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Groundhopper's guide to..... Yi Sun-sin Stadium

K League 2 side Chungnam Asan FC are the third club with 'Asan' in their name to play at Yi Sun-shin Stadium. Construction was completed in 2008 and then subsequently named after one of Korean history's most important historical figures. The current tenants are owned by the local government, having been formed in 2020. Here's our short guide to their stadium. 


Yi Sun-sin Stadium is a multi-use ground operated by the local city government, with a running track and basic facilities inside its walls. It has a capacity of 17,000 but many of those seats are under giant advertising tarping or far from the pitch behind the goals. Outside the turnstiles, the club has tents set up for face painting and special events to win prizes.

Like many of the grounds in this country, it is basically one continuous bowl apart from an extra set of blocks over the two main stands. There is a single scoreboard on South Stand and 4 large floodlights in each corner. The West Stand has some roof cover but the rest of the stadium is at the mercy of the elements. For groundhoppers who like views over the stadium walls, there's little to get excited about here.

Location:

Chungnam Asan FC is named after the province and city in which they operate. The city is located between Seoul and Daejeon, but closer to the latter (approximately 70 km to the north). And the club, which has only ever competed in the second division, is based on the southern edge of Onyangoncheon-dong. 

For train enthusiasts, the nearest stop, Onyangoncheon, is the second-to-last stop on the southern route of the monstrous dark blue Line 1 of the Seoul metro subway system. The stadium isn't in Seoul or even the province which surrounds the capital, Gyeonggi-do. Even though there are easier ways to access the city, if you take the subway from Seoul Station and don't transfer to an express service, it'll take two-and-a-half hours.



Transport Options:

- subway: Onyangoncheon is the closest station (3 km) but, even from there, a bus or taxi will be needed to reach the stadium. The intercity Cheonan-Asan Station, a major stop for KTX and SRT trains, is 10 km from the stadium. You can transfer to Line 1 from here, or take a bus or taxi.
- bus: Yi Sun-shin Stadium is just off Nambu-ro, a major road with bus stops next to the junction for the sports complex. The 990 and 991 zigzag their way from Cheonan-Asan Station, past the stadium, towards Asan Intercity Bus Terminal. 
- parking: The stadium is surrounded by parking spots on all sides but because it isn't easily accessible via public transport, those spaces will fill up fast and the traffic approaching the stadium is, often, terrible.
- bikes: Fans lock their bikes to pretty much any secure structure in the vast car park surrounding the stadium.

Tickets:

- Online:  Chungnam Asan FC sells their tickets on the Ticketlink App.

However, it is important to state that some tickets bought online will come with a discount, even after the ₩1,000 service charge is added. A general admission ticket for, say, the East Stand, will be ₩7,000 (plus ₩1,000 fee) when reserved via the app, but it'll cost ₩11,000 at the stadium.

- Ticket booth: Most fans congregate outside the Northwest end of the stadium, where the team store and main ticket booth are located. On the opposite side, there is another ticket booth (below) with shorter queues, and this stand, whilst uncovered, is where most of the cheering originates from.

A ticket booth next to the East Stand at Yi Sun-sin Stadium. Queues are likely to be shorter here than at the West Stand. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)

Where to sit:


The VIP sections, media seats, tunnel, and dugouts are all in the West Stand. There are also plenty of table seats here, which are perfect for couples and families who bring a lot of food to the ground. This is the only stand with a roof cover. The view is decent, if unspectacular, of the other sides of the stadium and surrounding landscape. VIP seats are  ₩20,000 (no online discount) and table seats are ₩45,000-60,000 (again, no discount). General admission seats are ₩7,000 online and ₩11,000 at the gate.

The roof-covered West Stand from across the pitch. The middle three sections are for VIPs and table ticket holders. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea) 
Opposite is the East Stand which will usually be the busiest on match day as you're likely to see families and groups of schoolchildren. I always like sitting in the stands across the main stands, because the stadium looks nicer from here. Interestingly, the main group of home fans and away supporters are located here. General admission seats are ₩7,000 online and ₩11,000 at the gate.

Fans sit in the lower bowl of the East Stand. The upper tier is filled with advertisements. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)

The four female cheerleaders and male cheermaster are positioned on the halfway line, and the blocks directly in front of them are known as Art Valley Zone. These seats (in blocks E9, 10, 11) are ₩7,000 online and ₩11,000 at the gate. The Armada Zone (blocks E15, 16, 17) are the same price.

Away fans occupy the first four blocks of the lower East Stand. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)

Visiting fans are located in blocks E1, 2, 3 and 4 in the lower tier next to the goal line. Tickets for the away end cost ₩11,000 with no discount.

Merchandise:


Under the West Stand, a club shop doubles up as a convenience store to buy alcohol and snacks. If you want some swag, you'll find jerseys, t-shirts, hats, and small souvenirs. There is a limited supply of 2022-season stock on discount.



Food:

Korean football stadiums love food trucks inside or outside the stadium and here, in the North Stand near the main entrance, three trucks are parked and permanently busy. Churros and rice cakes are among the items to buy. You can take your food and move back to the empty North Stand but the view isn't amazing. In the stores located under the two main stands, ramen, potato chips, and basic snacks are for sale.

Fans line up for food and try to catch some errant shots behind the North Stand. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)

Drink:


Terra and Kloud (0.0%) was the extent of the beer selection inside the stadium. The staff will ask you to pour them into paper cups before returning to your seats. Water, soft drinks, and tea are also sold. The selection of beverages is similar across the country.

Post game:

I'll be honest, I don't know the area well enough, so perhaps consult some local tourist websites for ideas. Asan is not going to be high on most people's list of places to visit in Korea. However, as with pretty much anywhere in the country with a subway stop, there'll be no shortage of great restaurants to eat at or convenience stores to stop by for a beer.

The area is well-known for hot spas, but I didn't get to visit them.

One thing I did notice, however, was the contrast between the city and most other towns and cities you'll visit in Korea. There are neighborhoods that resemble Korea (from photographs) in the 1990s. I'd imagine it would make a great location for movies set in that era. Taking a short tour around town after the game to see some old restaurants is not a bad way to spend the afternoon.


Finally, if you are planning to visit this stadium or any others in Korea, and haven't already done so, please download the Futbology app. It is a great way to find information about stadiums and keep track of all the teams and grounds you have visited.

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