The Belfast-born shot-stopper Sean "Boyley", saves the blushes of many Saints defenders on a weekly basis. Huge fan of countdown and solver of complex conundrums, he carries cool, calm and calculated classroom-like characteristics to the sometimes cold and lonely 6 yard box. Once kept a clean sheet after drinking 2 bottles of wine before a game during the Irish presidential visit to Vietnam. Outside of football, Boyle keeps busy shooting darts and pool across various city taverns. Best pool player on the squad. Doesn't respond to meet up requests of other Saints when he's back in the homeland - he once drove 6 hours to the south of Ireland and didn't want to meet up with local fellow eager Saints. Only Saint to have last minute Viet 'runners' to play 5 a side games for him when he's too hungover. ALWAYS puts his hand up for another Tiger. Favourite Food: Irish Stew cooked Vietnamese style by his girlfriend and club regular, Linh.
A new acquisition for the 2017/18 Season from city rivals Saigon R*****s. When asked for reasons behind his controversial move into the light, he claimed “Because they’re barely human abominations, and they’re shit craic!”. Well, this was what Saints PR man Sean Boyle told me he said. Standing at 6”4, bald head, tattoos, with a penchant for weird emojis on whatsapp, I was frankly too scared of the fella to ask him myself.
Still, as much as he scares us I’m delighted he’s on our team. A big target man with the ability to play, he will be sure to do some damage in the league this year.
"El Capitano. Hulberto Solano, and the admiral of admin." are all names that have just been completely made up on the spot to describe the fearless leader of the Saigon Saints. Holding consecutives titles as player of the year, Ben Hulbert has given a true home to the captains armband which has really struggled to find comfort and security on the bicep of any other Saint in recent years. The hardest working amateur footballer in south east Asia has built a stronghold at centre back and leads the line with heart and poise. A devout lover of all things administrative, Ben is known to spend his free time scrubbing email lists, updating players statistics and trolling online MS Excel fan forums. An avid music fanatic Bens eclectic music taste can vary widely from champagne supernova to she's electric, usually depending on the results of Saints fixtures. There is not a striker nor a spreadsheet that can sleep easy in Saigon as long as Ben Hulbert leads the Saints into battle...
Marion henceforth known as Maid. No drama there then.
Our Maid’s bird dances on poles but our Maid dances at fives.
Our Maid propels a mean free kick but drives our Gaffer from fits of pique to love. Mind what else from a literate Scouser? But we digress.
Our Maid, frequently dazed and confused but of course abused. Well maybe not?
A talented chemist but surely a frustrated artist?
No drama there then.
The enigma, utility man, ex-chairman and absolute bloody lad, Peadon holds a decorated place within saint’s folklore (debut season 08/09). The man is a legend, quickly becoming a myth. Usually spotted jaunting into a bespoke establishment sockless and wearing slippers, he is a man known for his fondness for all things grand. His tenure as chairman was marred with scandal. Misappropriated funds, several trips to the Middle East (who can forget that golden suit), led many to draw their own conclusions. His influence can never be underestimated, he has seen saints come and go and many good friends depart. Through the thick and thin he has knitted one generation of saints to the next. A tour terrier who always remembers to stay clean and a cultured footballer with putty for knees. We should all be hoping that this saint stays to remind us of how things should be done.
It is a little-known fact that Sean is the 3,635th Irishman to play for the Saigon Saints. Sean arrived in Saigon by boat having been hastily smuggled out of Ardboe* by the 3,634th and 3,643rd Irishmen to play for the Saints - Aidy & Teague - for looking like a shit Josh Hartnett.
Another fact about Sean is that he chooses to wear a white t-shirt at all times, a bit like a shit James Dean. It must be said the Saints have profited from the time Sean saved in his choosing-what-to-wear routine. The 2016 season will go down in folklore not for the Saints’ distinctly less-than-average performances but for Sean’s creation of ‘the press’. He may have just watched Barca, but we reckon its down to those Saintly white t-shirts.
*Village name made up to protect Sean’s true identity (Not Josh Hartnett’s, obvs.).
The wee man from the north bit.
Or is he bigger than that?
He certainly has a word or two to say whether requested or not.
How large is his head?
Well he can certainly head.
But can he make it count in the end that counts?
For that matter can we ever find him and his bushy one?
Seems not, as he keeps disappearing with his Gaelic ones.
Then on occasion he rocks up with an exotic bit but she never sticks.
