IBWM: Conscription Suffocating Korean football / weekend listing

In Bed With Maradona just published my article dealing with a favorite hot button topic of mine: mandatory military conscription in South Korea – and how it has held back the wider ambitions of the Korean national football program. Is there a way forward? It took quite some time to write, but it set in motion a misadventure spanning 3 continents…

Photo of the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), sign located in the woods at Pan Mun Jom (DMZ), separating North and South Korea.
Photo of the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), sign located in the woods at Pan Mun Jom (DMZ), separating North and South Korea.


Jae contributed to this article – I bounced some ideas back and forth and he informed me of what was happening on the ground in Korea regarding the topic, and some landmines to navigate around. It’s thank you Jae week apparently! There are other people to thank. Jeff Livingstone from IBWM – busy man with having put out 2014’s top 100 (Son Heung-Min made the list -more on that later), he took the time to read my draft and some revisions later -Bam! the Tavern got the IBWM bump. I personally dig IBWM, football hipster chic – very rad. Lex Nande of KTalk blog (about to go dark, Lex moved to Australia) also discussed the issue at lengths with me and we plotted rough sketches. John Duerden steered me initially to Jack Bell, the New York TImes Goals editor back in early 2013.  Jack took the plunge and published my article (on the aborted KNT/Syria closed door match) that landed in the NYT Goals section in March. I had not counted on getting into the NYT -it shocked the hell out of me, but having done that it made it easier for the next step. Jack gave me permission to use temporary NYT credentials to talk to clubs and warm them up to the idea about interviewing players like Park Ji-Sung, Lee Chung-Yong, Ki Sung-Yeung, Son Heung-Min and Kim Bo-Kyung about the controversial topic of military conscription in relation to Korean football. John Duerden warned me: it’s hard enough to land interviews with players, but unless you are there in Europe to directly interview them in person, telephone interviews are usually out of the question. So the venture got even crazier: in order to get player’s opinions down for the record – I would have to leave the cozy comforts of the Tavern near Washington DC, board a plane, fly to London, all with no guarantees that any interview would actually materialize…

There’s actually quite an interesting tale to tell about how this story came to be – a misadventure of sorts – that kind of ties into the overall experiment of the Tavern…but to be continued. I’m very sure that the contents of the IBWM article will be discussed further, but you will have to stay tuned…

> I did want to mention a rather provacatively worded tweet @IBWM put out to promo said article.

Did I mention ‘strongly worded’?  Obviously there are racial overtones that are sometimes brought to mind when dogs are mentioned in the same line as Koreans. Honestly, I was wondering what kind of controversies might ignite at the Tavern or on the forums when I saw that tweet come across my phone today. But after a 2nd take, I think netizens can decipher the crux of the matter and not take anything racial from it. How odd it was later today when I came across this on twitter:

The NYT Ledes describes a Hong Kong news report alleging that Kim Jong-un “might have had his uncle torn apart by ravenous dogs while he watched.”  The NYT Ledes goes to to say the original news account doesn’t offer any source for backup, but the story somehow gained traction and circulated among some Western news outlets. The report seemed so ‘speculative’ that South Korean news outlets decline to pick the Hong Kong story.  Anyway, back to the IBWM article and tweeter promo campaign – very to the point – a tweet I personally favor from Declan Whooley, a writer for the Irish Independent sports page:

and finally IBWM original tweet about it:


Choose your adventure – should you decide to retweet. Enough twittering -We can’t forget this weekend’s FA Cup 3rd round action. Not sure how many Koreans will participate, always subject to rotational circumstances.  Borrowing this from the Koreans Footballers Abroad blog (+ adding Park Chu-Young’s possible involvement with Arsenal):

Day Time (ET) Player Club Opponent TV
Saturday 10:00:00 AM Lee Chung Yong Bolton Blackpool (Cup) None
Saturday 10:00:00 AM Kim Bo Kyung Cardiff City @Newcastle (Cup) None
Saturday 10:00:00 AM Yun Suk Young Doncaster Stevenage (Cup) None
Saturday 12:00 PM Park Chu Young Arsenal Tottenham (Cup) NBC*
Sunday 9:00:00 AM Ji Dong Won Sunderland Carlisle (Cup) None
Sunday 9:00:00 AM Ki Sung Yueng Sunderland Carlisle (Cup) None

Apologies to Korean Tavern goers in Korea, we’re not sure what the TV coverage is for the FA Cup over there. Surprisingly in the US, FOX has decided to broadcast this FA Cup action this weekend, with it’s flagship network carrying the Arsenal/Spurs game live. The question continues to float around, will Park Chu-Young see action in uniform, possibly for the very last time at Emirates Stadium?  Our Tavern soothsayer is out on holiday so we will just have to wait and see.


As I promised a while back – and as you will read about in IBWM, I got to talk to Kim Bo-Kyung.  I’ve been dying to get the interview, or at least portions of it out at the Tavern sooner, but the article was in limbo for awhile. At the Tavern, we will get that interview out this spring, but for now…well I hesitate to release this photo -which you’ll see why in a moment…

Bad hair day for the Tavern owner.
Bad hair day for the Tavern owner.

Just as the caption says, BAD hair day! Bad! All I can tell you is that it was fucking COLD in South Wales that day in April and I wore a knitted hat all through the match. When I got inside to interview Kimbo after the game against Blackburn, I took off my hat, not realizing I looked like a complete tool (some of my friends will tell you I look tool-like regardless).  I’d give anything for a time machine to go back and retake that photo. Eh, first world problems really. and please, for buddha’s sake, don’t twitter that pic out there. My ghastly bad hair image will be circulating in that infernal web for time immemorial…


About Roy Ghim 454 Articles
The old Tavern Owner


      • Park wasn’t used as a sub but Walcott got injured in this match so I’m hoping for Park to be included in the subs more often.

        • I don’t know if there is any real hope for Park to play for Arsenal. Wenger could have put in Park around the 80 minute mark but didn’t.

          • Well Wenger already used all of his 3 subs when Ozil came on for Arteta so it wouldn’t have been possible for Park to be added in the 80th minute.

  1. Oops. I was listening to the game on and off and then followed on espn. I get my point is why park wasn’t sub’d in as one of the subs.

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