Seoul United v Youngkwang, Sunday 18th April 2010

After taking in a baseball game last week it was time to get back to the football with a first visit to the third tier of the Korean League system, the K3 Division. Seoul United has only been around since 2007, which makes them relatively longstanding in the constantly changing Korean football scene. Initially they played their games in the Olympic Stadium next to where I’d watched the baseball game but they had moved this season to the slightly more appropriate Hyochang Stadium. I say slightly more appropriate as with a fifteen thousand capacity it is still probably a hundred times bigger than it needs to be, but it’s a step in the right direction. If they can keep trading down until they play their matches in the back alley with a stone for a ball they should eventually get it just about right.

I got the Line 6 subway to the perfectly named Hyochang Park station. It was a bit of an arse on as the bits where I had to change line seemed to involve walking further than I was traveling on the train. Once I got there though the stadium was easy to find as I just followed the signs for the park before stumbling across the stadium a few minutes from the station. It was five to two, over an hour to go before the kick off time listed on the website I’d used, but I could see that there was already a match in progress. There was an open gate that was used for getting ambulances in and out and I just walked through that. I couldn’t get straight up to the seats nearby where a few people were sat and so just kept on walking towards the halfway line until I found a stairway and took a seat in the director’s box. It’s all about confidence I reckon. If you behave as if you should be there, you rarely get challenged. When I was a kid one of my mates used to regularly get into Ayresome Park for free just by walking up to the main entrance with two cups of tea in his hand. If he was challenged, which he rarely was, he would just say that he had already gone into the ground once and that his Dad had sent him down for the teas. He never got turned away. Mind you, getting into Seoul United Director’s Box for free was hardly comparable. They would probably have let me be a director if I had asked nicely.

VIP Entrance

The teams looked quite young, so perhaps it wasn’t the Seoul United match, possibly an academy or university game. One team was in green shirts and shorts, the other in a purple strip with a broad yellow stripe similar to the white one that Birmingham had when Trevor Francis was a kid. The scoreboard said 0-0 and 17 minutes gone, which confused me a little as I couldn’t see how they would finish the match before the scheduled 3pm start for the Seoul United game. Hopefully it was seventeen minutes into the second half, in which case it would tie in nicely.

It was quite a good standard, with the players having decent technical skill and a tendency to try and keep the ball. The pitch was artificial, which is quite handy I suppose if you are going to play back to back games on it. There was a running track, as there usually is at these municipal stadiums and a roof over the main stand where I was sat, with the rest of the ground open to the elements. There were probably about a hundred people watching, most of them seeming to be subs, squad members or families of the players. It was a bit like a Boro reserve game in that respect, although not quite as well attended. There were few chances initially as both teams kept their shape. The Green team hit the bar after about half an hour, tempting me to do the same, before opening the scoring a few minutes later. Birmingham equalized a minute or two later, frustratingly without me noticing which were the home team whilst the scoreboard was just showing the single goal. Not that it made any difference I suppose.

There didn’t seem to be much urgency and with no substitutions I was beginning to doubt that it was the second half. As the ref blew his whistle my suspicions were confirmed as both teams wandered off without the usual post match handshakes and bowing. I walked around the stand for a bit before heading down to the main entrance for a look around. I went outside and looking up noticed a banner advertising the Seoul United game but with a 5pm kickoff. Bugger, that wasn’t so good. I had stuff planned for that evening in town and at best I’d have to leave at half time, maybe an hour in at the most.

With two and a half hours still to go before kick off I decided to skip the second half of the kids game and have a walk around Hyochang Park. It was a pleasant enough place, with plenty of families playing on the swings or having a picnic. There were some tombs of minor royals and some of martyrs from the years of the Japanese oppression. The martyr tombs were quite interesting as you got the story of what had lead to them being there, generally it was something like lobbing a bomb at a Japanese general, before being executed and having their remains relocated to Seoul many years later. One bloke had a tomb with a slightly smaller headstone than the others. I thought perhaps he might have just chucked a brick at a Japanese corporal or something, but no, it was because his body hadn’t been recovered yet. It was a nice gesture though to give him a grave even though he wasn’t in it.

There was a walking trail around the park, helpfully marked with distance posts, and I followed it for an hour or so, occasionally overtaking an old granny or two who all seemed to be wearing the most outrageously sized sun visors. They were more like welders masks. Some of the younger people were walking small dogs, usually some variant on a Chihuahua. They seem pretty popular over here.

I got back to the outside of the ground with still an hour to go before kickoff and I decided I’d had enough for the day. I didn’t really want to hang around just to see the first half and so I headed back down the hill and got the subway home. Meanwhile a 1-0 away win for Jeonbuk at Gwangju moved them up into fourth place, three points behind league leaders Seoul. Lee Dong Gook, who had continued his goal scoring run in midweek with an Asian Champions League goal, played the full ninety minutes but missed out on a goal for the first time in six matches.

6 Responses to “Seoul United v Youngkwang, Sunday 18th April 2010”

  1. Cogstar Says:

    Dead People and Stuff is a brilliant filing system

  2. onthetrailofthelionking Says:

    I know, it seems to fit so well. I may just introduce another one, ‘Games i turned up to and missed’. That would get a few entries too.

  3. Betting Agents Says:

    Good One. I think i like the way you write.

  4. Cogstar Says:

    Or maybe Food I haven’t eaten

  5. Breakfast Nook Says:

    i would say that Lion King is one of the best animated films that i have ever watched :~`

  6. Nappy Rash Says:

    :~; that seems to be a great topic, i really love it `.”

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