One of the big attractions of moving to England is that it allows me to better practise my religion. It’s not churches I have in mind, although my spiritual experiences also require faith, commitment and singing. I frequently make the pilgrimage to The Emirates Stadium, in North London, to watch Arsenal play football. For me, this is more than just a form of entertainment. It is part of my identity. Both my grandfathers lived near Highbury (Arsenal’s former stadium, from which they moved to The Emirates in 2006) in 1913, when Arsenal moved there from South London. My father took me to my first match more than 50 years ago. My mother is a fanatical supporter. Going to matches in the 1980s, in the days of football hooliganism, could be dangerous. But the thrill of the game made attendance imperative. Missing out on games was a big sacrifice when I moved to Hong Kong in 1994. Following English football from afar is not easy. In the ’90s, all we had was a weekly television show of highlights from the week. Now, thanks to pay TV, all Premier League matches are screened live. But the timing, mostly late at night, is inconvenient. Watching the television is, however, no substitute for being at the game, and Hong Kong’s top-flight matches are well worth attending. My eldest son is a professional footballer in the city. I desperately miss seeing him play. Hong Kong football is underrated. It is a far cry from the English Premier League, but the matches offer a genuine footballing experience. The fans are passionate and there is a good atmosphere for big games. Much as I enjoyed Hong Kong football, I eagerly anticipated returning to watch Arsenal and chose a good season. To everyone’s surprise, the team is in contention for the league title. The 60,000-capacity crowd is vociferous. Goals are greeted with wild celebrations. It is the best form of escapism I know. My wife is not a football fan. She has long resisted my attempts to interest her, branding them “cultural colonisation”. But even she enjoys her occasional trips to The Emirates. She does not know (or care) whether Arsenal are playing well, but loves the atmosphere. Like religion, football comes with its doubts. Writer Nick Hornby wrote that the natural state of the football fan is bitter disappointment. That might ultimately be the fate that awaits me this season. But in the meantime, I will keep on believing and maybe say a few prayers.