2016 will go down in Gyeongnam’s history as a low point for sure as they began the season effectively on -10 points for their part in a bribery scandal some years earlier. There had also been some rumors involving contractual issues with one of their foreign contingent …..yes it’s fair to say that off the field it had not been their finest hour!. On the field the FA Cup campaign was to be a disappointment as they crashed out in the 3rd round at home to Busan I-Park but it was their league form that had done enough to convince some that they could made a decent fist of a challenge for a playoff spot come 2017 having battled to 8th spot in the table which given that deduction was beyond most expectations.
The close season had seen Christian Danalache swap the colours of Gyeongnam for those of Daejeon in a move many thought would have a huge impact of the title race as the Romanian had been a bright star in the 2016 team with just under a 50% goals to game scoring record. He would be replaced by the unknown quantity that was 23yrd Brazilian Marcao although he wouldn’t stay unknown for long. Also arriving in Changwon was Jung Won Jin who moved from Pohang, Choi Jae Soo who came from Jeonbuk and Lee Bum Soo who made the move from Daejeon and all of whom would make the Challenge Best XI team of the year. Their Cup run would be better than the previous humbling campaign as they would take the scalp of Daegu before losing out to eventual winners Ulsan, but it was in the bread and butter of league football where they would quite literally go on to become in a ‘league of their own’ and pretty much wrap things up before the monsoon umbrellas had dried!
Below Gyeongnam fan James (@edrupt_james) gives us his assessment of the Gyeongnam FC ‘Class of 2017’