중앙데일리

Freelancing on football as a foreigner

Mar 05,2008
John Duerden
Despite the swooning throngs of football fans and non-fans alike who flocked to see David Beckham and whatever that team he plays with now when they visited Seoul last weekend, sports writer John Duerden was not impressed. “I’m not a big fan of friendly games to start with,” he said. “Unless there’s some sort of rivalry there, like Korea and Japan, there’s not a lot of competition.”
Duerden is the guy to ask if you want to know about football rivalries in Asia, or any other aspect of the sport for that matter. He’s the chief columnist for the Web portal Empas, is in deep with football site Goal and his articles pop up in publications around the world. “I got here six years ago, which is quite frightening, just before the World Cup,” said the Brit, with an addendum familiar to this column. “You get married [to a Korean] and before you know it you’ve been here for five years.”
Duerden’s focus isn’t just Korea; he covers stories from Iran to Japan. “If you write in English about Korean football, it’s difficult. There’s not a whole lot of interest outside of Korea.”
In covering the K-League, there are advantages to not being from around here. “In the Korean media, I was able to be a bit more critical and able to say some things that other people were maybe thinking but weren’t able to say,” he said. “Many people think that it’s good that somebody from outside gives their honest opinion.”
For example: “One problem in the Korean league is the stadiums are too big, designed for the World Cup and not the K-League. Like in Daegu, you have a team that’s not that great, and you have trouble getting it full.”
But despite his blunt honesty, Duerden said, “People have always been very positive ― to my face, anyway.”


By Richard Scott-Ashe Contributing Reporter [richard@joongang.co.kr]



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