Tuesday, 1 September 2009


Most of you who knew me back in the real world (because, to me, Korea is like a Twilight Zone where people are paid to enjoy a uni-esque lifestyle) will know that I am not a sportsman. Sure, I did Taekwondo at university but I was still an apathetic kind of person when it came to non-international football.

Until now.

Maybe it's being far away from home, but I've become far more interested in the antics of the Premier League (or EPL as the Americans, Canananananadians and Koreans call it) than I've ever been. I am even considering staying up all night saturdays just to watch the matches, despite the fact that I have no team to follow (We can thank a mixture of Mike Ashley and 50,000 batshit crazy Geordies for that). And, simply because of the dirt-cheap prices I find myself getting to football matches every so often (£4 for a general admission ticket!). One of these times was Sunday night. After finishing the weekly game with the local contingent of foreigners (Yes, I play it too-I even have boots) I rocked up to the Seoul World Cup stadium and checked out FC Seoul vs. Ulsan.

The standard of football doesn't exactly compare with the Premier League or La Liga, but at least the player's aren't diving or fouling each other at every opportunity. I was reliably informed by my Korean friend (and FC Seoul supporter) Hyun that they were top of the league and needed to retain this title from underdogs Ulsan. Which they failed to do, as Ulsan became giant-killers and walked away with a 2-0 victory.
The really sad thing that struck me about this match was that Koreans care surprisingly little about football. For a country that purpose-built 7 world cup stadia only 7 years ago, unless Park Ji-Sung or Manchester United are involved, they just don't want to know. It's a shame that Seoul World Cup stadium has to have a mall in it just to keep going when it is an awesome stadium and venue in its own right. I'd be surprised if it was half full when we were there.

Still, hopefully the Korea vs. Australia game on Saturday will provide a more entertaining spectacle.

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