“I look forward to facing Tottenham, although I expect us to lose” – Ever the realist, Ken Ng was in jovial mood as he addressed the packed room of journalists at The Harbour Grand Kowloon Hotel yesterday afternoon. In keeping with the palatial surroundings, Mr. Ng was flanked by a number of esteemed guests, most notably the former Tottenham captain and England international Ledley King.
On the agenda for this much-anticipated press conference was, among other things, the announcement of the Jockey Club Challenge Cup clash with Tottenham, a question & answer session with Mr. King and Tottenham’s Head of Business Development Aidan Mullally, as well as the unveiling of Kitchee’s new 2017/18 season home kit. While critics may argue that the May 26th fixture will be largely unwanted by an inevitably fatigued ‘Spurs squad, the fact that they will be facing a period of international fixtures the following week means that it is by no means a postponement of their summer holidays. For Tottenham, the fixture represents a perfect opportunity to increase their following in Hong Kong, while perhaps monitoring some local talent (surely they have noticed Sandro’s goal scoring form this season!).
Joking aside, Mr Mullally did congratulate Kitchee on their recent league victory, while also acknowledging that Kitchee are on the verge of completing a historic treble this campaign. As the afternoon progressed, the Q&A session began, and Mr. King was faced with a litany of questions from the audience, among whom were the Hong Kong Tottenham Supporters Club. Even Offside.hk’s own reporter on duty managed to get a question in, quizzing Ledley on whether or not he would have considered a move to China, or indeed Hong Kong, in his twilight years if his career had not been cut short by injury. “You can never say never, but honestly I was only ever focussed on winning trophies for Tottenham” said home-grown hero King, who amassed 321 appearances over a 14-year spell at the club. As one of the most gifted defenders to grace the Premier League, surely King will have taken note of Kitchee’s own mean defence, which has conceded just 8 goals over the course of this glorious campaign. “I can’t reveal our secrets” was King’s reply when asked by an ambitious journalist to advise Kitchee on how they can overcome the much fancied Spurs side, a wise answer considering that Kitchee Head Coach Alex Chu was among those present.
The subsequent unveiling of Kitchee’s new home jersey was greeted with a frenzy of cameras flashing. Indeed, Kitchee’s new home kit is worth the attention, changing once again the shade of blue. That said, its striking similarity with the kit worn by CSL club Guangzhou R&F last season, as well as Shanghai Shenhua this year, has not gone unnoticed. The new sponsor Stubhub will allegedly only appear on the kit for the Tottenham game and will not be the regular chest sponsor for next season.
Kitchee’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur will take place on Friday the 26th of May at Hong Kong Stadium (8pm Kick Off). Tickets are available from www.stubhub.hk as early as 10th of May, 10 am. Starting from 15 May, tickets will also be sold via cityline (online, phone and outlets). Fans are advised to buy early to avoid disappointment. The price categories are HK$ 680 / 480 / 330 / 180.