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Groundhopper's guide to..... Bucheon Stadium

Since the formation of K League 2 ten years ago, Bucheon FC 1995 is one of only two original member clubs that has never been promoted. Last season, they came close to the promised land but fell short in the playoffs. The city and stadium have hosted top flight football in the past but with a different club. This is our short guide to their stadium.


A couple of old Bucheon flags hang next to the changing room doors. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)
Officially, Bucheon Stadium is a 34,000-seater stadium on the very western edge of the Seoul city limits. Like most stadiums in the division, it is not football-specific so it has a running track and temporary seats. Most of the seats in the original structure are not used on match days and instead are covered in thick dust and other strange spillages.

This stadium opened in 2001 but it is not in good shape. Empty shop fronts are built into the exterior walls, paintwork has washed away, most of the design work has faded and the concrete steps are beginning to crack and break apart. The dull concrete walls give it a much older feel. Despite this, I found the stadium oddly fascinating for those issues above.

Bucheon SK played here from 2001-2006 before moving off the mainland and becoming the first professional football club in Jeju. At the time, Bucheon was a top-tier club and their departure was a hammer blow to the area. A new club was established in 2007, becoming fully professional in late 2012. Like near neighbors FC Anyang, Bucheon is still looking for their first promotion and last year finished in fourth spot.

Location:


Bucheon is located between Seoul and Incheon in western Gyeonggi province. The stadium is only a few kilometers south of Seoul Gimpo Airport and west of the Gocheok Sky Dome. Bucheon is small in size but is a densely populated city with lots of older neighborhoods that are remarkably different from some of its neighboring districts.

Bucheon Stadium is outside exit 2 of Bucheon Stadium Station on Seoul's line 7. Wonmi Mountain borders the stadium on the east side and can be seen in most photographs of the stadium. There's a lot of space around the ground for exercise or pre-game pints.

Transport Options:

- train: As mentioned above, the stadium has a stop on Line 7. From exit 2, just follow the signs for the stadium. The nearest stop on Line 1 is at Sosa, which is also a terminus for the Seohae Line.
- bus: There are mostly local buses that stop near the stadium but you can get the 606 from Gwanghwamun or the 700 from Yeouido in central Seoul to Bucheon.
- parking: There's a dedicated parking zone at exit 3 of the subway station.
- bike: Bucheon is densely populated with old neighborhoods backing onto narrow and heavily congested roads. Cycling is tough without a lot of dedicated lanes but some rivers can be used to get you close to the stadium. The subway is the most convenient form of transport.

Tickets:

This ticket booth is located on the north end of the stadium, after emerging from the subway station or car park. There's a small store next door but a lot of the other units are empty. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)
- Online: Of the two main Korean portals, Bucheon uses the lesser of the two in terms of user-friendliness, Interpark. The vast majority of clubs are now found on the superior Ticketlink.
- Ticket booth: There's a small booth on the North end of the ground, near exit 2 at Bucheon Stadium Station and the car park.

Where to sit:

General view of the stadium from the almost abandoned East Stand. The away fans are behind the goals on the left. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)

Seats are sold in the North, South, East, and West Stands. The East Stand is temporary and runs alongside the pitch. It is the equivalent of a family stand. There are blocks and seat numbers but vacant seats can be folded to offer more legroom. There is a small but popular table seat section on the North-East corner. General admission seats are 10,000₩ and tables are 30,000₩ (for two people).

The North Stand, behind the goals, is also temporary and this is where the Bucheon supporters' club stands or sits to watch a game. Generally, the atmosphere is lively here with flags and catchy chants. Tickets cost 10,000₩.

The West Stand has no temporary seating so supporters or day trippers can sit in the original stand. There is a track separating spectators from the pitch and the stand isn't in great condition. The seats are dirty and covered in dust. General admission seats are 10,000₩ but the best view, on halfway, is reserved for an odd VIP section featuring enormous legroom, green carpets, and a strange curtain-like roof covering a handful of seats.

Away fans are also in the original stand on the South side, behind the goals. Normally, visiting supporters are given two blocks to the left of the big screen. Tickets are 10,000₩.

A lone cameraman broadcasts from the East Stand. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)

Food:

There were two food trucks behind the North goals at the recent game against Chungnam Asan FC. Tables with umbrellas were located beside the trucks but there is no view of the field or the screen from here. Outside, there was one food truck selling sausages. Fans were consuming ramen from the local store pre-game.

The only two food trucks at Bucheon FCs recent home game. Fans are allowed to bring food bought elsewhere into the stadium. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)

Drink:

I don't think there's any drink for sale inside the stadium walls as every store I saw was closed and completely gutted. The fans around me were bringing in beers, water, and chicken from outside, however. The small store next to the ticket booth has a slightly better beer choice than you find at most Korean stadiums.

One of the many vacant stores at the stadium. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)


Merchandise:

Gotta love these retro shirts in the club store/convenience store. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)
Next to the ticket booth is a small store that doubles up as a club shop. Here you can buy retro Bucheon SK jerseys with ramen, digestive biscuits, and ice cream. It's an odd mix. A limited number of current season stock is in store and the usual accessories like umbrellas, hats, and flags.

Post game:

Read all about the history of the club and their emble. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)

Bucheon is so close to Seoul and Incheon that post-game options are not just limited to the local area. However, if you have time, check out the history mural in the main structure on the North-East corner. I also recommend just wandering around this stadium. I don't think there is anything quite like it in Korea in 2023.


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.

FNR

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