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Laughing all the way to the bank.

England conclude their tour of the Far East today knowing they will pick up a massive pounds 750,000 from the much-criticised trip.

Terry Venables will have the last laugh on the critics who claimed it was crazy to take England to the other side of the world just a fortnight before the European Championship.

The FA will be laughing too - all the way to the bank, as the trip has boosted the Lancaster Gate coffers by some pounds 500,000.

For the Hong Kong leg of the trip alone, the FA were offered:

A package worth pounds 330,000 by the promoter organising the Hong Kong leg of the tour.

pounds 90,000 towards travel and accommodation.

And a further pounds 90,000 for expenses.

Reports suggest that for the China part of the tour the FA picked up pounds 200,000 plus more in expenses.

Today England take on Golden Select XI, who include a trio of former British stars: ex-England skipper Dave Watson, former Manchester United defender Mike Duxbury, and ex-Wimbledon striker Carlton Fairweather.

The venue is a pounds 71million all-seater stadium which is managed by Wembley PLC and holds 40,000. Ticket prices range between pounds 35 and pounds 175.

David Davies, FA director of public affairs, said: "The decision to come here was a football decision, and it was Terry's decision. Everyone is impressed by the performance and commitment of the players and the team spirit that has built up is invaluable."

Meanwhile England's 'joke' Hong Kong opponents are on a massive 3million HK dollar bonus to give Tel's glamour boys the chop today.Dave Watson and Co will pick up pounds 16,000 a man if they can cause one of the biggest upsets since England were spanked by the Yanks!

The 16-man squad have been offered:

A sizzling 3million HKdollars (pounds 250,000) to fry England alive.

1million dollars (pounds 85,000) for a goalless draw.

250,000 dollars (pounds 21,000) to hit just one goal.

350,000 dollars (pounds 30,000) if they manage two.

And 1million HK dollars to get three, which is doubled to 2million if they get the draw as well!

And Carlton Fairweather warns: "Some people may be having a laugh at our expense, but I can tell you we will not lie down and let England walk all over us."

Fairweather has hit eight goals in his last eight games for Golden, who have reached two Cup Finals and finished third in the Hong Kong League. His team are taken to a Buddhist temple where a cooked pig is presented as an offering for good luck.

And Fairweather's prayers will be answered if his side can bring home the bacon.

He said: "This is the strangest game I have ever been involved in, but I can tell the England players that they will be in for a battle - there's a lot of money at stake."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Nickless, Neil Silver/Graham
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 26, 1996
Words:489
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