Beijing Guoan honor deceased fan with permanent stadium seat tribute

The seat reserved for Yang Xue Photo: Courtesy of Sinobo Workers' Stadium business management company

The seat reserved for Yang Xue Photo: Courtesy of Sinobo Workers’ Stadium business management company

Chinese Super League giants Beijing Guoan have made a touching gesture by permanently reserving a seat for Yang Xue, a devoted fan who passed away earlier this week.

Zhou Jinhui, the president of Beijing Guoan, announced that the seat Yang used to occupy will now be permanently held in her honor. 

“From now on, this seat will no longer be available for sale to the public during matches, concerts, or other events held at the Workers’ Stadium,” Zhou stated.

The seat, located at seat 6 in row 7 of section 109 in the Workers’ Stadium, has been adorned with a snowflake motif, symbolizing Yang’s given name, “Xue,” which means “snow”  in Chinese.

Yang, 39, who passed away on Tuesday afternoon for a cell carcinoma, was also remembered fondly by her husband Zhang Yaxun. A farewell ceremony was held at the Babaoshan funeral home in Beijing on Saturday morning, where hundreds of Guoan fans paid their respects.

A founding member of the fan group Yulinjun, or Royal Army, Yang was one of Guoan’s most dedicated supporters since its inception in 2005. She was honored by the club as the “Best No.12” for attending all home and away games in the previous season.

Prior to Friday’s match between Beijing Guoan and Shanghai Port, football fans inside the Workers’ Stadium, including supporters of the visiting team, came together to sing the song “Brightest Star in the Night Sky,” illuminating the stadium with their smartphone flashlights throughout the tribute.

In a poignant moment during the match, Guoan players pointed to the sky after scoring their first goal, an equalizer that leveled the score against defending champions Port at 1-1 in the first half. The game ended in a 2-2 draw.

The match saw a record attendance of 53,898 fans, marking the highest turnout at the Workers’ Stadium since its major renovation in 2022. It also marked Guoan’s first home game of the 2024 season.

He Wei, a prominent soccer commentator, also paid tribute to Yang on social media.

“Death is not the end of life; forgetting is. We choose to never forget,” he said. “Thank you for being part of Chinese soccer’s journey.”