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Groundhopper's guide to..... Incheon Football Stadium

Incheon United took their place in K League 1 in 2004, just months after the new professional club was established in South Korea's third-most-populous city. They had a brand new World Cup stadium to call home immediately but, by 2012, Incheon United had left Munhak and moved into the stunning Incheon Football Stadium. This is our short guide to their stadium.



Lower-tier seats at Incheon Football Stadium. To the left and right of this spot, fans can buy beer without missing the action. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)
Incheon Football Stadium is beautiful. Many will argue, perhaps justifiably, that it is the best football stadium in the country. With a capacity of 20,000, it is a perfect size for a K League stadium of this era. The two long stands are double-tiered with some executive boxes in the main stand. The home supporters congregate in the single-tier stand behind the southside goals, which is reminiscent of many modern stadiums in Europe.

As with most football stadiums in Korea, there is an abundance of space both inside and outside the stadium. Incheon Stadium, located next to Stadium Central City apartment complex, is the focal point of the surrounding community. On game day, fans, joggers, and commuters mix in the large plaza backing onto the only uncovered stand to the north. The wide gaps between the stands allow for views outside the four walls and it also allows curious locals to gaze out over the pitch without buying a ticket.

Incheon hosted several pool stage and two Last-16 games at the 2014 FIFA U-20 World Cup. In late 2023, it will host AFC Champions League games after Incheon United's outstanding year saw them finish 4th after several seasons battling relegation. Close to Seoul, central Incheon, and therefore the country's busiest airport, Incheon Football Stadium is not only easily accessible but a must-see for all football fans in this country,



Location:

Incheon is a huge port city in western Korea. It lies west of Seoul and the two cities share a small border along the Han River. Incheon Airport is located on an island off the coast and the city played a fundamental role in the 1950-53 Korean War. Chinatown is a short subway ride from Incheon Football Stadium.

The stadium is basically next door to Dowon Station on Seoul's monstrous Line 1. Dowon itself is only two stops from the terminus of that line at the Incheon end. The Port of Incheon is also a very short distance away. The club's first home, Munhak Stadium, is 7 km southeast.


Transport Options:

- train: There is no better option here than the subway. Dowon Station is just yards away from the ticket booths on the north side of the stadium. Juan Station, three stops east toward Seoul, is a transfer station for Line 1 and Incheon Line 2. Finally, Sungui Station, on the Suin Bundang Line, is a 10-minute walk from Exit 4.
- bus:  Incheon Bus Terminal is a short walk from the former home in Munhak, but several buses, such as 4, 22, and 36, make the trip to the current stadium in under an hour. A taxi will be less than ₩10,000.
- bike: There are bike tracks around the perimeter of the stadium but Dowon is in a built-up area so beware of heavy traffic.

Tickets:

- Online: Incheon sells tickets through Ticketlink, the more convenient of the ticketing apps in Korea. There's a handy table showing the pricing structure and a decent map of the stadium.
- Ticket booth: Once you leave Dowon Station and cross into the plaza behind the North Stand, there are plenty of ticket booths on the right-hand side. Some are operated by humans and others are machines. There are ticket booths behind the East Stand, too.

If you don't like pressing buttons on a machine, come to this ticket booth on the North side and talk to a real person. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)

Where to sit:

Take your pick of where you want to sit in this football stadium. Let's start with the West Stand (Main Stand). This stadium uses random and somewhat peculiar names for different blocks in each stand. You can get a sense of this by looking at the stadium map on Ticketlink. There are premium seats and boxes, but regular seating starts at ₩12,000, moving up to ₩19,000.

Half-time light show at the recent K League 1 game versus FC Seoul. The West Stand is on the opposite side, with away fans to the right and home fans to the left. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)
The East Stand is, in my opinion, the best place to watch football here. Every seat has a good view and those closest to the pitch feel like they're right on top of the playing surface. Even better, in this stand, you can buy beer from a store or the Heineken Bar and not miss any of the action, as they all overlook the pitch. If there's any criticism of this stand, it is that the big screen is facing the other way. Tickets are ₩12,000-13,000.

East Stand, lower tier. The Heineken Pub is visible on the right. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)
Incheon's main supporters' club is located in the small safe-standing section behind the goal in the North Stand. The rest of the stand is a long, continuous terrace, similar to new stadiums in Europe. Tickets here cost ₩12,000.

Look at that beautiful South Stand! (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)
Away fans are behind the goals in the North Stand. Blocks N1-4 are reserved for supporters and N5-7 are closed off for segregation purposes. This is the only uncovered stand in the stadium. Tickets cost ₩12,000.

The away fans in the uncovered North Stand. Hopefully, it doesn't rain, snow or get too hot for them. If there's one bit of good news, the away fans are closer to the subway station to beat the crowd after a game. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)
Premium seats cost ₩50,000 and one-person table seats start at ₩20,000.

Food:

There's a great food truck culture in Incheon. At the recent home game with FC Seoul, there were 6 trucks in the meeting place plaza behind the North Stand and two more behind the East Stand. The food trucks are outside the gates of the stadium, but you can bring food to your seat.

Food trucks in the plaza on the north side. Queues are long but they move quickly. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)

Drink:

If beer is your drink of choice, be warned: the only choice is Heineken. These are sold in 330 ml cans and staff will ask you to pour them into plastic cups before leaving the store. As mentioned above, the stores in the East Stand face onto the pitch so if you leave your seat to grab a beer, you won't miss any of the action. Hurray for Incheon!

Merchandise:

There's an Incheon United store in the West Stand, which I've never visited. I don't think there is any merchandise sold elsewhere in the stadium.

Post game:

The gaps between the stands allow spectators to see the surrounding cityscape, but they also allow other people to catch a glimpse of the game for free. You don't need a ticket to get this far. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)
The stadium is only two stops from Incheon Station, the last stop on Seoul's Line 1. Here you can visit Chinatown, the General MacArthur statue in Jayu Park, or take the sea train to Wolmi. Depending on the time of the year, a doubleheader with baseball is a possibility.


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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