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Pub Talk: China Derby Hangover(s)…

This week ‘s regular pub-goers Bcheng and Shanghai Ultra reflect on not only the China Derby of the previous round, but also on a serious after-game drinking session which involved Grassroots kingpin Trevor, and a whole load of Shenhua and Guoan fans abusing each other in the same restaurant room. Bcheng gives his views on the match, whilst Shanghai Ultra takes aim at Mao Jianqing. The ACL is touched upon, Guangzhou Fuli are examined, and the lads mull over a fixture card that seems a bit bland after the previous week’s huge derbies. Meanwhile, horrific video evidence of ‘s debauchery emerges after going viral on Weibo…

B: How are things in the pub Cammy?

S: I think they are a little hazy after some goings-on that took place in a Beijing restaurant last weekend – a certain matter we were both involved with.

B: After about 10 pm Friday night, the whole weekend is pretty much a haze.

S: I’m afraid the haze kicked in quite some time before that point for me, during one particular 14-hour overnight train journey the night before, to be exact.

B: Are you sure that isn’t a coping mechanism to forget the goal scored by a certain, new Guoan hero?

S: Admittedly Mao Jianqing’s winner was a sore one, but the hard seat journey was more traumatic.

B: Haha, man up, we’ve all been through it before. Drinking helps, though I think you already know that.

S: Well yeah the lads said last season they went to Nanchang on standing room only tickets – a 10 hour journey. That is hardcore.

B: I think any supporter who has crisscrossed the country has stories like this, the experience sucks but it had to be great bonding.

S: It certainly was. I want to ask – out of all the people out there on the net who might be listening in on this Pub Talk – how many of them would imagine that China is home to supporters of Chinese Super League clubs who go to such lengths to support their team?

B: Yeah, away trips here are such a fun experience (for the most part), it can be hard to put it in words sometimes. Then again, are these efforts to change the subject because you don’t want to talk about the result of the match you were travelling to?

S: No, I’m happy to say it like it is – Shenhua were poor and deserved nothing, Beijing have a great support, and Mao Jianqing is an embarassment to himself.

B: I’m sorry, I think there was a typo in your sentence above, let me correct it for you, “and Judas Griffiths is an embarassment to himself.”

S: On the contrary, if you compared Mao and Griffthis, the Aussie was the epitome of professionalism. He took the penalty and scored it, and grabbed the ball and ran back to the centre circle without celebrating infront of his old team’s fans. Mao tossed his jersey 100 ft in the air and ran around like he had won the world cup. What a stupid prick.

B: Well, yes, I’ll give you that, the Griff was composed when he scored and failed to celebrate the goal even though it was in front of the Shanghai supporters and far from the north stand. But I think a lot of that’s due to the situation the goals were scored in; the Griff scored when his club was down by two whereas Mao scored the winner.

S: The bigger reason is the fact that Mao is an idiot and a waste of talent.

B: Sour grapes? I think the bigger reason is that your owner’s an asshole and mistreated one of his growing young superstars causing that player a lifetime of hatred for the club of his youth. I can say I’m happy he’s in the capital and have been impressed with him outside of the horrible miss against Brisbane.

S: What mistreatment?Some rumour that Zhu refused to help pay for medical treatment for Mao’s mother? Regardless of Zhu being a dick or not, it’s not his responsibility to pay such things, moreover, Mao’s salary must be many times higher than the average worker, why couldn’t he pay it himself?

B: As you probably know, health insurance is rare in China, when someone has a family medical emergency, they go to distant relatives, friends, even employers to borrow money, this is their idea of “health insurance”. When a player, whose mother is very, very ill, goes to the team owner asking to borrow some money and is repeatedly told the owner has “no money”, that’s a little dodgy.
There are also, of course, rumors that Shenhua’s coach and owner were badmouthing Mao to the national team coaches to add fuel to the fire.

S: Although I can understand why he might be annoyed for being denied a loan, and I’m sure Zhu isn’t short of a penny, a lot of Shenhua fans are saying its not relevant. And its certainly not a reason to only bother playing well when its your hometown team you are up against.

B: I think a lot of Guoan fans are happy with how he’s performed for us against teams other than Shenhua so far.

S: Infact, Mao has scored nine goals in the Chinese Super League since leaving Shenhua – FOUR of them have been score against Shenhua. So that basically says, he has the talent, but he can only motivate himself to fulfill his obvious talent when playing against Shenhua. That means he is lazy, unprofessional and selfish.

B: I’m confident he’s going to put up decent numbers in Beijing. Whether its in a starting role or coming off the bench, so far Mao’s been able to change the shape of things with his runs.

S: We will see. Personally despite the fact I think he’s an idiot, I hope he can prove himself finally. But he has nothing to be proud of with his performances against Shenhua, it only shows how lacking he is the rest of the time, and lacking he is because he’s not been near the national team for years and he’s not going to Europe anytime soon, unless he somehow manages to keep his form up when playing teams not from his hometown.

B: I think Beijing can be confident they got an impact player, if he gets the playing time, he could really have a breakout year this season and since he’s still only 25, it’s far too early to write him off.

S: I hope not, Chinese football can’t afford to write off anyone. So about last weekend, do you want to post a link to weibo and a certain trio of contributors making a spectacle of themselves?

B: I think if we were to do that, the video should be blurred out to protect the innocent.

S: Or the identities of the guilty….

