Tavern Kickaround: Ji to Borussia Dortmund?

Holy judas priest, it would take an amazing series of events to get all 3 Tavern writers to post same day. Fortunately, those events don’t all merit the Lemony Snicket tag (unfortunate in Snicket’s case). In case you’ve been drinking by yourself in a cave with no data connection, yesterday we saw:

  • South Korea (needing just a draw to auto qualify) loses in World Cup qualifier by a score of 0-1 in Ulsan to Iran. Iran gloats in the wake of boss Choi Kang-hee talking shit about Iran before the match / angry Korean players had to be restrained by coaching staff. Debris thrown by supporters in stands. Iran overtakes 1st place in group B
  • Nervously looking over shoulders to the Uzbekistan/Qatar game as Korea & Uzbeks now even on points, Uzbekistan needed to make up 7 goal differential to leapfrog Korea for auto qualification. They were close, but fell short, Uzbeks losing 5-1. Korea (as Jae twittered yesterday) “fell assbackwards into qualifying” for World Cup Brazil 2014. 8th qualification in a row, most for any Asian team, but a shameful qualification run. Team in disarray.
  • Choi Kang-hee finally steps down. hooray -but so much destruction in his wake. The pitchforks getting sharpened by every Taeguk Warrior supporter, anger directed at the the KFA for it’s ineptitude for the Choi fiasco.
  • Preliminary reports -not yet confirmed – over Hong Myong-Bo’s appointment to manage the KNT, to repair and rebuild it’s tarnished international standing. Cyber version of pitch invasion – joy mixed with concern –  can one man with a limited amount of time turn things around in less than a year?  Hong flies into Korea next week…an announcement will be made then.

That’s our very fast paced narrative thus far…

Tavern Kickaround time: let’s go to Europe where Ji Dong-Won is the subject of a possible transfer to Borussia Dortmund, that according to several media sources, including the Sunderland Echo. The Tavern is cautiously awaiting other indications that negotiations with BvB is legit, but interest from various Bundesliga clubs for the service of the Korean international and Sunderland loanee is a matter of record, based on his performance steering Augsburg from the relegation drop this season.

From the Sunderland Echo: (after getting loaned out from Sunderland following an absence from O’Neil’s lineup through the fall) Augsburg won seven and drew three of the 17 games he played in and that was enough to lift them out of the drop zone.

He scored five goals during that spell with his side winning every game in which he found the back of the net.

That has led Augsburg to look into the prospect of signing the Asian forward permanently. But they have already admitted that his market value has risen and they are unlikely to be able to afford him. 

He has one year left on his contract with Sunderland. He is a subject of debate for Sunderland supporters, some who view him fondly for scoring the lone goal against eventual Premier League title winner Manchester City in January 2012. The article goes on to speculate about a possible bidding war – ranging from £4 to 7 million. The Tavern is cautious about any speculation on the matter, but we will be scanning and aggregating back any new information on this.

As it relates to Ki Sung-Yeung and Kim Bo-Kyung, the Premier League fixtures ’13-’14 were released today -take a look a look here. Ki’s Swansea will face a Ferguson-less Manchester United at Liberty Stadium for the inaugural game August 17, while ‘Kimbo’ & Cardiff are away at West Ham. This is the first time not one, but two Welsh sides are competing in the “English” Premier League -that exciting (and sometimes dangerous) derby takes place November 2 and February 8. It will be a ‘derby’ from a Korean perspective of course. Kim will finally get to see top flight European action, having spurned Borussia Dortmund last summer -a gamble that paid off with promotion from the Championship division last April…. Meanwhile, not all is well at the EPL, where anger is accruing over trending higher ticket prices, despite a £5.5bn TV deal struck with EPL club owners. The Guardian documented this protest that converged on London today. From today’s article by Owen Gibson:

With the TV deal, no football club should have increased ticket prices. They’ve been able to get away with it because there was no challenge. The challenge starts now,” said Stephen Martin of Spirit of Shankly.

