From China To Cheshire - The Football Manager Fan Who Travelled 12,000 Miles To Visit Non-League Club
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Huang Wenbin, a dedicated lad who was so devoted to a Championship Manager save in 2001/02 that he completed the 12,000 mile round trip from China to the ninth tier of English football.
Wenbin went from the depths of Conference football to the Premier League with Conference side Runcorn FC, winning an FA Cup, Super Cup and the legendary UEFA cup along the way. He even signed the likes of David Beckham, Roberto Carlos and Edgar Davids on his way to unforeseen success.
As his love for this little club in Cheshire grew and grew, Wenbin dreamt of a visit to England and remarkably, 14 years after 'taking over the club', he and his family bumped into club chairman Mark Buckley, who gave the group a tour of the famous stadium.
"The first time I made the decision to find Runcorn FC was in 2015," Wenbin told Mirror Football.
"I went to Liverpool by train to watch Steven Gerrard's last match at Anfield. When the train was parking, I saw a sign for Runcorn. I told my friend I will be there again to find my club."
After a few mishaps on the way to the stadium, Huang Wenbin told of his joy after someone was waiting outside the stadium on that day in 2015:
"We all breathed a sigh of relief when we saw that someone was waiting for us in front of the stadium. We spent over 24 hours to arrive in Liverpool from Xiamen in China," he said.
"We missed the bus station and got lost on the road in the countryside near Runcorn Linnets.
"We spent three hours trying to find the club. It must be my false for my poor English speaking and listening."
best wish : Runcorn Linnets always at the top of the table. pic.twitter.com/xUiK1r9xmn
- wenbin (@huangandersson) October 15, 2017
Club chairman Mark Buckley was the man who waited outside to welcome Wenbin and his family.
"It was quite humbling, because he was such an honest and polite man. I really, really enjoyed it personally. It was a fabulous few hours." he told Mirror Football.
"He has already emailed me umpteen photos and his thoughts from the day, so I think I've found myself a pen pal for life, which is brilliant and I'm looking forward to keeping in touch. He's a thoroughly decent bloke."
If you're a huge Football Manager/Championship Manager fan like myself, you can't help but admire the dedication Wenbin has shown to his beloved Runcorn FC.
What a brilliant story.
(H/T: Mirror Football)