2024 – An Asian Adventure

Good morning everyone and welcome back to my latest update in the Pentagon Challenge.

Last time out I had eventually won the NACL with New York Red Bulls and after leaving went on a job hunt. Eventually 2 jobs came up and in the last article I asked you all to vote for me, It was a close vote between Suwon and Pohang but in the end Suwon won out with 16 votes to 14.

Before I go into Suwon I want to update you on England. Mid-season of the K League we played the Euro 2024 in Spain and after losing in the Quarter Finals to France I decided to leave. We had a great run in the group winning all 3, beat Greece in the last 16 and then managed to lose in he Quarter final to France after a crazy game where we were 4-0 down and came back to 4-4. In the end we lost 9-8 on penalties. I was devastated and couldn’t continue with England so decided to leave and just continue with domestic football…for now!

So to Suwon, I’m gonna be honest with you all before you read this, I haven’t enjoyed this season at all, the main reason being the squad isn’t good and also there are hardly any decent South Koreans to sign and as you can only have 4 Non-South Korean players in your squad I’m finding it increasingly hard, then you add that each year 2 of your first team players leave the club to go on National Service and it ends up being very hard indeed! Luckily for me I’m a good manager and I can get through anything so I persisted!

Suwon are one of the better teams in the Korean League, the previous season they had ended 5th in the league and had sacked their manager for this reason, but they had got the Semi Finals of the Asian Champions League and had won the Domestic Cup which gave me the chance at the Champions League in the 2024 season! Great news!

As you can see they are predicted 1st in the league, so although the squad is awful I’m confident of a successful season

suwon

As I mentioned before signings were really hard to find, I did manage to sign 4 players, here they are:

Lee Ki-Nam, I needed a new CM and this guy was the best I could find with the budget I had, he cost me £200k from Jeju

t1

Kim Seung-Min, a Goalkeeper was essential, our No. 1 goalie has left for National Service and the 2 that were left were shocking. This guy cost me £850k from Pohang

t2

Ahn Chang-Hyun, my only LB was not good so I needed this guy and at £725k he blew the rest of my budget. He was signed from Jeonbuk

t3

Han Kyo-Won, I had no RWs in my squad so this guy was definitely required, a cheap £2.4k from Jeonbuk

t4

After that I had no budget left but I hoped a squad capable of winning the league, not sure about the Champions League but we will see!

So to the domestic season and wow we were incredible, the season started fantastically as we won our first 7 games, and we continued from there. We ended up winning the league with 6 games to go and finished 20 points clear at the top, we broke the record for most points and most goals!

table

It was an incredible season domestically and one I hope to build on. During the season we also had the Champions League, we had quite a difficult group but managed to get through, even after losing our first game to Central Coast Mariners

cl table

It was a great start and when the draw came out for the 2nd round I was even more confident, We drew Okayama FC and we were massive favourites to win. In the end we scraped through, we won the 1st leg at Home 2-0 and went through 3-2 on aggregate after losing the 2nd leg

cl rd 2

The Quarter Final draw was a little bit more difficult as we drew Japanese side Saitama UTD. We won the 1st leg at Home 2-0 and went into the 2nd leg with a nice lead. What happened was a travesty, we lost the game 2-0 and then went out 5-4 on penalties! I was gutted, I really thought we had enough to win it but in the end we threw it away

cl q

After this I really contemplated resigning but stuck with it and made sure we won the league as you saw above, to make it a little bit sweeter we also won the Domestic Cup, we had a great run and one hell of a final where we won 8-0!

cup

So we won the domestic double, a really good season especially with the squad we have but I end disappointed as my one aim to win the Champions League ended in tatters. But I really feel with the right additions we can win it next year. The board have given me £1.2m and an extra £70k in wages.

Finally a few end of season awards to show you:

Right Winger Jonathon Ferratti won the Player of the Year, he had a very good season averaging 7.69,scoring 5 and assisting 9 times in 30 games

poty

Left Winger/Striker Hong In-Sung won the young player of the year, he scored 13 in 21 starts and played really well when required

ypoty

And finally the team of the year where we had 6 players in the XI

toty

So there you have it, a great season domestically but we fell short in our main aim. Hopefully next season we will do what is required! And hopefully it will get a little but better and I wont sound so down about my team and signings!

Thanks for reading!

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