China's season not good enough for fans, media

China Super League club Dalian Shide were the clear-cut champions of Chinese football this year, taking top spot in the league ranking and winning the top domestic cup. However Reuters reported that turn-out was low at Sunday's game where Dalian captured the China FA Cup with a 1-0 win over Shandong Luneng and, on Monday, "one of Beijing's top newspapers gave less space to coverage of the FA Cup final than it did to the departure of Manchester United captain Roy Keane".

And, while Dalian Shide's deputy chairman was so excited about the team efforts he named his new-born daughter "Shuangguan", which means "double champion", Dalian's Serbian head coach Vladimir Petrovic Pizon said he wasn't getting "over-excited" as "my goal now is to win the Asian Champions League next year."

Dalian's talent is the product of an "excellent youth academy", according to Stewart Park, co-founder of "The influence of Shide Group president Xu Ming is also an important aspect," Park told Reuters in explaining the secret of Dalian's success.

Reuters reported that the nature of Xu's influence is "a matter of debate". He also owns or controls other Super League clubs which the domestic media have dubbed "Dalian's allies" and indirectly accused of deliberately offering little opposition to Shide. "This season, Dalian's allies still acted like their bodyguards," the state-run China Sports Daily said. "Because of their allies' actions, Dalian's championship is less meaningful."

See also: AFC bans top China player and coach for 6 months (12 Nov)