Low investment, frequent replacement of directors… Suwon Samsung’s ‘Falling’ Pre-announced ‘Promise’

Professional soccer ‘giants’ Suwon Samsung have suffered the humiliation of being relegated to the K League 2 (2nd Division) for the first time since their inception in 1995. While it came as a shock, it was a predictable downfall for Suwon, who have had a turbulent time this year with underinvestment from their parent company and frequent managerial changes.레모나토토 도메인

Suwon drew 0-0 with Gangwon FC in their final 38th round home match of the Hana OneQ 2023 K League 1 on April 2 at Suwon World Cup Stadium. Finishing the season in last place (33 points), Suwon failed to qualify for the promotion playoffs (PO) and suffered ‘direct relegation’. The following season, the team was forced to compete in the K-League 2 instead of the top division and try to win promotion.

Founded in 1995 by global conglomerate Samsung, Suwon is a storied club that has won the K League title four times (1998, 1999, 2004, 2008) and the Korean Football Association (FA) Cup five times (2002 2009 2010 2016 2019). The team was once compared to Spanish giants Real Madrid, earning them the colorful nickname “Real Suwon.” They are also considered one of the most passionate and popular clubs in the K League. The Big Bird, as their home stadium is affectionately called, is known for its fiery support that can put many away teams under pressure. On this day, 24,932 fans traveled to the Big Bird to cheer their team on in hopes of preventing relegation, but Suwon was unable to pull out a win and was relegated.

However, some say that Suwon’s downfall was somewhat predictable. With a significant drop in support from parent company Samsung, the team was unable to make significant additions to its roster and became complacent in its management after changing coaches several times. Immediately, the team has had a dismal time in recent years, languishing at the bottom of the table. After finishing second in the league in back-to-back seasons in 2014 and 2015, Suwon dropped to eighth in 2019, followed by eighth in 2020, sixth in 2021, and 10th in 2022. Last year, the team played in the promotion playoffs (PO) for the first time since the promotion system was introduced in 2013, narrowly avoiding relegation by winning the first and second leg against FC Anyang by a combined score of 2-1.

Suwon vowed to restore their honor ahead of this season. Under Lee Byung-geun, who led Suwon’s retention, the team added veteran Kim Bo-kyung, former Anyang player Acosti, and Brazilian midfielder Bassani. However, these signings were not enough to change the team. The team’s performance plummeted from the start of the season, and after Lee Byung-geun stepped down as head coach, Choi Sung-yong took over, but the mood remained the same.

Eventually, the team made several offers to Kim Byung-soo, who was unemployed after leading Gangwon, and hired him as the new head coach. However, Kim Byung-soo took over the team in May this year and was fired in late September after playing 20 games from the 12th to the 31st round, leaving a dismal record of four wins, five draws and 11 losses.

Suh’s trump card was the appointment of acting head coach Yeom Ki-hoon, a former club legend and playing coach who recently focused on his coaching role. Yeom revamped the squad and adjusted the roles of the support staff to keep the club’s hopes of staying up alive at the end of the season. The team won two consecutive matches, including a 3-2 victory over bottom-placed Suwon FC and a 1-0 win over FC Seoul in the Super Match.

Ultimately, their relegation fate would be decided in the final game, but their hopes of staying up were dashed when they failed to beat Gangwon in the final round. Suwon, which has been under the control of four different managers this year alone, was relegated after wandering in the noise all season. “The players are the ones who play on the field, but there were so many changes that they must have been confused,” Yeom lamented, “and I think that affected them.”

Fans gathered at the Big Bird to witness the club’s first relegation were disappointed. Fans threw lit flares onto the pitch, sending up a cloud of red smoke. Dozens of fans took out their anger by screaming at the entrance to the club’s offices, confronting police and blocking the path of the club’s bus for nearly two hours.

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