Mind, he says he’s a good head in the box.
Lucky bitch if he ever locates it.
‘Natures cruellest mistake.’
‘Too unique to live, too beautiful to die.’
‘Tis no man. Tis a remorseless drinking machine!’
‘It’s a high-powered mutant of some kind’
These are just some of the things that might have been said about Alex Crane during his time in Saigon.
Rio Ferdinand, John Stones, Alex Crane. The trend for ball playing centre backs has spread to South East Asia. Alex has good football intelligence, a touch like a pillow and is strong in the air. At his best Alex will dominate the striker with his reading of the game and turn defence into attack by linking quickly with the midfield with his accurate passes. Injury has prevented Alex from featuring in the first half of the 2017/18 season, but a recent return to training was a welcome sight and bodes well for 2018.
Away from the pitch Alex enjoys having deep and meaningful conversations with the staff in Saigon’s hostess bars, often until 5 or 6am, amateur wrestling also in hostess bars and offers a unique range of greetings such as a slap to the face or a headlock. He has a job that requires shirt and trousers, but is not a teacher.
“To pass the ball to
Pirlo Judd is to hide it in a safe.” Said Zbigniew Boniek gaffer Simon Finnigan of the veteran Midfielder. A midfield metronome with an outstanding engine, Judd has been overheard saying, "I’m a bit of a wandering gypsy on the pitch... All I’m after is a few square metres to be myself. A space where I can continue to profess my creed: take the ball, give it to a team-mate, my team-mate scores. It’s called an assist and it’s my way of spreading happiness." A professor of creative writing in his native USA, Judd is currently enjoying a sabbatical in Vietnam, and is therefore the Saints’ only full time footballer.
A man whose skill with a pen is matched only by his flair for silly headwear and good old fashioned, god damn charm. A long term resident of Vietnam, Connla was once known and feared as ‘La Tete’ in his Hanoian footballing days, but now it is his fearsome instagramming that sets him apart, with pictures of buildings and coffee and stuff. While remaining a handful for defenders, the target man’s most important role for the club is bringing a little bit of sophistication to the table, be that a table in Apo, Kim’s or a bespoke vintage café with an old bike in the background.
As bad at keeping time as he is great at keeping the ball, Bryan has also been known to show up at the wrong pitch on occasion. When he’s not bamboozling opponents with deft touches and cutting through balls, Bryan can be found riding one of his 100 strong collection of classic motorcycles, making inspirational Instagram posts and providing selfless charity in the Vietnamese countryside. Bryan is also the owner of Place in Saigon, the Saints’ sponsor and home provider for a lot of the squad. On that note, if you need a place to stay, check out www.placeinsaigon.com.
The dasher from Croom, we just desire a bit more vigor.
But surely our Paul be a Hurler not Footballer. It’s just not cricket.
But without doubt an extreme lateral thinker mystically propelled by roll ups
Still we love our dasher as of course 2018 is to be his year.
But marital bliss during the on-season.
Surely not, so over you must go to the Team of Cardinal Sinners.
Principal by name, principled by nature. One of the few Saints you’d be happy to take home to your mother. It’s just a shame that he’s a 40-year-old man. The experienced centre back has held numerous roles during his time with the Saints: captain, manager, Jaap Stam impersonator: all to various degrees of success. With what little pace he had now diminished, Shaw has taken a back seat with the Saints – enjoying his time in the sun before being inevitably put out to pasture. One aspect of Shaw’s tenure that will live on is his ability to make a fashion statement. Still held in high esteem by the fashionistas of the club, players like Humphrey’s, Watt and Campbell still sport the Shaw Coif in honour of the man.
James Teague, the self-proclaimed ‘best passer in the Saigon Saints’.
Swimming, fashion, anger management, and this new technology called ‘email’ are just some of the things James Teague knows literally nothing about. However, if you need someone to unlock a defence with a pinpoint long ball, or advice on the latest fad diet hitting the scene, then this is your man. Some team mates have even said Teaguey has a Pirlo-esque presence in the middle of the park. This is something the universally recognised ‘worst dresser in the Saigon Saints’ took great offence to, claiming Pirlo was nothing but an average player in a good team. He also went on to claim ‘there has only ever been five world class players in HISTORY’, so perhaps he knows literally nothing about football as well.