Power to the people. Moving on…gleaned from the BSK forum poster Geseki, some sad news but possibly a bright note for Park Chu-Young. According Naver.com, Park spent the last weeks and days with the club in self imposed isolation. After a poor spell towards the end of the season, missing several goal scoring opportunities during Iago Aspas’ 4 game suspension, Park started to train separately from the squad, and did not attend some trainings with his teammates. In the season finale where survival/relegation was on the line, Park (who wasn’t in the lineup) opted not to show up at the stadium to support his teammates. He was levied a fine from the club, though he will still receive a team bonus for escaping relegation, minus the fine. He ended his loan spell at Celta Vigo alone, and despite high expectations, was unable to contribute in the last part of the season in their relegation escape. His teammate Iago Aspas however, was the subject of attention for his 12 goal performance through the season. His transfer to Liverpool was announced earlier last week. Park Chu-Young now returns to Arsenal with a less than stellar record to show for his time in Celta Vigo (though it can be argued that Park’s 3 La Liga goals and 1 assist contributed significantly in Celta’s overall point situation -as well as a pivotal goal in Copa del Rey action against Almeria that helped advance the side to a memorable quarterfinal series with Real Madrid).

Here’s the (potential) good news, according to eyeballfootball, while Park has been told to find another team, his former club, AS Monaco may be interested in PCY to return. We’re not sure how credible the claim is, but it wouldn’t be out of the question -as Park had a good relationship with Monaco. He still has residency in Monaco (the subject of controversy in the South Korean press over a year ago). Park scored 12 goals for Monaco before they were relegated, attracting attention then from Arsene Wenger’s scouts in 2010-2011. Monaco has been promoted back to Ligue 1 and the Russian oligarch that owns the club is on a buying spree. Also in the eyeballfootball post, Lille, the club he and his agent spurned in a last minute houdini escape from what should have been a routine medical and transfer in August 2011, that club is keeping track of Park’s situation, but are balking at the  £5 million transfer fee.

We go back to BSK forum where poster KyopoOhNo found an interesting international football stat on Wikipedia. Throughout the qualification efforts for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, among the top goalscorers: Park Chu-Young with 6 goals. For comparison, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Shinji Okazaki has 8. Not too shabby for someone who didn’t play for the majority of the qualifying phase. If Hong Myong-Bo is indeed verified as the head coach for Korea, Park Chu-Young’s international bona fides could put him back in in contention for the Taeguk Warrior’s striker of choice. That and Hong went out on a limb, going with his hunches about Park’s abilities to play Park in the Olympic squad last summer despite Park’s shoddy treatment at Arsenal and equally shoddy treatment by Koreans outraged at his Monaco residency efforts to defer military conscription. The result: Park’s individual brilliant strike against Japan contributed to a 2-0 medal win – and a number of young Koreans now free of military conscription to hone their skills in Europe unhindered. No doubt a gutsy and very good call last summer.

Another reminder: the South Korean Women’s National Team is scheduled to tangle with the US WNT on Thursday June 15th at 7:30 pm EST. That game will be televised in the US nationally on NBC Sports.

And on Friday, it’s the start of the U-20 World Cup in Turkey. The Taeguk Warriors qualified by winning the AFC U-19 Championship last year.

Here’s the schedule for Group B

Friday June 21   CUBA    v   KOREA       11 am US EST / 12 am Saturday Korea Time

Mon June 24     PORTUGAL  v  KOREA   2 pm US EST / 3 am Tuesday Korea Time

Thurs June 27   KOREA  v   NIGERIA        11 am US EST / 12 am Friday Korea Time

ESPN 3 will stream the games live in the US.

In Korea: MBC will broadcast the matches, at least from what I gather from their promo:


Moon Chang-Jin and Park Jung-Bin are notably absent from the squad. Park Jung-Bin (Wolfsburg and on loan to Gruether Furth) was not released by his club for the tourney. One of the heros of the AFC U-19 Championship, Moon Chang-Jin is unfortunately out injured, a bitter loss for the team. Kwon Chang-hoon has filled in for Moon admirably in the pre-U20 Toulon tournament earlier in the month -Korea lost to a good Colombia squad, drew with a decent French squad and won their last 2 games, 2-1 to Congo and 1-0 against the US.  We’ll have to see how that translates to this U20 World Cup.





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  1. I want to see Park Joo Young at World Cup 2014. His time in Europe during the last two years was just horrible, but he’s a proven goalscorer despite the limited appearances. Park to Monaco will be a dream come true move…

    • I’m a bit biased and want PCY/PJY to succeed in Europe still. I wonder out loud if his confidence is shattered to play competitively – but I still think the dynamic player that scored 12 goals for Monaco in ’10-’11 is still there, he just has to elevate his mental psyche/confidence up again. At 28, there are still possibilities – but we’ll have to wait and see what happens in this transfer market – his bargaining powers are limited however.

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