Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why I support...

In a new feature to Asian Football Feast, we will be talking to various fans of Asian Football and finding out why they support the club they do.

In our first feature, we speak to Tel Porter from Sydney, who is a mad Sanfrecce Hiroshima fan. Here is his story about why he supports the Sanfrecce outfit.

I have been supporting Sanfrecce Hiroshima now since 2006.

I was living and working in Japan, in Shimane prefecture and desperate to get my footballing fix. Shimane is about as far away from anything exciting as you can possibly get, so naturally there was no J-League team for me to cheer on in my local town.

Sanfrecce fans at the Nabisco Cup QF against Kashima
The nearest J-League team, geographically, was Sanfrecce Hiroshima (3 hours away by bus!) This was before Fagiano Okayama entered the J-League, so Hiroshima was the closest city that had a team I could follow. Hence, Sanfrecce became my ‘local’ team.

Because my work schedule was pretty busy and I always worked Saturdays, I only had the chance to go out to Big Arch once to see Sanfrecce play.

Arriving in Hiroshima on the bus early in the morning, I bought a Sanfrecce uniform (and a Hiroshima Carp uniform) and went out to Big Arch to see Sanfrecce vs Antlers in a Nabisco Cup quarter final.

A Sanfrecce victory, 1-0 made the whole day (and night sleeping in an internet café) worthwhile! (Never mind that Sanfrecce lost on aggregate!)

Even more exciting than seeing Sanfrecce play at home was when I heard Sanfrecce were drawn in the same group as Adelaide United in the Asian Champions League.

Tel supports Sanfrecce against Adelaide in the ACL
I booked my flight and bought my ticket in the away bay and joined all the Sanfrecce away fans in singing and chanting nonstop for 90 minutes, the one hachimaki wearing gaijin in the sea of purple clad traveling Japanese fans.

Despite the thrilling game not quite going the way of Sanfrecce (3-2 win to Adelaide) the experience of posing for a hundred photos, being interviewed, being given a Sanfrecce scarf by a traveling fan and some J-League merchandise from Sanfrecce club officials who called out to me on the street of Adelaide later that night was thoroughly memorable.

I’m as loyal to Sanfrecce as I am to Sydney FC – my longterm dream is to be there to see Sydney FC vs Sanfrecce in the ACL in both the Big Arch and the SFS. Hiroshima is one of my favourite cities and Sanfrecce are my pride and passion, the embodiment of my Japanese life.

For those wondering, Tel's interview he conducted at the Sanfrecce-Adelaide game can be read here...if you read Japanese:

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