Between inflated transfer fees, relentless top-down engineering and the acutely politicised nature of the sport in the country, China and the Chinese Super League offer little for Football traditionalists. Yet an inquisitive Football enthusiast can still chance upon an oasis of culture even in this expansive wilderness.
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.
The ethnic Han account for approximately 92% of the population of the People’s Republic of China. A couple hundred other ethnic groups are formally recognised by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), though possibly thousands more exist unofficially within the world’s most populous country. In his book “The Emperor Far Away”, author David Eimer literally and figuratively explores four geographic regions of China where the Han Chinese are outnumbered by their reluctant compatriots, and his work directly inspired this article.
The picture he paints is bleak. While the Han Continue reading
An immediate observation made at Chinese Football games is the consistent employment of a Capo figure in blocks of fans and Ultras within the stadium. At all Chinese Super League matches I’ve attended in the People’s Republic, a Capo has been present at every single one.
If you are unfamiliar Continue reading
An immediate observation of the fan culture at Chinese Football games is the lack of anything new. Fans wave colourful flags, bounce, drum, clap, raise scarves and shine their smartphone torches at at the end of a match; traditions observable at Football stadia around the world. Chinese Football fans are looking to foreign leagues for inspiration and borrowing customs that they think work well, instead of taking the time to develop fan traditions of their own. It may sound harsh, but it is certainly true.
When you think about it, this behavioural pattern makes sense. In Continue reading
One common characteristic of Football matches in China is the extensive police presence. At the Worker’s Stadium in Beijing, each seating block is allocated numerous uniformed officers with more scattered between the fans and the pitch. The officers gather in rank once again after the match outside the stadium in plain view of any remaining spectators still loitering around, a show of force and a clear statement to any would-be troublemakers. Take a brief view at the photo below and you will clearly see many serving officers in khaki uniforms sat in the front row of the stand.
This behaviour shouldn’t seem strange to you. China is very wary of Continue reading
As socialmediatisation continues its rampant conquer of our attention, free time, thumbs, creativity and now our work, it is no surprise that the Football Culture of South East Asia is finally getting the global acclaim it deserves. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages dedicated to fan culture are now broadcasting the exploits of the passionate from Jakarta, Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Surabaya, Bangkok, Palembang, Pahang and Yogyakarta onto the screens of Italians, Israelis and Irishmen during their coffee break.
Asian fanatics developed their own way of supporting their team before the ubiquity of Social Media. They didn’t simply copy the Ultra Model, as is happening now in growing leagues that are exposed to Ultra behaviour elsewhere. They created something different, using Continue reading
Look at the league table in any league unfamiliar to you and you tend to see similar club name suffixes and prefixes. But it is in the Indonesian Liga 1 & 2 that the names are perhaps most similar. Persegres, PSS Sleman, PSIM, PSM, Persija, Persela, Persib, Persiba, Persibat, Persebaya, Persipura, Perseru, Persis. Confusing, right? One Indonesian club with a more distinct name is Sriwijaya FC.