Jeonbuk is losing the dignity it has built up over the years. And at the center is Heo Byung-gil, CEO of Jeonbuk.
Spring has come to the K-League. Cloud spectators flocked from the first round and are experiencing a ‘box-office hit’. Of course, there is one exception. That is Jeonjuseong (another name for Jeonju World Cup Stadium).
The atmosphere in Jeonbuk is the worst. 안전놀이터Fans who were dissatisfied with the team began to move. Jeonbuk Hyundai supporters ‘MGB’ declared a cheering boycott from the 5th round against Pohang Steelers on the 1st. A ‘no-show’ was held with a hook demanding the resignation of Jeonbuk Hyundai manager Kim Sang-sik and CEO Heo. After the game, ‘blocking the bus’ was also not missed. This was also the case with Incheon United in the 6th round.
Then, why did Jeonbuk get to the point where they are not receiving support from their fans? Coincidentally, it started with the appearance of CEO Huh.
CEO Huh took office in Jeonbuk in November 2019. We were together in earnest in the second year of coach José Morais, who won the championship in the 2018 season. Questions about performance have been raised since the days of coach Morias, but Jeonbuk won the league and even lifted the FA Cup in the 2020 season. The club’s first double, achieved in the first season of management, was an extraordinary achievement for CEO Heo. In recognition of his achievements at the time, CEO Huh was promoted from executive director of Hyundai Motor Group to vice president.
Although he won the championship in the 2021 season when coach Kim took office, the performance did not improve and the fans’ complaints piled up. In April 2022, when Director Baek Seung-kwon resigned for personal reasons, CEO Heo took on the role of CEO and general manager. Amid the chaotic situation, Jeonbuk eventually gave away the championship to Ulsan Hyundai last year. Despite the stormy recruitment of Lee Dong-jun and Amano Jun, Jeonju Castle was filled with booing and booing as they won only 1 win in 5 games at the beginning of this season.
While Jeonbuk was shaking, CEO Huh was consistent with ‘no response’. Even when he received criticism from director Kim’s fans, he even conveyed his position, “Please trust me,” but that was all. He had no idea how to overcome the current crisis and the ‘direction’ of the club’s plan. At this, Jeonbuk started to shake, and the fans turned their backs.
Even when the bus blockade in Pohang lasted for two hours, CEO Huh could not be confirmed. There was also a story that CEO Heo left the stadium immediately after the game and returned to the stadium after hearing that the bus was blocked. It’s to the point of questioning whether CEO Heo considers Jeonbuk as ‘his team’.
CEO Huh’s recent moves are nothing more than ‘action’. On the 5th, CEO Heo announced the gateway to his raid through the Jeonbuk club social media (SNS). Representative Heo said he would resolve the situation as soon as possible, but he could not avoid criticism for being a typical ‘showy’ apology. Recently, he tried to meet supporters at a restaurant, but this was also not an official setting. He didn’t even plan to meet with his fans, he said.
CEO Heo has a mission to lead a soccer team called Jeonbuk. However, his current appearance is no different from dereliction of duty.
If he diagnoses the performance problem and determines that coach Kim is lacking in ability, he must boldly appoint a new coach. On the contrary, if you think it is a ‘transitional period’ that coach Kim and Jeonbuk are going through together, you must clearly suggest a way to overcome the crisis.
However, CEO Huh’s position was neither one nor the other. While the bus blocking was in progress, “What is the communication that the club emphasized?” “Is this how you communicate with your fans?” A cry was heard. It is a clear message that names such as “Choi Kang-hee” and “Paek Seung-kwon” who led the glorious era appeared in the Jeonbuk supporters’ seats, along with shouts of “Get out Heo Byung-gil” and “Get out Kim Sang-shik”. However, while CEO Heo blocked his ears, the club and fans were cut off.
As a result, Jeonbuk is losing its dignity as ‘the best leading club in the K-League’. The game turned into an uninteresting team, and naturally, the number of empty seats in the Jeonju-seong stands increased. Jeonbuk’s match against Incheon was 8,697 spectators. You can feel the difference if you compare them to Ulsan vs. Suwon (15,181) and Seoul vs. Daegu (45,007) in the same round. Even compared to Pohang (12,767), about 4,000 people did not visit Jeonju.
Now is the time to reflect on the responsibility and role of CEO Heo himself.