Jeonbuk Hyundai is getting sick… What about the prescription?
I once asked CEO Heo Byeong-gil, “Why do you hear that you are not communicating with your fans?” right after Jeonbuk Hyundai won the FA Cup championship last year. At the time, CEO Huh could not easily connect and expressed various concerns by replying, “It is because of my lack.” Although he won, a banner reading “Heo Byeong-gil resigned” stood out in the stands, so he needed to fully assert his position, but seeing CEO Heo restraining himself, it led to the conclusion, “Is there a deep thought?”
Jeonbuk went through the first change by winning the FA Cup in 2005 after Choi Kang-hee took over as head coach and then winning the Asian Football Confederation Champions League (ACL) in 2006. No matter how many ACL titles were won, when the start of 2007 was bad, the sound of “step back” from coach Choi embroidered the Jeonju World Cup Stadium.
At that time, vivid memories were poured out from the second floor of the North (N seat) spectators’ seats, “Choi Kang-hee, saying that if you don’t win, you will fall into the sea **”, and coach Choi, who could not stand the anger, threw his suit jacket to the fan who made the remark. I told him to come down to the ground. At the time, the public relations team manager managed to stop him and escorted (?) coach Choi to the players’ waiting room.메이저놀이터
Jeonbuk, who showed leadership in a crisis, and the manager restored fan trust
It was former general manager Lee Cheol-geun who believed in the shaky coach Choi. While freeing Choi’s heart, he simultaneously begged the fans to come forward and expect them to improve, saying, “The Sochi of Vice.” In the end, Lee Dong-guk and Kim Sang-sik had a lot of experience, but they said that their usefulness was low, so they recruited resources that were kicked out of Seongnam Ilhwa (now Seongnam FC) and won the 2009 K-League championship. Since then, it is a fact that everyone knows that Jeonbuk climbed on top of the rock and commanded the K-League.
Of course, Jeonbuk also had ups and downs. In 2017, the referee lobbying allegations turned out to be true and suffered a lot. It was a mistake made in the process of going to a leading club. During this process, Director Lee acknowledged his responsibility and resigned. He protected coach Choi by resigning, saying that he would bear the fault of the team. Coach Choi, who led the championship in 2018, also parted ways with Jeonbuk, whom he had been fond of for over 13 years.
It is true that the shadows of the two masters accumulated over a long period of time acted as a burden to the successor management or director. Nevertheless, Jeonbuk’s team, front desk, and fans became a trinity under the system of general manager Baek Seung-gwon, a ‘public relations expert’ who worked in the public relations team at Hyundai Motor Company’s Ulsan plant, who was the secretary general during Lee’s tenure and created a good atmosphere, perfectly proving what a strong team is.
Of course, it was not unusual for the successor management or director to be burdened. CEO Heo Byung-gil, introduced by the club as a “marketing expert” who took office in November 2019, started management in earnest by leading two crowns in 2020 with coach Jose Morais. The management of the club could be regarded as a learning period in that it was different in character from each department of Hyundai Motor Company where he had worked. In April 2022, when Director Baek Seung-kwon resigned due to poor performance, the weight of responsibility increased as he took on a concurrently important role.
However, the dissonance continued. In particular, as they failed to give a clear answer to the fans’ complaints, eventually a banner reading “Resign” was attached to the stadium. However, strangely, there was no clear response. That part was hard to understand. When a reporter’s article titled ‘Where is the ‘future vision’ of Jeonbuk Hyundai, leading Korean football?’
Usually, a leader sets the main stem and direction and communicates it, and front-line employees come up with detailed plans, but CEO Huh’s leadership is said to have been ‘bring each one on their own’. It was a simple thing to dismiss as ‘CEO Heo’s style’, and it could be interpreted as ‘differentiation from former general manager Lee’.
The phrase “resign” is pouring in, Jeonju Castle rather than the atmosphere at the home stadium,
but the gap between the employees and CEO Heo is getting bigger and bigger. The distrust of not being able to trust each other and not being able to speak properly has accumulated. It was frustrating because the government did not clearly set a policy direction. It was CEO Heo’s own authority to lower the ranks of experienced staff and put younger staff in front to renovate the secretariat, but it was a series of confusion as the system was not established.
It is true that coach Kim Sang-sik played a significant role in the process of recruiting Korean soccer legend Park Ji-seong as an advisor and becoming technical director. Of course, in his own way, there were times when he consulted with coaches Kim and director Park and tried hard to recruit players.
