April 1st saw the kick off of the 2011 season of the Chinese Super League (CSL), the premier league of football in China. It was a decent match, ending in a 3-3 draw… but the main reason for this post the utter LACK of information on attending a match. The official Shenhua website is only in Chinese, and information in English is pretty much non-existent. So here you go:
They play at Hongkou Football Stadium (metro line 3 & 8), located at 上海市虹口区东江湾路444号 (map).
Tickets are available from hundreds of scalpers that hound you from the moment you exit the metro to when you finally reach the official ticket window. Official tickets are 50/80/100/150 depending on seating location for league matches (they have a stadium diagram, just point), and season tickets are [I think] 300RMB. I attended this weeks (April 19) Asian Champions League match versus FC Sydney (2-3, damnit) and tickets were priced up. Exact seat is stated on the ticket, but like everything in China, no one pays any attention to that (seating section does matter). Beers and sodas are available around the entire stadium for 5RMB, but you must have a paper cup if you want to bring the beer to your seat. Smokers: don’t worry, they don’t confiscate lighters… actually a security check pretty much just doesn’t exist. Official gear can be found all around the stadium as well, make sure to shop around and not just go into the first stall you see, there are more, you’ll just have to walk. Prices range from 100-300RMB depending on which team jersey (they have several) and what add-ons (sponsor, number, etc).
You can find more info on the Shanghai Shenhua (squad, fixtures, etc) here.
As for the quality of football and stadium atmosphere, of course it doesn’t compare to Europe (the last worthy football match I watched live was Feyenoord-Ajax in the mid 90′s, the rioting before/during/after the match resulted in fans being banned from each others stadiums the following seasons, so yeah, no comparison really), BUT, it ain’t that bad, and I must add that for the price of a beer in Europe you can grab a seat in China and watch 90 minutes of CSL football.
For Christmas Day, a friend and I headed down to the Shanghai South Bund Fabric Market (and had some street dumplings right out side)… and I kind of wish I had known about this before. Just think, having custom-tailored suits, coats, and shirts at a fraction of the price as the pre-made mass-produced and over-priced articles you find in shops (they even have official Boss, Armani, etc catalogs for “help” with your design). You just got to know how to bargain, which I can’t say I’m too good at, but I think we got a decent deal on our “kungfu-style” shirts (I refer to it as my “Chinese pimp shirt“), for 160RMB each. After walking around the market (it’s 3 full floors inside a building on 399 Lujiabang Road) and doing some research, typically suits go for 400-600RMB and dress shirts around 100RMB… all of course depending on size, material, and quantity you are buying.
After the Fabric Market, we followed a tip of a nice (and free) view of the infamous Pudong skyline, located on the roof bar/restaurant of the Captain’s Hostel located just off the Bund (which has been closed entirely for renovations since I arrived here). [sorry, those pics will have to wait another day or two]