‘So you ended up in Singapore?’
‘Yes, you know…’ Stephen was cut off by the man he was taking to on the phone
‘Not quite Hong Kong though is it. Or Qatar. Or Saudi Arabia, you know these places I managed in’
‘Yes Dad, I’m well aware…’
Cut off again ‘I remember going to Hong Kong, I didn’t speak Hong Kongese by the way, so I had to learn things the hard way, not go to a country that mostly speaks English’
‘They speak Chinese in Hong Kong, and it’s not easy coming here you know’
‘Not as hard as going to Hong Kong, then on to Qatar via Israel and Saudi Arabia. Did I ever tell you about the time we won the cup and there were riots in Riyadh?’
‘Yeah, a few times, you were bombarded in the hotel and riot police had to escort you to the airport. You didn’t get on a plane because you were scared, so took a boat to Egypt, where luck would have it you managed to get the managers job at a team there’
‘Oh I have told you then. Listen, a bit of fatherly advice, don’t do anything stupid but don’t be afraid to take chances’
‘Isn’t that a bit counter productive?’
‘No. But listen, I still know a few people, some big names over there, so keep your ear on the ground yeah’ Before Stephen could answer his dad continued ‘Good luck son, gotta dash, your mothers threatening to invite your grandma round’
This was Stephen seniors way of trying to encourage his son. Whilst he was in Asia being a manager his time with his son was limited naturally. He was doing his best to make amends for lost time. Maybe a bit too heavy on the fatherly advice, but Stephen junior was grateful. Just like his dad he was starting his managerial career in a foreign country in Asia. But unlike his father, he was in a cup final within his first few months.
By the time Stephen and Rob had managed to navigate the first few weeks in charge, they’d got Hougang into the semi final of the league cup, losing only 1 game in that time.
The semi was a 1-legged affair, which saw Hougang put 5 past Tampines, a team they also beat 4-0 in Stephens first game, to set up a final clash against Home Untied (creative team name by the way, when they play away do they change to Away United or not?)
Before the first cup final, hopefully of many, of Stephens career, the words in the pre match brief were short and simple
‘No fucking around please. Go out there, score more than they do and bring me that trophy back here’
Keep it simple Steve, keep it simple.
Next chapter – FROMQUEBEC TO THE WORLD – 1 FOR THE ROAD
Previous chapter – FROM QUEBEC TO THE WORLD – CONTINUED
First chapter – FROM QUEBEC TO THE WORLD – THE BEGINNING