The Financial Secretary, John Tsang, has offered congratulations to English football’s new champion Leicester City Football Club, as netizens drew parallels to Hong Kong — saying that the success of the team was achieved by replacing the head coach.

Leicester City became the champions of the English Premier League on Tuesday morning, winning the top title for the first time in its 132-year history.

“Well done Leicester City! Congratulations to [head coach] Ranieri and the Foxes! Definitely one of the greatest achievements in sporting history!” Tsang wrote on his Facebook page, as he described the team as “fearless” and the win as “an amazing story”.

John Tsang. File Photo: Gov HK.

Tsang, who is known to be a sports fan, was asked last month which football team would he use to describe Hong Kong – and he answered Leicester City.

“At that moment Leicester City, which I have faith in, have yet to be crowned, but the fighting spirit and determination the team showed this season has won the hearts of fans everywhere. The moving story of this magical team has come to a perfect end,” he said on the Facebook post.

“As I wrote in my blog, there will not be an eternal underdog in any competition. No challenges cannot be overcome if you try hard. Leicester City turned impossible into possible; that is the nature of Hong Kong that we are always proud of,” he added.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Photo: GovHK.

New Hong Kong coach

Around an hour after the post was published, netizens filled it with comments saying that Hong Kong should replace its “head coach” to achieve the success of the English team.

Leicester City sacked former coach Nigel Pearson after last season ended, in a move reportedly linked to his son James’s sex tape scandal, which unfolded during a post-season trip to Thailand. Italian veteran Claudio Ranieri was appointed head coach for this season.

“It’s time for Hong Kong to appoint a new head coach,” commentator Marble Wong said.

“Ranieri attaches importance to team spirit, he is not like some coaches who only criticise players and evade responsibility; he is worthy of the championship just based on that,” commentator Philip Chan said.

Some were even more direct, as commentator Jony Ho said: “Secretary Mr Tsang, you should be Hong Kong’s Ranieri.”

Tsang has not hinted whether he will run for Chief Executive next year.


Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.