1985-1986. 19 goals. For over 30 years, that record has stood as a testament to one of the greatest Korean footballers to grace the stadiums of Europe. Cha Bum-Kun, a pioneering beast of a player, his 121 goals scored for his Bundesliga sides from 1979-1989 is but one measure of his legendary status. His best season at Bayer Leverkusen in the mid 80’s with 19 goals scored across all competitions has been untouched by any Korean who have since come to Europe operating in his shadow.
Son Heung-Min just needed one goal to shatter that record – instead he got two as his Tottenham Spurs pounded Leicester City at their own home ground by a whopping 1:6 scoreline. A couple of records have been broken, let’s break it all down:
…but first, things are getting exciting in Korea, not just because there’s a new President (remarkable turn of events in the last several months) – the U20 World Cup is being hosted by Korea and the world (and tons of scouts) will be watching. It all starts this weekend. The first post to get you fired up about the tourney from a very inspirational Tim Lee is up – check that out here. We will have more coverage – Jinseok will be out soon with a gangster Player Preview – that will really get you totally in the know about who to watch and what to look out for with Shin Tae-Yong’s side that includes not only Barcelona academy’s Lee Seung-Woo and Paik Seung-Ho, but other future Taeguk Warriors who look ready to make a name for themselves.
We are also partnering with K-League United to bring you live game day video feeds from pitch-side as the K-League United Crew will be present in various stadium throughout Korea and in particular as the U20 Taeguk Warriors battle it out of their group of death.
Also a quick word on the lack of updates lately – I’ve just been terribly busy by other writing commitments and a family documentary about my family’s escape from North Korea during the war. So I missed a number of things in the past weeks, but ICYMI, the newsworthy KPA items include:
- Lee Chung-Yong back from the dead and playing in a Crystal Palace match on May 14th. Granted they lost badly to Man City, but that wasn’t on the Blue Dragon. According to Heon’s ball touch highlights, Lee did a fairly decent job – remarkably it seemed like he had no rust after not playing for nearly the entire season. Still, Big Sam doesn’t seem to be a LCY fan, so his situation at CP is up in the air. Nevertheless, Steve Han tweeted this out today: The growing consensus among Korean players is that Lee Chung-yong should be in the national team despite his situation at Crystal Palace.
- Ki Sung-Yeung solid performances has helped Swansea stay up in the Premier League. Despite tough fixtures including Everton (see Heon’s ball summary) and Man U, Swans managed points out of all of them and Korea’s captain got a pivotal assist to put Swans ahead for good at Sunderland. With 3 points there and Hull dropping points, Swans are now officially safe.
- Son Heung-Min won April’s Premier League Player of the month – announced late last week. Surprise! His 6 goals and 1 assist was a number better than any other player in that 30 day span of time. Pochettino won PL manager of April as well. Before that, Son won the distinction in September – so he is Spur’s only player to have won the award twice this season, apparently he’s the only player in the Premier League to have repeated that feat. Son also is the only Korean to have won the distinction. Park Ji-Sung and Lee Young-Pyo never nabbed that in their time on English soil.
Hmm…the Tavern kids are waking up and causing trouble. I’ll have to keep this brief, so let’s show Heon’s lovely ball touch summary of Son’s performance at Leicester – mind you, there’s fair criticism of some of Son’s early chances. But despite mistakes, Son deserves plaudits for his shift today including the work involved creating Spur’s first goal, unselfishly teeing up Kane in the end, and turning around the narrative about his clinical abilities with some world class finishing to earn the double. While Kane deservedly gets glory for 4 goals to put him in the lead for the golden boot award, Son has put a gigantic asterisk on his best season for Tottenham so far with today’s achievement.
AND there’s other records broken and lots of other interesting numbers – try to keep up:
Son bests Cha Bum-Kun’s scoring record and thus by extension, bests his own personal scoring record of 17 goals scored for Bayer Leverkusen in the 2014-2015 season.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 18, 2017
Spurs are the only Premier League team with 3 players on 20 goals in all comps this term:
Harry Kane (29)
Dele Alli (21)
Heung-Min Son (20) pic.twitter.com/2pKYP0cPIU
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 18, 2017
— Hotspur Related (@HotspurRelated) May 18, 2017
— Hotspur Related (@HotspurRelated) May 18, 2017
By scoring the brace today, Son has now overtaken Park Ji-Sung as the highest scoring Korean in England. Park’s record of 27 goals across 8 seasons and 230 matches stood…until today. Son now has 29 goals across 2 seasons in 86 matches. And there’s still one game left on Sunday. Spurs are already assured 2nd place – both that and their 83 points (so far) is a club record in the modern Premier League era.
At Hull next Sunday, Son will attempt to be the first Asian to finish the season in fine company – to be among the Top 10 goal scorers in the Premier League. Son right now is 12th, just a goal away from the top 10.
But the fun doesn’t stop at season finale. Son and Spurs will fly out to Asia for a “post season tour” in Hong Kong. Son will make a side promotional trip to Korea next week along with Ben Davies, Kyle Walker, and his best buddy Kevin Wimmer to sign autographs, etc. They’ll be there in Korea on May 23 (crickey! only 2 days after the season finale at Hull?) through May 25 before joining the rest of the team as they prepare to face Kitchee, Hong Kong’s title winning side. More on that, see Spurs’ press release on the Korea visit.