Playing a long way from home

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The Independent Culture
If Jrgen Klinsmann had stepped off the plane from Germany last summer to discover himself being generally referred to as a "foreign devil", who could have blamed him for taking the first flight home? The British footballers featured in The Guangdong Gweilos (1.45pm C4) however, do not have much choice, since the charming Chinese term which refers to just about any foreigner is the least of their problems.

"Have boots will travel" is a reasonable motto, but these chaps are taking it to extremes. Recruited by Guangdong to play in China's embryonic professional league, they quickly find that the concept of football as a universal language is slightly flawed, particularly when the coach's half-time team- talk is delivered without so much as a nod to his new recruits. What's more, these are Brits abroad you can feel proud of, thoughtful and determined when a thick stereotype might have appealed more to the producers. And OK, so one of them gets banned for a year for thumping an opponent, but like Cantona, he must have been sorely provoked.

This is a simple, memorable story of culture shock, migrant labour and a desire to play professional football which surpasses understanding. Cleverly sandwiched between the glamour of the Cup semi-finals, the gweilos' endeavour will surpass anything which United or Tottenham can muster.

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