Zhao “Bruce” Qiang (Jon Yang) 2003-2004

First Regular Appearance: 7.4 (#296) Chinese Takeaway  Sunday 19th October 2003

Last Regular Appearance: 7.14 (#306) New Year’s Resolution  Sunday 4th January 2004

Duration: EP: 296 - 306 ½ SE: 7.4 – 7.14

Squad Number/Position: #12 (Left Defence/Midfield) (2003-2004)

Last Seen: Put in La Liga after Harchester repeatedly lie to Dream Inc. and enter dire financial status.

 

 

In 2003, Zhao Qiang was a relatively new, yet immediately famous footballer in his home country of China, considered to be one of the best young hopes in the Chinese game at this period. Electronic giants and long-time sponsors of Harchester United Dream Inc. concoct a business plan, to select Zhao as the 'star' player whose inclusion in the Harchester United team will make the club among the most supported of the English Premier League in China. Club profits through shirt sales, TV viewing figures and match attendance would boom, as would product sales through the sponsorship's company.

Dream Inc. request Pilar Hernandez comes to China to take Zhao back to Harchester with her, before letting her know of the catch. Dream Inc. will pay Zhao's wages and entire transfer fee on the basis of Harchester 'showcasing' he as a player, writing into his contract that he must play 45 minutes a game. The penalty of this would be Dream Inc. withdrawing their sponsorship money, something the club cannot risk following the hefty purchase of Luke Davenport only weeks earlier has left them in severe debt. Zhao arrives with his interpreter Mei, and when Stuart and the team learn he cannot speak English, he asks them to refer to him as Bruce after Bruce Lee.

Stuart and the team are also shocked to see how Bruce is no way near fit to play in the Premier League, let alone 45 minutes a game. Stuart and Pilar get onboard a suggestion from Marcel, that Bruce goes out "injured" with a hand injury so he can take time to work on his match fitness. To cover their tracks, Abi is browbeaten into providing a false X-Ray which they try to pass off as Bruce's hand, only a furious Mr Lau can tell it is not due to knowledge of a previous injury Bruce suffered to his hand! Bruce is sensitive, and has made friends with Abi, believing he has caused her and the club a lot of trouble. Trying to find a way to solve the problem, Bruce picks up a dumbbell and drops it on his thumb - breaking it for real! With Dream Inc. knowing about the fake X-Ray's, Bruce's real thumb injury would open up another can of worms, so forced to play the next game, the club tell Mr Lau Bruce's hand is still bandaged for luck!


The time out has helped Bruce greatly, although he doesn't have the natural ability of a player in a Premier League side, his confidence and potential in the squad improved vastly. Trouble brewed at the start of the new year, when new owners were appointed to the club, and Dean Boyle causes a worldwide sensation by revealing the guarded club secret that transfer-breaking star striker Luke Davenport is blind. Mr Lau and Dream Inc. are deeply concerned by the news, on top of all the other deception, and decide to pull Bruce from the team, placing him in the Spanish Division La Liga. Stuart knows of the standard expected in La Liga and knows the future won't be easy for Bruce. He says a solemn goodbye to his team mates, believing he is the one who has let them down.