One English Championship game today and Wednesday K-League Classic & Challenge games to list, but first, some Taeguk Warrior news in today, the 2nd round draw for 2018 World Cup qualifiers in, Tim’s got the skinny on that, check that out here.
Today Kim Bo-Kyung and Wigan visit Millwall / 2:45pm and no US TV broadcast. Wigan are 8 points from safety, provided they can catch up with Rotherham United and overtake their 21st position in the table. Kimbo’s been solid despite the team’s relegation woes, expect him to start.
Next week Asian Champions League group beginning to wrap up, but we have midweek K-League action, all games on Wednesday:
K-League Classic (Round 6)
Wednesday, April 15
- Midweek K-League is glorious -I can finally see Park Chu-Young (FC Seoul v Daegu) without falling asleep here on the US East Coast. At 6:30am, while too early for beer and/or soju, that time is before my kids wake up. Morning football & coffee bliss.
- 1st away game for Seoul E-Land as they visit the sparsely attended settings at Sangju. Could be an interesting as Sangju tops the Challenge table while Seoul E-land has managed 2 draws in their inaugural season and find their footings.
- Several Challenge clubs have already fallen victim in last weekend’s 3rd round FA Cup ties. Sangju suffering a 1-0 defeat at the hands of (deep breath as it’s a loooong name) Gyeongju Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power FC. Other shocking eliminations: Gyeongnam falling to fellow Challengers Gangwon 2-1 and Suwon City knocked out by 3rd tier Ulsan Dolphins with 1-2 scoreline. Seoul E-Land though earned their first victory as a club, winning their FA Cup match 2-0 against Sunmoon University.
- There was such hope that there would be a turnaround from past seasons meager attendances when the first 2 rounds produced higher than expected numbers to fill stadiums and watch K-League football. However, they’re back to anemic numbers for the 5th round this past weekend:
R5 total: 32,310
R5 average: 5,385
Season total to date: 321,659
Season average to date: 10,732
— Jae (이재혁) (@ArmchairRegista) April 12, 2015
Shockingly bad numbers. Come on Korea! Baseball is dying here in the US. Why copycat a BORING dying sport? jesus, buddha and muhammad – Someone help me translate this for the peninsula, something to go viral, perhaps a widespread meme like: When I watch ‘yagu’ — I get all ‘shim-shim.’ Soccer/Football is the world’s sport. Get with it Korea! No more “doonk-doonk ey-gies” who would rather run a few yards and stand around all day than go on heroic epic runs, weaving and dodging through enemy lines and finding the back of the net. Tavern editorial / shaming time over…
By the way, if you are a yagu supporter – gloves are off, I’m in a fighting mood. If you want some, you know the Tavern’s address, bring it!
Seriously though, when I’m not picking fights with baseball supporters, I loves me some good lefty literature and the world lost a magnificent voice, Eduardo Galeano. He died 74 years young and had quite the life, writing about the legacy of economic violence imposed on South America by US and European imperialism. He also spoke out for democracy -and as a consequence, fled for his life from right wing dictators in his native Uruguay and later in Argentina. I mention Galeano because he wrote a brilliant book on football in South America, Soccer in Sun and Shadows.
From NPR’s broadcast this morning:
“There are towns and villages in Brazil that lacks a church, but not one lacks a soccer field. Sunday is the day of hard labor for cardiologists all across the country. On a normal Sunday, people die from excitement during ‘the mass of the ball.’ On a Sunday without soccer, people die of boredom.”
Word. You can read up more on Galeano, his life and writings here from the Washington Post.
Eh, I’m not terribly crazy for K-pop, but as the Tavern cyber-commutes between the US and Korea, there’s definitely a Korean / American component to K-pop. As an example, there’s Jae Chong, a superproducer of K-pop hits – he’s LA born and bred. NPR did a story on him this morning, so while I can still remember, here’s the link. As for Me? African music is where it’s at. Congo, Mali, Senegal, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ghana, amazing music from all over that diaspora. Puzzled? We’ll talk later…
One regret I have is that I don’t give enough coverage for Korean women’s football. Here’s 2 clips, Ji So-Yun scoring the 1st and Cho So-Yun in the 2nd against Russia last week. (Korea won both friendlies against Russia, 1-0 and 2-0 results. Ji So-Yun scoring in both matches.) The Park Eun-Sun, Ji So-Yun and Cho So-Yun trio are making things interesting for the Lady Taeguk Warriors. Women’s World Cup right around the corner in June…
Watching baseball on TV is dull, but attending games (in Korea at least) is quite fun, and its much more fun than K League games. You sing, dance, eat, drink, and generally just have a good time and, oh yeah, there’s a baseball game too.
The vast majority of Korean fans aren’t terribly interested in the teams themselves and really just want to have fun. Its up to the clubs and league to create that matchday experience.
They do all that during Korean baseball games? That’s the reason they’re better attended? Hmmm…do any football clubs try to replicate all that to attract the average joe or jane Korean into stadiums? I remember in your Busan Ipark blog they used to hold Kpop halftime shows, or something like that…
I could be wrong but didn’t football games have better attendance 10 years ago? Perhaps the ‘2002 World Cup fever syndrome’ has faded…
I guess I look over the ponds, see better attendance in Japan and China (seemingly Iran as well) and …just disappointed that k league attendance is in the doldrums again.
Pardon my ‘if a tree falls in a forest’ remix: If a KLeague match gets underway and no one is around to watch it, did it ever really happen?
Ah, there’s no need for over pessimism on my part. There’s got to be a solution to this.
Do they try? Well, you can eat and drink at K League matches, but the singing and dancing are problematic. Teams are attempting to replicate the atmosphere by bringing in cheerleaders, but the nature of the flow of the game makes it difficult for them. Baseball offers obvious start/stop points to do chants. When a player steps up to the plate, gets a hit, makes a catch, etc. Those kind of events don’t really exist in football which is much more fluid. Plus baseball already has time and history on it’s side. The songs and chants have been around for several years for people to learn. These songs would need to be created and taught to fans at K League matches. K Pop groups do occasionally come to league games, but it’s relatively rare. Beyond that it’s not particularly entertaining as they always perform in the center circle so they feel very far away.
Attendances did spike after the 2002 WC, plateaued a few years later, and then dropped after the 2011(?) match-fixing scandal. They’ve just started to recover a bit since then. In some ways, Korea suffers a reverse problem that Europe and South America has. Here the national team has significant popularity while the clubs are neglected, as opposed to countries where the clubs are king and the NT is seen as a nuisance. I think it’s been mentioned before but Korea’s emphasis on players in Europe and the European leagues certainly doesn’t help.
There are potential solutions but they take time and money. The former is there, but the latter is questionable. Will the government or chaebol owners ever be willing to spend significant sums of money to increase the quality of the product? It’s difficult to see it happening any time soon. Ultimately it means improving the match day experience and club profiles in their community.
Thanks for your reply – you’ve got a good eye for observing what’s happening over there. I appreciate your insights into all that. Well…I’m going to set my alarm to wake up for the Seoul v Daejeon match. Peace!