January 28, 2013
Rumors. It’s not just a Fleetwood Mac album but the center of talk regarding Kim Shin-Wook – yes, none other than Korean football’s own Wookie. The 6 foot 5 inch tall Ulsan Hyundai forward’s name has been bandied about by European press rumor mills earlier in the month as a possible target for a transfer to Everton. After some time passed, it looked like just another less-than-credible gossip in the wind. It still may be that case, but the blogosphere has just erupted in the last 14 hours with talksource.co.uk indicating a “head-to-head” battle between QPR and Everton to bring the “Korean Peter Crouch” (their words, not mine) over to the Premier League. The transfer window is rapidly closing, so we’ll soon know what will emerge from that mill.
UPDATE: Well that was quick, got this from twitter
Kim Shin-Wook confirmed he had refused the offer from Premier League side QPR.
— Korea Football News (@KORFootballNews) January 29, 2013
Before we move the conversation to the Korean FA presidential elections yesterday, there’s a few Tuesday games to take note of:
QPR hosts Manchester City 2:45 pm EST. TV in the US: ESPN Deportes. Streaming on ESPN3.com. 2 Questions; first, will Park Ji-Sung get the cold shoulder from Harry Rednapp and be left on the bench? Second, will Yun Suk-Young get his work permit in time? If so, he’ll be available to play.
Sunderland vs Swansea 2:45 pm EST. Internet streaming ESPN3.com Ki Sung-Yeung was brilliant for the Swans in their semifinal clash with Chelsea last Wednesday, but he did get a nasty ankle injury by Ramirez. In this youtube video, you can see just how potentially damaging this could’ve been. File under WTF: the referees didn’t catch the infraction, and Ramirez escaped without even a yellow card.
It looked dire, as if it was a season ending injury. Fortunately Ki returned a few minutes later. Playing though pain the rest of the match, he can be forgiven when during the end of the match he was in good position to pull the trigger and score – instead hesitantly passed off of the ball. So if he ends up on the bench in Tuesday’s game, his ankle will be all the better for it.
Of course, that game will forever be remembered, not for Ki’s endurance or Ashley Williams’ deft defending, but for the Eden Hazard-ball boy kicking affair. For his troubles, Hazard was booted out with a red card for inflicting violence off the pitch. Maybe the ball boy really was time wasting, but seriously – kicking a ball boy can never be justified. Nevertheless I’d be lying if I didn’t admit it truly was a hilarious spectacle.
Moving on…let’s go to South Korea
Some new and potentially positive developments in Korean football yesterday with Chung Mong-Gyu winning election as president of the Korean Football Association. What makes it more than a routine internal changing of figureheads is that the new president is the man responsible for a number of historic game changers implemented in the K-League last year, including ushering in relegation for the first time ever, establishing a new second division for the relegated -and of course the possibility of promotion back to the regular league. He’s been widely hailed by Korean football fans for these and other monumental changes when he was the K-League Commissioner (from which he stepped down recently in order to run for KFA president). He ran on a platform of more rapid changes that’s designed to spur even further improvements to the current Korean football infrastructure, starting all the way at the youth academy level. As CEO of the Hyundai Development Company and as the owner of K-League side Busan IPark, he’s been concerned about the decline of fan support in K-League matches, which may have a correlation with the surge in popularity with baseball. His prescription for reversing that trend: securing better broadcasting rights for K-League matches and expanding TV network coverage of domestic football games, including the Asian Champions League (which usually gets second billing to baseball matches). The increased media exposure first and foremost could help grow a fan base and draw people back to the football stadiums. Makes sense: better revenue at the turnstiles in turn solidifies the financial health of the league, increasing the base salaries to incentivise and attract better domestic and foreign players alike, and eventually cultivating a skilled, experienced and broader vibrant base of domestic players to draw from in order to help the ‘Taeguk Warriors’ national team in international competitions. The details of said TV deals haven’t been nailed down yet; nevertheless his ideas are on the right track.
Some other platforms he’s advocated include increased financial backing to improve training facilities, increased funding for the club’s football academies, and simultaneously boosting up the number of youth players to train abroad in elite football academies (according to a list of Chung’s specific election promises published in soccerline.co.kr he wants quite a number of youth player to get academy training specifically in Germany).
Predictably, he advocated for increased transparency in K-League administrative and club transactions. This comes in the wake of the 2011 match fixing scandals that tarnished the lives and reputations of a number of K-League players.
The Tavern wants to thank BigSoccer.com Korean (BSK) forum poster Jitvera for help on information regarding Chung’s election and it’s implications for the future of Korean football. He initially brought it to the forum’s attention, and his optimism on Chung getting the nod for KFA president looked to be a bellwether of an important development happening over there. 감사합니다
>> We don’t want to forget some other transfer possibilities that are hanging out there involving Koreans in Europe. To date, Bolton’s Lee Chung-Yong was said to have drawn serious interest from Liverpool and Stoke. Both clubs in the past 24 hours have secured other wingers. Not sure if Lee will get his chance to fly the Wanderers’ coop before the transfer window closes.
>>Yoon Bit-Garam was said to be incredibly close to a deal with Braga, enough so that Korean media sources claimed that Braga’s president would be flying to Seoul to finalize the deal to transfer Seongnam Ilhwa’s midfielder back to Portugal. That was back in January 17th. 10 days later, and Braga president hasn’t shown up (to our knowledge). A European transfer seems unlikely at this point, but who knows, there’s still 2 days.