Joe Lewis, owner of the English football club Tottenham Hotspurs, has spent a relaxing time on Phu Quoc Island off the southern Vietnamese province of Kien Giang during an around-the-world voyage on his superyatch Aviva.
The Spurs boss docked the US$150 million luxury cruise ship at the Vietnam’s paradise island on Tuesday before spending the following night at the famed Phu Quoc night market, in the warm welcome of tourists and local traders.
Lewis then joined local Tottenham Spurs fans to watch the English Premier League side’s second leg against Ajax at the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League. The Spurs beat the Dutch club 3-2 at stoppage time to set up a final with Liverpool.
The Spurs owner thus considered the Phu Quoc night market a ‘lucky place’ and decided to make a second visit on Friday night.
|Joe Lewis poses with Vietnamese fans of Tottenham on Phu Quoc Island, southern Vietnam, on May 10, 2019. Photo: Duy Khanh / Tuoi Tre|
Upon the Spurs’ victory, Huynh Van Son, chairman of Ngoi Sao Bien (Sea Star) Company, the market’s developer and operator, made a congratulatory phone call to the British billionaire and half in jest, invited Lewis to stay longer on the island.
“I didn’t thought he would stay for real and even invited his football club’s supporters to a party celebrating Spurs’ win on his cruise ship,” Son told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Upon his second visit at the night market, Lewis was once again surprised by the hospitable reception from the locals.
|Joe Lewis picks seafood at the night market on Phu Quoc Island, southern Vietnam, on May 10, 2019. Photo: Duy Khanh / Tuoi Tre|
The billionaire took pleasure in hand-picking seafood, trying the locality’s famous banh tet (glutinous cylander-shaped rice cake) packaged in a special type of leaf called mat cat, and watching local music performances.
He also delightedly gave Spurs fans his autographs before finishing his visit to the market.
“I’m very happy with your warm reception and may return to Phu Quoc Island, not only for traveling but also to possibly search for chances of investment, as this place brought me luck,” said Lewis.
Following his stay on Phu Quoc, the British boss was scheduled to leave for Nha Trang - the beach city of the south-central province of Khanh Hoa, the central city of Da Nang and other Vietnamese destinations before heading to other countries on his Aviva superyatch.
|Joe Lewis enjoys banh tet on Phu Quoc Island, southern Vietnam, on May 10, 2019. Photo: Duy Khanh / Tuoi Tre|
Before the Vietnamese island, the multimillion-dollar superyacht had entered the waters off the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho and strolled there for two days.
During his time in Can Tho, Lewis said he was considering bringing Tottenham Hotspurs to Vietnam for friendly matches and the Mekong Delta city could be the venue for the event.
Joe Lewis' total wealth is estimated at $5 billion, and he is listed as the 388th richest person in Forbes’ 2018 list of billionaires. Forbes reported that Lewis is the 12th wealthiest person in the UK, as of March 2018.
|Joe Lewis poses with staff of a restaurant on Phu Quoc Island, southern Vietnam, on May 10, 2019. Photo: Duy Khanh / Tuoi Tre|
Lewis’ link with football came in the late 1990s, when he, his son Charlie and protege Levy set up an investment trust called English National Investment Company. It then became a fully listed company and with it they bought stakes in several football clubs, including the Spurs. Levy became chairman of Tottenham Hotspur in February 2001 on the completion of the sale.
Currently, Levy is the face of Spurs while Lewis remains very much in the background.