K-Advent Day 19 – Suwon FC
As we gear up for the beginning of the 2016 K-League Classic we have a new kid on the block in the Classic in the shape of the 2015 third placed K-League Challenge team and eventual playoff-winners Suwon FC. Suwon were made to fight for their place in the top tier as they had to navigate not one but three play-off matches before finally ensuring their place among the big boys after a 3-0 victory over Busan. It was just rewards for the boys in red and blue as they had fought well over the course of the season and for many a neutral were the team they wanted to see promoted. Their place in the Classic guarantees us a ‘city derby’ which is something that Korean football has been sadly lacking. Sure we have The Supermatch and the Jeolla derby, we have the rivalry between Seongnam and Suwon and also the recently evolving contentious atmosphere when Incheon and Seoul met but nothing really stirs the passion of fans quite like a city rivalry and hopefully the new ‘Suwon Derby’ will live up to others.
Of course Korean fans are no strangers to new clubs, from clubs changing names being an almost annual occurrence to others ‘moving’ from one area to another we have seen our fair share of ‘disruption’ in our game. And of course only last year we had the emergence of Seoul E-Land, as a new club was formed and entered into the second division. In fact if luck had been a little more on their side (or referees depending on who you ask) we might just have been witnessing out first top tier ‘Seoul Derby’ instead.
To say Suwon’s journey to the top table has been interesting is something of an understatement. Considering the fact they only turned professional at the end of the 2012 season you could be excused for calling it something of a rags to riches story. They have also gone about their business on and off the pitch in the manner normally associated with ‘big’ clubs, last year they boosted their squad with considerable talent in the form of Brazilian goal-machine Japa and Spanish midfield general SiSi. Both those players departed the club over the close season and many fans thought the writing was on the wall at this point but instead they have yet again secured some potential stars in the form of Australian international Adrian Leijer, Belgian international Marvin Ogunjimi and another Spanish midfielder in Jaime Gavilan. Many believed they would merely make up the numbers this season but it certainly looks like they have other ideas. Considering the recent lack of investment coming from Samsung into the coffers of their city rivals Suwon Bluewings it may only be a matter of time until Suwon FC are the top dogs in the city and the mighty Bluewings regarded as their ‘poor cousins’.