By 90Min
October 18, 2017

Football manager fan Huang Wenbin couldn't help but grow a real affinity for Runcorn FC Halton after managing them on Championship Manager 01/02.

Wenbin, a Liverpool fan first and foremost, took the club from the conference to the Premier League, turning them into quite the formidable side, also signing the likes of Steven Gerrard, David Beckham, Roy Keane and Ruud van Nistelrooy during his spell as manager.

Image by Kavan Flavius

15 years later, the 37-year-old Chinese football fan made the 6,000 mile journey from his country to visit Runcorn, who now play as the Runcorn Linnets following their collapse in 2006.

"The first time I made the decision to find Runcorn FC was in 2015," Wenbin told the Mirror, having travelled to Liverpool with his wife Lin Xiaoru, and their two children.

"I went to Liverpool by train to watch Steven Gerrard’s last match at Anfield.

"When the train was parking, I saw a sign for Runcorn. I told my friend I will be there again to find my club."

Wenbin set up a Twitter account after landing in England to contact the club, who currently compete in the country's ninth tier. And on Sunday, he finally made it happen, despite getting lost. To his surprise, there were also persons waiting to greet him at the gate.

"We all breathed a sigh of relief when we saw that someone was waiting for us in front of the stadium. We spent over 24 hours to arrive in Liverpool from Xiamen in China.

"We missed the bus station and got lost on the road in the countryside near Runcorn Linnets.

"We spent three hours trying to find the club. It must be my false for my poor English speaking and listening."

Club chairman Mark Buckley was on hand to give the family a tour of Runcorn's stadium, also handing them a box of souvenirs inclusive of club badges and jerseys.

"Mark is such an easy going person and he introduced the Runcorn Linnets club to us," Wenbin said.

"He brought us a box of club souvenirs, such as a badge which my son wore on his clothes immediately.

"My son wanted to kick a ball on the pitch. Mark was so kind to let him do that and my son enjoyed himself to the full."

"I don’t think he realised that he was quite big news," Buckley told the paper. "He seemed quite astonished that we were happy to see him. We have a Swedish fans group and a Norwegian fans group, but China is a little bit special.

"It’s such a different culture and it is so far away. I don’t think he realised that we were as glad to see him as he was glad to see us."

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)