Shanghai is a frothing cauldron of wild excitement at the moment with just one name on the lips of anyone with an interest in football – Drogba.
As one may imagine, all manner of colourful reactions and discussions are exploding in the city. Shenhua chairman Zhu Jun is being hailed as a hero and “the people’s boss” of the club. In a reversal of public opinion, “Thanks boss” is one of the most popular posts on fan Weibo’s at the moment, many of whom previously were opposed to the online gaming tycoon’s stewardship of under-achieving Shenhua.
There are also murmurings that Drogba actually signed the contract with Shenhua as far back as January – Oriental Sports Daily are among those drawing attention to the choice of attire Zhu and Drogba are wearing in the pic on the right.
But Zhu Jun is indeed enjoying a resurgence in popularity. He revealed on his weibo that, whilst he was on an errand to buy some of Shengjian (fried dumplings, a Shanghainese delicacy), the ower of the dumpling emporium refused to allow Zhu to pay for the snack. “You have strived to bring honour to our city, how can I accept your money?”. Zhu, who is clearly not short of the 16rmb bill, insisted on paying, but signed his autograph on the receipt as a token of thanks to the dumpling seller.
Here are some of the more interesting reactions to the news so far:
Wang Dalei (Shenhua’s outspoken goalkeeper) “The nuclear bomb has arrived – I’m going to train even harder to boost myself. The picture… the picture looks like it was taken in winter…”
Zhu Jun: “If Drogba and Anelka are at Guangzhou Evergrande now, how do you think the situation would look? Would there still be any suspense in the Chinese Super League? Would it still be worth watching? Shenhua bringing Drogba has made the CSL better for everyone and even fiercer. Drogba belongs to Shenhua, to Beijing fans, to Shandong fans, Guangzhou Fans, Drogba belongs to all the football fans in China!”
Ji Yuyang: (Oriental Daily football columnist) No matter what the future may be, let us all enjoy this wonderful moment.
CUNA Ultras: “Debut on the 14th – Beijing, time to settle your debts!”
Shenhua Blueboys fan club, via Blue Devils: Have you all learned this song yet? (below)
Random Shenhua fan on Weibo: Such adoreable fans, such a great people’s boss!
David Wang, Blue Devil member: It doesn’t matter if Drogba comes or not. We will always support Shenhua – always.
Bobby Lu, Shenhua fan: So proud of the team! Big respect to Zhu Jun for making this happen.”
Ground: Hongkou Football Stadium, Hongkou District, Shanghai
Capacity: 35,000 (26,000 for football)
Honours: Chinese top-tier league champions: 1995
Chinese top-tier league runners-up: 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008
Chinese FA Cup winners: 1998
Chinese FA Cup runners up: 1995, 1997, 2015