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From The Stands: Los Cruzados Verdes

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors Foreign Supporters Group: Los Cruzados Verdes
In the first of our "From The Stands" articles, a series dedicated to introducing supporter groups around the K League for you to join, group founder Lex Nande and our own columnist Matthew Binns introduce the Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors fan group, Los Cruzados Verdes.
(Photo Credit: Jon Christian)


Group Background


Who are Los Cruzados Verdes?

Los Cruzados Verdes began life in 2014 initially as a Jeonbuk foreign supporters group intended to gather fellow foreign fans attending Jeonbuk games, with the aim of being able to discuss and enjoy the matches together as well as meet other expats living nearby. These days, it's a slightly larger network, with a mix of foreign and local supporters. As a group, we are now mostly spread out across the country (and, to some extent, the globe), due to work commmitments dragging us away from the rural and mountainous Jeollabuk-do province and all it's heavenly food and maekkoli offerings. However, come the weekend, we convene once more on Jeonju from our far-removed destinations to watch and cheer on Lee Dong-gook & co, as well as perhaps partaking in a beverage or two.

Where is your HQ?

Due to how spread out we are, arrangements are often made via our Facebook group. However, in terms of physical location, you'll probably find us in the North Stand of the Jeonju World Cup Stadium from an hour before kick off.

Where did your name come from?

The name started with Jeonbuk's home ground often being dubbed The Jeonju Castle, which dates back to the 2002 World Cup when the moat around the stadium was flowing with blue water, with each entrance to the stadium acting as bridges over it. At the time of forming our group, the team were on a strong AFC streak, winning league titles and playing the best football Korea had seen. With no actual religious meaning intended, Lex mentioned we were like the Crusaders, roaming the land and slaying competition. He had also just got back from Chile at the time, and ran into a similar group who he respected and thus suggested that the name be put in Spanish instead of English. The Verdes part is simply in relation to the club's colour.

Any custom gear?

We are currently sporting a retro-looking supporters top officially released by the club in early 2017, however ours each have Los Cruzados and the number '14 emblazoned across the back. Whilst many in the stands wear similar, the unexpected appearance of two of our members in a popular Korean reality TV show "Welcome to Korea" after the Seoul match in July has led to most foreigners wearing that shirt across the country to be asked whether they are "that guy". We are however in the process of creating our own shirts for the season ahead, especially with Jeonbuk's recent track record of kit design.

Where can someone find out about you online?

We tend to find you, but we do have a Facebook page also. However, due to previous problems with spam, we had to add a level of security for those wishing to join. You might be best to try to join and write a message to a member first. You can find the group here or search Facebook for "Los Cruzados Verdes".

Contact person?

Lex Nande, Jon Christian, Matthew Binns, or anyone you see at the ground sporting one of our shirts. We're quite an approachable bunch so do come over if you're interested in joining.

At The Stadium


Does your section have a name? Do you share the section with others?

At home games we are always behind the goal, usually just off one block towards the west stand and likely on the second row from the front. Away games we are usually strategically located near the closest beer cart.

What does your group’s game day look like?

Weekday games are a bit of an issue as bosses don't tend to understand the need to catch a Jeonbuk game is greater than the need to get work done. For the bigger game days though, it depends on how many LCV members live in the area and what time is kick off, but usually it will begin with meeting and lunch near the Jeonju bus terminal, before heading over to the ground. Away games can get just as many turnouts as home games though as nearly 100% of LCV members started their Korean life in Jeonbuk, but most have moved to different areas for different reasons. At Seoul and Suwon, our group gets nearly as large of a turnout as at home in Jeonju.

What is the group’s favourite chants/songs?

"We all dream of a team of Kim Shin-wooks" to the tune of Yellow Submarine is what we always end up reverting back to, although valiant efforts have been made to branch out to something that might be adopted around the ground. Whilst our ambitious, and quite frankly spectacular, Kim Jin-su/Uptown Girl hybrid hasn't quite captured the imagination of the Korean spectators to the extent we'd have hoped ("Kim Jin-su/Signing him was a real coup/We promised him A-C-L/In order to make Hoffenheim sell..."), we will likely have something more accessible in the new season. Listen out for "Yo-Ho" reverberating from deep within the midst of the North Stand in 2018.

Traveling


How far is the group willing to travel?

Due to being located around the country, the motivation to go to a domestic away game is quite high as there are usually people in the area to meet up with. We also do a few big away trips throughout the year, usually deemed a "Jeolla Boys Outing" which involve staying in a location for a weekend and taking in the Jeonbuk game whilst down there. This year's expedition to Yeosu for the Jeolla Derby against Jeonnam Dragons, was thoroughly enjoyable.

The Jeolla Boys Outing to Jeonnam, 18th June 2017 (Photo Credit: Won-bin Bae)

We have also had a member travel to Thailand for an AFC game as one of five Jeonbuk supporters that flew over. The following year, we also had a member travel to Melbourne for an away match as well. This year a couple of us have already lined up the away trip to Hong Kong on February 20th as part of this year's Champions League campaign.

Is there a supporters bus for away games?

There are some ran by the club for all fans, and they are cheap. We usually arrange our own transportation though so that we can arrive to away games to check out the scenery, the local food, and get on with things in our own fashion.

If you can’t make it to the game, where can you meet?

When we can't make it to games, we are usually dotted around the country watching it and venting our frustrations in the group online. If there is more than one of us in the area, we sometimes meet up and will watch the game on TV together.

Do you have watch parties?

Not as of yet, but we tend to focus more on getting away days in, and picking home games where we can collect as many members as possible. It might be something we would think about in the future though.

Fun Facts


What is the greatest game in Los Cruzados Verdes history?

It is difficult to call as any match with the majority of our members in the stand tends to be a rather enjoyable jaunt. Two games stand out though, and that would be the first leg of the 2016 AFC Champions League final and the more recent 3-0 victory over Jeju United to secure the 2017 title and celebrate the club's gimmicky "Kim Jin-su Day". Both occasions saw us at reasonable strength in terms of both numbers and enthusiasm, with chants, songs and celebrations galore. The team's performances certainly helped better the festivities though.

Getting into the spirit of 'Kim Jin-su Day" as Jeonbuk won the 2017 title (Photo Credit: Jon Christian)

What makes Los Cruzados Verdes one of the best groups in K League?

There are teams around the division who have groups supporting the same club that conflict with one another over trivial matters, yet ours falls seamlessly in with the wider Jeonbuk support whilst still maintaining our own identity. Jeonbuk supporters as a whole tend to be welcoming, friendly and lively, and it is something we try to incorporate into our group too, making for one of the greatest and most positive atmospheres in the league. Perhaps like some Jeonju locals, we too have mostly had to move to larger cities across the country for work, but we retain our bond through following this club every week. Coming back regularly to meet fellow members from afar and take in a game together makes each occasion feel somewhat like a reunion and perhaps it's that, plus a penchant for some light-hearted daftness, what makes our group one of the best in the K League.

If you are a Jeonbuk fan and are looking for fellow fans to head to the game with, you can apply to join the Los Cruzados Verdes Facebook group by clicking here and get involved with events and team discussion.

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