Gwangju FC v Jeonbuk Motors, Saturday 16th July 2011, 7pm

A new team was added to the K-League this season, Gwangju FC. Their inclusion took the number of teams in the top division up to sixteen and had the benefit not only of increasing each club’s league fixtures to thirty but also of removing the problem of someone having a blank weekend due to the odd number of clubs.

Up until the end of last season the army team played in Gwangju as Gwangju Sangmu. They’ve moved to Sangju now though and as you might have guessed have been renamed as Sangju Sangmu. Their relocation meant that the Guus Hiddink Stadium no longer had a tenant and so Gwangju FC was formed and they moved in quicker than squatters in the rain.

I’ve been to Gwangju a few times, including seeing Gwangju Sangmu play in the Guus Hiddink Stadium, but as I haven’t yet seen the new Gwangju team I thought I’d better pay the place another visit.

Jen and I caught the KTX from a drizzling Yongsan on the Friday evening. It takes about three hours to get to Gwangju and it made a nice surprise to find that we’d gone beyond the rain clouds. We turned right out of the station and just picked the first hotel that we came to.

Complete with spires, towers and stuff.

It was good value at thirty thousand won a night with air conditioning, a large fan and, as advertised outside, a 42″ telly. We didn’t watch too much tv, but we certainly got full value out of the air conditioning as it ran all night on the ‘ Just like the inside of a fridge’ setting. I suspect that if we’d stayed there longer than a couple of nights then we might have bankrupted the hotel and created an energy shortage across the country.

It still wasn’t raining when we woke up, which is an unusual state of affairs for Korea at the moment. We couldn’t waste a dry day and so got a taxi to the nearby Wonhyosa Temple in Mudeung Provincial Park. It only took  twenty minutes and even with a bit extra added on to the meter price in compensation for the lack of a return fare it was still under fifteen thousand won.

The various trails were reasonably well signposted, but we still managed to take the wrong route initially and had to retrace our steps. There was plenty of wildlife to see though, including chipmunks, frogs and a dog with pink ears.

There are packs of them, running wild.

There are a few peaks higher than a thousand metres in the Mudeung Provincial Park, although not all of them are accessible. We walked for about six hours in total, covering sixteen kilometres or so. The peak at Seoseokdae looked to be blocked off but we got as far as the 1,100m Ipseokdae rocks on Mudeungsan after stopping off for a while at a temple on the way up to Jangbuljae.

On the way down from Ipseokdae

After getting back to where we’d started from at about quarter past four we were fortunate enough to be able to quicken our stride and catch the bus just as it was about to leave. It wound around town for a while but still had us back to Gwangju Station within forty minutes.

Gwangju’s home game with Lee Dong Gook’s Jeonbuk Motors was due to start at seven o’clock and by the time we’d got changed and taken a taxi there was only half an hour to go until kick-off. We got a couple of tickets at ten thousand won apiece and were given a free bottle of water and can of Sprite each as we went in. We had tickets for the West Stand, but as they didn’t have any turnstiles open we had to enter via the North and make our way around.

Lee Dong Gook was starting up front for Jeonbuk, with the Brazilians Luiz Henrique and Eninho in attacking midfield roles. We got the “No, nay, never, no nay never no more, will I play the fixed odds, no never no more” speech from the captains before the start again. I wonder how long that is going to have to go on for.

"I think I'll have the chicken and chips please"

In the first half most of the action took place off the pitch. The home fans unfurled a banner after ten minutes or so that had the stewards scurrying over to remove it. There was a bit of scuffling as both sides fought over the banner, with the fans heavily outnumbering the stewards. Eventually though the banner came down.

Behind the home goal

Fifteen minutes later it all got a bit livelier as around forty of the fans behind the goal made their way around to the main stand and started shouting at the club officials. A few of them were pretty angry and this led to fans from the main stand remonstrating with them. It all got a bit heated with a few punches thrown. There wasn’t a copper in sight though and as more of them arrived the stewards could do little to disperse them.

Sod off, sonny.

After ten minutes or so the ringleader decided it was time to take his army of teenagers and social misfits back behind the goal. They received plenty of abuse on their way back from some of the older fans, but seemed quite pleased with their little adventure. I find it all a bit sad that people can get worked up at a football match to a level of rage that turns to physical violence, particularly over a team that hadn’t even existed five months previously.

Nothing of note happened in a goalless first half and at the interval Jeonbuk took off their two Brazilians, replacing them with Kim Dong Chan and Krunoslav Lovrek. The substitutions didn’t have the desired effect though and it was Gwangju who took the lead ten minutes into the second half with Lee Seung Ki sliding the ball home at the far post.

1-0

Gwangju didn’t hold on to their lead for long though and a few minutes later a cross from the left took a deflection off home defender Kim Su Beom for a scrappy equaliser.

We didn’t get any more protests and we didn’t get any more goals. The draw took Jeonbuk four points clear at the top of the table, ahead of second placed Pohang Steelers who had lost at home to Chunnam Dragons.

3 Responses to “Gwangju FC v Jeonbuk Motors, Saturday 16th July 2011, 7pm”

  1. Martyrs Forever Says:

    I have a real issue with the Jeonbuk kit. You can’t see them!

  2. onthetrailofthelionking Says:

    Very true. Mind you, we didn’t see much more of Lee Dong Gook when he wore a red shirt at the Boro.

  3. bathing suit Says:

    bathing suit…

    […]Gwangju FC v Jeonbuk Motors, Saturday 16th July 2011, 7pm « Trail of the Lion King[…]…

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