Suwon Samsung coach Lee Byung-geun ended up becoming the disgraced protagonist of this year’s K-League 1’s No. 1 hard command tower. On April 17, the professional football club Suwon said, “We notified manager Lee Byung-geun of the resignation through an interview.” It’s been a year since I took the Suwon baton in April 2022.
Coach Lee Byung-geun is a legendary leader in Suwon. Coach Lee, who was a founding member of Suwon in 1996, was the main defender who contributed greatly to Suwon’s peak, including two consecutive wins in the K-League in the 1998-99 season, all domestic championships in the 1999 season, and two consecutive victories in the 2001-2002 Asian Club Championship. Even after his retirement, he served as an acting coach and manager in Suwon, and returned to his home team during the 2022 season through the Daegu FC command tower.
However, in stark contrast to his days as a player, the footprint he left in Suwon as a leader was a nightmare. In the past year, coach Lee took charge of Suwon, and in 42 official matches, he recorded 14 wins, 10 draws and 18 losses. Last season, Suwon managed to remain in the K-League 1 after falling to the promotion playoffs in 10th place in the league. It even fell to the bottom of the league this season. The only game Suwon has won since the start of this season is the FA Cup 3rd round (3-1) against Ansan Greeners in the second division.
In the K-League 1, they failed to win a single win with 2 draws and 5 losses until the 7th round, and when they only managed to get 2 points, they faced strong opposition from Suwon supporters demanding the replacement of the manager. As the sense of crisis grew, the Suwon club had no choice but to bring out the superpower of the command tower hardening at the point ahead of the rivalry (super match) with rival FC Seoul scheduled in the 8th round on the 22nd to reverse the atmosphere.
The resignation of manager Lee Byeong-geun was an inevitable decision. However, one thing that needs to be pointed out is the question of whether the current crisis that Suwon is facing is solely the responsibility of the director.
Suwon Samsung, which has fallen into the ‘grave of directors’
Suwon Samsung produced many long-serving directors in its heyday. The first head coach, Kim Ho, held the baton for 8 years, the longest in the history of the club, followed by coach Cha Beom-geun for about 7 years, and 4th head coach Seo Jeong-won for 6 years. It was a result that was possible because of the achievements and support of the club.
However, since 2018, when director Seo Jeong-won stepped down, Suwon has been reduced to a ‘grave of directors’ through 3 full-time directors (Lee Im-saeng, Park Geon-ha, Lee Byung-geun) and 2 acting managers (Lee Byung-geun, Joo Seung-jin) for 5 years. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that there has been virtually no coach who has stepped down beautifully after taking the helm of Suwon since the 2010s, ending with the second coach, Cha Bum-geun.
As the coach replacement cycle is shortened, Suwon’s successor coaches are breaking new records one after another. Manager Lee Im-saeng’s tenure was 591 days, manager Park Geon-ha stepped down after 587 days, and manager Lee Byung-geun received a notice of resignation after 364 days, just one day before the first anniversary, and again replaced the club’s shortest manager.
Frequent manager changes left Suwon with the pain of losing not only the manager but also the legend and history. In the 2010s, Suwon has maintained the so-called ‘Real Blue’ policy of recruiting legends from their own team who have experience as players in the club, starting with the third coach Yoon Seong-hyo (2010-2012).
There were cases where, like director Seo Jeong-won, they achieved their own results, but all of them ended badly and the fans’ evaluations were mostly negative. The dominant evaluation is that Suwon’s ‘pure bloodism’ command tower experiment over 13 years was a failure in that all of them were leaders who were less verified as directors until they took charge of Suwon.
The most fundamental problem is that now Suwon is no longer a club that makes bold investments or has national-level players like Kim Ho and Cha Bum-geun did. Suwon was a strong player who won the championship four times (1998, 1999, 2004, 2008) in the K-League, but the last championship in 2008 is irrelevant in the league for 14 years.
In 2014, when the Samsung Group Samsung Sports Team was transferred to Cheil Worldwide, investment plummeted to the mid-tier level in the K-League, and it went downhill rapidly without being able to prevent the outflow of star players. The Real Blue policy was also closer to the next best thing, seeking a leader who was bright in the club’s circumstances and who could properly establish a just cause in terms of name value and ransom, rather than a major player who could expect to win.
Suwon fell to the final B stage for the first time since its establishment in 2016 after three seasons since Cheil Worldwide became the operating entity. In the last five years, it has ranked 6-8-8-6-10, and after the first promotion playoff (PO) last year, it is in a position to worry about relegation again this year.
And in the process, the legends who shared the history of glory were erased as they fell into scapegoats and shields that suffered criticism instead of the club front desk. Without introspection and innovation on these structural issues, there is a high possibility that the same history will be repeated no matter what director is brought in in the future.
On the other hand, while coach Lee Byeong-geun could not avoid the fate of hard work, the future of other command towers similarly on the chopping block due to poor grades also emerged as a matter of keen interest.
Jeonbuk Hyundai coach Kim Sang-shik, who was considered a candidate for the championship, but was driven to the edge due to his extreme poor performance and recent conflict with fans, and Gangwon FC coach Choi Yong-soo, who is the only one in a sluggish draw after Suwon with 3 draws and 4 losses until the 7th round, K In League 2, it is evaluated that Cheonan City FC’s manager Park Nam-yeol, who is suffering from seven consecutive losses in the opening season, is on the edge of a cliff where it would not be strange if he resigned at any time. Attention is focusing on whether the butterfly effect brought about by manager Lee Byung-geun’s dishonorable resignation will lead to a series of head coach hardships in the K-League. 온라인카지노