The ‘soccer capital of the world’ has been rocked by fan outrage.
Suwon Samsung announced on Nov. 26 that it had fired head coach Kim Byung-soo and appointed Yeom Ki-hoon, a former playing coach, as acting head coach. “The club decided that extraordinary measures were inevitable to resolve the desperate crisis and rekindle the spark of hope,” Suwon said, explaining the reasoning behind the managerial change.
Team president Oh Dong-seok also spoke out. He said, “After facing the current situation and thinking about whether we can turn things around in the remaining seven games, we came to the conclusion that change was inevitable. The club will not shirk its responsibility. 메이저사이트 We will do our best in the remaining games and humbly accept the evaluation of our supporters after the season.”
Suwon is currently at the bottom of the league and facing relegation. Kim Byung-soo took over from Lee Byung-geun and Choi Sung-yong in May, but there has been no turnaround.
Suwon seemed to rebound with a five-match unbeaten streak (two wins and three draws), starting with a victory over Gangwon in the second game of Kim’s tenure, but a recent losing streak dropped them back to 12th place. In the end, Kim Byung-soo was relieved of his duties at a crucial juncture with seven games left in the season, just five months after taking over the reins.
The shocking news left Suwon fans furious. It wasn’t coach Kim Byung-soo, but the club’s leadership. Fans offered their sympathies to the head coach after he shaved his head, and then poured out their criticism at the front desk. Suwon’s social media posts attracted not only Suwon fans but also other K League fans to criticize the club’s behavior.
In particular, they criticized the club for using club legend Yeom Ki-hoon as a shield. The front office used the beloved Yi Ki-hoon as a scapegoat to avoid responsibility. Although he works as a playing coach, he has virtually no formal coaching experience. This raises the question of whether or not he is the right man to take the reins at a time when the club is facing relegation.
Fans’ anger didn’t stop online. Fans took action by sending wreaths to the Suwon World Cup stadium and visiting the stadium in person to hang them and put up post-it notes. It is reported that more than 10 wreaths were delivered to the stadium.
When I visited Suwon World Cup Stadium on the 27th, the stadium was filled with the despair of Suwon fans. The exterior of the club’s fan shop was covered with messages from fans. Fans used post-its and sketchbooks to write down what they wanted to say, and there were post-its and pens for other fans to add.
Most of them were harshly critical of the club’s front office. There were also messages of sympathy for vice-captain Ko Seung-bum and former captain Lee Ki-je, among others. Next to a photo of Yi Ki-hoon, who had taken on the pivotal role of acting head coach, were notes such as “Ki-hoon, we will always be with you,” “My pride, my 26, forever,” and “I just support this choice, which I would have accepted no matter what the outcome.”
Suwon fans paid their final respects to Byung-soo with affection and comfort. On the floor, a large banner read “Byung-soo, we are always with you” and a placard read “On Your Side Always”. The pillar with Byung-soo Kim’s picture on it was covered with photos of him shouting “I love you” to his players after the first victory and various messages of support.
Next to the fan shop, there was even a funeral pyre. There were offerings, incense, fruit, bunches of white chrysanthemums, jerseys with the words “Don’t trample on our youth and romance,” and mufflers. The signature cheer, “SUWON till I Die,” read “SUWON Die,” with scissors marks on the “till” and “I.” The hanger was also eye-catching.
Big Bird, a soccer capital and soccer mecca, had quickly become a place of mourning and catharsis. Not just one or two chrysanthemums, but bunches of chrysanthemums, showed the hearts of Suwon fans.
It was drizzling with autumn rain at the Suwon World Cup Stadium, but that didn’t stop Suwon fans from coming to express their sadness. A few fans, if not dozens, showed up with umbrellas and wrote their hearts out on Post-it notes. One fan even brought a bouquet of flowers and a ribbon with the words “Legend Meat Shield Building Shovel X Lant”. It was a lonely fall day in Big Bird.