In the first of our International Fan Stories series, James Edrupt talks about his life as a Barnet supporter in South Korea!Hello to all you Barnet fans,
My name is James Edrupt. I am 36, happily married with two sons; Jacob who is four and Jack who is two. I am currently living in South Korea and have been here since 2003.
I was born and raised in Potters Bar, hence my affiliation with Barnet FC.
It was a mere 20 minute bus ride away to Underhill. When I was a school boy growing up, a gang of us would meet at Potter Bar train station late on Saturday afternoon – we’d all jump on the 84 bus together into Barnet.
I would have played football for my school side (Dame Alice Owens) in the morning and the lads in my team would eagerly hope Barnet were at home that Saturday afternoon.
My love for the club grew so much during those school days.
Underhill being such a tight little ground, the atmosphere was superb and it was very affordable for a match day ticket if you were under the age of 16.
We all used to go into the home end behind the goal (of course it wasn’t seated back then) and just enjoy the banter from other fans on the terrace.
Of course if Barnet scored you’d be thrown around and separated from your friends for a while until the celebrations settled down again. Then you would scuttle back and re group. Those memories have lived with me ‘til this very day.
I also got to know the club very well as I was a successful footballer myself, throughout my school days from 12-18. I played for Barnet as a schoolboy from the age of 15-18.
I also represented Hertfordshire and played all over the country doing my best for the county .
I would play for Barnet behind Underhill on Sundays and always used to think if I made it big I would love to play on the hallow turf itself.
Unfortunately at 18 I picked up a serious knee injury playing for Hertfordshire.
Osgood-Sclatter disease was the problem. Basically it's swelling on the knee cap and the pain after playing was too much. My main asset as a footballer back then was my pace and jumping ability. With this problem it took all my key attributes away.
So regretfully I gave up playing football at very high level and got myself down to Underhill more often to follow the lads, as I had more free time.
I went to university as you do to further your education, and gained a BA in Sport Science from De Monfort University (in Bedford) in 2002.
That was when my move to Korea came about.
I was in and out of part time work in the UK. But I couldn't knuckle down a good job that could make me move out of my parents place, and really make a life for myself on my own and with a partner.
I was doing a part time gig being a tour guide to Japanese, Chinese and Korean students who would come to England on their summer holidays.
It was based up at Oxford Brookes University; we would teach the students English in the morning and take them to famous landmarks around the UK after lunch.
The teacher in charge of the Korean students offered me the chance to go out here and teach in an English academy - A private school that students go to after their regular school day has finished.
The deal is they fly you out to Korea and give you an apartment for free. The monthly pay is great too.
I jumped at the chance and a good friend of mine also came with me - so I wasn't alone when moving to the other side of the world.
Here we are in 2015 and I'm still here!
Obviously I'm much more established here now, and can speak the language pretty well.
I've been married for 6 years to a Korean woman and we have two beautiful kids.
I mainly teach English, but I also coach football here now too. I’ve been doing it for 5 years, teaching kids at a local professional club called Gyeongnam FC. We play in the 2nd tier of the Korea’s K League.
On match days I subscribe to Barnet player every season and I always listen to the games when I can.
I also follow the Barnet news on twitter and via facebook.
3pm kick offs are at 11pm here and midweek fixtures are 4 or 5am starts for me. Whenever I get back to the UK (which is around every other year) I always get to a game.
The last game I saw was back at Underhill a few years ago, where we got well beaten by Southend United 3-0.
I am yet to visit the Hive but I am back with my clan for Christmas 2016, when I’ll definitely get to a few games.
Come On You Bees!
(If any other international bees fans out there wish to get in touch, e-mail and tell us your story! Contact email@example.com and include a picture of yourself!)