Willy’s mesmorising qualities on display during the Tri Nations Invitational, Hanoi 2003.

Dave Kainey is the Flyer and today, in the lead up to next weekend’s 6th Annual Indochina Cup in Hanoi, he catches up with former Hanoi President of the Vietnam Swans, Mark “Willy” Williams.

Mark ‘Willy’ Williams, what a privilege it is to have a man of your stature speaking to the Vietnam Swans community in the lead-up to the 2012 Indochina Cup, now in its 6th year, and being played in Hanoi.

1. Willy, in this segment we have heard a range of stories of how the Hanoi / Vietnam Swans appeared on people’s radar. What is your story?

Glad to oblige Flyer.

My introduction to the Swannies still is etched in my mind like it was only yesterday… the great Bobby Skilton Room. It was like I had found nirvana, the mecca, the Maccas that you crave first on tour ’cause Vietnam’s got none. Big Frank (Mick Francis), Flash, Bubbles, MJ, yourself and who could forget the Potsy factor, mate. The first and only true Swannie I have met that has faced Rodney Hogg in the nets and carved him for four! Right from the start it was like instant love. I knew I had truly found my Swan mate for life. Well, that’s how it appeared on my radar and it just seemed to go from there.

2. As a former player, captain, co-coach and president (outstanding resume), what were the challenges and successes for the Swans outfit in some or all of the mentioned roles?

The debonaire Willy has inspired a generation of wannabees with Swannies’ tailor-made suits.

I think, without doubt, in my role as Hanoi President. It was always not trying to look too damn’ good so the boys just didn’t feel so bad when stand’n next to me, Flyer. You know, how is a fellow Swannie gonna compete when he is stand’n next to a bloke with a tailor-made Swannies’ suit – with shirt to boot? I mean, seriously. And there was me sweat bands. I ultimately think they may have been me secret weapon.

As for the actual play’n, I have to confess I just used to follow Sammy Grigg around all day and occasionally he would be kind enough not to dob a sausage roll over my head and give me one. Oh, then there was Micky Francis runn’n into goal posts to make sure my goals snuck in when tour’n Malaysia.

As for my later years, I tried hang’n round Stanno but that just lead to internal club bicker’n so it was just as well Stanno got sent to Cambodia.

3. The 2012 Indochina Cup is upon us. The Swans have performed well in this tournament in the past under Scott ‘Pacey’ Stacey on numerous occasions and fought out games with determination and pride. For the last two years the Swans have been victorious and have a fierce desire to do the 3-peat and to continue earning respect in the Asia Pacific region.

How do you see the 2012 Indochina Cup shaping up as you ponder through your Scotch College, Geography, classroom window?

I have never seen the Swannies look’n soooo strong both on and off the field now that Gus is not play’n (Ed’s note: Gus is back!!). I just probably need to clarify something here, Flyer, and that is I don’t think it is fair to totally blame Scotty for some of our early efforts in the Indochina Cup. I think it’s a bit like blam’n Mattress Primus for the (Port) Power’s demise this season in the AFL.

Here we have almost two parallel forces in action. In Matty’s case, he was just so committed to stand’n tall off the field to meet the social needs of his female supporters.

In Stacey Pacey’s case, it was that often we found it so damn’ difficult to find him for the half time huddle that we just assumed he must have gotten lost down in a pocket somewhere… or even that a kid had mistaken him for one of his toys and put him in his top pocket as sort of, like, a team mascot (Ed’s note: next weekend, Pacey is back as an umpire for the Indochina!!).

“Those Gold’n Boxers were possibly the best thing I ever wore in me life represent’n the Swannies in an event”, Willy.

4. I know that you know this question was coming … those ‘Gold Boxers, worn at the post game function at the Press Club. Hanoi, after the inaugural Hanoi Swans tri-nations v Thailand Tigers and Hong Kong Dragons in 2003.

Were they worn for your ‘Gold Medal’ performance at the Industrial Park pitch? Please elaborate.

I have to confess here Flyer those Gold’n Boxers were possibly the best thing I ever wore in me life represent’n the Swannies in an event… ok it was not going to get me to dancin’ with the stars but I was colour coordinated with the inhouse dancers… it just makes me sad that the Olympic steering committee never rang me to perform at the London Opening Ceremony this year.

As for the Park pitch, I suspect me wear’n the golden boxers is why we ended up with such a small ground to play on.. from memory wasn’t it a converted dried up rice paddy mate?

5. Willy, as a former coach, what instructions would you be passing on to the boys before they run out for the first match in the 2012 Indochina Cup this weekend?

I think keep it simple Flyer. Have I got enough fluids in the night before? Have I ensured the prior night’s evening meal has all the nutrients of a KB fish’n’chips? Have I got a spare pair of boots for Gus? Have I borrowed some of MJ’s linament oil? Am I wear’n the black silky shorts the right way to front? … as a famous ex Collingwood star Barry Price said to me only the other week  “preparation is everything. you only get one body, Willy. Look after it!!” errrrr…

Dave “the mad Welshman” holds up a footy (donated by the Sydney Swans) which he bought at auction at the Swannies’ 2007 AFL Grand Final Party in Hanoi. Note Pacey Stacey, front left.

6. Finally Willy, can you share, from your point of view, some of the heavyweights and lightweights you have encountered on and off field throughout your connection with the Vietnam Swans?

Simply too many to state here, Flyer, but you were definitely always one that I thought was a middle weight. That is in the middle of everything… whether race six at Randwick, the special ultra tight footy shorts or simply the way you could almost match it with Fabbo the National President in com’n up with a sneaky toe poke goal!!

For the heavy weights it’s hard to go past the Rooster the only bloke I know to have appeared in more Asian jumpers than Gus has…

Then for the light weights, I reckon it could be a photo finish between Shags, Brett no shoes, Phantom Paddy and of course Phi from UNIS (Hanoi’s UN International School). But of all the heavy weights I have met it might surprise some that the guy who stood out most off the field was Dave the mad Welshman who was always gave soooo generously to any worthy cause up north the Swannies were putt’n on at Jaspas. A true legend of the Swannies like so many of the guys I have been blessed to meet through the greatest club on Earth.

Go you Swannies and all the best at the 2012 Indochina Cup!!

Mark ‘Willy’ Williams, thanks for taking 5 minutes with the Flyer.