This was another Seoul based day, with some walking in the morning and a football game in the evening. Jen and I went back to the Achasan and Yongmasan mountains that we’d hiked up the previous week, but started at the other end this time for a bit of variation. Actually I’m not really sure what constitutes a mountain, these are only 287m and 348m high respectively so probably hill is a better description.
We were able to retrace our route from a week earlier, starting at Gwangnaru subway on Line 5 and walking through a park, then alongside the two thousand year old wall for a while. The route was even busier than the previous week with a number of hiking groups and most of Seoul’s pensioners out for a stroll.
We passed the ice cakee man at the top of Achasan again and then pressed on to Yongmasan. The views of the city were a whole lot better than the previous week when the yellow dust had obscured all but the closest landmarks.
Instead of dropping down towards Yongmasan subway we took an alternative route towards, I think, Mungusan. It was difficult to see where the route was leading as it descended quite steeply. Some of the sections required the use of ropes and handrails and it was a lot more awkward way down than the more popular trail that we’d came up had been.
We’d walked a lot quicker than the week before and despite covering a greater distance we were off the hill less than three hours after setting out. The extra time that we had in hand was quite useful as getting to Goyang is probably more of a trek than the hiking had been. Once we’d got onto Line 3 we had thirty stops to sit through until we reached Daehwa, the station right at the end of the line. It took us about an hour and a half in total and we arrived with just over an hour to spare before the 7pm kick-off.
Goyang’s stadium is pretty close to the subway and as we’d spotted it soon after coming out of the exit we had time for something to eat before the game. We popped into a place that was more like a café than a restaurant and got some of those steamed dumplings. I hadn’t realized that you could get Kimchi flavour mandu and having tried some I’d say that I prefer them. They are just that little bit spicier than the regular ones. The total bill only came to five thousand won which made me feel as if I should have been wearing a stocking over my head.
It continued to be a cheap night out as the football was free to get in. When we passed through the entrance we were asked to add our names and phone numbers to a list. I assumed that it was some sort of visitor’s book or maybe an attempt to build up a marketing database. I was wrong though. It was the list of people who would provide the half-time entertainment on the pitch. With that in mind I thought I’d better warm up with a bit of target practice nearby.
I failed to get the ball through any of the holes, but was given bottles of shampoo and conditioner as a consolation prize. I tend to find that conditioner isn’t strictly necessary for me these days.
The stadium was very impressive. It was far too impressive for a team at National League level though. When you only get crowds of around two hundred people then a forty two thousand capacity ground seems a touch excessive. Yongin provided eight of the total attendance. Fewer away fans than players but more than the substitutes seems to be a reasonable yardstick at this level.
The generous hospitality continued and we were given a football and then had our photograph taken by the official Goyang bloke with a Polaroid camera. I struggle to understand why the crowds are so low really. It seemed ideal for keeping the kids amused. A bloke can bring his kids for a free evening out, get their photo taken, let them run amok with a free football amongst the empty stands whilst he watches the match and then return home with a bag of assorted hair products to keep the missus sweet. Why wouldn’t you?
It was a fairly cagey first half, although that might have been expected with this being a game between the top two teams in the division, both of them unbeaten so far this season. Neither keeper had a shot to save and it was scoreless at the interval.
Mind you, when I say that neither keeper had a shot to save that may not be completely true. I missed the last ten minutes of the half due to making my way around to the other side of the ground after Jen got the phone call summoning me for the half time entertainment. I’d hoped that it would be penalties as even allowing for me wearing normal shoes rather than trainers I’d have been reasonably confident about not making an arse of myself. It wasn’t though. The challenge that we would face would be to try and score from the centre circle without the ball bouncing on the way in to the net.
I was asked a couple of questions beforehand, including my age, which seemed to impress the crowd. Possibly they admired the self-delusion of the old bloke. If only they knew that I’d have been just as unlikely to have scored whilst in my prime. The best I can say for my effort is that I didn’t fall over and it won yet another consolation prize. A pair of white sports socks this time.
The second half was more of the same, plenty of chances but without anyone ever really troubling the keeper and at the final whistle both sides had preserved their unbeaten records in a goalless draw. Yongin remained top of the table whilst Goyang slipped to fourth.
Meanwhile for those of you keeping up with the Lion King, Jeonbuk had been playing Gangwon at home earlier in the day. Lee Dong Gook scored his fourth goal in seven games in a 6-1 victory to move them up into fifth place in the table, four points behind leaders Pohang.