ACL Half-term Report



Yesterday marked the conclusion of Round3 of this year’s ACL group stage so it’s time for a half-term report. So who have been the class swots, the class clowns and those that should really get expelled for bringing the game into disrepute. Each ‘student’ gets a grade with a letter for effort and a score for ability. 


Form E

JIANGSU FC (CHN) 3 1 2 0 4 3 1 5
FC TOKYO (JPN) 3 1 1 1 4 3 1 4
BECAMEX BINH DUONG (VIE) 3 0 1 2 2 6 -4 1

Jeonbuk Hyundai  Grade : C1

Although Jeonbuk is top of the class, he appears to have been doing the bare minimum to get by including an underwhelming performace at home to Binh Duong and a loss in China. Must do better or may get overtaken after half-term.

Jiangsu Sainty Grade : B2

Jiangsu informed me that she returned late from her Winter holiday and this clearly had an impact early on in the term as she struggled with Vietnamese. Doesn’t seem to have made full use of her top quality new study aids.

FC Tokyo Grade : B3

Tokyo has performed reasonably okay but needs to up his game if he wants to fulfil his potential.

Binh Duong  Grade : A4

Not everyone can go to Oxford and we are all about fulfilling potential. Binh Duong has improved greatly from last year and has exceeded my expectations.

Form F:

FC SEOUL (KOR) 3 3 0 0 14 2 12 9
SHANDONG LUNENG FC (CHN) 3 2 0 1 6 5 1 6
SANFRECCE HIROSHIMA (JPN) 3 1 0 2 5 6 -1 3
BURIRAM UNITED (THA) 3 0 0 3 0 12 -12 0

FC Seoul Grade :  A1

If Seoul keeps up this level of performance, he looks certain to get a prize come prize-giving.  Has been the star of this class, answering all questions thrown at it with answers way above what is expected at this level.

Shandong Luneng   Grade : B2

Started brightly but has faded badly in recent weeks.  The results of her last test were nothing short of disastrous and I wonder if she did any studying for it at all.  Needs to pull her socks up if she hopes to progress.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima  Grade : C3

Started the year with a good reputation but has not shown any of that potential so far.  Her answers to questions are superficial at best and she has struggled with the tougher elements of the course.  Much work will be required in the second half of term if she wants to pass.

Buriram United  Grade :  D4

Having taught Buriram before I have seen firsthand how he has blossomed in recent years. This year however has seen him take a step backward and I fear that he will have to repeat the year.  He has seemed distracted and disorganised; perhaps you could arrange to come and see me and we can discuss any troubles you may be having outside of the classroom and how to try and salvage this academic year.

Jeremy Paxman gives his view of Seoul v Buriram
Jeremy Paxman gives his view of Seoul v Buriram

Form G:

SHANGHAI SIPG (CHN) 3 2 0 1 5 4 1 6
MELBOURNE VICTORY (AUS) 3 1 2 0 3 2 1 5
GAMBA OSAKA (JPN) 3 0 2 1 2 3 -1 2

Shanghai SIPG Grade : A2

It’s always tough being the new kid in school but Shanghai has adapted relatively well and tops Form F at half-term.  Apart from that unseemly fight with Melbourne, she has been a leader in the classroom and looks to have a head older than her years.  Keep up the good work!

Melbourne Victory   Grade :  B2

I am aware that Melbourne lives quite far away from school and she sometimes seems tired by the commute.  Her performance in the debate against Suwon was slightly disappointing given that it was supposed to be her specialist subject, her home turf if you will…with more long trips to come there is no room for complacency.

Gamba Osaka  Grade : C3

I think this has been a disappointing half-term for Gamba.  After his strong performance last year and nomination as a potential prefect I expected more than his tepid performance.  I know he has often started slowly in the past but there is a real risk of him being left behind this year.

Suwon Samsung Grade  : D4

This year was always going to be tough for Suwon but she hasn’t put in the necessary effort and seems to be lacking the teeth for the fight. Suwon will have to focus on her goals for the rest of the term if she wants to avoid being put in the bottom set for the rest of the year.

Form H:

SYDNEY FC (AUS) 3 2 0 1 3 3 0 6
POHANG STEELERS (KOR) * 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 4
URAWA RED DIAMONDS (JPN) * 3 1 1 1 4 3 1 4

Sydney FC   Grade : A2

Sydney has handled the long commute to school better than expected and this is reflected in his grade for the half-term.  Given that he has opted for home-schooling for most of the second half of term, I am optimistic that he can get a good result come the end of term exams.

Pohang Steelers Grade : B2

It’s always tough being the younger brother at a school where your siblings have excelled and we have tried to moderate our expectations for the latest Steeler sibling. Results over the half-term have been mixed with decent performances on his Chinese and Japanese tests but a disastrous effort on his essay on From Summer Bay to The OC: a Treatise on Home and Away Actors’ success in Hollywood, which frankly was garbage. Pohang is still in with a good shout of finishing the term well but will need to demonstrate which is his true self.

Urawa Reds  Grade :   C3

A topsy-turvy half-term for Urawa.  He started strongly, faltered in the middle and came back right at the end.  If he maintains his momentum, he could still make the top set.

Guangzhou Evergrande  Grade :  D4

Massively disappointing from last year’s star pupil.  Has looked distracted all term and I wonder if she has issues at home.  The decline in performance has been astounding and I wonder if we should have a chat about signs of drug-use or abuse as declines of this level are normally a cry for help.  While there is still time for things to turn around, it will not be easy at all.

'Big Phil' accepts his 48 Shades report card.
‘Big Phil’ Scolari receives his 48 Shades report card.

