Chinese Football Chronicles | Sticking Your Neck Out

Beijing Guoan Ultras

To my surprise, fans were freely walking back out of the stadium. The vast security team that had so diligently monitored the actions of the crowd inside the ground now seemed entirely ambivalent to their temporary exit. With fifteen minutes to kill, I followed many fans out to find a soft drink. Having completed my purchase from a vendor making his living in the shadow of the stadium named in honour of the city’s proletariat, I turned to face the Beijing Workers’ Stadium and bumped into three young men in identical green t-shirts featuring bold designs. Given the impenetrable language barrier, I made a friendly motion to demonstrate my wish to take a photograph. Their passive demeanour evaporated.

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Football Matches During Covid

Football covid

There was a time when we were wondering if we would ever see live professional Football again. The necessary measures put in place to contain the terrifying transnational spread of Covid-19 in spring forced an immediate and indefinite halt to all organised sporting events. Caught between a rock and a hard place, broadcasters and governing sports bodies pursued a wide array of alternatives in order to keep television viewing figures high and to fulfill their contractual obligations, from repeats of classic Football matches to a first ever gaming 24 Hours of Le Mans race in June.

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La Tercera Express Play-Offs

San roque ceuta

This weekend represents the beginning of the express play-offs of the regional La Tercera divisions. Intriguingly, the extraordinary circumstances of this season have simplified the highly complex structure of Spain’s lower leagues.

Spain’s enthusiasm for Football is a surprise to absolutely nobody, but probably what a lot of outsiders often underestimate about the Kingdom is its sheer size. It is often far easier to get to Spain than to get across it. Apart from being 700 kilometres apart, travel between Seville and Santander for example is

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The Sherry Derby

Xerez Deportivo bar

This weekend would have marked the beginning of the Feria de Jerez; the annual celebration of the various traditions that collectively define the intoxicating Flamenco culture of Spain’s south. Horsemanship, Sevillana dancing, delicate guitar playing, melancholy singing and – of course – sherry are all consumed in abundance by locals eager to revel in the cultural vibrancy of their ville. Coincidentally, today marks two months since the FBTG team last attended a Football game, which happened to be the biggest game of the 2019/2020 season played in Jerez de la Frontera. Though it may seem Continue reading

The Kozakken Boys

Kozakken Boys fc

It isn’t often the FBTG boys wake up on a Saturday morning in the Netherlands. But when we do, we are seldom in a state to drive.

On our first Football-culture trip to the Netherlands, stadium tours in Alkmaar and Amsterdam were pleasant, but ultimately outdone by a rain-soaked yet brilliant Friday evening contest between SC Telstar and FC Twente and the Rabobank IJmond Stadion in IJmuiden. Mercifully Continue reading

Extremely Bad Boyz

Ultras badajoz

Surely most fans would be prepared to queue for multiple hours to purchase a ticket to see their team play in the later stages of the cup. The price/reward trade-off makes the decision entirely rational. But would you ever wait in line for hours to get your hands on a ticket to see somebody else’s team play for the first time?

I don’t get called a mug often. But on this occasion it might be justified.

It is Continue reading