It was a Saturday of tears in Dalian as the home side, Dalian Shide, played their last match in front of their loyal fans. As a thank you to their loyal fans, the club that
is was known for its titles is no more. Whether Shide merges with Aerbin or another solution is found, there will be no Dalian Shide next season.
When pressed to answer which club has the best supporters section in China, most people would grudgingly admit that it’s probably Shide’s Blue Wave (蓝色激浪). They have a special relationship with the club and its players and are one of the few fan sections in the country that are allowed to light flares (here’s a video of them lighting flares (and banners) after Saturday’s match). The uniqueness of that relationship can be seen when former Shide star Ahn Jung-hwan came over from Korea to watch a game in the Blue Wave section or when a Shide player grabs a Blue Wave flag and waves it post-match. Their tifo displays are regularly some of the biggest and best that can be seen.
Few supporters sections in China don’t sing at least one song that was originally “brought into the country” by the Blue Wave and fewer can deny being influenced by them in some way. 左边 (“Leftie”), the head of the Blue Wave, is well known among fans across the country, many who’ve spent late nights drinking with him and the rest of the Blue Wave. As fans of any CSL club, today it’s important to stand alongside the Shide supporters and recognize the reality of modern football “with Chinese characters”, that any club can meet a similar fate.
It wasn’t only hard for the fans, some players found it difficult to say goodbye, especially some of the guys who are from Dalian and who came up through the youth system into Shide’s first team.
Just for today, I stand beside the Blue Wave and shout out “we are blue!”