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An American’s obsession with Beijing Guoan

Brandon Chemers in Guoan jersey Photos: Courtesy of Brandon Chemers

On a summer evening, Brandon Chemers, a Beijing Guoan fan from the US, smoothly navigated the capital’s notorious rush hour traffic on his scooter from Tiantan to Dongsi and shared his love for the Chinese football club and his life in Beijing.

Guoan is the only team from Beijing playing in China’s first division, which is still in its infancy compared to European top leagues. But its home ground, Workers’ Stadium or Gongti, boasts an attendance of around 40,000 per game, eclipsing the Chinese and Asian Champions Guangzhou Evergrande. In the interview with the, Chemers speaks fondly of his experience in which he:

  • Said Guoan is more accessible than clubs anywhere else in the world
  • Believes Henan’s Hanghai stadium is the most dangerous away court across China
  • Hates the saying that China can’t select 11 decent players from a population of over 1.3 billion
  • Is gloomy about raising his one-year-old son in the capital plagued by air pollution

German football club Borussia Dortmund is known for their aficionados named Yellow Wall on the south terrace, while China’s Beijing Guoan boasts their Green Wall on the north stand where a group of hardcore fans defend the home court authority.

Among the hundreds of ultras on the north stand of Gongti, an American immersed himself in chanting relentlessly throughout every game regardless of a win or loss.

As a member of the fans society “Royal Army,” Brandon Chemers goes to Gongti on match day not to watch the game – the stand is behind the goal -- but to contribute his support and passion to Guoan. He has to watch the game on TV afterwards so that he can get a clear review and write his match insights for the Wild East Football.

Wild East Football (WEF) is an English website about Chinese football founded by British Cameron Wilson in 2007. As an avid blogger, Chemers joined hands with Wilson in 2010 and the website now has around 10 reporters based in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Hong Kong.
“The website doesn’t make money. We just do it for fun. It is our hobby,” said Chemers whose full-time job is to import audio equipment from US to China.

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Rhythm Media Group is a multi-media company, operating a US-based Chinese daily newspaper, The China Press, and the paper's website - (which has mobile-app version), as well as a Beijing-based English website The group boasts 15 branch offices across the US, and a number of cultural centers focusing on culture-related business in the North America, Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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