The Tavern Mailbag Responses (May)

May’s mailbag is in. Questions this time around are a bit more varied, with transfers, league comparisons, and player performance in mind.

If Park Ji-Sung were to move to a better club (because qpr will probably let him go) where would he go?
Roy: Cardiff would be a nice destination for Ji Sung, if rumors are to be believed that the Blue Birds are interested. I have mixed feelings about Toronto FC’s interest in Park, but that might be a better alternative than for him to play in the English Championship with QPR.
Jinseok: MLS or Cardiff seem very likely right now, but i personally hope not Cardiff.
Jae: I suppose that depends on what you mean by a better club. There is the Cardiff rumor, and that would be a step up in terms of club performance, but I’m not convinced he would play much for them. MLS is probably a step down in terms of club performance, but he would possibly play a lot, and even be a star player. Personally, I hope he returns to the K League Classic.
hanguk49 (for Roy)
Bolton failing to get a spot into the playoffs, what are the most probable outcome of Lee Chung-Yong future?
Roy: Good question. He has 2 more years on his contract with the Wanderers (officially at the end of the 2014-2015 season). Owen Coyle, Bolton’s previous manager, really was keen on the Blue Dragon’s abilities (otherwise he wouldn’t sought a contract extension despite Lee missing most of the 2011-2012 season due to a leg break injury in pre-season.). The same initially couldn’t been said for Dougie Freeman, who came on as a steward manager. However, with the season looking bleak early in 2013, Dougie saw the light and relied on Lee as a dependable wingman of choice. His recovery from leg injury past 85% complete (by Lee’s own statements made several months ago), he started nearly every single match from mid-season onward. As a result, Bolton’s form really came together and they lifted themselves from 17th in the table all the way to 6th, a remarkable accomplishment given their terrible start. Last weekend they just missed out on a chance for a playoff promotion spot by a hair. That leaves us with the possibility that Bolton will either hang on to the Blue Dragon OR behind the scenes they may let Premiership clubs compete for his services. That brings us back to the contract extension – as he’s not a free agent yet, that could complicate matters. However, Bolton – like many clubs in England, has quite a debt to tackle. Hey Swansea City, when you’re shopping around in the summer, look no further than Lee Chung-Yong. Lee could be a player to complement your current stalwart midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung. Both Ki and Lee weren’t just teammates on FC Seoul back in the day, they formed an effective duo that terrorized opposition teams in the K-League. In fact, their partnership was dubbed, ‘Double Dragon.’
Jinseok: LCY is uncertain, unfortunately… no concrete interest  yet
K League or MLS? Are they of the same caliber?
Roy: Apples and Oranges. In terms of level of play, both have their strong suites and areas in need of improvement. I think one of the K-League teams beat LA Galaxy in a friendly pre-season match earlier in 2013, if that is any small indication to go by.

In the Plus column for MLS: their decision to build soccer specific stadiums a decade ago was, in hindsight, absolutely brilliant. It’s going a long way to advancing the gospel of soccer in the US (sold out stadiums in the northwest are making lots of noise, the good boisterous kind).There are only 2 clubs left in the US that still have massive stadiums to play in – much like K-League teams that struggle to fill the cavernous World Cup stadiums; these teams are floundering with sparse attendance – case in point, DC United numbers less than 10,000 regularly in a 63,000 seat stadium. Having a full stadium of cheering enthusiastic supporters rocking a stadium can – in a psychological sense – help players on the field get more intense about their game at hand.
In the Plus column for K-League Classic: they instituted relegation last season – painful for the clubs relegated, joy for the clubs that survived. Instituting relegation is something the MLS is afraid to implement – but vital in staying respectable with professional football leagues the world over. The world already looks mockingly at the MLS as the place for has-been European stars who refuse to retire – using the MLS as their personal U-40 league. Whether that perception is fair or not, the fact the MLS is one of the few pro soccer leagues that doesn’t institute relegation adds to the sense of the MLS as a less-than-serious football venture.
Jinseok: K league is WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY better. That’s not even a question. think of the talent produced…
Jae: Talent-wise, the K League is better, but as Roy said, it’s apples and oranges. The K League is a more technical league while MLS is more physical, athleticism based. It’s kind of a La Liga versus Premier League debate. I think if the top teams from MLS and the K League Classic met up for a tournament, the K League teams would probably do a bit better.
Robert (for Jae)

How is Kim SHin wook? I have not watched his matches and i am hearing that he is moving to Europe next season.

