Busan Transport Corporation v Mokpo City, Friday 6th May 2011, 3pm


This trip was a bit last-minute, mainly because I’d thought that I would be at work. I’d known for a while that I’d be getting the day before off as Thursday was Children’s Day, a public holiday, but until the Wednesday night I’d expected to have to work the Friday as I had a couple of meetings lined up. As tends to be the way here my meetings were re-scheduled at the last minute to the Monday, causing me to cancel my plans for that day but freeing up the Friday instead. I don’t know why I told you all that because it’s not remotely relevant. Anyway, if you are still reading, the good news is that you don’t need to remember it.

I did think about going for a hike, but Jen and I had been for quite a long walk the day before. As neither of us have any parents in Korea who could have taken us to the zoo we celebrated Children’s Day by walking from the Han River towards Anyang and then back again instead. We walked for six hours and probably covered about fourteen miles. It meant that the following day I didn’t really fancy a trek up a hill.

Not the usual riverbank activities

It’s quite  an interesting walk with plenty of sporting activities going on by the water. We watched a few balls of a baseball game, where I suspect our presence put a bit of additional pressure on the players, and saw some speed skaters lapping a track. There were plenty of fish too, carp by the look of it and they often broke the surface of the water. It was a while before I realised that the frenzied activity was probably mating, so the photos that I took are actually fish porn. I’m curious to see if that phrase brings in any visitors to the blog via Google. There are some people with unusual interests out there you know.

Fish Porn

I had a look at the football fixtures and my options were limited to a couple of second division games. One of them was in Busan, which is over two hundred miles away from Seoul whilst the other one was in Gimhae, which is slightly closer but would have involved me going past it to Busan and then backtracking. The kick-offs were four hours apart so I could actually have gone to both games if I’d been so inclined, but that seemed like a bit too much effort and I settled for Busan Transport Corporation v Mokpo City.

I caught the 9.45am KTX from Seoul Station and by just before midday I was in Busan. There is a subway station just outside the rail station and as I was looking for an easy life I got myself a one day pass for 3,500 won.

With it being lunchtime I thought I’d make the most of being in a fishing port and I  paid a visit to the Jagalchi fish market.

Jagalchi Fish Market

There were a lot more boats in the harbour than last time I was here and a lot more outdoor stalls selling a mixture of live and filleted fish. I watched a bloke dealing with the eels for a while. He would just grab one from a bucket of water, pin its head to a board with an awl and then nick the skin at the top of the neck with his knife. Although with an eel it’s probably difficult to say where the neck is, they are pretty much all neck. He would then partially pull off the skin, rip out the guts and then remove the rest of the skin before slicing the head off.

The headless, skinless and gutless body was then thrown into a bowl where it continued to writhe around, with what seemed like no ill effects from what had gone on over the previous twenty seconds or so.

The bloke asked me if I wanted one, but I wasn‘t sure if it would be served raw. I was fine eating the still wriggling octopus legs a few months ago, but the eel was pink and bleeding. Plus it looked pretty mad about what had just gone on and I didn’t want it taking its temper out on me even if its teeth were five feet away in the scraps bucket.

This would probably have been more effective as a video.

I played it safe in the end and got a plate of prawns that were cooked at my table on a little camping style stove. With time moving on I then got back on the subway and travelled three stops further along the line to stop number 107, which is the nearest station to the Gudeok Stadium. I came out of exit three, turned left and in a few moments was able to see one of the floodlights. It’s about ten minutes walk.

Gudeok Stadium

It wasn’t readily apparent where you were supposed to get into the ground, but the main entrance was open and so I just wandered in through there. I emerged from under the main stand to find myself next to the pitch and after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing I was able to make my way up through the media section and then find a seat a bit higher up.

There was a bit of an odd sight in the front row of the stand where a life-size cut-out of one of the Busan fans, Charlie Robinson, gazed down onto the pitch. I know Charlie, having spent a very enjoyable day with him and a few others at a Jeonbuk game last year, and it was a little disconcerting to come face to face with his effigy.

"Stand up if you love Busan"

There weren‘t many fans in the stadium at this point, possibly only about a hundred and none of whom appeared to be supporting Mokpo. Maybe a few dozen additional replica fans might be just what the place needs to fill it up.

The teams lined up as usual before kick-off, Mokpo tried to pass themselves off as Man Utd whilst Busan were perhaps a little more realistic in their ambitions with a Brighton kit.

Brighton v Man Utd

When the teams turned around to face the Korean flag for the National Anthem, Busan instantly transformed themselves from Brighton to Chelsea. Their kit being totally devoid of stripes on the back meant for quite a confusing game. It was as if a combined Brighton and Chelsea XI has turned out, each player choosing to just wear the strip of their own club.

Chelsea v Man Utd

There wasn’t much of note happened in the first half, one of the Busan players, possibly Peter Ward, possibly Gianfranco Zola, had a shot saved after about half an hour, but it was mainly just forty five minutes of misplaced passes.

At half time I had a wander around to the other side of the ground, before spotting the real life Charlie who had been held up in traffic. Fortunately he didn’t stand near his replica, as I’m pretty sure that’s the sort of thing that upsets the space-time continuum.

Goalmouth action

As we spent most of the second half chatting there is even less detail than normal this time. I did see Peter Osgood put the home team ahead a few minutes into the second half with a shot that took what is usually described as a wicked deflection.  Alex Stepney in the Mokpo goal stood no chance and, wrongfooted, could only stand and watch the ball creep past him.

View from the main stand

That’s the way it ended up, with a one goal win for the home team. I caught the KTX back to Seoul and was back in the capital shortly after half past eight. If the football photos look better this week it’s because I delegated the job to Charlie’s young son. If I see him at a game again I’ll try and off-load the words too.

2 Responses to “Busan Transport Corporation v Mokpo City, Friday 6th May 2011, 3pm”

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