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A Guide to Football in Shenyang

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China’s northeast is a footballing hotbed, and of the three provinces, Liaoning has always led the charge, in particular, the province’s capital city of Shenyang.  Despite the lack of success for the city’s local teams, it has produced an inordinate amount of China’s top footballers who’ve gone on to great success in other sides around China.  For such a footballing mad city (and region, fans in nearby Anshan are known around the country for their national team support), recent memory is full of upheaval.

The main side in Shenyang had always been Liaoning FC (currently known as Liaoning Whowin), but with the push for more soccer professionalism in China starting in the 1980s, the city government wanted a team of their own, creating Shenyang FC (later to become Shenyang Ginde during the Jia A/Chinese Super League period).  With Shenyang having a team of its own and the city struggling economically through China’s “reform and opening up” period, Liaoning FC became a traveling show, changing their home around the province every few years (from Jinzhou to Fushun to Anshan and even, briefly, in Beijing).  When Ginde’s home ground was demolished in 2007, the club moved “temporarily” to Changhsa, but never returned, and currently resides in Shenzhen.  The city was only without a team for one season when in 2008, a lower division team that originally started in Shandong province but was most recently in Ningbo moved to Shenyang and became Shenyang Dongjin.  In 2010, the city would be blessed with another side, when newly promoted to the Chinese Super League Liaoning Whowin would move back to its original hometown.

I would be remiss not to mention more about the demolition of the city’s stadium in 2007, see it wasn’t just any stadium, it was a ground that held great importance for many Chinese football fans.  That venue, Wulihe Stadium, was built in 1989 and was home to China’s greatest footballing accomplishment, qualifying for the 2002 World Cup.  Anyways, less than 20 years was enough for the venue in the eyes of the Shenyang government and a new stadium was built to host the few Olympic football matches (and now hosts Shenyang Dongjin) that were played in Shenyang.

Liaoning Whowin’s the side that gets the most attention in Shenyang and they play their home games at Shenyang Tiexi Stadium, also built in the runup to Beijing’s Olympics.  As the name implies, the stadium is located in the Tiexi District of the city, a poorer area of the city that a number of players have come from, including Liaoning lifer and current captain, Zhao Junzhe.

The stadium is about a RMB25 taxi ride from the city center (give or take a couple kuai), though it’s only a 15-20 minute walk from the Zhong Gong Rd (重工街) subway station to the venue.  The 114 bus is also an option, especially for out of towners coming in from the North Train Station.  Post-match, taxis aren’t really an option as the out of the way location means you won’t find a lot of empty taxis.

No need to worry about touts or scalpers here, even for big matches, tickets can usually be picked up from the bus set up by the club outside the north gate of the stadium.  Tickets usually cost RMB30 and while you must sit in the section on your ticket, it’s first come first served once inside the section.  Season tickets are also available for RMB180 and come with a scarf and replica shirt.  The main supporters group is located in the east tier section 1, though the entire east tier is full of loud, angry, constantly swearing Northeasterners.

a look inside the Tiexi StadiumThere isn’t much in the way of souveniers on sale outside the stadium, the most popular item seems to be plastic seat cushions and Chinese flags.  There were no Liaoning related souveniers other than a replica jersey from the supporter’s group running RMB50.  There are a number of food carts outside the stadium, but inside, the motherload, (warm) beer is on sale, something hard to come by in most Chinese Super League venues.

While the trip to Tiexi can be a bit of an annoyance, the team’s well worth watching, if only to learn the most vulgar Chinese words you’ll ever hear constantly screamed by 15,000+ crazies who love their team.  This year, the team has stayed near the top of the table, making it all the more exciting to head out to Tiexi for an afternoon.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere.

He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years.

Chemers’ credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers.

For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Flyingkiwi

    01/07/2015 at 00:50

    And now (2015) they’re called Liaoning Hongyuan and playing in Panjin.

    8 years living in the Dongbei and this is the first I’ve ever even heard of Panjin.

    A visit will have to be arranged but I bet Panjin has the normal Liaoning foreigners-can’t-stay-in-cheap-hotels rule that the majority of Liaoning cities seem to abide by. I’ve seen Liaoning play 3 times this season (Vs Guoan, Shenhua and Shijiazhuang). On all 3 occasions they have been rubbish. I hope Panjin has something else to justify the trip.

