Football: Stoke City, born and bred

Football: Stoke City, born and bred
Stoke City's Bosnian goalkeeper Asmir Begovic (C) punches the ball away as Chelsea's English defender Gary Cahill (L) and Chelsea's Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic (2R) threaten during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Stoke City at Stamford Bridge in London on April 4, 2015.
PHOTO: AFP

Judith Slater, the UK's Deputy High Commissioner, Singapore, is a lifelong Potters fan who is gearing up to catch her favourites at this month's Barclays Asia Trophy 2015.

1. How did you end up supporting Stoke City?

I support them because that is where I come from. My father was the solicitor for Stoke City and used to take me to matches.

2. What do you remember of the first time you saw Stoke play?

Stoke beat Queens Park Rangers 4-1. They were in the top flight, the old First Division, and going through a very good period.

They had just won the League Cup in 1972, their only major trophy to date, and had got into Europe.

I remember them winning most of their home matches but are not doing so well away.

3. Who's your favourite all-time Stoke player?

Alan Hudson. He was such a classy player, with amazing ball skills.

4. Who's your current favourite Stoke player?

Charlie Adam is doing brilliantly at the moment and I like Bojan Krkic as well. He was doing some amazing things but sadly injury stopped him last season. Hopefully, this coming season he will kick on.

5. How do you follow Stoke in Singapore?

The coverage here is fantastic. Every single Premier League match is televised live. You can watch six or seven at the same time, if possible.

It is just a question of staying up late sometimes. Teams like Stoke don't attract so much publicity but they do when they beat Liverpool 6-1, or when they beat Arsenal or Man City, as they did last season.

Most people here are following those teams or Man United but they have been beaten by Stoke so we are gradually getting more attention.

You can watch in bars, but I watch them mainly at home because it is late at night. In my job, I'm often out during the week so come the weekend I quite like to watch at home.

6. What do you think of the Barclays Asia Trophy 2015 in Singapore?

It will be very popular. A lot of people follow Arsenal here but Everton and Stoke have a few fans as well. It is coming at the right time because everybody will be in a good mood and there will be a nice party atmosphere, as well as anticipation. Singaporeans will soon be celebrating 50 years of independence so there will be a party atmosphere on the island.

7. How will it help your role representing Britain in Singapore?

It definitely helps in terms of soft power. It is a way for us to promote the UK as a base for talent creativity, sporting prowess and business acumen. We are intending to do things around it because it is huge advert for the UK.

When Formula 1 comes to Singapore, it is very British and we promote British engineering excellence around it. With the Barclays Asia Trophy and the arrival of the Premier League we can promote British sporting excellence and the cosmopolitan nature of Britain.

BARCLAYS ASIA TROPHY 2015

WHO: Arsenal, Everton, Stoke and Singapore Selection.

WHEN: July 15 and July 18, matches at 6pm and 8.30pm

WHERE: National Stadium

TICKET DETAILS: Ticket prices for July 15 range from $25 (Cat 4, child) to $145 (Cat 1). Prices for July 18 are from $28 to $155. Tickets can be bought at www.sportshubtix.sg, the box office at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and all SingPost outlets.


This article was first published on July 3, 2015.
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