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GfK Toffeeman

Woo Kian Hoon is a comparative rarity an Evertonian in Malaysia.  He has asked ToffeeWeb to publish his story about Being a Blue in the workplace at GfK Malaysia



The moment I received two copies of When Sky Are Grey from a lad called Andy Drake, I decided to write a short story and send this photo to ToffeeWeb.  It was a good experience from me to finally meet someone who shares the same favourite team as I do.




I have been supporting Everton for the last 16 years.  It is not easy being an Evertonian in Malaysia you have the feeling that you are the odd one out as most of the people in this region support Liverpool or Manchester United.  The successes achieved in the 80s and 90s was the main factor that contributed to the popularity of both teams.  When you mention names like Goodison Park, Neville Southall, Francis Jeffers or David Unsworth, it seems these are alien nobodies. It is also not easy to obtain football merchandise of the club such as football programmes and scarves I was always struggling to get souvenirs in the early 90s' but not now, thanks to the Internet!

The company that I work for is a German-owned market research company called GfK Malaysia. The company was full of footy mad people but almost 60% are ManU fans (expected!).  I am the only Evertonian in GfK Malaysia.  Being the only Evertonian in the company is not easy, and sometime you get 'abuse' (kidding mate!) from your fellow colleagues when Everton lose or do badly in a competition. You've got to expect some stick from your mates and colleagues on Monday morning when your team loses to United 5-1!

There was a fellow Evertonian in GfK Asia (GfK Malaysia is part of GfK Asia) recently Andy Drake from UK.  I bet he was surprised when he found that there was an Evertonian in GfK Malaysia.  II would think it was strange for him to meet someone from far away who supports Everton and not Liverpool.  For me, I got a bit excited and surprised when I found out that he was an avid Everton fan.

When he came over again two weeks later, to my surprise, he brought me two copies WSAG which I appreciated very much.  We had a short chat about Everton, and it was great to hear from him about some of the greatest moment of his life as an Evertonian (it was the matches against Bayern Munich and That Game against Wimbledon).  It was a short chat but an interesting one especially when you listen to someone who has been to Goodison Park many times.  I agree with what George Best said last August, "the supporters are so passionate!" no matter where they are from!

I have not read the January 2000 issue about the top 50 Everton moments at the time when this letter is written, but meeting another Evertonian from other part of the planet would surely be fitted my 51st greatest Everton moment!

Forever Everton!

Woo Kian Hoon 
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia



In the world of football, there are always surprising and unexpected things happening.  The surprises do not just happen to football teams but to the football supporters as well.  One of the surprises I have had in recent months was to have received an Everton Home top from a fellow Evertonian.  As I mentioned above, Evertonians are some of the most passionate fans on earth no matter where they came from.

Back in August 2000, Andy the Toffeeman was at Joe Parkinson's Testimonial.  It was great for him to be back at Goodison Park after some tight schedules in Asia, I guess!  To my surprise, he bought me an Everton Home top and a copy of the match programme, which I never expected. He told me that he is proud to keep the Everton flag flying in the Asia.  I think this will sum up why Evertonians are the most passionate and the most loyal fans on the earth.

You have to appreciate this when someone brings you an Everton top from more than 6,582 miles away, on the other side of the Northern Hemisphere.  I decided to get something special for Andy the Toffeeman as a token of my appreciation.  It was a hard decision as I have no idea what he really likes.  Finally, I sent an 'appreciation' card to Joe Parkinson, the fans' liaison officer and requested his help to get the card autographed by the entire Everton squad.  I received the card back after two weeks and the card is full of autographs from the Everton players.  One of the notable names visible on the card is from Gazza!

When this article was written and published on ToffeeWeb, he had not received anything (the autographed card, a World Cup 2002 key-ring, and a copy of The Evertonian) from me yet.  He does not know anything about this article.  It will be another surprise for him when he comes over to Malaysia next time.




GfK Toffees and Scoucer (Taken in 2002)
(From Left) Stanley, Andy, Woo, Jonathan and Michael

Football fans are the loyalist animal on earth and I hope this lot (the lads on the picture) will stick to their club respectively, no matter what division they are in.  I am sure it will be an interesting story when you tell your grandchildren proudly about the club with the opening I have been supporting Everton for 96 years.

The idea of this picture, taken with all the lads wearing their favourite team footy tops, came after I visited an independent Newcastle United supporter website.  I think it is a good idea to have all the lads together, as you see; my company is blessed with a number of different Premiership club supporters, which is a bit weird considering this country is dominated by ManU mania.

One of the best parts working in GfK Malaysia is to know and work with these other footy fans.  The lads are a fantastic lot, and football does bring us lots of happy moments together.  There are two Liverpool fans in the company, Stanley Wu and Jonathan Wong.  SW claimed that he is a die-hard Liverpool fans but has little faith on his team beating top teams such as Juventus or Valencia in the Champions League [Err.. they didn't even qualify; perhaps you should let him know that].

Jonathan has no faith at all in Gerald Houlier. (I bet he wants David Moyes to be their new manager!).  I guess most of them support Liverpool due to the successes achieved in the '80's, but The Toffees are real supporters and loyal to their team despite the lack of league success in the last 15 years!  When I got to know the famous quote from Brian Labone - One Evertonian is worth 20 Liverpudlians I was further convinced of our superior loyalty.


GfK Toffeemen (From left: Andy (Evertonian), Jonathan Wong (Liverpool fan), Woo KH (Evertonian), Stanley Wu (Liverpool fan)

The above picture was taken during the 2004 GfK Malaysia annual dinner.  The famous GfK Liverpudlian, Stanley got an Everton scarf during the Christmas exchange gift!!  I think this is the scarf he has secretly wanted for years as it will be a nice one for his football scarves collection and an item which he will be unlikely to pay his hard-earned cash for.  It was a fun day and Stanley and Jonathan posed as Evertonians for this special moment!  (You can see how much fun the betrayers were having!)  They were Evertonians for all of 10 seconds!

In Malaysia, there is no rivalry between the fans of Everton and other clubs, including Liverpool, due to the small size of the fan-base in this region.  The rivalry is more between Man Utd and Liverpool as the fans of both sides comprise more than 95% of the football fans in Malaysia.

Finally, being a Blue in Malaysia is an unique experience to me; having to work with these footy guys is a great experience!

I wish all fans a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2004!

Forever Everton!

Woo Kian Hoon
24 December 2003