K-Advent Day 13 – Cheering Aids
Much has been made of the atmosphere, or lack thereof, at K-League matches in recent years with many fans seeming to shun the matchday experience perhaps for rounders or even worse chimek in the park. Some clubs have tried to combat this with the use of various ‘cheering aids’ to encourage the meeker among the crowd to join in. FC Seoul and Ulsan have employed the use of Cheerleaders with the latter pulling off a transfer the Chinese Super League would have been proud of when they persuaded a top baseball cheerleader to lead their ranks. The cheerleaders have had limited impact unfortunately which is not due to a lack of skills or effort but mainly because they are usually placed far away from the traditionally vocal support behind the goals and so any ‘cheer’ they begin is promptly drowned out. Rumours that they are placed far from said support due to the likelihood of the 48 Shades boys making up their numbers has yet to be confirmed.
For other clubs, namely Seongnam and Jeonnam, the preferred aid comes in the guise of groups of thunderstick wielding ajummas who generally look they have been press-ganged into attending on the back of false promises. Actually having been among this rather passionate if not exactly in-tune group at a recent Seongnam away trip to Seoul World Cup Stadium it is slightly unfair to call them ajummas as definitely for some a trip to the local hairdresser for a perm was probably a few years down the line. Although their impact on encouraging others is probably less than that of the cheerleaders they do bring a welcome dash of colour and noise to the game.
Of course not all ‘cheering aids’ are welcome at K-League grounds and where thundersticks and cheerleaders are generally accepted if not exactly embraced there is one aid that we at 48 Shades HQ think should never be allowed near a football stadium and that is the horrendous vuvuzela. A relic from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa it was hoped that it would disappear quicker than a bottle of Soju in a Yeouido tent with @korearacing but unfortunately all hope was lost and Korean football fans seem to love them. They can usually be heard mainly at opposition corners although quite what impact they actually have on the corner-taker is yet to be seen and I’m sure a good old-fashioned jeering would suffice.