With the 2014 World Cup as a backdrop, British expat Antony Sutton takes us on a journey as he meets and learns about the people who play, coach and follow football in South East Asia.
Antony doesn't remember a time when football wasn’t part of his life, but he also isn't entirely sure how it all started.
His earliest memories are of being given Arsenal books and programmes in the early 1970s, listening to the BBC World Service commentary from his home in Belgium on a Saturday afternoon, whilst mentally kicking every ball as he was doing so.
Antony attended his first football match in 1973, and travelled on a double-decker Southdown bus to watch Brighton play Plymouth Argyle with his father and older brother—just a few weeks after returning to England to live. This was the Brighton of Brian Clough though, a fact he was unaware of at the time. Antony says his abiding memory was not of being able to get a programme. Though it took more than 20 years to finally track one down, he understood that football was about memories.
From supporting his passion—Arsenal, and his home side—Aldershot, from a young age, the next logical step for Antony was to watch some football overseas, a past-time that began in 1984 in continental Europe, one that continued for more than 30 years starting with Australia , where he adopted St George as his team—to Asia where he lived for a while in Thailand, then a brief return to England and Germany before settling in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, where he started the popular blog, Jakarta Casual in 2006.
Antony says that marriage and Jakarta Casual helped give meaning to his life and reignite his love for football, and marks the second half of his 30 years of expat life which provide the sub-text to his book, Support Your Local League: A South East Asian Football Odyssey.