3 investors who were stingy and this year’s directors…The Predicted Fall of Samsung in Suwon

Suwon drew without scoring in a home game against Gangwon in the 38th round of the Hana One Q K League 1 2023 at Suwon World Cup Stadium on the 2nd.

Gangwon, which had a draw on the day, ranked 10th with 34 points to avoid direct relegation. Suwon, on the other hand, tied with 11th-ranked Suwon FC with 33 points, but fell to the bottom of the second division after falling behind in multiple points (44 goals for Suwon FC and 35 goals for Suwon).

It is the first time that Suwon Samsung has been demoted since the promotion system was introduced in 2013. Suwon Samsung fell to the promotion PO last year, but managed to survive by beating FC Anyang. However, he fell to the bottom in a year, facing the withdrawal of going to the second division.

Suwon, which once boasted a spectacular squad that was called “Real Suwon” for its enormous investment, changed its atmosphere in 2014 when the sports team’s operating entity moved from Samsung Group to Cheil Worldwide.

Suwon, which was the “big hand” of the market, advocated for marketing advancement, but the club effectively entered a tightening budget and the actual expenditure decreased.

In 2013, when the promotion system was first introduced, Suwon ranked first with a total annual salary of 9 billion 674 million won, and the following year, it ranked second (9.864 billion won) after Jeonbuk Hyundai (11.8 billion won).

However, Suwon’s team labor cost decreased to 8 billion won in 2015, and has steadily maintained between 7 billion and 8 billion won since then. Last year, it ranked eighth among K League 1 clubs (excluding Kim Cheon) with 8.875 billion won.

Prices have risen in the past 10 years since 2013, and the average salary of players has also increased, but Suwon’s total annual salary has decreased from that time.

It is common to be directly linked to “investment = performance” in professionals, but Suwon Samsung has taken a step against this. Compared to Ulsan Hyundai, which won its second consecutive K-League title, nearly tripled its labor costs from 6.3 billion won in 2013 to 17.6 billion won last year, it is shabby.

Yeom Ki-hoon, who had to take the helm at the end of September as an acting coach in Suwon Samsung’s uniform in 2010, also expressed regret over his stingy investment.

“There is a big squad difference now from when I first came to Suwon,” he said. “At that time, there were many famous players, and there was a lot of budget spent by the club.” However, it is true that it has become incomparably worse now than then, he said.

When asked about the poor performance of Samsung sports teams such as professional baseball and basketball as well as soccer, acting coach Yeom Ki-hoon’s answer was similar. “Only when there is an investment can the team strengthen through the harmony of existing players and external recruiters,” he said. “Suwon is very different from Suwon when it came in 2010.”

Suwon has recently become the so-called “grave” of legends.

Since Kim Ho (1995-2003), Cha Bum-keun (2004-2010), Yoon Sung-hyo (2010-2012), and Seo Jung-won (2013-2018), multiple head coaches have taken the helm, but they have been struggling in the lower ranks. In fact, there were many cases where they left the team in the form of a replacement.

In particular, both Park Gun-ha and Lee Byung-geun, who were considered so-called “real blue,” said goodbye to the team without completing the two seasons.

The 2023 season was even more disastrous. He started under Lee Byung-geun, but was replaced at the beginning of the season, and Kim Byung-soo, who was newly appointed, was also replaced in September. Lee Byung-geun was in office for only one year and Kim Byung-soo was only five months.

After the dismissal of head coach Kim Byung-soo, he fought for the last time to avoid relegation under the acting coach Yeom Ki-hoon, another “legend” of the team that was the playing coach at the time, but the result was the relegation of the second division.

Suwon fans strongly criticized the club for its lax team management and stingy investment ahead of the final match against Gangwon on the 2nd. Even after the relegation of the second division was confirmed, he booed CEO Lee Joon and general manager Oh Dong-seok by using harsh expressions.

After moving to Suwon in 2010, Yeom Ki-hoon, who had to watch the team’s relegation to the second division as an acting coach, wiped away tears with regret.

“I was going to retire last year, but I did a playing coach, and I have no regrets about my choice (which I even did as an acting coach),” he said, expressing regret, “Many people said it was a bad choice, but I always did my best in Suwon.”

“Although I will retire (as a player) in such a bad situation, I will continue to love and support Suwon,” acting director Yeom Ki-hoon said. “If I can help Suwon do well, I will help it and cheer for it to go in a good direction.”

“It’s a difficult situation now, but I think Suwon will definitely get back on its feet and return to K League 1. I want the players to cheer up more,” he said.

In order for Suwon, which will face the 2024 season in K League 2, to come back to the first division, it is expected that cool-headed self-reflection and bone-breaking renovation will be needed.


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