Episode 49 – The Bank Holiday Giveaway


Episode 49:

The Bank Holiday Giveaway

music_double_note_song_melody-512 Give it away, give it away, give it away now music_double_note_song_melody-512

For 60 minutes the young pretenders were looking like the real thing, two goals to the good on their bitterest rivals they were playing with a confidence and a swagger that was well to be honest non-Korean. They were stroking the ball around the park like it was connected solely between the ‘soon-to-be-heroes’ in red, when Japan did get the ball they lacked the composure to do anything with it other than return it to a red shirt. The script was written for not just a victory but a humbling, that was until Makoto Teguramori, the Japanese U23 Manager, used his magic eraser and changed the script forever.

With one change, namely bringing on Takuma Asano on the hour mark, he not only reversed Japan’s fortunes but transformed them into a completely different team. Within six minutes it was 2-1, two minutes more and it was 2-2 and to be honest from then on there was only going to be one winner and it came as no surprise when that man Asano struck again to deal the fatal blow.

And so yet again a Korean National team feel short at the final hurdle. It was a tournament that promised much but delivered that same old feeling of disappointment. That it came at the hands of their rivals and in such a heart-breaking manner made it all the tougher to take.

Tune in to Episode 49 for a full review of the final and the tournament as a whole. The boys also talk K-League finances (or lack there of), season ticket prices for 2016, the hugely anticipated 2016 K-League slogan and we have a look at the next set of ACL play-offs and more.

By 48shadesoffootball for @Kleague_Podcast


Episode 48 – Best XI, Best Vacation, Worst Offside Call!


Episode 48:

The one with the Best XI, the best training camp and the worst offside call ever!!!


music_double_note_song_melody-512 It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight. music_double_note_song_melody-512

The results are in, the votes have been cast and the tears have been shed. No it’s not the Oscars I’m talking about but the altogether more important result of the 2015 K-League Best XI. It had all the hallmarks of an epic battle much like the Rocky movies before Stallone thought he could act. But would it be the epic slugfest of Rocky I or more like the ridiculous match-up with Hulk Hogan of Rocky III.

As previously blogged it was a complex process to decide the ultimate winner. After avid podcast listener Ally have rather unsurprisingly refused to bite the hand that feeds him and therefore threw his weight behind fellow Diablos member Paul (Diablos are FC Seoul’s foreign fan group) all eyes turned to @FRsoccerMiro, the modern day equivalent of Fantasy Football League’s ‘Statto’. Would he also be swayed by the glitz and glamour of Adriano and The Wookie upfront or would he be dazzled by the flair of Mark’s Yeom Ki Hun and Orsic on the wings. Using a point scoring system based on the importance of each player to their team Miroslav gave the victory to Mark’s team with both his midfield and attack proving too much for Paul’s 5-man defence.

You can listen to the reasoning behind both Ally and Miroslav’s decisions in Episode 46

With the result tied at 1-1 it meant the deciding ‘vote’ would rest on the shoulders of Football Manager 2015. Much faffing around ensued and after almost pulling out what remains of his once flowing black locks Mark was eventually able to get the teams assembled, the beers chilled in the fridge and the pizza occupying center row in front of the Mac.  In the interest of fairness we decided to play the match ‘the best out of three’. The first game finished a 1-0 victory to Mark’s Makgeolli Marvels, an Orsic wonder-strike separating the teams. Match two leveled affairs with Paul’s Seoulfield Wednesday running out convincing 2-0 winners as first Adriano then Yeom found their way past a rather unsteady looking Shin Hwa Young in goals.

Tune in to Episode 48 to see how it all turns out as the boys give a rundown of the enthralling final and deciding match.  We also talk training camps, the AFC Under 23s in Qatar and especially that offside call and maybe just maybe Mark will get time for his long overdue rant on referees.

By 48shadesoffootball for @Kleague_Podcast

Let Battle Commence!!


As predictable as the title race may have ended there were some twists and turns along the way, though they all generally ended up benefiting Jeonbuk somehow. The season would see the emergence of it’s fair share of heroes and villains, or mainly villains in the case of Daejeon and Busan.

Below Paul and myself have a look at who were our stand-outs throughout the season as we select our K-League Classic Best XI. Of course as is always with the 48 Shades podcast it’s not that simple. The XI must be made up of one player from each team, yip even Suwon much to Paul’s disgust, with the twelfth team being a manager. Each player must have ended the season playing for a Classic team . We must also follow the K-League rules regarding foreign players and each team must play within a recognisable formation so there goes Craig Levein’s now infamous 4-6 disgrace. It would prove to be a far more difficult task than we first imagined although that have been the effects of the Cass. There would be some overlap on the players and a little controversy as Mark would massage the rules to allow Adriano to represent Daejeon but we got there in the end.

The eventual winner would be decided by a complex system more akin to a chaebol promotion process than a football simulation. Avid 48 Shades listener Ally McLeod (who may or may not have had the great idea) would have one casting vote, Football Radar Korean expert @FRsoccerMiro would give his opinion on the likely victors based on his analysis of the 2015 season. Then we would put the teams into that hugely accurate football simulator that is Football Manager 2015 to give us the result of the match. Never let it be said that we just make this stuff up before going on air.

So without further ado here are the teams and Let Battle Commence!!

Best XI - Paul

Paul opted for a 5-3-2 managed by Choi Kang Hee (Jeonbuk).

Best XI - Mark

Mark would stick with a good old 4-4-2 managed by Kim Hak Bum (Seongnam)

By Mark aka @kleague_kilt