New Anyang team reopens old wounds

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New Anyang team reopens old wounds

Korea’s second-division professional football league will kick off its inaugurating season next month and Anyang FC has a burning desire to win it all.

That’s because the team will have to be promoted to the top league to be able to take revenge on bitter enemy FC Seoul, the champions of the first division.

FC Anyang is the second professional football club to be based in Anyang, Gyeonggi. The first was the LG Anyang Cheetahs, who enraged local fans in 2004 by changing their names to FC Seoul and moving to the capital.

The winner of the second division gets promoted for the 2014 season if it wins a playoff against the third worst team of the first division at the end of the year. The bottom two are dropped down to the second league.

The bile toward Seoul showed no signs of letting up when FC Anyang held its foundation ceremony on Saturday. Around 7,000 citizens in Anyang packed the Anyang Gymnasium to attend a two-hour long event brimming with anti-FC Seoul sentiment.

“This event reminds me of the LG Cheetahs who left Anyang, causing us so much pain nine years ago,” said Anyang Mayor Choi Dae-ho, who also holds the title of owner of the club, during the ceremony.

“I dream of a day when we host FC Seoul and beat it, when I’ll listen to the cheers of victory filling the Anyang Sports Complex with the 620,000 citizens of Anyang,” Choi said.

FC Anyang is one of the eight founding members of the second-division league, which inherited its name, the K-League, from the top professional league. That is now called the K-League Classic.

Gwangju FC and the Sangju Sangmu Phoenix, the two teams demoted from the top league, will also debut in the second division this year. Goyang Hi FC, Bucheon FC 1995, Suwon FC, Chungju Hummel FC and the Korean Police FC round out the field.

FC Anyang officials expressed confidence that they will be the team to be promoted and take on FC Seoul. It was exactly nine years ago on Feb. 2 that the Cheetahs announced their move. “Today is a historic day to start the great history of FC Anyang,” said Mayor Choi.

During the ceremony, FC Anyang head coach Lee Woo-hyung introduced himself as “FC Seoul Coach Lee Woo-hyung,” panicking the fans at the Anyang Gymnasium. Lee said that it was his way of measuring their hatred for the K-League Classic league champs.

“I think the sense of betrayal our fans have toward FC Seoul is bigger than I thought,” Lee said. “We have a chance of meeting at the FA Cup, and we will definitely win.”

Kim Ho, who led the Suwon Bluewings, a rival of FC Seoul since its days as the Anyang Cheetahs, was invited to the ceremony. But, Cho Kwang-rae, the last coach of the Cheetahs, was not. Cho also served as the inaugurating coach of FC Seoul and the supporters of FC Anyang resisted the idea of inviting him, according to Anyang officials.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]
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