Everton set for Chinese TV Takeover

    Everton are set to take over the Chinese TV schedules due to a new television program that will see a group of ambitious Chinese teenagers coming to England.  A group of Chinese teenagers are training at Finch Farm this week as part of a reality TV show.

    The stars of ‘Chinese Football Dream’ are being coached at Everton with club legend Graeme Sharp among those overseeing the sessions.

    The brainchild of Global Media Productions – and backed by the Chinese government – the 13 week show will go to air in September and is designed to help develop players aged 14-17.

    Everton and Ajax were selected as the two European clubs to host week-long training camps for the 34 youngsters who have been picked from hundreds of players across six major Chinese cities.

    The Blues have worked alongside organisers from the off-set with Marouane Fellaini helping to officially launch the “sports entertainment show” last summer in Beijing.

    Everton are not expecting to discover the next superstar of East Asian football during the programme but know that being involved will increase their profile in that part of the world and see the venture as a “cultural exchange”.

    It is estimated that 400m people in China watched the last World Cup and already 1.8m have viewed the trailer for ‘Chinese Football Dream’.

    The thirst for English football in the country is significant and the full programme will go out to a huge audience with Everton and the city featuring prominently.

    Chinese footballers Li Tie and Li Weifeng have played for Everton in the Premier League while the club have had Keijan and Chang as their shirt sponsor.

    Sharp was in the Chinese capital in May to help publicise the programme and says Everton have a growing fan base in the country.

    This latest venture will strengthen the Blues’ standing in the country further.

    And Sharp believes that with the right structures in place, China can become a market place for the club to search for players in the future.

    “You would like to think that with the size of the population that there are players out there,” he said.

    “When we went over there in the summer we talked to them about Li Tie and Li Weifeng.  Li Tie was doing well before an injury struck.

    “But I think they have some problems with the structure of football over there.  Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka have gone over to play in China recently and it’s not worked out for them.

    “But lower down is where they need to get the structure right.  There are enough kids who want to play football so if they can get them into a proper structure then the talent can be nurtured.

    “Academies have started to be set up so that’s a start.

    “With that, hopefully these players can come to the forefront. A few years ago they had a strong national team but they have been overtaken in Asia by other countries.”

    He added: “When we were over there in the summer they were talking about certain Everton players.  Fellaini stood out and they also would mention John Heitinga and Kevin Mirallas.

    “They watch a lot of English football so are well aware of the top teams and their players.”

    The players selected for ‘Chinese Football Dream’ come from a variety of social and economic backgrounds.

    “Some of these kids have never been out of their city, never mind been on an aeroplane before, so this is a fantastic opportunity for them,” Sharp said.

    “The most important thing is that they come over here and enjoy the experience.  They were at the Real Betis game on Sunday and are getting used to how a top flight English football team works.

    “Now they are at Finch Farm and experiencing the fantastic facilities we have .  And they are experiencing what it is like as a professional footballer.

    “You can see that some of them have not had that academy coaching path but they are a really disciplined bunch and you can see that they want to improve.”

    Leading the training sessions is experienced coach Robbie Anderson and he has been impressed with the Chinese teenagers.

    “Their behaviour on and off the pitch has been exemplary and they are enjoying their experience,” he said.

    “Wherever I go around the world, if grassroots is sorted out then the rest takes care of itself.  And with a population that big I’m sure there’s players out there. There’s a diamond everywhere. They are fanatical about football.  The enthusiasm is there and the kids who want to play football are there.  It is just about finding them and nurturing them.”

    Everton’s Academy Ambassador Ray Hall and former player Ian Snodin have also been involved in the project.

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    1. “Chinese footballers Li Tie and Li Weifeng have played for Everton in the Premier League while the club have had Keijan and Chang as their shirt sponsor.”

      You do know that Chang is Thai, right?

    2. Sounds a great opportunity for these kids and who knows with 1 billion people there may well be some future stars in China, which can only bode well for EFC!!!!!!

    3. A Chinese billionaire taking over Everton FC would be even better news !! investing and spending millions on a great football club !!


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