There is a strange magic in the name ‘Hong Myung-bo’. It’s been 30 years since I met a pro, but there is still no shaking 먹튀검증. The path he walks is a new history of Korean football.
Coach Hong Myung-bo (54), the “best manager” in the K-League, has opened another unknown door. For the first time in the history of the K-League command tower, he took a ‘double-digit annual salary of 100 million won’. On the 2nd, Ulsan announced a three-year contract renewal with manager Hong. Taking the baton of Ulsan in 2021, he leads Ulsan until the 2026 season.
His salary has also increased significantly. Coach Hong is known to have agreed to renew the contract on the condition of receiving an annual salary of 1 billion won. During his active career, the first ‘billion-dollar star’ in the K-League turned into a command tower, and then stood tall as the first ‘billion-dollar manager’.
In 1995, when he was playing for Pocheol (Pohang Steelers), Hong became the first professional soccer player to exceed 100 million won in annual salary. 100 million won was the highest annual salary among 21,000 POSCO employees at the time. Pocheol made a bold decision after evaluating that Hong Myung-bo, who scored two goals in the 1994 World Cup in the United States, was a ‘signboard of Korean football’.
The ‘1 billion era’ of the command tower has already been foreseen. Director Hong made his debut as the K-League command tower through Ulsan. In 2021, his first drink could not be distributed. He was also caught in the trap of ‘second place in ten thousand years’. However, one season of the experiment was sufficient.
Coach Hong quickly rearranged the team with his own colors. “Last year, I used my existing strength, but this year will be the first season in which I can practically melt all my thoughts. I have no goal other than winning.” For the 2022 season, he kept that promise. Ulsan stood at the top of the K-League 1 in 17 years.
The 2023 season boasts an upgraded power. In a word, it is ‘extreme’. Ulsan currently has 56 points (18 wins, 2 draws, 4 losses) after 24 rounds. The difference between Pohang (44 points) and second place is 12 points. The club’s first two consecutive defeats in the K-League 1 are coming to reality. Director Hong’s leadership is grain of wheat.
Director Hong, as always, does not shy away. He said, “If the past time was the time to identify and build the team, I will try to establish Ulsan as a leading club representing the K-League in the future.” It is the driving force. I promise to do my best in the future for everyone who loves and supports Ulsan.”