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’s Most International National Cup

Football fans Singapore

Originally constructed in bonnie Newcastle in 1915, the HMS Malaya had been of service both in World War I and II in places as varied as Denmark, Anatolia, Malta, Genoa, Cape Verde and the Caribbean. She gallantly ended her service as target bouncing bomb practice in Loch Striven in Scotland in 1944, but where Football is concerned, the HMS Malaya made her most important trip in 1921 – to the land after which she was named. Continue reading

The Realities of Football Culture Blogging Pt 2

Football media pass

In part 1 of “The Realities of Football Culture Blogging”, we cast a light onto the work that goes on behind the scenes of a small blog like ours and how we integrate this work with our everyday lives, as well as calling out a lot of the blogosphere on its inherent bullshit.

That is all well and good, but pub conversations and discussions with readers often reveal a great deal of misconceptions you guys have regarding the writing process we employ at FBTG. Visiting Continue reading

Sunnis, Sukarno and Soccer Pt II

Palembang fans

For part I of Sunnis, Sukarno and Soccer, please click here.

It is easy to make the mental leap that Indonesia is “more Muslim” than its sibling Malaysia is. But if that is the case, why are Koranic prayers read at before Football matches in Malaysia and not in Indonesia? The answer perhaps lies in the path to independence of both modern nation states.

It is something of a sour point to the Chinese and Indian Malaysians that Islam, a faith that is entirely foreign to them, has been chosen as their state religion. Yet in a country where ethnicity is a factor that influences your legal rights and civil status, the Chinese and Indian Malaysians are somewhat used to playing second fiddle.

The British shipped their ancestors into their Southeast Asian territories in Continue reading

Sunnis, Sukarno and Soccer Pt I

JDT Malaysian super league

A gruff voice boomed across the ground, magnified to ensure absolute clarity. The chatter of noise from the terraces abruptly stopped, all spectators shuffled to their feet. Way down below I was already on mine, but to my left I noticed a handful of young men in one of the media boxes end their conversation and put their smartphones away in haste, before bowing their heads. The exact message of the announcement was lost on me, but I 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