Thursday, 22 April 2010

Seoul United (South Korea)

Possibly the youngest team on our list, Seoul United formed as recently as 2007, by a loose collection of  fans from the capital bemoaning the fact that the K-League had moved all of the city's former top flight football clubs out of the city. The battle began as far back as 2001, but suffered a setback when Sponsors LG moved the Anyang LG Cheetahs club to Seoul, renaming them FC Seoul.

Despite this spanner in the works, the foundation of the new third tier league, K3, in 2007 meant that there was now a chance of a fan-led club being established. To that effect, two local amateur sides, Good Bu and Bu and Youngseo FC were merged and a slot in K3 was found for the newly formed club. Initially they played in the immense 70,000 seat Olympic Stadium, but thankfully they moved to the much more manageable 15,194 Hyochang Stadium early in 2010.

Their first ever match was a 2-2 draw against Changwon Dudae FC on 21 April 2007, but they went on to take the innaugral title with a 3-0 aggregate win over Hwasung Sinwoo Electronics in a two game title play-off. But sadly, because of the commercial vaguaries of the Korean league system they didn't win promotion to the second level, and came a disapointing fifth in 2008, and a distant thirteenth in 2009. There's hope on the horizon though, with the United currently sitting in fourth after the first few games of the new season.

Last season they found themselves with a Seoul derby in K3, as a new team, Seoul FC Martyrs joined the league - although they finished plumb last after winning only two of their 32 games. Quite how long the club will last in a country whose league has such a controlling hand in the location of their clubs, but as long as this cheery, fan-led mob keep kicking a ball in black and white stripes, I'll be keeping an eye on their results.

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