Hailing from Castlemaine in County Kerry, a town notable for its crowning jewel, a permanent Afghani kebab stand in the heart of the town. Kane looked set for a life and death of taco sauce, kebab meat and a large helping of heart disease, before he decided he would see what badly packed kebabs the rest of the world had to offer him. A nomadic few years around South America and Asia allowed Eden to sample many different kebabs, although on more than one occasion he drunkenly mistook a sausage supper for a kebab and scoffed the lot anyway. Unperturbed, Kane ploughed on to Saigon and confessed his sins to the Saigon Saints and was promptly made social secretary, a role he hilariously takes seriously.
I went to Castlemaine once when Eden was there and he didn’t come and meet me, even though I had travelled from the other end of the country. Tough tackling midfielder, from a town with good kebabs and bad manners.
One in a long line of Americans to have represented the Saints, however few have taken to the Saints lifestyle quite as quickly as Trae has. His ability to score, pass and dictate play were soon discarded and his capacity to drink and complain about a lack of service in a gravelly, Sean Dyche-esque voice soon came to the fold. In recent weeks, Trae has restricted himself to a lighter beer which has returned an upturn in performances. The wily striker has a nose for sniffing out a defender’s loose touch or misplaced pass. Unfortunately, he also has two left feet when said pass is intercepted. In all fairness though, he is American.
Chairman & Protector of all that is holy to the Saints (The Triangle). Also plays defence….mostly abroad.
Pav has had a long-established career at the Saints arriving in 2011 as a spritely 32 year old and was signed by none other than former disgraced Chairman and bunga-bunga emeritus Ben Peadon. Peado took Pav under his wing and left a legacy with his young disciple teaching many of the ways with which to become an influencer and leader of the Saints. Pav displayed all the hallmarks required of a Saints lifer by turning up and immediately marrying the hottest girl he could find in a Saints regular drinking establishment. The Saints have been getting slick haircuts from the lovely Hien ever since (except Iaianian Campbell).
Pav is one of the most internationally-tour-capped-Saints with over 50 tour appearances. Unfortunately he has paid Kangaroo Court for silence on every occasion and thus no stories will be leaked here…unlike when he got a fine and the threat of the police being called from the hotel in Phuket where he leaked on the bedroom floor and forgot about it.
What the Saints say about Ross, a top, top, bloke and the club’s most consistently injured star-midfielder, behind his back: “Top lad”, “Top fella”, “Top bloke”, “Really? What a lad…”, “Great bloke that lad.”, “I know. Doesn’t even mind all the jokes about his enormous, super shiny forehead, does he?”, “Not remotely annoying like all the other Spurs fans in the Saints squad…”, “Too bad he’s a member of the Alliance.”, “He’s clearly too much of a top bloke for that sort of thing.”
On a professional level, apparently Ross is paid huge sums of money to transfer his "expert" knowledge of construction practices in ol' Blighty to Vietnam, which mainly involves him sitting in an air-conditioned office, drinking tea and working on his fantasy football team while droves of underpaid, malnourished waifs from the countryside actually build the buildings in the blistering sunshine. "Top lads, those fellas," says Ross of his entirely anonymous colleagues.
Sporting an instantly recognizable, leprechaun-like red beard, the header-missing, banh mi-munching, smalltalk-maestro that is Mark Foley, is a stranger to no one. When not ordering the grilled pork special from Banh Mi 362 in Thao Dien, Foley can be seen or heard discussing current affairs on and off the pitch. Contentiously opinionated and a conspiracy-theorist at times, he (controversially) believes Viet referees to be evil geniuses and claims they know "exactly what they're doing" with each decision. Ends up buying flowers for his girlfriend after 6am returns from team nights out. Needs a memory foam pillow to sleep. Only sprints at 3/4 pace. Likes to lean back and kick it long. Always wears full kit with mismatching socks. Is always "very busy". McDonalds after training is a ritual.
The Barnsley Bulldog burst onto the scene last year. An immediate impression was made and what an impression it was. The burly bruiser made up for what he lacked in height, in attitude and doggedness. A full back with a penchant for well-timed missed tackles as well as a nose for long balls (be it to them or us), he has proven his usefulness and established a berth on the squad. Behind the bark and growl, the unmuzzled Varley, an ex-marine, is a mild mannered and quick-witted gentleman. From his self-deprecation on WhatsApp to his love for cats and dogs he has been, along with his dog Ralphie and excellent addition to the group.
The Adelaide rocket. Well he certainly gives you a rocket.
All verbal mind but of course the Aussies love a sledge.
