The search for Asia's Most Popular Football Club: Shanghai Shenhua, Suwon Samsung Bluewings seal places in final

Kuala Lumpur: Shanghai Shenhua and Suwon Samsung Bluewings are through to the final of the Search for Asia's Most Popular Football Club after finishing as the two highest ranked teams in the East Asia poll.

China PR side Shanghai Shenhua received 40% of the total votes cast while Korea Republic's Suwon Samsung Bluewings garnered 18%.

They join Islamic Republic of Iran clubs Tractor SC and Persepolis FC, who finished top two in the combined Central & South Asia poll, in the final.  

The polls for the ASEAN and West regions start on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, with the final of the Search for Asia's Most Popular Football Club kicking off on Sunday.

Check out the East Asia nominees and results below.

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Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Jeonju, Korea Republic

A modern icon of Korean club football, the powerful Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors have won eight K League titles in 12 years and lifted the AFC Champions League trophy in both 2006 and 2016.

With results like that, it’s not surprising they have developed a strong following, and they proved it by winning our poll for the most popular club in Korea Republic back in July.

Ulsan Hyundai FC
Ulsan, Korea Republic

Second on the list of most popular Korean clubs was Ulsan Hyundai, a club who have played second fiddle to Jeonbuk in the K League but are just 90 minutes away from joining them in winning a second AFC Champions League title.

Based in the country’s eight-largest city, Ulsan are undoubtedly one of the country’s biggest football clubs and, with AFC Champions League success on the horizon, they look likely to grow even further in the near future.

Shanghai Shenhua
Shanghai, China PR

In the ever-changing world of Chinese football, Shanghai Shenhua have remained at the forefront of the domestic game for nearly 70 years, and they have the fanbase to prove it.

One the country’s top sides in the 1990s, Shenhua have been overtaken on the pitch by city rivals Shanghai SIPG, but they remain popular, winning our July poll aimed at China PR’s most popular club.

Shandong Luneng
Jinan, China PR

Another of Chinese football’s old guard, Shandong Luneng are four-time national league champions and have lifted the Chinese FA Cup on no less than five occasions.

Modern-era Shandong fans have been treated to players like Graziano Pelle, Diego Tardelli and Maroune Fellaini, with occasional crowds of more than 40,000 filing into the Jinan Olympic Sports Centre.

Urawa Red Diamonds
Saitama, Japan

AFC Champions League winners in 2007 and 2017, Urawa Red Diamonds have also become famous around Asia for their exceptional support base, which has regularly brought unforgettable occasions to the continental game from the 63,700-capacity Saitama Stadium 2002.

No team in the 2019 J1 League season drew more spectators, with the former club of Shinji Ono, Makoto Hasebe and Alessandro Santos still a major force in Japanese football.

Yokohama F. Marinos
Yokohama, Japan

While Urawa Red Diamonds attract more spectators on average than any of their Japanese rivals, it was 2019 J1 League champions Yokohama F. Marinos who prevailed in our bid to find the country’s most popular club in June, drawing over 40 per cent of the overall vote.

They certainly have pulling power. The club drew 63,854 fans to the most-attended fixture in their title-winning campaign, the biggest single-match league attendance of any club in East Asia in 2019.

South China AA
Hong Kong

They no longer occupy a place in Hong Kong’s top division, but with 41 First Division titles and more than a century of history, South China AA’s place in the proud chronicles of Hong Kong football cannot be contested.

That legacy’s ongoing value was confirmed in our search to find Hong Kong’s most popular club earlier this month, with 40 percent of respondents choosing South China as their favourite local club.

Hong Kong

Kitchee are another club with a long and proud history, but it is their more recent achievements which have delivered the most joy, with the club winning six of Hong Kong’s last nine top-flight championships.

They reached the AFC Cup semi-finals in 2015, were the first Hong Kong club to win an AFC Champions League match three years later, and once featured FIFA World Cup Golden Boot winner Diego Forlan, confirming themselves as the modern heavyweights of Hong Kong football.

Suwon Samsung Bluewings
Suwon, Korea Republic

The third and final team from Korea Republic on our list, Suwon Samsung Bluewings are not the biggest drawing club in the K League – that honour falls to FC Seoul – but their third-place performance in our July fan-poll offers proof of an active fanbase.

Twice Asian champions in the early 2000s, the modern-day Bluewings remain well supported despite not winning the domestic title in over a decade.

Guangzhou Evergrande
Guangzhou, China PR

Last, but under no circumstances least, is Guangzhou Evergrande, the eight-time Chinese Super League-winning, two-time AFC Champions League-lifting juggernaut of the modern Chinese game.

While their on-field resume requires no embellishment, they are equally powerful in the stands. The club attracted a staggering 687,000 fans in 15 home league matches in 2019, at an average of more 45,000 per match.

The poll has ended. Thank you for voting.

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