It is shocking but not that surprising. On Saturday, Suwon Samsung Bluewings fell out of the K-League and dropped down to the second tier for the first time in its illustrious history. It is the biggest club to ever drop through the trapdoor — indeed few in Asia have suffered a similar fate.This is a club that has been the champion of South Korea on four occasions in 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2008. Only Jeonbuk Motors, Pohang Steelers and Seongnam have more titles to their name. Not just that but Suwon was champion of Asia in 2001 and 2002. Only Pohang, Japan’s Urawa Reds and Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia have won more. In short, the Bluewings are, or should be, Korean and Asian football royalty.Games at the Big Bird Stadium used to be memorable affairs. There were often attendances of 25,000 or more, creating fantastic atmospheres and building a fan culture that was unmatched in Korea.
There wasn’t much of that energy on Saturday as the team drew 0-0 with Jeju United at home, a result that meant last place in the 12-team league and relegation.In truth, however, Suwon in recent years had slipped from its high standards of the past. In 2014, Samsung handed control of the club to Cheil Worldwide and previous levels of investment in the playing roster fell. No longer was Suwon signing the best domestic stars such as Yeom Ki-hun as they did in 2010 and top-class foreign players such as Brazilian strikers Nadson and Edu as well as Croatian defender Mato.The last top-three finish came in 2017. After that, the club started to move closer to the bottom than the top. In 2020, it ended eighth, last season it was 10th and Suwon needed to win a promotion and relegation playoff to stay in the top tier. So it has been coming and it is not a big surprise. The shock is that such a big team has fallen so far and there was a feeling that the name value and history alone would save Suwon but in soccer, that is not enough.
There were tears and anger at the stadium on Saturday as fans, players and Yeom, who retired as a player in 2022 and became a temporary head coach in September in a late bid to salvage the season. The former winger, who made over 50 appearances for the South Korea national team, said what all know.”Compared to when I first got here, there’s a huge discrepancy in the quality of the squads. We are not spending as much money as back then,” Yeom said. “The players we have now have done their part, but I think it would have helped us if we had more talented players on hand.”It would, but that is the reality and now, it is the time to contemplate life in the second tier. Relegation can be an opportunity to reset, refresh and recover and come back stronger. Alternatively, it can be just another step on a long downward spiral. It remains to be seen what happens to Suwon 카지노사이트킹 Samsung Bluewings. That is in the future, for now, there are tears, disappointment and bitterness.