China’s Favourite Non-Chinese Club

Tianhe stadium night

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

Chinese Football Chronicles | Copy Cats

Beijing Guoan Ultras

For Part 1 of the Chinese Football Chronicles, click here.

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

The Dynamo Legacy

Dynamo Kiev graffiti

Many Football club names across Eurasia feature the moniker “Dynamo” or an alternative spelling thereof. These clubs share characteristics. Normally located in the respective country’s capital, their logos feature a common attractive “D” design and are usually among the most successful in each respective national league. SG Dynamo Dresden and BFC Dynamo of Germany are both exceptions, but we will return to them later.

These common characteristics are not accidental Continue reading

Pinocchio Club: BFC Dynamo

BFC Dynamo Berlin stadium

The Zionskirche bells chime through the still Berlin sky. 3 workmen take note of the time and finish their coffee, pausing to allow a mid-30s woman pushing a pram past before leaving. The Milanese café owner takes his time to wipe down the table, as a squirrel races across the road opposite him. It’s 8 am in Prenzlauer Berg.

The former residential Bezirk for East Berlin labourers has had something of a makeover in 26 years. Football anthropologist Simon Kuper described Prenzlauer Berg, his former manor, in strong detail back in 1994. In his book “Football Against Continue reading