|Ardent fan: Actor Chi Trung cheers at a football match in Ha Noi. The comedian has been active in getting more people to attend matches. — Photo hanoittfc.com.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — One cannot help recognising the voice and looking at where it is coming from – popular actor and comedian Chi Trung appears to be putting on an act in front of the Hang Day Stadium.
That turns out to be a false impression. It is not an act. He is actually using a loudspeaker to inform the public about the match to take place, welcoming those coming in and exhorting others to watch it.
"I'm not shy when I stand in the street and call out to people to come to the stadium. I feel happy and am always smiling," he said.
The deputy director of the Tuoi Tre (Youth) Theatre takes his new job seriously. He has volunteered to be the chairman of the Ha Noi T&T Football Fan Club because he wants to revive the love for football among residents of the capital city.
He has sent out a message saying that on the days that Ha Noi T&T are playing, he would stand Gate 10, Stand B, and arrange seats for all spectators at the stadium. No need to buy tickets, he stresses.
"I also ask the security guards to smile at the football fans and be friendly with them," Trung said.
Apart from arranging free admission whenever possible, other things that Trung does to get as many people as possible to the stadium is issuing member cards allowing holders to buy Tuoi Tre Theatre tickets at discounted prices.
Trung has contacted 42 universities and colleges in the capital to arrange a competition for cheerleaders. Several groups of cheerleaders are expected to perform during matches played by the Ha Noi T&T.
Beside encouraging people to enjoy football matches live, Trung exhorts players to perform "spectacularly" because thousands are watching them.
"I love football and want to share my passion with other people," he said, "I will try my best to reheat the enthusiasm of Hanoians."
Trung said he has been passionate about football since he was a kid. He said kids like him didn't have money to buy tickets, so they would find the lowest part of the stadium's wall to climb so that they could watch the game.
Now, at 54, his passion has not dimmed. He still keeps his eyes on the ball and screams encouragement from the stands, leaping for joy when a goal is scored.
Good for the game
|Like father, like son, like football: Rocker Tran Lap and his son share a passion. — Photo vietnamplus.vn
Trung visits the stadium every weekend, and feels sad when he sees the sparse audience.
"Many people say that they are bored with Vietnamese football, which has no fair play, but violence and match fixing," he said, adding, "that's not true for all football matches.
"I believe that when the stadium is filled with people who encourage and applaud the players, they will try their best and devote themselves to putting in their best performance."
It was Trung's obvious enthusiasm that prompted Do Quang Hien, president of the Ha Noi T&T, asked him to be chairman of the fan club.
"Trung loves football with all his heart. He visits Hang Day Stadium often to enjoy matches and wholeheartedly encourages the players." Hien said.
"He's humorous and influential, and that's why I choose him for the position."
The comedian is not the sole celebrity to promote football in the country because of their passion for the game.
Actor Nguyen Duc Trung, former chairman of the Viet Nam Football Supporters, said love for football should be nurtured among children.
He feels that the Viet Nam Football Federation should organise more tournaments for children based on residential areas.
"Many football talents in the world grow up from tournaments on the streets," Trung said. "I would expect that more and more tournaments are held for disadvantaged children.
"We, the supporters, are very enthusiastic about activities supporting national football," Trung said, "we are not fearful of any hardship."
Trung said he and other supporters are ready to spend their own money to enjoy and encourage tournaments for children.
Rocker Tran Lap is another celebrity who's active in supporting football. He has worked as a goodwill ambassador for the Viet Nam Football Federation and the Asian Football Confederation.
He always brings his 10-year-old son to the stadium and the little boy has inherited his father's passion. He plays football for a club in the city and dreams of being a professional footballer when he grows up. — VNS