Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time to reveal the winners of the 2014 Tavern of the Taeguk Warriors Year-End Awards!
NOTE: I seriously forgot about this post until like now, it’s been collecting dust in the “Drafts” section of the Tavern backroom for the better part of 3 weeks. I’ve dusted it off (sort of) and here it is. Sorry for the delay.
We’ll start with Best Moment of the Year.
In 4th place, Ji So-Yun signing with Chelsea Ladies’, the first ever South Korean female to play pro football in Europe (3%)
In 3rd place, the U-16 Men’s National Team qualifying for the 2015 FIFA U-17 championship in splendid fashion. (9%)
In 2nd place, Lee Keun-Ho’s World Cup strike. A fantastic storyline and goal for the then-Soldier. (31%)
But the winner is…
The U-23 MNT Asian Games Gold Medal! It truly was a fantastic moment and the voters clearly agree. (57%).
From best to the worst, here is the Worst Moment of the Year.
In 5th place, the U-16 loss to North Korea. Painful for sure, but a great run in the tournament soothes the wounds. (4%).
In 4th place, the U-19 debacle. Disappointing, but perhaps not as bad as the next three moments. (6%)
In 3rd place, the first of our three World Cup-related moments, the Ghana 0-4 defeat which essentially killed our kibun. (7%)
In 2nd place, the humiliating reception our KNT received upon arrival as Seoul-Incheon airoprt after the World Cup debacle. (23%) Speaking of which…
The worst moment of the year, the FIFA World Cup exit, with a whopping 60% of the vote. ‘Nuff said.
Sticking with depressing awards, here’s the Bidone d’Oro, for the worst player or manager of the year.
In 4th place is Hong Myung-Bo. A poor World Cup but voters seem to believe the blame can’t all be heaped on him. (14%)
In 3rd place… oh, we have a tie. Kim Sang-Ho, manager of the U-19 Men’s National Team, and Park Chu-Young, the striker who didn’t take a shot on target in the World Cup, earn(?) 20% of the vote each. Which means…
Jung Sung-Ryong, you are the worst. Simply the worst of the worst. The worst player of the year. He barely made the ballot over Kim Young-Gwon after consultation with Tavern writers, but I left him on and he’s taken the prize(?) with 46% of the vote.
Alright, enough depressing awards, how about K-League Player of the Year?
In 4th place is Busan man Im Sang-Hyub, with just 2 votes (4%). I’m guessing both those votes were Jae.
In 3rd place is Santos Junior, who scored the most goals in the K-League Classic this year. (14%)
In 2nd is the Lion King himself, Lee Dong-Gook. The Jeonbuk striker guided the Men in Green to the K-League crown. (36%)
But the winner is Cha Du-Ri! The FC Seoul fullback played himself back onto the national team picture this season and was excellent as always for the capital city club. (46%)
Over to the Breakout Player of the Year.
In 4th place is Kim Min-Woo. He surprised many with a couple of good games for the KNT on the left wing. (13%)
In 3rd place is Park Joo-Ho. The versatile defender who can play as a LB or part of the double pivot garners 20% of the vote.
In 2nd place is Nam Tae-Hee, also nominated for Overseas Player of the Year. The Lekhwiya man just misses the prize with 30%.
The winner is Kim Jin-Su, and a well-deserved winner it is. A move to Hoffenheim in the summer after impressive performances in friendlies for the Korean national team, what a year it has been for the youngster. Let’s hope he doesn’t end up like Kim Bo-Kyung, last year’s breakout player. (37%.)
Now it’s time for Manager of the Year. Which gaffer took the prize? Can Choi Yong-Soo defend his title from last year?
In 4th place is Kim Hak-Bum. Despite guiding Seongnam to safety and winning the KFA Cup in the closing weeks of the season, Kim garners only 6% of the vote.
In 3rd place is Choi Yong-Soo, and no, he will not repeat as champion. The FC Seoul manager only manages 16%.
In 2nd place is Asian Games winning manager Lee Gwang-Jong. Perhaps his peculiar addiction to Lee Yong-Jae explains his failure to claim the gold medal here. (25%).
But the winner, deservedly so, is Choi Kang-Hee! Last year, he won awards for all the wrong reasons, and this year, he comes away with Manager of the Year thanks to Jeonbuk’s dominant victory in the K-League Classic. (53%).
Team of the Year time. I’m looking at the results for the first time since I published the polls, and I’m hoping we all gave Daejeon some love.
No, we didn’t give Daejeon some love, a 4th place finish with most of their votes coming from me. Heh. (6%)
3rd place is the U-16 National Team. Perhaps not the best team performance, but more of a Lee Seung-Woo talent show? (17%)
2nd place is Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. They had an absolutely dominating K-League season but managed less than a quarter of the vote. (24%)
And the grand champion is the U-23 Asian Games Team! With a Tavern of the Taeguk Warrior Year-End Award (a TOTTWYEA?) and an Asian Games gold medal + military exemption, it’s been quite a year for the U-23 boys! (52%)
Two more to go, and here’s the Korean Goal of the Year, and it’s a rout.
3rd place goes to Son Heung-Min’s sublime strike after some nice team play off of a set piece from Leverkusen. (18%).
2nd place is Jeong Seon-Ho’s ridiculous volley. (21%)
But the winner with 61% of the vote is Lee Seung-Woo’s goal against Japan. Shocker. It was a fantastic single-handed goal from the “Korean Messi” which secured Korea’s spot in the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
And now, time for the final award of the night, it’s the Overseas Player of the Year. Perhaps the most prestigious award we have to give out. Last year, Son Heung-Min took it all with 87% of the vote. He’s facing stiffer competition this year, but can he pull it off again?
5th place goes to Nam Tae-Hee with… 1 vote. Mmmmkay.
4th place, finishing just off the podium is Lee Chung-Yong! A dominant 2nd half of the year for Chungy isn’t enough. (7%)
3rd place goes to Ji So-Yun! 17% of the vote for the first ever Korean woman playing pro football in Europe.
2nd place goes to Son Heung-Min! He cannot defend his title with only 20% of the vote this time.
And the winner is…
KI SUNG-YUENG! Ki has been incredible in the second half of the year with Swansea and was impressive for Sunderland, helping them to a great escape of the relegation zone. (55%).
(At the time of publishing, it is Ki’s birthday.)
Thank you for voting! Don’t forgot to subscribe to our mailing list on the right and stay tuned for another year of goodies here at the Tavern.
Contrast to club football, one of the better perks about being a fan of your national team is that your favorite/best player is rarely likely to change their nationality, even if your team isn’t performing at its peak (i.e. Diego Costa)