC along with Bunyard, he also started Studz FC (now Discovery Bay FC) and Monopoly (now Club Tropicana). These days he’s a man of mystery, jetting around the world, and if you’re lucky you might bump into him briefly at some random airport in some distant land. However, if you ever meet Andy, he always greets you with a big smile and an infectiously positive attitude about life, and of course his trademark gold chain around his neck.
We asked past and present Spartans for their views on the great man…. Bunyard: “I was the first to see him score…”
Flabbo: “…and the last…it wasn’t even over the line…”
PB: “…No, y’right…and it was offside too…”
Boots Gallacher: “…full-time whistle was blown minutes before…”
Boots: “…he was fuckin’ shite… I only use to pick him cos he was sponsoring the team…”
FS: “…and the shirts were too tight…” We salute you Boris, wherever you may be.
Flabbo is considered by many as ‘Mr Spartans’ himself, and with good reason. He is the longestserving Sundays manager of all time and was part of the first ever Spartans team in 1991. He currently lives in Atlanta, USA and has so many children that the only reason he played football was as a means of contraception.
Flabbo’s playing style was once described by Yo Yo Yo as nocturnal. Dark and mysterious, you never knew where the ball would go but he always scored. Flabbo managed many tours to Manila and Bangkok over the years and will forever be part of Spartans folklore. One of the true Spartans legends…. Flabbo.
“Bangkok when we came third, (the team photo still in the stag) being beaten by eventual Winners Shanghai shooters & having to take penalties against a naked goalkeeper Very unnerving indeed” …. Paul (Governor) Hoy “Manilla 2002.
We were pants. Jim Grant threw a proper wobbly. I threw my footy boots in the pool. We started drinking and it was all ok again.” …. Rick (Oggy)Ogden
“Bangkok…the year (2009) when we won a very low level trophy and my goal celebration consisted of me running straight off the pitch and into a taxi to go to the airport. Same year i was in goal for the peno’s …All a blur. ……Stevie (G) Gordon
Best tour was my first tour to Bangkok three years ago. We only had a small group, H, Hoy, Stef, Aidan, El Tel, Sanj, etc but just an amazing experience was my first tour ever. Started with drinks with Hoy and El Tel watching El Tel get shot down by a couple of 6′ tall ladyboys and ended in Spicys three days later at 4 am after a crazy tour. …..Dan (Harassment ) Harrison
Haven’t been on tour…….Tony (rock) Choi
Best Spartans tour, Hanoi! The best group of lads and a complete monumental failure in our ability to actually play football when we were there because everyone had gone so hard the night before. Matt Coombes
North Korea. One Spartan who will remain nameless didn’t join the bus from the hotel in Bejing to the airport because he meet a girl and stayed at hers, woke up late and only just made the flight. Richard (Tiny) Cowley
Bangkok 1997 I think ! My first Jon Westerby