World Cup in London: South Korea

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Or: 축구! Football with London's South Korean fans.

South Korea football fans, London

I went yesterday to New Malden to watch South Korea play Greece.

Europe's largest expatriate South Korean community live in New Malden, with around 8,000 South Koreans  in the area.

On the train, I met a chap resplendant with flags and Korean insignia. He accompanied me to The Fountain bar where South Korean fans had gathered.

Min, a fine arts graduate, soon had a Korean flag painted on my face. Brilliant.

South Korean fans are good value. They cheer, they chant, they whoop and cry. With the merest momentum, they get into the game. Chants include something like "gay-a-mingo", something like "bissy korea" and something to the tune of Go West.

South Korea football fans, London

On top of all that, they had flags, inflatables, costumes, drums and percussion - in all, The Fountain was a riot of footballing fun.

My favourites were the man fully dressed in costume complete with a gong and the people who were dressed as football mascots.

South Korea football fans, London

Happily South Korea won the match to the joy of all present (except the one Greek man in the company of hundreds of Koreans).

Next: Balkan Balkan Balkan! Football with London's followers of Slovenia and Serbia.