How the mighty have stumbled

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 August, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 August, 2003, 12:00am

A die-hard fan of the Liverpool soccer team for over four decades, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa's discourse this week on its decline makes for worrying reading, not about soccer per se but the future of Hong Kong.

Perhaps it was to preempt questions about his being booed and jeered last Saturday while attending a Liverpool training session that he decided to treat a group of senior editors this week to a lengthy discussion on the British team's declining fortunes.

The chief executive, a fan of the Reds since he was an engineering student at the University of Liverpool in the late 1950s, said the management of the once-great football team had lost direction. 'Soccer has undergone drastic changes with fast-paced commercialisation,' Mr Tung said.

'You not only need a good coach, but policies, finance and promotion. Why are only Manchester United and Arsenal doing well? Because they were able to transform themselves.'

And he added: 'Liverpool are no longer one of the top 10 teams in the world. It's disappointing, but it's a fact.'

I don't know why, but I kept confusing Liverpool with Hong Kong when I was reading a transcript of his talk.