Jinseok:  I’ve watched a couple Ulsan matches on him. Europe is not certain. rumors, but we don’t really know yet

Jae: Yeah, there is the rumor that Kim Shin-Wook will move to Europe. My understanding is that the Ulsan president said he would leave for Europe, but I haven’t heard of any concrete interest or offer for him.

Personally, I don’t rate Kim Shin-Wook that highly. He’s tall . . . and, that’s about it. He’s capable of being a handful in the air, but he’s slow as . . . something slow moving and dark brown. Also, he’s not that technically skilled, his first touch isn’t great, his finishing is average at best. He’s capable of moments of brilliance, but is usually just average.

Which is what made the fact that he started (and lasted for so long) against Qatar so baffling. There was nothing, on paper or on the pitch, that would suggest that he should start ahead of the other strikers on the roster. But back to the question. While I hope I’m wrong, I can’t see Kim Shin-Wook being a successful European player. The age of the standard 9 who just knocks balls down, and wins headers is gone. And that’s what Kim Shin-Wook is. Maybe he could play in the Championship or some second division somewhere, but he doesn’t have the ability (right now) to cut it at the top level.

About Jae Chee 339 Articles
A football fan who got bit by the writing bug.


  1. Hello Taegukwarrior friends,

    Just a random comment. Was looking at some info about the confederations cup and remembered that penalty shootout loss to Japan back in 2011 I think. I just came here to comment about it and try to drown my sorrows. Had Korea taken Japan’s place they would have been guaranteed at least three glorious matches against Brazil, Italy and Mexico. Truly a pity. We must not think the Asian Cup a small title anymore.
    There won’t be anything to watch for me this summer, except Korea’s qualifiers.

    • I have mixed feelings about the ‘what if’ Korea made it to the Confederations Cup. While it would be a a good experience for the boys to play against top teams, given the squad’s current state, I fear that the team would leave the contest with three losses (and potentially three big losses). Which would hurt our image in world football, and possibly damage the psyche of the players (we can’t compete with the top teams).

      I will try to look at the miss out on the bright side. The players can complete the qualifiers, get their club futures sorted out, rest, recover, and the NT can focus on getting a new coach that can deal with the demands of international football.

  2. Haha I would have written a lot more if I knew you would post my quick email responses to the questions 😀
    As for the AC2011, I couldn’t care less about playing in the Confederations Cup. The problem was how Japan won on an illegal goal (3 players were in the box when the penalty was struck, including the man who scored on the rebound) and got a TON of attention from european teams especially the bundesliga. That was the year like 5 japanese players moved to germany. that should have been then-k leaguers.

  3. Lee to swansea would not be a good idea imo, they have four wingers already (the fullbacks play on the advanced flanks sometimes too). Swansea is a good fit for him but the team would never go after him.

    As for Kim Shin Wook, he;s actually not as slow as most people think. He’s very quick on his feet and nimble. You’d be surprised. I think his finishing is def above average; he already has 7 goals in 11 appearances this season.But yes, against Qatar he was very bad. Don’t judge him on the Qatar match alone, I’ve seen much better from him for club. But who knows, he could be like Shin Hyung Min and perform very well for club but very poorly for the NT

    • True, Kim Shin-Wook has done well for Ulsan, which is why I’m not surprised that he get’s called, but I really can’t remember a time when he’s played for the NT, and I’ve come away impressed at his abilities. It may be a style thing, that the NT just doesn’t fit his particular type of play, so we don’t see the best for him. Or maybe the pressure gets to him? I’m not sure. Either way, I maintain that I don’t see him doing well at the bigger European leagues. This may be an oversimplification, but I guess you could kind of describe him as a poor-man’s Peter Crouch. Decent technical ability for a big man, aerial presence.

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