I have been living in England for nearly a year now, but ironically I needed to go all the way to China to experience my first football match. When my room mates and I were excitedly telling people we were going to see a football game, the reactions we got were “…why…?” and “Oh, Changsha Jinde is playing! They are from my hometown!” – “Oh, so you’re going to see the match as well?!” – “HELL NO!”. Seems like Chinese football teams are known for being notoriously bad…and the Chinese know it.

Shanghai Shenhua vs. Changsha Jinde

Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium:

Since everyone were rooting for the home team Shanghai Shenhua, I decided to be a nice person and cheer for Changsha Jinde, the poor team from Hunan. However, first we all had to get up to sing the Chinese National Anthem “March of the Volunteers” which was apparently written on a piece of tobacco paper back in 1934. Although another version was popular between 1978-82, hailing the Communist Party (“We will for generations, raise high Mao Zedong’s banner, march on!”), the original version, and the one which is now being currently used, goes like this: “Our million hearts beat as one, brave the enemy’s fire, march on!”.  Chairman Mao’s strong hold over China is long gone.

Die-hard Shanghai Shenhua fans:

Relaxed, down-to-earth fans:

Confused fans:

Things looked promising for a while…

But in the end, my team lost… However, it is ok, because they were terrible anyway.

It was a fun experience – but it would definitely have been more fun if it had not been 37°C outside,  and our drinks had not been confiscated at the entrance.

I learnt a new Chinese sentence by the way, which you are supposed to shout at Chinese football players: “Ni shi bai chi!”. I think the English equivalent would be “You suck”. And really hard at that.