ShekouDaily | April 27, 2017
While attending an event last Wednesday at The Terrace in Sea World I had the pleasure of bumping into Sven-Göran Eriksson, a Swedish football manager and former player, who is currently the manager of China League One side Shenzhen Football Club (FC).
According to the BBC, “Eriksson has won eighteen trophies with a variety of league clubs in Sweden, Portugal and Italy, between 1979 and 2000, and became the first manager to win league-and-cup doubles in three countries. He later managed the national teams of England, Mexico and the Ivory Coast, as well as three clubs in England.”
By Anders Henrikson – http://www.flickr.com/photos/anders-h-foto/12867987145/in/set-72157641729703154, CC BY 2.0, Link
He began his China coaching career at Guangzhou in 2013 and has been making headlines in China ever since. You can easily Google, Bing or Baidu him to read a ton of articles related to his soccer/football experiences here in China so I decided to take a different approach when interviewing him.
Considering his vast experiences coaching around the world and years in China, I thought this would be a great opportunity for us to gain some insights from a true expat. It shouldn’t come as a big suprise to most of us that he’s really enjoying Shenzhen.
Here’s the full transcript of our interview:
Gary: You first came to China in 2013 to Guangzhou is that right? Could you speak any Chinese when you arrived?
Eriksson: Yes, 2013 to Guangzhou. No, zero.
Gary: Have you learned any Chinese since then?
Eriksson: I’m learning Chinese now on Skype. I can say where to go, good morning, see you tomorrow. some basic phrases. I want to learn so I take lessons every week on Skype.
Gary: Did you go through much culture shock adapting to life here in China?
Eriksson: Not really. I’ve been in China a couple of times before with football teams. I like it. I’ve been very lucky because I lived in Guangzhou, Shanghai and now I live in Shenzhen. It’s a fantastic place to live in. Guangzhou is a very international city. I have also lived in so many different places in the world. Nothing is a shock.
Gary: After Guangzhou you spent some time in Shanghai before coming to Shenzhen. These three cities are actually amongst the top destinations for expats coming to China. For those undecided about which of these three cities would be best for them, could you give us your thoughts on the differences between them?
Eriksson: The winter in Shenzhen is fantastic. In Shanghai the weather is much colder in the winter time. but wherever I live I feel at home.
Gary: When did you arrive to Shenzhen?
Eriksson: I arrived in December 2016.
Gary: Aside from China, it looks like you’ve worked in eight other countries. Sweden, Portugal, Italy, England, Mexico, Ivory Coast, Thailand and United Arab Emirates. I know you’ve been in Shenzhen a short time. From your experiences so far though, how would you rate living in Shenzhen compared to the other countries?
Eriksson: It’s great to live in Shenzhen. First of all it’s a very international city. It’s close to Hong Kong. The air is probably the best in China. A lot of advantages to live here. It’s a big city of course but it’s not like Shanghai. Traffic is much better in Shenzhen than it is in Shanghai for example. Good winters. Hot in Summer time but everywhere in China is hot in the Summer time.
Gary: We met at The Terrace in Shekou. Many expats that move to Shenzhen choose to live in Shekou. Do you live in Shekou or come here often?
Eriksson: I went in December to see an apartment in Shekou. I decided to stay in Fraser but then I went to see a luxury apartment in OCT Harbour and in the end decided to stay there. The coaching staff lives in Fraser so I come down to Shekou once every second week.
Gary: For new arrivals coming to Shenzhen, what recommendations would you make? For example, places to go, or things to do, or things to keep in mind?
Eriksson: Aside from Terrace, we also like to go to BAIA (Italian Restaurant) and Shark (Mediterranean Seafood & Pizza) (all in Sea World, Shekou, Shenzhen). It’s good. Sometimes we also go where I live or sometimes we go to Coco Park. I think when you move abroad, when you leave your country, it’s good to find a nice place to live. I don’t have small children, I live alone so for me I must be in the center so I have everything in walking distance.
Gary: I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with me. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience?
Eriksson: Come and see football. We’re playing at home every second weekend on Saturdays 7:35 pm at Shenzhen Stadium in Futian. Every game is very important for us. We have to go Super League!
CORRECTION: The Stadium is in Futian and games are played at 7:35pm. The original article original stated 7:30am in Nanshan.