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Groundhopper's guide to ..... Cheongju Stadium

Despite collecting just 30 points from 30 games in the semi-professional K3 League last year, Cheongju FC applied for professional status and joined K League 2 ahead of this season. Following a full rebrand, the newly-named Chungbuk Cheongju FC remained at Cheongju Stadium and is now settled in the second tier. This is our short guide to their stadium.



Cheongju Stadium, you'll be unsurprised to learn, is a multi-use arena owned and operated by the local city government. It has a running track, minimal roof coverage, and a big screen/scoreboard behind one of the goals. Unlike many K League 2 rivals, Cheongju doesn't have temporary seating, but seats in the long stands don't feel too far from the pitch.

The stadium opened way back in 1965 but has undergone three renovations. To be fair, it looks in much better shape than several newer stadiums in the league, especially Bucheon Stadium. The official capacity is 16,000. From 1987 for 2 years, Cheongju was home to Lucky-Goldstar FC, which later became FC Seoul.

Cheongju FC finished in 14th spot (out of 16 teams) in the 2022 K3 League season, a full 27 points behind winners Changwon City FC. Despite this, their application to join K League 2 was approved and, along with neighbor Cheonan City FC, the club took their place in the second division this year. They changed their name to Chungbuk Cheongju FC and updated their logo.


Location:

Cheongju is the biggest city in Chungcheong-do, a province in central Korea. It is around 45 km north of the much larger Daejeon and 128 km south of Seoul. Several K League clubs are close by, including Daejeon Hana Citizen, Cheonan City FC, and Chungnam Asan FC

Cheongju Stadium is located in the city's Sports Complex, east of central Cheongju. Next door is Cheongju Baseball Stadium, the secondary home of Daejeon-based Hanwha Eagles since 1986. The Cheongju Gymnasium hosts Cheongju KB Stars of the Women's Korea Basketball League.

Cheongju Sports Complex features a K League 2 stadium, a secondary ballpark for a KBO club and a basketball arena. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)

Transport Options:

- train: Cheongju Station is west of the stadium and downtown. However, this isn't a high-speed station as the older, slower but cheaper options like the Mugungwha stop there. The SRT and KTX trains stop at Osong Station, which serves Cheongju and the neighboring city of Sejong. 
- bus: Outside exit 7 of Osong Station there is a local and intercity terminal. From Bays 5 and 6, buses depart regularly for Cheongju. Cheongju Gymnasium is the stop for the Sports Complex and the 500 and 511, for example, will make the 16 km trip in approximately 45 minutes. 
- parking: There is parking at the Sports Complex.

Tickets:

A small ticket box on the North-East corner of the stadium. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)
- Online: Chungbuk Cheongju tickets are on sale from Ticketlink which has a full breakdown of seating options and prices.
- Ticket booth: There's a ticket booth at the North-East corner of the stadium, next to the car park entrance. There is probably at least one more, but that's the one I saw. Tickets bought online come with a small saving of between 500₩ and 1000₩, depending on which seat you buy.

Where to sit:

Cheongju Stadium is a symmetrical bowl-shaped stadium with some roof cover on the North and South Stands. The North Stand is popular on match days with the main Supporters' Club, complete with an impressive flag display and drums, in Block H6 and families. However, none of the tickets in this stand have a block, row, or seat number. You can sit wherever you want. Tickets bought at the stadium are 10,000₩.

The North Stand where the Supports' Club and families congregate. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)
The South Stand is the Main Stand. The dugouts are located in front of this stand. On the halfway line, there are table seats and one small section called Chicken Seat. On the western side of the stand, directly opposite the Supporters' Club, there are 3 blocks of seats that don't come with a table. The 2-person table seats cost 20,000₩ per person. The Chicken Seats are 30,000₩ each and a regular seat in this stand is 15,000₩.

The South Stand featuring tables, Chicken Seats, regular seats and away fans. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)
Uncommon in this league, the away fans are not behind the goals. They are penned into Block A1, also in the South Stand, on the eastern edge. Tickets are 15,000₩.

According to Ticketlink, the West Stand (behind the goals) is also open but at their recent fixture with Cheonan City FC, there were no fans in this stand. Tickets, if they exist, are 10,000₩, and you can sit wherever you want.

The East Stand (behind the other goal) is not open.

Food:

There were three food (and coffee) trucks at the recent fixture versus Cheonan City FC. A medium-sized paper bowl of boneless chicken and rice costs 12,000₩.

I know the food isn't always the healthiest but going to a stadium, I try to buy something from the food trucks. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)

Drink:

I found one convenience store hidden away at the very end of the North Stand (east side). As I walked by in search of an exit, the store worker looked startled that I had stumbled upon this secret store. There were plenty of snacks, ramen, beer, and water, but no customers.

Merchandise:

The Blue Store is basically a port-a-cabin situated on the edge of the car park. The selection was surprisingly disappointing. There were several dozen jerseys in every size and then a couple of smaller items. The Chungcheong Cheongju FC colors are nice, so I was looking out for t-shirts or training wear. I found none of these.

The Blue Store looks impressive on the outside for a club at this level but I couldn't find any off field gear. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)

Post game:

My recent trip to Cheongju was decimated by poor weather conditions, but if you have time to spare, Sangdang Sanseong Fortress is a nice place to spend an afternoon, especially in spring and autumn.

This photo has nothing to do with post game options, but I thought the KOREA LEGEND jersey looked pretty cool. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)

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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