Blackpool FC player who made history as first Chinese man to play in top flight of English football celebrates 80th birthday

A former Blackpool FC player who made history as the first Hong Kong native to play for a European team has celebrated his 80th birthday.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 1:21 pm
Cheung Chi Doy. Picture from Blackpool FC

Cheung Chi Doy played for Blackpool with Jimmy Armfield in the 1960s and became the first Chinese player to appear in the top flight of English football.

He celebrated his 80th birthday today.

Cheung began his football career in the Hong Kong First Division when he was 14-years-old. He came to Blackpool when he was 19, made two appearances for Blackpool's first team and scored a goal against Sheffield Wednesday in the team's November 1961 match.

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Cheung Chi Doy with Jimmy Armfield in 2016. Picture from Blackpool FC

In 1968 he joined the Vancouver Royals in Canada and then the St Louis Stars in Missouri in the North American Soccer League.

In 2016 he returned to Blackpool for the filming of a documentary about his life, and was reunited with former team-mates Jimmy Armfield, Glyn James, Tommy Thompson, Graham Oates and Barrie Martin.

Speaking at the time, he said: "I was happy to come here again after 55 years and see some of the players that are still here. I spent two years here with them and I'm happy to see them again.

"It was a good experience for me to come here from Hong Kong and I learnt a lot about discipline with the hard training. When I went back to Hong Kong I played better than before I came."

A Blackpool FC spokesman said: “Cheung made history by playing for Blackpool in the 1960s, and we all send our very best wishes to him on his 80th birthday.”