Fans are angry at the club for neglecting their lethargic performance…
In the end , the two prestigious clubs that enjoyed dynasties in the K-League with a manager change are falling together. The slump of Jeonbuk Hyundai and Suwon Samsung is not serious. Despite being sponsored by South Korea’s leading conglomerates, Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor Company, which rank first and second in the business world, it appears to be collapsing with teams that lag far behind in operating costs. It is pointed out that the rebellion of the underdog, who is weak in power, is the greatest fun that sports can give, but the sluggishness of the two teams has many areas to reflect on.
Jeonbuk lost victory DNA, split spectators in half due to deepening conflict with fans
Jeonbuk lost 1-0 in the 10th round of the K-League 1 against Gangwon FC at home on April 29, conceding a goal to Hyun-Jun Yang right before the end. It was his sixth loss of the season. The flow of this season was not good enough for Gangwon to record the first win of the season in the previous 9th round, but Jeonbuk was hit by a blow at home and collapsed in Gangwon. Three days ago, Daejeon Hana Citizen, who had been promoted from the second division, also lost 1-2 at the same place. At the time, Daejeon had changed 10 members of the starting lineup for the previous weekend’s game. ㅋㅋㅋ벳
As of May 4, Jeonbuk, which has 10 points from 3 wins, 1 draw and 6 losses, is in 10th place out of 12 teams. Over the past three years, Jeonbuk recorded an average of 6 losses in 38 league games, and recorded a year’s worth of losses in 10 games. Not only the biggest rival Ulsan, but also Daegu, Pohang, Suwon FC, Daejeon, and Gangwon fell on their knees one after another. From 2017 to 2021, the force that has won the K-League five years in a row, which is unprecedented, is nowhere to be found.
In 2006, Hyundai Motor Company, which had been keen on promoting through sports marketing, including sponsoring the FIFA World Cup, started investing in the soccer team in earnest when Jeonbuk Hyundai won dramatic come-from-behind victories and reached the top of the AFC Champions League. He dominated the 2010s and succeeded in winning a whopping 9 championships. Coach Choi Kang-hee, who led the Jeonbuk Dynasty, left for China at the end of the 2018 season, and the team was put to the test. Portuguese coach Jose Morais took over as manager. Despite the criticism that Jeonbuk’s unique attacking football has weakened, Jeonbuk made a soft landing by winning two league championships and one FA Cup championship during the two years under Morais’ leadership.
It was coach Kim Sang-sik who took the baton of the team in 2021. He transferred with Lee Dong-guk in 2009 and put Jeonbuk in the ranks of a strong team. After retiring in 2013, he is a legend who served as a coach. As the first player-turned-director in the club’s history, it started with expectations, and won the league championship after fierce competition with Ulsan, where manager Hong Myung-bo took office in 2021. In 2022, he won the FA Cup and won major competition trophies for 9 consecutive years. However, Jeonbuk, under coach Kim Sang-sik, was constantly criticized for the contents of the game. It was because they had the strongest squad along with Ulsan, but there was not much flow to overwhelm the opponent.
Eventually, that anxiety exploded in the 2023 season. Jeonbuk recruited Lee Dong-jun, Hapa Silva, Amano Jun, Jeong Tae-wook, Kim Gun-woong, and Andre Luis during the winter with the determination to regain the league title given to Ulsan. Cho Kyu-seong, who was trying to advance to Europe, also postponed the timing to summer with the persuasion of the club and stayed. The squad has become stronger and thicker, but the pattern of giving up the initiative has increased due to fixed tactics, weak pressure play, and incomplete development.
Recently, the K-League has seen an increase in tactician-type coaches who meticulously analyze opponents’ weaknesses and exploit them through their own strengths. Hong Myung-bo (Ulsan), Kim Ki-dong (Pohang), Ahn Ik-soo (Seoul), Nam Ki-il (Jeju), and Lee Jeong-hyo (Gwangju) and Lee Min-seong (Daejeon) are new coaches to the first division, and Jeonbuk is facing an unprecedented competition. I was pushed away. Park Ji-sung, technical director, hired Roberto DiMatteo, who led Chelsea to win the UEFA Champions League in the past, as a technical advisor, but no real influence or achievements are seen.
