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Beijing Guoan 20 Years, 20 Moments #5: Never lose at Gongti

Beijing Guoan is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and we’re here to celebrate 20 of the most important moments over the past 20 years. Not all of these are positive, but all of them shaped the history of the club and the league. We put this year’s home win streak (currently at four) into context here, with an explanation of one of the club’s favorite expressions.

Guoan fans have a few common sayings, there’s “永远争第一” (always finish in first) and when Shanghai is in town you’ll hear “9-1″, bu there’s another famous one “工体不败” (or “never lose at Gongti“). While this all may sound like the bragging of a loyal fan base, there’s a lot of truth to the last one.

The 1996 season saw Guoan move away from Xiannongtan Stadium in southern Beijing to its current home of Worker’s Stadium. Renovations on Worker’s Stadium had just been completed and there was a feeling the club had outgrown Xiannongtan’s much smaller capacity.

The move to Worker’s Stadium turned out to be a massive success. That first season, the club only lost a single game at Gongti, a 1-0 defeat to Shandong in early September. That match started an unbelievable streak that would see Guoan win the next 29 league matches at their Beijing home, stretching from September 1996 all the way to the end of April 1999, when they lost to Shanghai Shenhua 1-0.

During that lengthy period the club also didn’t lose a single CFA Cup game played at Worker’s Stadium, including lifting the trophy at home in 1996 and 1997. They also managed to win almost all friendlies they played there, including defeating Arsenal, AC Milan, and Boca Juniors.

In all, the club won 18 matches and drew 11 during the home unbeaten streak, they also won eight cup matches and drew four, including victories in the two finals played at home. The streak is an amazing one and to this day the club has maintained an excellent home record, making “never lose at Gongti” a reality.

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.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Yiddo Huayi

    10/05/2012 at 10:21

    That’s an impressive home game record (29 wins) and overall home game stats. Presumably the rabid home support is integral to this.

    My Wellington Phoenix had a 24 game unbeaten streak at our home ground that was ended in 2010. Home record is still good but not quite as formidable as it was two seasons ago. Mind you the opposition have to travel at least 3 hours by plane to get to us over the Tasman Sea.

    • bcheng

      10/05/2012 at 11:40

      Good to see you back commenting! The fans definitely play a part, but back in the day, home field advantage in the CSL really meant something. That said, the streak is still very impressive.

      • Yiddo Huayi

        10/05/2012 at 19:29

        Cheers bcheng. Have been a bit busy with life in general recently.

        Your post got me wondering – how many other Chinese clubs can boast a long life span like Guoan’s? By this I mean being domiciled in the same city with more or less the same owners.

        I’d imagine Shanghai Shenhua would be part of the “old firm”, what about Shandong?

        • bcheng

          11/05/2012 at 00:03

          The real old timers of Chinese football are Beijing, Shanghai, Shandong, and Dalian. Liaoning is on the outside and a few other clubs have been around for many years, but those four have undergone the least amount of changes.

  2. Cathy

    13/05/2012 at 15:35

    The website is great! I am a Beijinger, a fan of GuoAn

  3. Yiddo Huayi

    13/05/2012 at 17:34

    Not that I am a fan of Guoan, but I found this song the other day (back when I was in the Northern Capital): http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzg0NDk2ODk2.html

    And thought you lao beijingers might like this little make-over (with apologies to Li Lifen):

    爱北京更爱国安

    那个球迷好汉宁愿孤单

    好儿郎浑身是胆

    壮志豪情四海远名扬


    人生短短几个秋啊不醉不罢休

    东边我的国安哪西边长河流

    来呀来个酒啊不醉不罢休

    愁情烦事别放心头

    • Yiddo Huayi

      13/05/2012 at 17:37

      Or maybe it could be 爱足球,更爱国安/神化/恒大 etc.

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