The Flyer (2011 Asian Champs) says to the former - and very regal - Hanoi Prez, DT (pictured on first Swannies tour, KL, May 2005), "I want to talk to you for 5 minutes!"
Dave Kainey is “The Flyer”. And he’s just asked the former President of the original Hanoi Swans from 2005-06, Daryl “DT/Smooth” Taber for 5 Minutes…
1. Smooth, you arrived in Hanoi (you thought as a teacher at the UN International School (UNIS)) to have a run with the original Hanoi Swans outfit and set up an Auskick Program. How did this all happen from your point of view?
Our Elementary Principal was a Hanoi Swans fan and Ambassador of the club, Colleen Breheney. She proudly told me about the Swans as did you on my first official work day.
DT with his Auskickers at UNIS in 2006 - all dressed in Swannies' tops.
Auskick was fun. I’d been involved with it in many schools in Aus. You were the most enthusiastic of all, Dave, and I just enjoyed the assistant’s role initially.
We had kids from all over the planet and they were as keen as mustard. In my 2nd year, I arranged to meet Dan ‘the man’ Hogarth, who was working in an AFL store in Melbourne and he gave me a real good deal on some kids footies (nudge, nudge; wink, wink!) to take back to Hanoi!
The highlight was our boys and girls playing before the main games at UNIS. The lowlight was Phil “Fabbo” Johns ‘taking out’ a skinny 10 year old in a scratch match. For an awful few seconds I really thought Fabbo had taken the killer instinct pep talk a tad too far!
It was also very satisfying representing the Swans and donating goods to very needy street kids and also to some of the kids in the orphanages around town. We also got to play footy with them but they thought the shape of our ball was a bit strange.
(To read a summary of the Hanoi Swans involvement with the Warmhouse Orphanage and the beginning of the interest in supporting swimming initiatives, click onto Hanoi Swans help local kids.)
The Swans take on Thailand next to the National Stadium in Hanoi, November, 2005. (Proposed venue for 2012 Indochina Cup)
2. You took over the President’s role in 2005, a time when the club was emerging as a serious participant in Asian Football. What was your biggest challenge? And on a lighter note – what were some of the funny things that happened?
There are many fantastic memories, particularly of the people I worked closely with and others that would just walk in off the street and want to join us.
I inherited a great committee that was very generous, both with time and cash. Scott Stacey, Josh Magennis, Micky Francis, Big Trav Fennell, Michael Johnston and Phil Johns were great to work with. We needed to boost our numbers by attracting the many tourists and volunteer workers in Hanoi so we kept everything very affordable.
Very early on, we strived to ‘sell’ tours to Vietnam in Asian Footy circles. We couldn’t be the best team but we aimed to be the best hosts. We laid it on thick right from the start including transport for visiting teams, outstanding playing venues that included the Vietnam National Stadium, and plenty of local cuisine and culture.
A younger, quieter and fitter Phil Johns emerged and one of the challenges we faced together was getting the website up and running. We’d wait in my classroom for hours for the ‘techy’ to arrive and in the meantime we discussed how to put some of our grand plans into place in what became our office at times.
The Swannies win the 2005 AFL Grand Final at Jacc's (now JASPAS), Hanoi!. Inset, DT catching flies at the 2006 GF.
Of course, the good times in Hanoi included fantastic AFL Grand Final functions, held on the 4th Floor of Hanoi Towers, then known as JACC’s (now known as JASPAS). We put in a lot of work to ensure people had a great day.
In 2005, the Sydney Swans, wearing our strip, triumphed over the West Coast Eagles, just. That was the ‘Leo Barry Mark’ year. West Coast got their revenge the following year winning by a point in another classic.
Another GF had our own stalwart, Bubbles, ‘popping’ everywhere when his very own Port Adelaide won (Bubbles ended up blowing bubbles when he found himself having an unscheduled swim in the pool). A lot of guests commented that our GF function had been the best day of their Asian trip.
Another highlight was the look on Gus McEwin’s face was pretty funny when I genuinely asked him to be skipper after Jarrod Dale did his knee the game beforehand!
Going to the salubrious Barracuda Bar (owned by Swannies Mick Francis, Trav Fennell and Clint Lambert) early mornings to watch the AFL Finals was surreal as the Bar and staff had barely recovered from a typically huge night.
The Swannies take on the AFL ALL Stars at Dead Cat Stadium in Hanoi, Oct 2006.
I also remember playing an AFL All Stars tour group at Dead Cat Stadium (players included triple premiership player Clarke Keating and single premiershippers Aaron Keating and Craig Starcevich. There was also the late Rob Dickson and St Kilda’s Sammy Gilbert who went on to become an infamous photographer).
They were on a tour through Vietnam with CARE Australia to raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS prevention). We had about 20 players in Swans jerseys on the soccer pitch at once, in the ‘dark’, all trying to get a stat against the stars.
When the footy went over the fence we’d sprint to get it as quick as possible before it was whisked away by a passing motorbike (actually, on one occasion the motorcyclist won).
(Read on the trip including the footy match against the Swannies.)
Part II of DT’s 5 Minutes with the Flyer will appear in the next couple of days when we’ll find out how the Hanoi Swans recruited players as well as “Taber Talk” and what it’s like living in Bandung, Indonesia.