The blast of Daejeon Hana Citizen, a promoted team, is shaking the game of professional soccer K-League 1. At the center of the revival of Daejeon, the ‘soccer city’, was the parent company Hana Financial Group’s active investment and the club’s owner, Chairman Ham Young-joo’s extraordinary affection.
Daejeon was a baseball city just a few years ago. In the early 2000s, soccer fever was so hot that it was once called a soccer city, but after it was demoted to the second division in 2015 when it was a citizen club, soccer fell away from the attention of citizens. On the other hand, professional baseball Hanwha Eagles had a strong perception that they were ‘our team’ even if they did not produce results.
However, football fever in Daejeon is boiling again this year. On the 16th of this month, the K-League Round 7 match between Daejeon and Ulsan Hyundai at Daejeon World Cup Stadium was packed with 16,359 spectators. The average number of spectators at home games up until this match reached 14,850. This figure far exceeded the average number of spectators (10,367) for the Hanwha Eagles during the same period.
Against this backdrop, the parent company Hana Financial Group is actively investing. At the end of 2019, after Hana Financial Group took over the club and recreated it as a corporate club, the rebound of Daejeon football began. Starting with Seo Young-jae, a defender from Europe, Lee Jin-hyeon and Martha (Japan) were recruited to reinforce their strength step by step. Last year, they brought in national team players such as Cho Yoo-min and Joo Se-jong to achieve their dream promotion.
Ahead of this season, they recruited veteran defender Oh Jae-seok from the national team, last year’s K-League 2 top scorer Yoo Kang-hyun, and proven foreign striker Thiago (Brazil) to further strengthen their power. Up until last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Ulsan, they recorded only 1 loss (4 wins, 2 draws) in the first 7 games of the season and are in 3rd place. In the first season of promotion, it is like entering the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League competition.
The owner’s extraordinary affection shines through. Chairman Ham, who had a long relationship with the Chungcheong region by leading the Chungcheongbuk-do region headquarters in 2008, the Daejeon sales division in 2009, and the Chungcheong business group in 2013 at Hana Bank, is known to have played a decisive role in the acquisition of the soccer team. After taking office as the owner in February of last year, he visited the home stadium and encouraged the players whenever he had a spare time. An official from the Daejeon club said, “The president visited the stadium twice out of four home games this season. The results were all victories,” he said.스포츠토토
Unlike the owners of other teams, he is active in skinship with fans. After the match against FC Seoul on the 1st of this month (3-2 win), he went down to the ground and held a victory ceremony with the players in front of the fans. He did not hesitate to communicate with fans, such as having a meal with supporters. In response, the fans nicknamed Chairman Ham “Ham Men (Ham Young-joo + Amen)” and even put up a cheering flag with his face on it and a banner that read “Chairman, see you often.”
An official in the soccer world said, “I wonder if there is another owner in the K-League history of professional football that is loved by fans so much.” injured,” he said. An official from Hana Financial Group said, “The chairman’s love for football is extraordinary.” “As the interest of the entire group has increased, we will do our best this season as well, aiming to become a global prestigious club representing Asia beyond the Daejeon and Chungcheong regions.” did.