Once again its time for BCheng and the Editor to meet for their regular virtual pint to discuss the sublime to the ridiculous in the Chinese game. This weekend’s Beijing v Tianjin derby rightly dominates the agenda as Bcheng struggles to contain his excitment, but there’s still time for the duo to share some despondency over their team’s misfortunes last weekend, and declare Olympic football as not important enough to get down about. Meanwhile, the Editor seemingly lets Shanghai’s rainy season get to him with a foul-mouthed outburst towards big bad European sides China tours.
BCheng (Beijing Guoan): We both had less than ideal weekends last week.
Shanghai Ultra (Shanghai Shenhua): Shenhua were seriously under-strength against Hangzhou. I don’t know whoose idea it was to put the under-23 fixture the day after a whole round of Chinese Super League games.
B: FIFA/AFC’s…I know Hangzhou were missing a few players as well though, and you were allowed to keep Feng Renliang.
S: That’s how it should be. I think the Chinese Super League is more important than the Under-23 “Olympic” team. Most other countries the world don’t give a flying fuck about Olympic football.
B: But China considers these international competitions very important, it’s the same with the Asian Champions League. While overseas the Olympics is a completely meaningless competition, China takes it seriously. That said, it doesn’t make any sense moving the fixtures back for the matches that were to be played yesterday, but not doing it for the games on Saturday. Unless it’s because that one was at home.
S: Yeah that might be the case, but I think there was enough time and space to plan the matches out a bit better. I think the Chinese Super League maybe didn’t realise just how many of the Olympic team are first-team Chinese Super League players.
B: I think it might be that they didn’t want to move two matches. The Olympic date couldn’t be moved, all the matches are played on those two dates. But because of that they missed out on crucial players like Feng as well as Deng Zhuoxiang among others.
S: Anyway, I think the Chinese Super League and CFA need to avoid this kind of fixture clash in future. Frankly, I think they should scrap the summer break and use it for playing Chinese Super League games instead of pointless friendlies with money-grabbing cunts like Man U, Milan, Arsenal, etc etc.
B: There isn’t really a summer break this year. Liverpool decided to play Guangzhou’s China League side, but Arsenal is playing Hangzhou just 2 days after Hangzhou has a Chinese Super League fixture. It was the same last year for Guoan playing Birmingham and Barcelona
S: Right – a money grabbing excercise which I think does nothing to benefit the development of the Chinese game. Its just the usual sheer greed we see from the big European clubs to sell jerseys in Asia and try and get even more glory-hunting fans than they already have. They are soulless.
B: That’s one viewpoint. I do think there are tons of Chinese fans that like the idea of seeing their heroes up close and personal as well. But I have Birmingham supporting friends who were shocked a domestic league match would be changed due to a crappy club like themselves.
S: It’s a joke. Any country which doesnt put its domestic league first can’t ever hope for that league to develop to its full potential and supply its national team with the best possible talent.
B: Anyways, so you guys lost to Hangzhou, and now it seems they are front runners to get a returning Hao Junmin. What do you think of Hao’s return and doesn’t this pickup not bode well for your odds in our bet (though I can’t remember what it was exactly)?
S: I think a lot of players come back to the Chinese Super League broken after playing overseas. Dong Fangzhou was one such example. Zheng Zhi hasn’t set the world on fire down in Guangzhou. Yu Dabao at Tianjin might be an exception, but he’s still very young. So Hao Junmin might find motivation lacking playing in Yiwu in front of some of the smallest crowds in the Chinese Super League this year.
B: I think Dong is a major exception. You’re right about Zheng, but he’s also getting up in years and he’s finding it hard to stand out on that team of stars. It’s sad to see Hao return, I’d think he could have found a spot with a lesser Bundesliga side, but he should strengthen an already strong side, though it really depends what kind of shape he’s in.
S: Hao Junmin is also only 24 or so. So he has time to re-establish himself and possibly even win a move back to Europe. I think Chinese players come of age quite a bit later than European ones. I think that’s got something to do with social and cultural reasons, Chinese seem to generally mature emotionally a bit later than their Western peers, they are mollycoddled by their parents more I think.
B: I think Shalke’s aspirations grew shortly after he arrived and so he never got a chance. Like you said, he’s still young, so there’s always the chance he can head back.
S: I just hope he can play well and generate some enthusiasm. So the big game last week, Shandong scored a cracking goal eh? Haha.
B: Yeah, there were a couple questionable non-calls, but in the end Guoan just couldn’t get it done. We go 9 matches unbeaten, but it hurts to give up the extra 2 points like that. We’re really struggling in big matches.