It is said that the management of the club is not the same as before. In 2015, Jeonbuk broke through the limits of a provincial club and became a national club with an average attendance of 16,000. In addition to the fans gathered by the hot attacking soccer that was played in the era of coach Choi Kang-hee, the club launched a campaign to make the stadium green, the team color. It gave off a European home atmosphere and made numerous reverse electrodes in the second half.
However, under the current CEO Heo Byeong-gil system, the harmony between the club and the fans has disappeared. A boycott of cheering began this season as the club did not actively respond to fans’ complaints and the lack of communication lengthened. The club responded to the silence of the fans by playing a cheering song with an amplifier, which rather stimulated the fans’ anger. At the Jeonju World Cup Stadium, cheering disappeared and only voices demanding the resignation of coach Sang-shik Kim and CEO Byung-gil Heo rang out. Eventually, coach Sang-shik Kim took responsibility for poor performance and resigned voluntarily on May 4.
Suwon, which has already gone through a relegation crisis, is in a worse situation for Suwon Samsung, which is at the bottom of the season despite the hardship of season 1 manager . As of May 4, they are at the bottom with 2 draws, 8 losses and 2 points without a win until the 10th round. They are already 8 points behind 11th placed Gangwon. As it stands, Suwon will be relegated to the K-League 2 next season. After suffering a 2-3 come-from-behind loss to Jeju in the 7th round home game, they sacked coach Lee Byeong-geun. This season, K-League 1 and 2 were the first to send out the command tower. It was the only K-League team to change its manager early, but there is no sign of coming out of the pit of sluggishness. After manager Lee Byung-geun left, they suffered three consecutive defeats in Seoul, Pohang, and Daegu.
Last year, Suwon already suffered a crisis. He started with coach Park Geon-ha, but was replaced after 9 rounds. It was director Lee Byeong-geun who took the baton like that. Suwon, who eventually made it to the promotion playoffs in 10th place, managed to remain thanks to Oh Hyun-gyu’s dramatic goal in extra time in the second leg held at home. When Oh Hyun-kyu, who became the team’s ace at the age of 21, headed to the European stage (Celtic), the power of the front line weakened again and this year is facing a bigger crisis.
It went to the brink of relegation, but the team did not show great self-reflection and drastic change. There was no voice of reflection to comfort the disappointed fans. Oh Hyun-gyu left behind a transfer fee of about 4 billion won, but there was no massive reinforcement that fans expected. It ended with the recruitment of foreign striker Mulich, who was in danger of being released from Seongnam. Knowing that there are concerns that the goal-making ability that has been dependent on Oh Hyun-kyu since last year will be further lacking, the recruitment was passive, and the result is the team’s second-lowest scoring ability.
Even after director Lee Byeong-geun left, he showed a very relaxed appearance. Normally, if you choose hardship at the beginning of the season, you have to move quickly to the appointment of a manager, but after choosing the acting coach Seong-yong Choi, time wasted. In the meantime, Suwon recorded an empty three-game losing streak in the acting manager system, where leadership was inherently weak. In the end, as fans complained and pointed out by the media, he rushed to appoint a manager, and on May 4, Kim Byung-soo, former manager of Gangwon, was recruited. As three coaches in the last five years have not even completed an average tenure of two years, there is a high voice that the club should give the manager clear authority and then hold him accountable.
Suwon’s problem is not only within the team. The atmosphere of the entire Samsung Sports Team is growing with a sense of defeat. Samsung Sports Team, which implanted the first-class principle of the late Chairman Lee Kun-hee, was transferred to Cheil Worldwide in 2014. Although major companies in the group such as Samsung Electronics are still supporting it, they are focusing on survival itself rather than the goal of winning. Not only Suwon, but also Samsung Lions (baseball), Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance (volleyball), Seoul Samsung (basketball), and other clubs that commanded each event all fell to the bottom. Beyond criticizing the coaching staff, players and front desk, Suwon fans are expressing a message that they are disappointed in the parent company that has lost its ambitions.