Saints In China ! Saints V Schalke
Friday, 6th Jul 2018 05:21
Our man in China gives us the run down on following the team to the Far East and the tours first match against German side Schalke.
If you think that traveling to places like Newcastle or Manchester is a bit of a hike then try going to Shanghai, it is supposedly the World's biggest city with a population of over 24 million and as you would expect a very efficient public transport system, the only problem though is that it strangely shuts down very early, but more of that later.
Saints were playing in Kinsman which although part of the massive Shanghai sprawl is some 20 miles or so out of the centre, getting the train was cheap, quick and easy, getting a ticket was far worse having to find the one kiosk with English spoken written on it and then present your passport buy the ticket and file into a station with a similar level of security as Heathrow.
20 minutes later though we are at the nearest station to Kunshan stadium although still about 4 miles away from it, luckily a passing Chinese woman with a Schalke scarf took pity on us and invited us to share her taxi which she appeared to be negotiating the fare for with the driver.
Once at the stadium we found the Saints fans zone and got our tickets, Saints have been doing some good work over the last few days in giving away t shirts etc for the locals, but Schalke have been going there for four years and are light years ahead in their planning, literally every kid had a Schalke shirt on, blue was prevalent, red far less so, but we have to start somewhere.
The stadium was very impressive, but smaller inside than it looked from out, it held about 31,000 apparently there were about 10,000 expected and I would say that was quite accurate.
Saints were expecting about 15-20 Saints fans to make the trip, but some of those that registered didn't turn up and I would say that although there were a few English Saints fans living in the area there that there were less then 10 who actually made the trip from the UK.
There were quite a few Chinese in Saints shirts etc, but the numbers were far less than Schalke.
The stadium was sparse inside, no refreshment kiosks, only a few guys scattered around with piles of bottles of soft drinks, not even any food.
The game was pretty much your standard friendly, half paced and all change at half time, it was hard to tell who was good and who was not, I have lost count of the number of times I have seen players shine in pre season only to struggle in the League and not make the grade, so I am not going to get too excited by goals from Harrison Reed and Jake Hesketh or Stuart Armstrong's début.
The final whistle at just before 10pm left a challenge, the last train back was at 10.15 pm and we hadn't a clue how to get back to the station, eventually some of the traffic police forced a taxi to stop and pick us up, but only after we had posed for pictures with them.
WE got to the station at 10.15 on the dot, but getting in to it was another matter so we missed the train, the last one back into Shanghai and had to negotiate with the taxi drivers ourselves for a ride back into Shanghai.
All in all though day out I would not have missed, an nothing friendly in China, but a great experience, Shanghai is relatively used to foreign faces and all the signs are in English, but not a lot of the population speak it, next up is a trip to Xuzhou for the second game, if we though Shanghai was hard to handle despite being quite westernised then the Chinese interior will be a very different matter.
Get two free £10 bets on Everton v Southampton (or other matches) by opening a new account at William Hill. Place an initial bet of a minimum of £10 and William Hill will give you two £10 bets. You must enter the promotional code ''F20'' when signing up as a new customer.
Photo: Action Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 29 bloggers
A Dale Fan Abroad - Reflections on Burton Albion 1 Rochdale 2 by DaleAddict
Lying in bed awake on Friday night I was struck by ‘the fear’. By around midnight it had consumed me, and all of my optimism for the season ahead was gone.
A Dale Fan Abroad - Introduction by DaleAddict
My 11-month old son is taking his afternoon nap. My wife is sunning herself on the balcony of our apartment in Salzburg, Austria. It’s the height of summer, but I have only got one thing on my mind; Burton Albion vs Rochdale.
A Hollywood script plays out in the Spotland sun by AtThePeake
It isn’t always easy being a Rochdale supporter. With the majority of the town’s footballing interest being soaked up by local behemoths Manchester City and Manchester United, the club’s attendances rarely break 3,000 home supporters.
Gylfi Not Irreplaceable- But Not Trying To Directly Replace Him Is Smart by BarneyLW
So the dust has finally settled. In what seemed like the most painstaking saga in living memory, Gylfi Sigurdsson is an Everton player. A man the club were silently resigned to eventually losing has moved on and like so often in the past, the club must plan for life without their star player.
Too many things for a title, but stop with the xenophobia accusations! by waynekerr55
I had planned to write this in a different fashion, but Bob Bradley's departure from the club changes a section of this blog. The conclusion was as expected. A seemingly good man and a tryer who simply wasn't up to the job. In short he should never have been given the job.
[ Vote here ]