Give me the ball you runt. Apologies due me old Swede.
Slow of mind and slower in body. Of course that’s a bit harsh but who gives a fcuk mate
Late to arrive but remarkably controlled…. for a big boy
Could go onto bigger and better things for the Saints but will Jaspo have the patience with all around ?
Who cares but we all love a pretty boy Aussie who drinks outta jar.
Player manager Simon Finnigan, or Simon to his friends, works tirelessly to ensure that what must resemble a bag of broken biscuits in training looks like a Wagon Wheel on match day.
Simon alongside club captain Hulbert and part-time coach Teague, plan and deliver outstanding mid-week training sessions, as well as running the show come match-days.
As a player Simon is calm and collected on the ball, and will rarely gift possession to the opposition. His simple pass and move makes the game look so easy. Simon is also an aerial threat in the opposition box.
As team manager Simon preaches ball retention, patience and building from the back when in possession, and a well drilled high energy press when out of possession.
Half time team talks fluctuate between irritated Jack Russell and sedate but wise Golden Retriever. Simon will give dogs abuse to players losing their cool on the pitch, whilst simultaneously and courteously asking the high calibre match officials to do a better job.
Panache, Pomp, Flair, Swagger, Va Va Voom….. these are just some of the many words no one uses to describe Andrew Humphreys. However, for everything Andy may lack in style and gravitas, he more than makes up for with his performances on tour. Voted tour MVP for 8 tours in a row, Andy is a born crowd pleaser. Whether it is fooling referees into giving penalties with his ridiculous swan dives, or showing everyone his perfected mangina, tour just wouldn’t be the same without him.
Also known to own a cracking selection of headbands.
The Bristol Pistol, as Ben likes to call himself, complete with finger guns, first arrived in Saigon in 2012 and quickly turned out for the Saints in a pre-season tour to Vung Tau. But alas we would have to wait a full four years to see his large head popping out of a Saints shirt again and we were not disappointed. Pearce entered the fray with the game on a knife edge, as both teams and even the officials struggled to keep their discipline. Maybe it was something he said, maybe it was his silly grin, maybe they just didn't like the look of him, but all hell broke loose within 15 seconds of his arrival on the pitch and 'The Nuke' moniker was born (and the game was abandoned). An uncompromising defender with a penchant for 40 yard half volley backpasses, The Nuke has proven to be a valuable squad member and rarely lets the side down when the gaffer remembers the launch codes. Can sing well, is okay at pool and most impressvely has a Brazilian girlfriend.
Graham hails from a time when men were men, when speaking clearly without mumbling was seen as rude and having anything other than a trim on top and a clean shave was seen as tree-hugging tom-foolery. Blessed with the pace of a baby elephant, Graham relies on his scintillating skill and a total football brain to best his opponent. Once tasked with occupying the left back position, Graham was questioned as to why he had strayed as far as right wing. “Total football”, came the reply. Total football indeed.
A revered, charismatic, yet most importantly, free, summer signing from Robby Johnstone’s Hong Kong Tiny Schlong 11, Nicholas Jasper Quinton Mahon has adapted to his new surroundings in HCMC with consummate ease. Minesweeping G & T’s between the hours of 1 and 2am every Saturday morning, the Qui Lounge Lizard can later be found trudging miserably around a boutique or three with his latest GFE of choice.
Whilst his nonchalance and style suggests Pirlo-type performances, he is more of the kick/boot/ave’ it Alex Varley brigade as they both compete over which can get the ball closer to the moon than to their numerous teammates screaming “Time”.
When footballwhispers.com rumored that a heroically-named ‘Troy Crosse’ would be joining the Saints ranks, the Ultras began to picture a new icon to be somewhat-less-derisory-to. A Herculean savior, this striker would no doubt bring the ball down on his epic chest, thump it into the postage stamp, stick 2 fingers up to the Saigon R****** and make sweet passionate love to their women.
Step forward the Putney Pleb, whose turn of pace is laboriously akin to his speed of thought. A firm fan of ArsenalFanTV, Troy dishes out more ‘bluds, fams and bruv’s than yiz would care to hear. Blud.
