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Pinnacle of Soccer with 1.09 Million Fans In 44 Games

Posted August. 07, 2002 22:10,   


▽ Continuing World Cup Fever = The World Cup fever which boiled the whole country throughout June has attracted an increased number of soccer fans to K League games. During the first round of 44 games, a total of 1,096,052 fans attended the games. On average, 24,910 fans per game. In comparison with the last year’s figure (12,596), the number has shot up. K League, accordingly, has watched a new record being established. As of the August 3rd, K League has succeeded in drawing one million fans in the shortest period of time in history. But the new-records march did not just stop there. On July 21st, for example, in the Suwon Samsun v. Busan Icons match, 42,280 people packed the Suwon stadium, the highest for a single game.

The matter at issue is how each of the teams will maintain the fever among fans, which was triggered during the World Cup. Fans’ interest has increased. But the marketing and promotions by the pro teams has remained where they were before the World Cup.

▽ Taekuk Fighters and Unfortunate Stars = No wonder Taekuk Fighters have shown shining plays. The spotlight has focused on the World Cup stars such as Lee Young-pyo (Ahnyang LG), Lee Woon-jae (Suwon), Hong Myung-bo (Pohang Steelers), Song Jong-kuk (Pusan) and Lee Chun-soo (Woolsan Hyundai). But “unfortunate stars” have played equally well. Ko Jong-soo (Suwon), who was not selected for the World Cup team, got over from his injury, and Lee Dong-kook (Pohang), who also could not make it to the World Cup, has scored most. Shin Byung-ho (Chunnam Dragons), who once played in the World Cup team, wrapped up his 2-year sluggishness and has showed excellent play in the pro league to fans’ satisfaction.

▽ No Single Leader = The ranking is changing every day. Many teams are fighting for the top position, such as Sungnam Ilwha, Pohang, Chunbook Hyundai, Chunnam and Ahnyang. Last year, Sungnam grabbed the championship. Even though it has no World Cup star, it has performed excellently due to its teamwork from the harmony of its national and foreign players. Ahnyang, which retains World Cup stars like Lee Young-pyo and Choi Tae-wook and some Brazilian players, remains up on the ranking based on its unfluctuating teamwork. On the other hand, Suwon, which is counted as the best in Asia, has been struggling to get out of the bottom, the biggest surprise this season.

▽ Personal Records Dominated by Foreign Players = Dabo of Bucheon SK dominates the spotlight among foreign players. He has scored most in the first round. (6 goals) What’s more exciting is his dancing goal-ceremony whenever he scores a goal, entertaining fans. Players who follow Dabo jointly are all foreign players, except Woo Sung-yong (Pusan). For the race for assistance, Medo (5, Pohang) and André ranked 1st and 2nd respectively, making it a festival among foreign players.

Sung-Won Joo swon@donga.com