This season we have been contacting Reds fans from overseas and getting their stories about being 'Reds Abroad'...
This week, we caught up with Scott Whitelock who's a Red Abroad in South Korea!
'I left the beautiful scenery of Yorkshire in 2015 just before our historic double season. And It was nice to see that after endless years of misery the team had their most successful period, since I was a young teenager, after I had left the country. Cheers lads!
'I took up a role as an English teacher here in South Korea and have loved every minute of it since I got here.
‘I occasionally miss home, but apart from my family and football there isn’t much else to miss. The quality of life in this part of the world is a million times better than anything back home. However, every Saturday I still get a twinge of sadness that I won’t be at Oakwell.
‘My first couple of years of trying to support the club from afar were truly terrible. I would listen to live match commentary, but it just isn’t the same as being there in person. Being a ‘small club’ we’re rarely featured on any sports shows which resulted in me not being even able to watch our goals on a regular basis. I watched our victories against Oxford and Millwall on suspect illegal streams through my cheap laptop. The picture quality was so bad that I felt like I was watching the FA Cup Final in 1961.
‘However, the introduction of the iFollow platform this year has been a lifesaver for fans like me. I’ve been able to watch every game this season live and in HD quality. And at just over £110 a year it’s a pretty cheap and convenient way to follow the Reds. The time difference does regularly catch up with me (Korea is 9 hours in front of England) and midnight kick offs aren’t ideal but to have the opportunity to be able to genuinely follow my team again is fantastic.
‘My dad and sisters also still have season tickets at Oakwell and being able to know every detail of every game has been great for me when I call them and have a catch-up. Me and my dad will often spend our entire fortnightly catch-up discussing every kick of the ball rather than actually talking about our lives.
‘Like I said above, not being able to watch Barnsley in the flesh is only one of two things that I miss about home but I've also been able to plug that gap in my life by following my local Korean team. Their name is Suwon Samsung Bluewings and luckily enough they are one of the best teams in the country. And although the football in Korea isn’t played at the same intensity as English football, and the stadiums regularly have an attendance of less than 6,000 people, there are a lot of quality footballers on show. Suwon have three internationals on their books and all of them should feature, at some point, in the World Cup this summer.
‘The price of football in Korea is also amazingly cheap and it makes getting to games that much easier than back home. My season ticket this year cost me 130,000 Korean 'Won' (roughly around 95 pounds) and that includes entry to all cup and Champions League games. The club also threw in a free umbrella as a free gift. Not bad at all! But Korean football just isn’t the same.
‘When I visited home last Christmas I got the chance to come back for a game and it just so happened that that game was the home game against Leeds. You know that one when King Conor curled home one of the most beautiful free kicks you have ever seen? The emotion, passion and feeling in the ground that evening was just electric and it’s still something that gives me goosebumps every time that I think about it. Being there with 15,000 folk just like you, that feel the same way that you do, who will embrace you even though you’re a complete stranger is a feeling that can’t be described and will never be understood unless you’re a True Red. They can’t replicate that feeling just over the hill in Sheffield, let alone in Korea.
‘I love my life here but I would give anything to be able to watch the lads every week. So next time you’re singing our famous songs just sing an extra decibel louder for me.'
Are you like Scott, an overseas Reds supporter?
Do you want to tell us your story of being a Red Abroad?
Contact one of our team via email below!