Undeterred by the burden that is his enormous cranium, and ignoring the stress and strain that his plus-size torso places on his skinnymalink legs, our Ipswich-born midfielder, James Quantrill a.k.a. ‘Q’ loves to participate in Iron Mans (well, half-iron mans) and run marathons (well, half marathons). Away from his job as an assistant to a school principal, our vice-captain Q spends most of his time trolling the internet, daydreaming about being made club captain and going one step further than last season and being named club MVP (he was soooooo close last year! Well, not that close), and late at night, when he can’t sleep, we know he curses the Saints for reminding him just how much they all love the Club Hall-of-Famer-to-be JOHN NORFOLK, who is such a legend his name is to be written in CAPITAL LETTERS forevermore by all Saints.
Peter joined the Saints in 2017 in a high-profile BISman transfer from Chinese outfit F.C. Dump Ling, where he had fallen out of favour after a training ground bust-up turned nasty - allegedly a dispute about whether a ball had gone “post and in” off a bib goalpost during a five-a-side. “It feels like home,” said Peter after his first Saints training session, during which 2 senior players had contested every decision that went against them, no matter how small. Frequently mistaken for cult former Liverpool defender Rigobert Song, Peter tends to avoid social situations where there a lot of Cameroonians, preferring to stay in and iron his considerable collection of vintage international shirts, with Mexico’s 1998 having pride of place.
Since arriving (helmetless, driving a bike at breakneck speed) at the Saints sometime in 2017, Bobby “Bouncing Ball” Burke has become a firm fans’ favourite thanks to his unorthodox, all-action style and direct running. Equally at home out wide or out wide, the sight of Bobby chasing an opposition full-back before becoming entangled near the touchline and emerging at speed with the ball has already become a reliable signal that the Saints (not necessarily Bobby) are about to miss another gilt-edged chance. A true Saint, on his debut he expressed his dislike of tracking back - not as many Saints do by simply ignoring the increasingly desperate shouts or pretending to have a knock - by demanding to be substituted once the demands to defend had turned into a chorus.
The legend of Lam may just have to be etched in the archives of unsolved mysteries. Who is Lam? What is Lam? Does anybody really know? Reports suggest that the year Lam spent as Geraldos landlord proved to be a major turning point in his allusive story and uncovered some shocking truths about his motivations, business interests and unexplainable associates. Interpol have linked Lam with a long list of missing persons in a Sicilian crime syndicate, a family closely tied to Geraldo. Investigative journalists have been trying to uncover Lams expertise in espionage, who trained him and what financial interests are behind this mysterious Italo-Việt criminal underground.
One of the longest serving current Saints, Vu joined the club in 2011. A proud son of Hanoi, Vu decided that Saigon is just way more fun than the capital. A Business Development Manager by day and an elusive attacking player by night (or weekend afternoon), Vu is also something of a socialite, and knows about a bunch of cool bars you didn’t even know existed.
Conor O'Reilly or 'COR!' as he probably should be known, joined the Saints towards the end of the 2016/2017 season and has went on to make his mark as one of the Saints' top 'most injured players'. Indeed Conor is just as comfortable injuring his left foot as his right and has even injured an arm or two in his time. When he is not injuring himself Conor likes to drink wine and quietly consider how to free Ireland, as you can see from the accompanying picture. A skillful player, with an eye for a pass, was what we were promised. But we will have to accept our lot as Conor has done some excellent work behind the scenes as Co-Social Secretary, promising a lot, but only delivering a Christmas party and most crucially cleaning up after the shitshow left behind, by Club Flake and former Charity Officer, Mark 'Smalltalk/ Foley.
When the Scichilone family immigrated from Italy to Novia Scotia back in the day, little did they know of their son's eventual wanderings. Boasting the longest surname in South East Asia, and known to his team mates simply as "G", shirt manufacturers had to work all night to fit his name on the back of the infamous blue jersey. Never gets booked as Viet referees are hesitant to pen the challenging sesquipedalianism. The solid 6'2" Canadian/Italian left back likes to get on the ball and whip 'em in fast to the final 3rd. Apparently an animal in the kitchen, he likes to cook Italian food for the ladies wearing only an arseless apron. A gentleman on and off the field.
One of an alarming number of Americans on the books, Collin joined the Saints in a highly controversial move from our unnamed and unlikeable bitter rivals in the summer of 2017. A chance encounter with some Saints in a upmarket boutique cocktail bar one Saturday night (read: dive bar on a Tuesday night) seemed like destiny and Collin had soon signed on the dotted line. The hellraiser had found a club after his own heart. A classy defender with more grit than a sandy snatch, Collin looks set to become a vital part of the Saints’ backline.