Thursday 18 July 2013
When Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland fly out to Hong Kong this week for the Barclays Asia Trophy they will be travelling to the region with the most passionate football fans in the world, according to a Barclays survey of Barclays Premier League managers.
"The fans' appetite for the game is second to none and the players feel that when they visit Asia"
The survey, which was conducted for Barclays by the League Managers Association, had supporters in Asia voted the most passionate by a third of the managers polled. Some of these fans will get the chance to see an array of Barclays Premier League stars in action at the sixth Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong Stadium.
"Barclays Premier League teams are used to playing in different countries all over the world," David Ginola, the former Spurs player who is now an ambassador at the Barclays Asia Trophy for Barclays, said. "However, the fans in Asia are definitely among the most passionate in the world. Their appetite for the game is second to none and the players feel that when they visit Asia. The fans will play a big role in what promises to be an exciting Barclays Asia Trophy."
Among the stars in Hong Kong will be Tottenham's Gareth Bale, whom the managers voted the best player last season after scoring 21 league goals. The Welshman got 40% of the vote ahead of Liverpool's Luis Suarez (25%) and Manchester United's Robin van Persie (20%).
Van Persie was voted the signing of the season with more than half (55%) the managers giving him their vote, ahead of Swansea City’s Michu, who got a quarter of the vote.
Aston Villa's Christian Benteke was rated the best young player by more than half the managers, while Everton and Swansea jointly received the most votes as the clubs who had done best within their resources.
Almost half the managers said a key element for them for a successful pre-season was identifying an improvement in fitness. The chance to try out new tactics (20%) and team bonding (13%) were second and third.
A limited number of tickets are still available for semi-finals day and can be bought here.