Confirmed: Drogba to make half-time walkabout during Shanghai – Beijing clash
Didier Drogba will make his first appearance in front of the Hongkou crowd at half-time during the Shanghai Shenhua – Beijing Guoan “China Derby” on Saturday, the club have confirmed.
But unfortunately for those of a blue persuasion, the Chelsea legend will be making a walk about on the pitch only, and not taking part in the match itself, as he arrives in China very early the same morning, before being officially unveiled during a press conference in the afternoon.
Also taking to the pitch with Drogba will be club owner Zhu Jun, although thankfully he won’t be playing either, just holding court as the world soccer superstar says a few words to the fans. Shanghai media sources suggest Drogba’s wife and three children may also accompany him onto the pitch.
Fan response to the news was unusually sceptical. Shenhua followers, perhaps jaded and burned by Anelka’s failure to improve the sides fortune, greeted the news on weibo with black humour. Some of the more interesting comments are translated below:
“Football is a game of 11 players, we can’t rely on the talents of one or two individuals, its not tennis!”
“Now that he’s here, can he solve all our problems?
“He’s just waving to the fans, it’s uninteresting.”
“Each wave must cost money!”.
“He’s waving to say to us “Hi, I’m looking forward to playing in the second division next year!”
Author: Cameron Wilson
UK trained journalist and long-time Chinese football observer Cameron Wilson has been writing about Chinese football since 2005 for various International and China-based news outlets such as Agence France-Presse, Goal.com, Shanghaiist, China Sports Review, That’s Shanghai, Time out Shanghai and City Weekend. In August 2010 he decided to launch a website dedicated to Chinese football as a central despository for all of his writings ont he subject.
He’s traveled all over China following Shanghai Shenhua as a fully paid-up member of its infamous Blue Devil’s supporters group.
His association with China stretches back over a decade, having first arrived in August 2000 to teach English for a year in a rural town a few hours northwest of Shanghai. He took in his first Chinese football match during this time – a 2-1 victory for Shanghai Shenhua against Dalian Shide. He went home to the UK in July 2001 but returned to China to live in Shanghai in 2005. Since then he’s been a Shanghai Shenhua season ticket holder and a member of the Blue Devil’s supporters’ club. The views expressed by him on Wild East Football may suffer from a slight bias to this effect.
He is also however, still very much a fan of his hometown team, Dunfermline Athletic. A “Par from afar”, as it were.
A passionate believer in the power of the beautiful game to build bridges between diverse peoples and cultures, he was the first foreign fan to travel with the Blue Devil fans’ club to an away match – a tremendous 3-2 victory for Shenhua over Beijng Guoan in September 2007.
Cameron speaks decent mandarin and can crack jokes in Shanghainese.