Italy v Holland, Saturday 5th November 2011, 2pm

Some of the things that I write about tend to be a bit vague. Actually that opening sentence is a bit vague. It proves my point though, I suppose. The vagueness is generally because I don’t really know what I’m writing about and it’s easier to just avoid including details rather than bothering to find out. This post is vaguer than most.

Jen and I had been hiking in Moaksan Provincial Park and were on our way down from Mount Moak when we spotted a football pitch in the valley at the bottom. At this point we were still a good kilometre away, but we could see that a game was underway. It reminded me of the view from the away end at St James’ Park. I didn’t take a photo at that point because my camera was in my backpack, but if you imagine a Subbuteo pitch at the bottom of your garden then you will probably have a reasonable idea of what we could see.

Anyway, once we got to the bottom we went and had a look. There was a football tournament taking place and since we were due a rest after our hike we stopped for a while to watch one of the games.

Now this is where it gets vaguer than normal as I have no idea who the teams were, nor the name of the ground. We were near to the start of a trail within Moaksan Provincial Park but I don’t even know if the name of the village was Moaksan. Whatever.  One of the teams was dressed up as Italy and the other as Holland, so I’ll just assume that the local council had stumped up the cash to stage a prestigious international friendly.

Johan Cruyff takes on three Italians.

One of the things that I like about Korea is the abundance of sporting facilities. Everywhere you look you will find football pitches, basketball courts, outdoor gym equipment. We’ve even stumbled across badminton courts halfway up a mountain before. This pitch was artificial, with a small stand at the half-way line and three rows of concrete seating running the length of the pitch either side of it . It would be ideal for a second or third division team.

The main stand.

The best thing though was the view. Whilst the hills behind the stand were impressive enough, the opposite side of the pitch had a mountain backdrop that was guaranteed to make a player’s attention wander whenever he wasn’t on the ball. I imagine quite a few goals have been scored whilst a keeper has been leaning against his post gazing into the distance. I used to be a goalie and I let loads in by not paying attention even though the only views I had to distract me were local housing estates or chemical plants. I dread to think how much more of a liability I’d have been if I’d played next to Moaksan.

The other side of the pitch

Some of the players looked to be getting on a bit and others were carrying a few pounds more than looked good for them, although I can empathise with all of that. Typical Sunday League stuff I suppose. In keeping with the lack of detail I’ve no idea what the score was either. There was definitely at least one goal at each end if that helps.

The Italians had an extensive post-match warm-down session.

It wasn’t the best attended of games. The only other spectators were the players who were waiting to use the pitch next and a small child that presumably belonged to some bloke who had been unable to get a babysitter. We stayed for about half an hour, but then had to get away because we were off to the Champions League Final. The football would undoubtedly be better at the big game, but the pitchside view certainly wouldn’t.

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