Posted by hanoiswans on January 16, 2009
Yesterday, Coach and Saigon President of the Vietnam Swans, Scott Stacey, left Vietnam for the last time as a resident.
Below, Stacey reflects - and says farewell to his mighty Vietnam Swans.
This week I leave Vietnam after 8 ½ years of living the expat (dream / nightmare) life under the little yellow star and I guess I have survived with everything largely intact so, for that alone, I owe a huge bucket of gratitude to the friends that have helped me and my family achieve that wondrous feat.
But first, a reflection on my life with the Swans.
We arrived in Hanoi in mid-2000 when times were still rough but the expat of the times lived a pretend semi-colonial life where cocktail parties were followed by theme parties every weekend. The largest decision was whether to make your driver work on Saturday night or your cyclo rider.
Being a loyal Crows supporter, I certainly knew how to sip a champagne or two. But, equally, I knew something was missing - some feral element I knew life needed to cope with the surreal life Hanoi was throwing me.
That element came to my head one day, a couple of months into my tour, in the form of a dirty old VB tank top and a Port Power scarf. Yes, Bubbles aka Wayne Tinlin could never be accused of losing his feral, docker origins and the leather was suddenly back in my life.
Micky F, Pumper, Potsy and the boys all started to come together when Aus-TV started broadcasting games. The Panel in the top room of Pepperonis (Hanoi) was soon formed (later to be renamed as the Bobby Skilton Room) and the origins of the Swans had begun. My life had counter balance again.
Over the years the Swans have formed, played their first matches, had their first tour, eventually won their first game and moved national.
My role in all of that has been all but insignificant but what the growth of the Club has done for me has been enormous. The pleasure of having a kick and pretending to stay fit, the after practice beers at the local, the games in the awesome Swannies jumper and the pure camaraderie that comes with the footy club has been a godsend to me. It has made life a pleasure in a place where frustration levels can smother you.
The Asian Champs in Bangkok in 2007 and in Singapore in 2008 were huge highlights of my life in Asia. The last tour we made in November 2008 (the Indochina Cup between Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Lao) by bus to Cambodia was simply the pinnacle. I just don’t think there will ever be better tours than that for me again. I would be shocked if they were beaten.
The Swans have a reputation in Asia as being great hosts, great guys and best off-field performers. I whole heartedly concur.
To everyone associated with the Mighty Swans I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I wish everyone a great future, many games, no injuries and plenty of wins in the Swans jumper.
Anyone coming through Coffs Harbour (NSW) always has a cold beer waiting and I will do my best to keep in touch with you all.
Carn the Swannies!