OriginalLondonLion has sent the following;
Another dull period while we wait for: The World Cup, a Sold notice, another has-been Bought notice. So let me tell you how the Villa changed my life in 1982.
I signed up for the 3 cities 2 week trip to Tokyo for the World Club game against Penarol, then on to HK and Bangkok. Penarol were savvy previous contenders and they offered to bring with them FOC a hundred South American footballs for use in the game and elsewhere, which the Japs accepted. It took Villa the first half to adjust just to passing the ball accurately and they lost 2-0 looking like total amateurs – such was the difference between the ball used in South America and the European ball. I suspect we are about to hear this excuse again next week.
On to HK while the Villa flew back to UK except for Withe banned from the next English game and taking the trip to BKK where he would meet his fiancée and future father in law. I got a telex to my hotel from an English company. they had an enquiry for their product from BKK but all their reps were in UK at a seminar – as their first and oldest customer would I represent them in BKK? I agreed but said I had no brochures. Withe said his fiancée was a BA stewardess on the BKK route, so brochures were rushed to her and delivered to me in BKK.
I have been in the Natural Rubber biz all my life, when I met the potential buyers for this liquid transport medium, I found the product they were hoping to ship in it was exactly what I traded in – though Thailand had never produced any for export before. Subject to sample approval I bought the lot and shipped it to UK.
The contacts I made that day gave me an edge to retirement in the product I traded in: the Thai company is now the world’s biggest producer and I have a shareholding in it. On touring Thailand latex to see other start-up companies I met the boss’s daughter at one – and she is now my wife.
Though I was working in 1982 for a Malaysian company, nobody there had any idea neighbouring Thailand was about to produce this type of rubber. I stumbled into this great opportunity at its outset by the sheer fluke of being a Villa fan on tour.