S: You are the green BOTTLERS!
B: Yeah, well we have two more big games coming up, so hopefully that will change.
S: Hopefully not against Shenhua.
B: I can’t look past Tianjin at this point.
S: Ah yes. That is a fierce derby indeed. Excited?
B: Very much so, mix of nerves and excitement. And Gongti is going to be packed. There’s already a joke going around about how hard it is to get tickets for this one.
S: Will it sell out?
B:All the seats that the club and/or local police are allowing to be sold will definitely sell
The joke goes, a single guy and girl are talking. The girl says “do you have an apartment, a car.” The guy says no. The girl asks, “then why should I bother with you.” The guy answers, “because I have two tickets to Guoan vs. Tianjin.” The girl responsd “Husband, let’s get married.”
S: Ha ha. I don’t think that one would work in Shanghai though 😉 But it’s great to hear jokes which actually put Chinese football in a good light. I didn’t think such things existed.
B: Yeah, this is being spread among Guoan fans, but these tickets are very hard to come by. Unsurprisingly, almost all of the single match tickets seemed to have fallen in the hands of yellow cows (scalpers). In any case, it’s going to be a top atmosphere at Gongti Sunday.
S: Its great to see. Who are the dangermen for Tianjin going to be?
B: You already mentioned one of them in Yu Dabao. Fortunately they’ll be without former Shenhua player Chen Tao for this one. They have a decent squad all around, plenty of reasons to be scared, especially because we will still likely be missing Walter Martinez, he probably won’t be back from the Gold Cup yet.
S: Last week you amused me, and some of our readers, when you admitted you were a nervous wreck going into most games. But the Jing-Jin is not “most games.” So… tell us exactly how do you feel ahead of this amazing derby clash?
B: As a fan, I’m “all in.” This week has gone by so slowly, I cannot imagine Sunday coming any slower and I will probably have 10 more grey hairs by the end of the match on Sunday. This doesn’t mean as much to me as Shenhua will on the 2nd, but it is massive.
S: Are your fingers tremling and your pint glass shaking just now, thinking of this coming derby?
B: Yeah, it’s rough…I’m THAT fan…Fortunately for you, things are a little more relaxed, though away at Dalian is just the kind of match Shenhua has tended to screw up this season.
S: I just can really relate to fans’ passion, even if its those of rival teams. Yeah Shenhua v Dalian… Dalian are playing pretty shit this year again after a decent year last year. But we always struggle up there. It’s like we still think Dalian are the big guns of the league, when they haven’t done anything for about six years now.
B: This year’s side is one of the worst, but they’ve had a rash of injuries, at one time they had 7-8 guys out of the lineup I believe. Most importantly, they now have Ahn Junghwan back and they should have some confidence after doing well against Tianjin last week.
S: They are going to finish mid-table for sure. I predict a draw… hopefully we will have our first team back after the Olympic fixture fuck up.
B: That’s a long flight to/from Oman…
S: It is. But as long as we avoid defeat, I think that would be enough. Shenhua have been on fire at home this year so far. Winning all games, except that ridiculous first match against Qingdao which we threw away in the dying minutes, 3-3. The Jin-Jing derby is what its all about this week I have to admit. But any other games of note this weekend?
B: This week’s sort of sucky when you look at the fixtures. I guess if forced to sit down and watch another match, it would be Liaoning hosting Shandong, or possibly your lot’s trip to Dalian
S: I think Liaoning Shandong looks good – Liaoning are possibly the surprise package this year.
B: They are always a solid side, this year they’re a little higher right now than they are likely to finish, but I think they’ll be battling for a top 5 spot all year.
S: I would agree with that. Even although its probably not what I predicted in my foolhardy postition-by-position Chinese Super League 2011 preview.
B: With that in mind, is it time to bring this week’s chat to an end?
S: I think so, before I get the urge to order another virtual pint.
B: Let me just say, no matter how white my hair gets because of Guoan, I will never do this to it (that is Piao Cheng, our star youngster, who might finally be back from injury this Sunday.)
S: That looks, er, a bit girly.
B: He’s obviously looking to intimidate Li Weifeng, making a statement that Piao’s merm (man perm) is better than Li’s…
S: I think we should have a Chinese Super League celebrity girly haircuts deathmatch.
B: I’ll drink to that!
S: Yes, plus readers, the girly thing is really only a joke. Let’s drink to it anyway! Enjoy your huge derby, B-dog!
B: Enjoy the sunny days, while you have them down south, cheers!