    • bcheng

      01/07/2015 at 08:46

      This ground is a pain in the ass to get to if you don’t live in Liaoning. It is far outside the Panjin city center and actually closer to Yingkou. The nice thing is if you do bother to make the trip, the stadium is near the “Red Sea Beach” which is supposed to be a very pretty tourist site.

      For what its worth, this site is just a couple of guys, most with full time jobs who are working on it in their free time. We try our best to present the most interesting and most current information, but some articles are obviously dated. That said, it’s hard getting good information on Chinese football even in Chinese. On Sina’s stats page (http://match.sports.sina.com.cn/football/csl/) they list Liaoning’s match on 6/25 as being played at Tiexi (when it was in Panjin), Teda’s as being played at Teda Stadium (when it was at the Olympic Stadium), and R&F’s as at Yuexiushan (when it was at the University Stadium).

      All this is to say Chinese footie information is often spotty, as someone with your amount of experience certainly knows, so its good to double or triple check a lot of the time. As a final thought, for someone who loves footie so much and has traveled around China to watch it, it would be great to get together and grab a drink as I’m also living in Beijing (I would be going to Zhengzhou this weekend but I think the lack of solid word about the opening of the away end is going to keep me at home).

      • Flyingkiwi

        02/07/2015 at 18:43

        It’d be great to get together for a drink at some point. But I can’t say for sure when that might be. I’m a teacher and I’m just about to start my summer vacation. I’ll be heading down to Zhengzhou this weekend to see how things go (If the away end isn’t open, I’ll just go for general admission like I did in Jiangsu) and, from there, will then be heading south. I have a friend in Guangzhou whose Dad gets free Evergrande tickets so I’m planning to be there for the 15th (Henan again) and then there’s an R&F game a few days later (Vs Shandong. Where is that being played?? Do you know??). Then I’m planning to head into South-East Asia (Vietnam/Cambodia) and I have some business that needs to be dealt with in Thailand. I’ll try to get to a game or two whilst I’m there (I did when I was in Japan last year). I won’t be back in Beijing until late August/early September.

        (I was thinking about putting off leaving for Guangzhou until after the BG Vs Guoan cup match but I imagine that’ll be a sell-out with scalped tickets at silly prices so I might as well get on the road).

        • bcheng

          02/07/2015 at 23:45

          Good on you for making the trip to Zhengzhou, I would heavily advise against wearing anything green to guarantee your safety (if they open the away end, you can put green on when you get in).

          Tickets for the CFA Cup match next week go on sale tomorrow at http://item.damai.cn/81843.html, you can try to get one, it should be a unique evening. I’m guessing it won’t be that crazy as most Guoan midweek matches get 30,000-35,000 people and Aoti holds 35k, so it should be okay, but who knows.

          R&F is supposed to be moving back to Yuexiushan next week, so if that holds true, the Shandong game will be there.

          • maite

            25/04/2016 at 16:20

            last year for shenyang football was proper crap: Liaoning played in Panjin (not the end of the world but you can see it from there..), Shenyang Zhongze folded on the eve of the League 1 season, Shenyang Dongjin released all of their professionals on the eve of the League 2 north season and played the whole season with the youth team, which was only partly successful..

            This year, Liaoning’s back in Shenyang at the shiny new-ish olympic stadium; Dongjin got a new squad, and all the players released from Dongjin and Zhongze last year, formed a new team (Shenyang Urban), so theres only like 4 weekends between now and September without a home game.

          • charlie

            04/05/2016 at 13:32

            Maite – i’m coming up for the Shenhua game on Saturday (on my own). Can you tell me which gate of the stadium the away fans usually enter at? I wont have tickets in advance.

            Thanks

            Charlie

  2. Flyingkiwi

    19/09/2016 at 23:11

    Question: Have Liaoning moved back to Panjin??

    I was free last Wednesday so I headed up to Shenyang for the Guoan game. Before leaving, I checked a couple of websites to make sure I didn’t have the wrong day and everything appeared fine. But one of these sites said “At Panjin”. I thought that this must be outdated news as I’ve seen Liaoning at Shenyang Olympic Stadium already this year. But, on getting off the Subway, it was very apparent to me that there was nothing happening there that night.

    But the game was certainly played… Somewhere

  3. Cameron Wilson

    21/09/2016 at 09:30

    Kiwi – they are still in Shenyang but playing some games at Texi stadium. Check their homepage for the next game details including venue http://www.lnhyfc.com/index/index.asp google translate if necessary.

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