B: True, I don’t think there were any innocents.

S: Perhaps some of the many weibo users who were subjected to the disorderly shenanigans depicted in the video.

B: The video can be viewed at http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzY4Mjg1NjMy.html but its not suitable for work or any situation where sober individuals are involved.

S: Heh-heh. We are taking Pub Talk to the next level. If only we had taken more time out and drank water, it would have been more civilized.

B: Most definitely! Alright, I’m not going to talk about the Maoxtravaganza on Friday any more, there were a couple of other matches worth discussing from the weekend, in particular, two different derbies.

S: Yes, I don’t think anyone saw Evergrande’s defeat coming, that shocked me.

B: Yeah, I figured they’d lose a lot earlier in the season this year, but didn’t think their first loss would come at the hands of Fuli. Plus, that win makes Guoan’s loss to them the week before look a lot less embarassing.

S: Sad but true. It also makes our pre-season predictions look a bit stronger. Early though it is.

B: I think we’ve seen that Guangzhou is fallible. The strategy is there, stop Conca and you stop Guangzhou. He’s not only an important scorer, the ball flows through him in the midfield, if you can shut him down, they can be shut down. Saying “stop Conca” and actually doing it are two completely different things though. Few Chinese Super League teams have really been able to neutralize him.

S: I think Fuli were perhaps a bit lucky to get the victory, although Guangzhou got beaten again last night in the ACL, by the Thai champions, which is possibly a bigger surprise, especially considering they won their first game against the Korean champs Jeonbuk 5-1 away from home.

B: I think we may need to be questioning how good Jeonbuk is, as Kashiwa was able to crush them 5-1 as well. The Thai team is solid, I think far too many disrespected them based on the quality of the Thai national team, but Thai football is improving.

S: Thai football certainly is on the up, I’ve been reading good things about their league, I really hope local fans wil ditch their Man Ure jerseys of whatever other Premier$hip team they follow, and support their local league. At least that way something good could come out of Thai success in Asia if it was at Guangzhou’s expense.

B: If they get out of this “group of death” that should help. Evergrande need to get back on track, fortunately for them, this weekend they get a break, hosting Henan.

S: Famous last words….

B: Haha, true, but on paper, this weekend really doesn’t hold that much excitement, especially after the derbies of the previous week. That said, next week we have another set of really exciting matches. But let’s save that for then, Shenhua host Fuli this weekend, thoughts?

S: Well Shenhua haven’t looked too clever in their first two games, as predicted by everyone, the defence has been found wanting. So coming up against a team that beat the reigning champions and last year’s runners up in their first two Chinese Super League games, probably isn’t ideal for us.

B: True, but we’ll finally get to see Fuli away from home.

S: At this rate, avoiding defeat is looking like an achievement for Shenhua. Then again, early days and all that, perhaps this might be the weekend when Shenhua get it together.

B: Guoan has an interesting match too this weekend, away at Hangzhou.

S: Hangzhou isn’t a place Shenhua have a good record at. It will be interesting to see how their new Japanese manager does, but they lost quite badly in the other Yangtze Delta Derby last weekend, against Jiangsu, they didn’t look good at all.

B: Yeah, they didn’t look much better two weeks ago against Qingdao. I thought the new manager and improved foreigners could unite the team, but it seems like they are still struggling to find their way. If they can get a big crowd at Huanglong again, it might be tough, but I’m optimistic Guoan can get a result.

S: Well yeah, at least they haven’t been forced out of their stadium again, as they were last year, stupidly.

B: As I said, kind of a dull week, but any other match catch your fancy?

S: Yeah after last week with so many derbies, this week’s fixture card looks flat…I’ll be interested to see how many fans Shanghai Shenxin get in their first game at home, especially considering they spanked Henan 4-0 away from home last week.

B: Attendance in that match will be interesting. For me, it’s hard to look away from the Shenhua-Fuli match, but I think Jiangsu-Tianjin is kind of interesting, I want to see how for real this Jiangsu side is. I think despite the low temperatures, Liaoning-Changchun is always good for some sparks too.

S: Yeah that isn’t quite a derby, but they’re both from Dongbei so there will be some regional pride at stake. Jiangsu I’m also interested to see how they do – Jiang Jiajun scored with almost his first touch for them I think. Unfortunately for Shenhua, more former than current Shenhua players scored in the last round…

B: Well, drain your sorrows with this beer before we head out the pub.

S: Right. Shenhua are in need of a cheer. What’s Guoan’s chances this weekend do you think?

B: I think we’ll come away with a point minimum, and maybe be able to poach all three.

S: Right. Well it will be a more sober weekend than the previous one for all concerned at , that is one prediction I’m happy to make.

B: Yeah, rest assured. I think beyond my weekly stop in this pub, I’m staying away from the drink for awhile.

S: Probably just as well – you were somewhat the worse for wear during the festivities, I’m happy to tell the readers that the enthusiasm we have for the online Pub very much extends to the real one too.

B: Yes, though we weren’t able to get a picture of ourselves in our respective shirts in an actual pub. Then again I think our readers will probably appreciate not seeing my ugly mug.

S: Yes I’ve no desire to scare our readers with images of ourselves just yet.

B: Cheers my man, enjoy the weekend.

S:  Cheers mate, until next week.

UK trained journalist and long-time Chinese football observer Cameron Wilson has been writing about Chinese football for over a decade…

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