Football fans in Korea woke up today to some very unexpected news – completely out of the blue, Choi Yong Soo announced that he would resign as the manager of FC Seoul. His destination? The Chinese Super League team Jiangsu Suning. The replacement? As the headline, suggests, Hwang Sun Hong of all people.
Surely, this news came as a shock to FC Seoul fans – club legend Choi Yong Soo had coached Seoul all his life, as a coach from 2006-2011 and as manager from 2011-2016. And it all happened without warning! We all suspected one of our managers could be sniped by Chinese money, but nobody could have seen this coming, and certainly Choi Yong Soo, despite links to China in the past, asserted that he was happy at Seoul and wanted to go for the K League / ACL title.
But apparently not – according to CYS, he had always felt that his skills were lacking. Therefore, he wanted to challenge himself in “bigger waters” and return to FC Seoul as a much stronger coach. It’s a little sad that he considers the CSL to be the bigger league than the K League (if you interpret it that way), but perhaps it’s true. A FC Seoul corresponded said that CYS was not interested in the money but having the chance to learn from and mentor players like Alex Texeira and Ramires.
Another interesting fact is that Hwang Sun Hong has been in Germany this entire time training to become a better coach. In fact, Hwang (and Cha Du Ri) was on site when Korea U19 played its friendlies against Germany and Schalke. As Jae mentioned earlier, it’s a little underwhelming that Hwang promised to study abroad in Germany and return a better coach but made a comeback to a K League side in less than a year. That being said, Hwang has proved himself one of the best managers in the K League, and surely FC Seoul should be happy to bring on a manager who instilled the art of “Steeltaka” into Pohang Steelers – perhaps we will start to see something akin to Senol Gunes’s football once more. But still, it seems to me that most people, including myself, wanted to see Hwang develop in Germany and eventually take over the KNT reins – correct me if you disagree, but Hwang Sun Hong and Shin Tae Yong are among the most talented coaches we’ve produced in recent years.
In an interesting twist of fate, FC Seoul’s next matchup happens to be Pohang Steelers, but it has been announced that Hwang will make his Seoul debut not against his former club, but against Seongnam the next week.