Hello everyone, it’s Jae (yes, I’m still here, well . . . about that). With Korea’s World Cup run finished, I’ve decided it’s best to officially step down from being a “active” writer on this site. To be honest, I “retired” from the site a few years(?) back, but as the others got bogged down in life, I returned to pitch in when possible. But now, with some new blood coming to the site over the past couple months, it’s time to be the good veteran and step aside, and let some fresh ideas and perspectives come to the forefront. So, with that 안녕히 계세요.
Ah . . . still reading? Okay, then as I bid farewell, I’d also like to share some reflections and memories from writing for this site, and some hopes for the site and Korean football in general.
Joining the Tavern
To be honest, I don’t remember exactly when I started writing for the Tavern. I want to say it was sometime in 2011 after the Asian Cup (or perhaps it was a year later in 2012 or was it later than that?). Anyway, at that point there weren’t too many Korean football blogs or English-language content around. I had been writing a little bit about the national team for the World Cup blog following the 2010 World Cup and for the Asian Cup, and then when SB Nation bought out that site and moved only the most popular blogs over to their new platform (South Korea was not one of them of course), I started the South Korea Soccer Blog (SKS Blog). It was shortly after that, that I discovered Roy’s Park Chuyoung post and the Tavern. I don’t remember who reached out to who first, but regardless Roy and I established a fairly friendly and solid relationship quickly, and for a while both SKS and The Tavern served as co-inhabitants of the English-language Korean football blogosphere, and then came the offer to merge into The Tavern.
To be honest, at first I was quite hesitant to join forces with Roy (and Jinseok who had just come aboard). While Roy had always been a very cool guy in our email conversations, I had never really written for someone other than myself. So, the decision to give up editorial control and potentially have someone direct/share ideas and content was not an easy one. Nonetheless, upon joining I realized very quickly that I had made the right decision. Roy had (and has) never been a demanding, imperial boss (of sorts), and it was always a lot of fun to chat with and bounce ideas around with both Roy and Jinseok.
I’d be remiss not to mention Tim specifically as he was key in helping to keep The Tavern chugging along during a particularly dry spell of posts. In the beginning, all three (Roy, Jinseok, and I) got out our share of articles and posts, but as always life changed and things slowed down dramatically. Jinseok went to university, I got married and had a child, and Roy needed to pursue other projects. The Tavern was facing a massive slowdown with all the writers busy. And so, in came Tim Lee (who I didn’t realize at the time was just a 고딩). Tim, picked up a huge amount of the slack, and (apologies for sounding like one of your parents, Tim) it’s been quite remarkable seeing him grow in his role here at the Tavern. While Tim was (and still is) The Tavern’s 막내 he has gradually grown to be the playmaker here, building connections with other sites and helping to grow The Tavern beyond just the random musings of ours.
Apologies for not going into more details, but this post is already getting too long (and there is still so much to say!). But I must give a quick mention to all the others who have graced The Tavern with a post or guest appearance: Korea Goal.com’s Steve Han, Nicole Chung, Evelyn Kim, Steve Price, Tom Marcantonio, @KoreaFootAbroad, Takeuchi, Kevin Kim, Namu Yoon, Chisoo Park, and Michael Welch.
Also, shoutouts to those who I got to meet through The Tavern in the greater Asian and global football world: the guys at K League United – Ryan Walters, Paul Neat, Matt Binns, Scott Whitelock (although I don’t think we actually met), Tomas Danicek, Yosuke (@maimaidenden), @KLeagueKilt, Miro Tramita, Michele Tossani, and many, many others.
The National Team
Obviously, I hope that the win over Germany shows Korea not to be so afraid of the European and South American sides that have a more ‘fearsome’ reputation, and that Korean players can go toe-to-toe with the big sides. The World Cup was a disappointment overall, but good points came from it, and hopefully the KFA and those in power can built on them going forward. I hope also that the general Korean population becomes more knowledgeable about the always changing world of global football, and becomes more understanding towards the issues that face the national team and Korea’s current overall place in world football.
There are a number of good players in the current squad and a handful more who should come into the squad during the next cycle. It should be an exciting time to be following the national team, and I hope that many more Koreans follow the team and players more frequently (and not just at tournaments).
Where to start with this one? The league needs love, but love is always a two-way street (to be cliche). The league also needs to show love to the fans by making matches more fun and exciting to attend. I love the league, but some of those games are like watching paint dry with the endless long passes and miss-hit crosses. It should surprise no one that KBO wipes the floor with K League in terms of attendance and media attention. Hopefully more fans show some love to their local clubs, and that the clubs re-think how they approach matches and their style of play.
Just I hope for the best for all that head aboard. Hopefully they have successful careers, earn a lot of money, stay injury-free, and help enhance the “Korean football” brand.
It should be a fun time to be a writer for this site as well. Asian Games, Asian Cup, new coach, young and exciting players. There’s a lot to cover going into the next World Cup cycle. Hopefully The Tavern continues to be a wonderful place for people who love Korean football to share ideas and thoughts, and generally cover the world of Korean footy. I may be leaving as a writer, but I will of course visit the site regularly and hope to read lots of interesting content and topics (잘 해야지 얘들아 난 댓글을 많이 남길 거야).
Just as an FYI, if you followed me on Twitter (@ArmchairRegista), I will be deleting that account soon. I will create a new account, but I feel it’s necessary to “re-invent” my online persona a bit, as the ArmchairRegista account feels too limiting to Korean football.
Anyway, thank you all who supported my writing at The Tavern, on SKSB, and on the World Cup blog. I have completely and totally enjoyed sharing my thoughts about Korean football over the years. Thank you again for all of your support and comments! 안녕히 계세요.