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Interview: Ex-Daejeon Citizen Captain Yoon Weonil

Interview: Ex-Daejeon Citizen Captain Yoon Weonil K League 2 K League Challenge
Daejeon Citizen ended the regular 2018 season by finishing fourth and qualifying for the promotion playoffs, but four years ago the Purples were crowned as K League Challenge Champions. Managed by the late Cho Jinho, and with Adriano spearheading the attack, central defender and captain Yoon Weonil lead that Citizen side to it's second ever piece of silverware. Speaking exclusively to K League United, the former Purples skipper reminisced about the 2014 title-winning season.

Q: Four years ago Daejeon Citizen were crowned as the K League Challenge (K League 2) Champions. That season you were the team’s captain, what memories do you have looking back?

A: The memories that I have of the experience of winning the title always makes me smile. Throughout that whole year we were like a family who just wanted to work hard for Daejeon Citizen. The same can be said when I think about all the fans who came to the stadium and supported us on match days.

The day we celebrated winning the league when people in the stadium came down to join us, hugged us and gave us encouragement from behind the goal. And then in the dressing room after the game all the players celebrating together is something that I will never forget I will forever look back on it as a really happy time in my life.

Q: The team went on that unbelievable run, losing just twice in 25, winning 17 of those matches. At what point did you start to believe that you would go on to win the title?

A: In the first half of the season our performances were satisfying and we picked up good results but just before we entered the midway point, in and around May and June, the performances and the results that the team had earned made us feel as though we could go on and win the league. We couldn’t help but have those sort of expectations.

Personally, the home game with Ansan on 11th May 2014 when we won 2-0, it was one of our best performances and our confidence as a team grew as a result.

Interview: Ex-Daejeon Citizen Captain Yoon Weonil K League 2 K League Challenge

Q: Around September the team struggled for form a little bit, was it the pressure?

A: Certainly, the pressure of going for the title was a factor. We had a huge lead but around the time of the Sewol Ferry Disaster Ansan had a some of their games postponed. They went on to win a lot of those games and so the points difference narrowed. That Ansan team were winning and were a good team and so, psychologically, I think we felt like we had to take action and get the title wrapped up.

Also, when it gets close to the point where the season is almost finished, teams only have a limited number of players and options within the squad. By this point, we have played teams three times and so our players’ strengths, weaknesses and the team’s tactics are then well-known by the opposition. So, opposing teams and managers are able to prepare thoroughly and analyse us to make games harder so we struggled a bit.

Q: Eventually, a 1-0 home win over Suwon FC was enough, with a goal from Jung Seokmin, what kind of emotions did you have? Was it relief? Joy?

A: Because of the performance of the team in the first part of the season, to the point where there was an expectancy for us to win the title, every week we wished that we would do it as the season progressed. When that time arrived we all breathed a huge sigh of relief at first but of course that feeling soon soon turned into sheer joy.

Interview: Ex-Daejeon Citizen Captain Yoon Weonil K League 2 K League Challenge Cho Jin-ho

Q: How important was the manager Cho Jinho?

A: The gravity of just how important he was in us winning the league was extremely high. In general, the affect a manager can have is huge, the team can be good or bad depending on what kind of manager they have. Cho Jinho took Daejeon up to the first division, even though before the start of the season nobody was touting us for promotion. I think, for the man who brought us the the title, no other words need to be said. Thanks to the manager my time as a player was a happy one.

Q: Of course, a lot of the plaudits went to Adriano for scoring 27 goals, but in your opinion, which players were underrated?

A: I don’t think there were any players who were particular underrated. Through the team’s progress during the season, there were players who people began to appreciate more and their stock rose. I seem to remember a lot of good reviews about our players. As a team we stuck together, even the players who weren’t getting in the team and it was pleasing to be a part of that.

Interview: Ex-Daejeon Citizen Captain Yoon Weonil K League 2 K League Challenge Kim Eun-jung
Kim Eunjung also won the FA Cup with Daejeon in 2001
Also, Kim Eunjung, behind the scenes, he brought with him a lot of experience to pass on to the younger, less experienced players. He helped us with things we were lacking in as a collective and individually as players and so, to us, he was more important than Adriano.

Daejeon Citizen's 2014 K League Challenge Title Winning Team: Where are they now? 

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