The sale of Dalian Shide to the Aerbin group, who own Dalian’s other CSL club, is a huge development which has many implications for football in China. looks at how the fans of the eight-time Chinese champions are reacting.
Dalian Shide’s financial problems have been far from a secret all season, especially after the club’s owner, who was closely linked to a certain former mayor of Chongqing (and Dalian), disappeared. For the past month, there was a lot of rumors about what the exact future of Shide would be, today Dalian Aerbin owner Zhao Mingyang has made it public that he purchased Shide for RMB 3.2 billion.
The purchase included Dalian Shide’s famed academy and training facilities, which Zhao, travelling in his Maybach, visited for the first time over the weekend. After his visit, Zhao declared that every blade of grass at the facilities now belong to Aerbin.
While the future of the grass is simple enough, what will become of other aspects of Shide is far more difficult. Zhao has encouraged all the players to stay in Dalian and be a part of the merged team being built, promising that nobody (both players and staff) will be left jobless by the merger. Already some Shide team officials have been given positions in Aerbin management and Aerbin’s GM is former Wanda/Shide star, Li Ming.
It’s still left to be seen whether Shide will just be merged into Aerbin or if a new entity, a Dalian United or FC, will be created instead. Considering Aerbin only have only been around since 2010, dropping their name for something more connected to the city, and thus more palatable to former Shide fans, would be the wise thing to do. That said, it will require a lack of ego on Zhao’s part because Aerbin’s name (as is the case with Shide and most Chinese clubs) comes directly from the company that owns it, in this case Zhao’s Aerbin Group.
Whatever the final result looks like, there is sure to be plenty of news and speculation coming from the northeastern seaside this close season.