2016 will go down as a particularly strange year not only for Jeonbuk but the K-League in general. The powers that be at the KFA decided to punish Jeonbuk for some Trotter-esque ‘dodgy dealing’ by issuing them with a 9pt deduction towards the end of a year that they had ran away with the league.
This was seen by many as both pointless (pardon the pun) and not exactly a punishment as Jeonbuk had all but wrapped up the title……unfortunately for the boys in green they imploded and Seoul ran out “champions” on the final day of the season. Jeonbuk would of course win the Asian Champions League in 2016 only to be banned from defending their crown as the AFC would try and rival the KFA for stupidity!
The close season saw the departure of Leonardo, who was arguably one of the best foreign imports in recent times, along with keeper Kwoun Sun Tae with many looking at that ACL expulsion as the main reason behind both. Kim Jin su would arrive from Hoffenheim and of course Lee Dong Gook would still be around to both annoy and pester opposition defences in equal measure. He would go on to score his 200th career goal during the 2017 season as Jeonbuk would yet again prove too good for the rest of Korea. 2017 would also see Brazilian Edu hang up his boots for good but not before racking up 13 goals in his final season. The punishments dealt to Jeonbuk seemed to galvanize the squad under Choi and for much of the season it really was a case of not if but when they would hoist the league trophy high again.
Below Jeonbuk fan and KLeagueUnited columnist Matt Binns (@Matt_Binns) gives us his assessment of the Jeonbuk Hyundai ‘Class of 2017’.