Englishman Simon Clifford might just be one of the biggest success stories of the past decade. With no footballing background or experience, the 32-year-old former primary school teacher from Middlesbrough is now running one of the most successful footballing school franchises in the world. Clifford is head and founder of the International Confederation of Futebol de Salao (ICFDS). Futebol de Salao is the game Clifford introduced to Britain and his methods have spread like wildfire all over the UK - and now Asia. The revolutionary teaching method has arrived in Hong Kong and Clifford lent his expertise by conducting training sessions yesterday for local coaches and the Hong Kong Football Academy at Victoria Park and South Island School, respectively. His training system was devised six years ago while working closely with some of world football's biggest names - like Pele, Zico, Jairzinho, Rivelino, Careca, Juninho and Ronaldo - after putting together a highly comprehensive and effective skill-based football training programme. The University of Leeds sports science graduate undertook intensive research into the secrets behind Brazil's domination of football and implemented his findings into a coaching programme. According to Clifford, the system enables each child to develop into a creative, confident and more complete player. It would seem strange, then, that an Englishman is teaching the samba-style football that is synonymous with Brazil - especially since he only played recreationally and spent five years teaching in a primary school. But strange as it may seem, Clifford's methods have benefited thousands of youngsters. There are more than 400 schools using the method in Britain and more schools are being opened in North America, Africa and Australia. In a typical training session, Clifford puts his players through their paces by having them play futebol de salao, a fast-moving, five-a-side game of South American origin played on a hard pitch the size of a basketball court. A specially designed ball is used that is heavier and a lot smaller than a conventional football. 'We teach children how to be technically superior to other players, and to develop confidence and social skills which they can carry beyond the pitch,' said Clifford, who choreographed the football moves in the film Bend It Like Beckham. 'We place little importance on tactics or games at an early age, as children should be able to play in all positions and not be concerned about the pressures of results until they are older. The emphasis is on skill.' Clifford said having no footballing background has been an advantage to him as he saw himself as an 'open book'. 'A lot of famous coaches with little background in their sport have all become good coaches. Seb Coe's dad coached [his son] and you have Tiger Woods' dad and Richard Williams, the father of the Williams sisters,' he said. Edward Fordham, coaching director at the Hong Kong Football Academy, is embracing the new system. 'I am certain that the school in Hong Kong will be a success and that children will develop into exciting and creative players,' he said. Many professional clubs in England use the system and Clifford has worked with the English, Scottish and Irish football associations. 'If you would have asked me if I could have achieved all of this in 1996, I would have probably laughed,' said Clifford, whose life changed after befriending Middlesbrough midfield star Juninho. The Englishman's system first received attention when members of his group at his primary school in Leeds represented England in an under-15 tournament in the UK. His team represented England after the original squad had to pull out, but Clifford's group didn't disappoint, beating Scotland 3-2 before losing to Ireland 2-1. Now Clifford is hoping the same core members of this young group will sit up and take notice again - in 18 years' time. 'I bought Garforth Town football club, which is a non-league club who play three divisions below the league. I am hoping this same team will make the Premier League by the year 2020,' he said. With the success Clifford has enjoyed with this revolutionary system, don't bet against it.