The opening day of the 2013 VLeague is nearly here. I can’t quite contain my excitement. I’ve been talking about the upcoming season for months; boring anyone that would listen along the way.
I’ve decided to follow the 2013 season of Vietnamese professional football, officially known as the Eximbank VLeague. Due to various irregularities during the close season the start of this years championship was delayed; with a couple of teams disbanding due to financial constraints and then a period of restructuring. The season will start with 12 teams, and with the disbanding of Hanoi FC, the capital city has been left with just one team, making my choice of whom to ‘support’ much easier.
For the next six months I will be travelling throughout the beautiful country of Vietnam following the yellow and blue of Hanoi T&T.
The Vietnamese are huge football fans. Well, huge English Premier League (EPL) fans. Last weekend was a perfect example, Manchester City v Chelsea, as I headed out to watch the game I was soon confronted with cafes packed to the rafters with ‘EPL ‘ fans. I eventually found a solitary plastic stool available on the street corner, grabbed a cold beer and viewed the game through the tree branches that obstructed the view. They’ll be no such problem at the Hang Day Stadium this coming saturday.
Having followed my team in England throughout the country and on various European tours to imposing stadiums such as the San Siro and Bremen’s Wesserstadion, I find it hard not to get swept up in the passion and euphoria that’s attached to being part of the atmosphere of a live game.
I am hoping this season will give me the opportunity to meet some passionate VLeague football fans and find out if what drives them to follow their teams reflects those same feelings I have for football back home…..first stop Hang Day Stadium, Hanoi.