Debut silverware for FC Seoul
A little over two years and over four months ago, FC Seoul was born. The club was created from the Anyang Cheetahs, a team who attracted a loyal band of supporters, who were obviously disappointed to see the franchise move to Sangam.
Therefore, when the newly formed FC Seoul took to the pitch to play their first game against Busan I'park on 3 April 2004, there were mixed emotions as thousands of fans mourned the loss of their former club.
Last week, however, the relatively new FC Seoul won their first trophy. An away draw with Suwon Bluewings helped them claim the league cup. Another title, the FA Cup, is also in their grasp as they reached the quarter-finals, thanks to a comfortable 3-1 win over Pohang Steelers.
It is fair to say that FC Seoul have failed to live up to the expectations of their fans since coming into the K-League. Their first season in the capital city saw them finish fifth, and the 2005 season saw the 'Red and Black' slip to their lowest ever standing.
A promising future
Last year was a turning point for Seoul, however, as they set a season attendance record of 458,605 largely thanks to the performances of youngster Park Chu-Young, who finished as the league's top scorer. Park, who is known as 'the National Treasure' in the Korea Republic, has been a key part of Seoul's success and has even been given excellent ovations by rival sets of supporters.
However, Park's performances and goals have not been enough for Seoul to mount a serious title challenge. With 13 games gone, they are fourth in the table, 16 points behind current leaders Seongnam Chunma.
Seoul's hopes of winning the title have undoubtedly been given a blow after losing two internationals : left-back Kim Dong-Jin and midfielder Baek Ji-Hoon to Zenit St. Petersburg and Suwon Bluewings respectively. Nevertheless, Lee is confident that the current crop of young players in his squad are more than capable of filling the gap.
"We could win two cups thanks to the players promoted from our B team. We should use this momentum for the second half of this season in order to qualify for the play-off," says the coach who has also won the Chinese FA Cup twice. "But our goal is to win the league championship."