However, at the crucial moment, CEO Huh was not in the foreground. He did not respond to the criticism placard next to coach Kim on the bench saying, “Since you won the FA Cup, buy it as a free agent (FA).” After losing 1-2 in the 5th round against the Pohang Steelers on the 1st, the bus coach Kim rode was blocked by fans expressing their wild dissatisfaction, but they were not seen in front of them.
Rumors circulated among reporters at the time that coach Heo had left work right after the game. In a situation where the bus blocking continued for a long time, how the hell did the front desk solve the problem? When I ran into the secretariat, CEO Heo was discussing countermeasures with the ‘veteran’ front desk in his office. He had concerns about “should I call the police at least”, but in that case, fans could be treated as pre-criminals, so he didn’t do it. Some fans had already reported it to the police, and a small number of police forces were dispatched. In addition, there was no need to report the area near the entrance to the stadium headquarters because the Jeonju City Facilities Management Corporation did not grant permission for the assembly. Reports of the rally were said to be near the ticket office area.
Director Kim was beaten with rational and emotional expressions in front of the fans. The coaching staff stood together in the field of criticism and had a hard expression like a criminal, but CEO Heo was not visible even at this moment. It was difficult to understand President Heo’s heart, but at least he should have displayed the wisdom of welcoming him together if he was facing a heavy rain of criticism alone as the head of the team.
Jeonbuk, which has been developing and on the rise for 15 years, has been steadily drawing a downward curve since the leadership of President Heo. Last year, FC Seoul ranked first with 8,786 spectators and Ulsan Hyundai ranked second with 8,743 spectators. Third place was Daegu FC with 6,411 players. Jeonbuk had 6,017 people. The glory of the past, which was called “a club in the metropolitan area of Jeonbuk-do” that competed for first and second place, was burned hot within three years.
Even after the opening of this year, the average number of spectators for home games was 21,635 in Ulsan and 21,376 in Seoul. Jeonbuk has 13,592 people. Daegu had 11,055 people. Jeonbuk is the average of 3 games, but there is a game where the number of people dropped below 10,000, and Daegu recorded 10,000 people. Numbers prove how frightening the fan spirit of criticism is. If Chung Eui-sun, chairman of the parent company Hyundai Motor Group, directly managed the club, it would not be strange if he scolded or reprimanded the head for ‘deteriorating sales performance’.
The image of the leading club has gone down, and the average number of spectators proves… Is there any countermeasure?
Jeonbuk, which has been looking for a long time, now looks like a sick club. no vitality Hyundai, which checks the percentage of spectators wearing blue uniforms for each game and tries to diversify profits by taking the right to operate the club’s store, is in stark contrast to its rival Ulsan. There is no presenting a future vision at all.
CEO Heo eventually issued an apology on the 4th. “We achieved results that did not match the status of the club and brought great disappointment to the fans. Jeonbuk was a great source of pride for all of the club officials, including me, so we are working hard to rectify the current situation as soon as possible,” he said. We ask for unchanging support for the players who want to deliver victory more than anyone else. Once again, we sincerely apologize for disappointing the fans who always sincerely care for the club.”
Is there really any real solution? In order to do so, the general opinion in the soccer world is that the front desk of the club should exercise flexibility so that it can make a healthy and wide-sighted decision. A high-ranking official of Team A who looks at Jeonbuk said, “It is difficult to know all the circumstances of other people’s clubs, but the front desk should show dedication and the players should show a game that touches the head coach Kim in front of the fans as they are. Even if you do, you need to show your beliefs.”
Of course, it seems difficult for Jeonbuk to change right away. The front desk, which helps the team and drives fans, is not perfect. To convey the ‘fact’, some of the employees who were passionate and never said they were sick in this former general manager system, which was rumored for its tight work style, are not healthy. A veteran employee complained of mental pain and took a leave of absence. Another veteran employee who was athletic was said to have been taken to the hospital emergency room complaining of breathing difficulties while sleeping. It is not strange to think of it as an ‘industrial accident’.
It is okay to think that the employee’s health has accumulated and deteriorated over time, but it is an inhumane interpretation or judgment. The rest of the staff doesn’t speak, but they’re having heartache. It seems that CEO Huh needs to deeply reflect on why a sick front comes out when he has to show off his work ability in his own system. It is a time that requires CEO Heo’s ability and determination to solve the problems one by one.