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FC Seoul's silence on Park Jin-sub is deafening

Park Jin-sub manager FC Seoul Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors relegation
FC Seoul's silence on their current predicament is deafening and perhaps says more than any statement or press release ever could. FC Seoul are yet to address the current predicament publicly, sitting bottom of the table after some of the club's worst form in nearly 20 years. FC Seoul are in a relegation battle and may end up sleep-walking their way into the second tier if something isn't done about it.

Manager Park Jin-sub faced as tough of a start to as new FC Seoul boss as he probably could - champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors away on the opening day. His team lost 2-0 on that afternoon and, should history repeat itself this Sunday, his time at the club may end how it began with a fixture against the Green Warriors. 

FC Seoul head into this Sunday's match a run of five without a win with four losses and sit bottom of the table with just seven games to go until the "split". The loss to Jeju may have appeared to be Park's last opportunity to turn things around but, despite fans flooding the comment sections of the team's social media posts, nothing has been said. In the post-match press conference following the defeat to Jeju, Park himself had hinted at talks with the club but went on to make more excuses, including one about the humidity of Jeju Island. Some of his other comments were among his greatest hits, though: "The players are working hard", "we are preparing well". Yet, it looks like some of the players have given up. 

The constant tinkering hasn't helped, it certainly will have affected confidence and most noticeably with Aleksander Paločević. The Serbian, who scored 14 and assisted six last season for Pohang, is devoid of confidence after being in and out of the team all season due to Park's bingo machine selection policy. After the last-minute miss against Ulsan in Round 22, his bewilderment at the current situation was clear to see. He must be wondering how it came to this after helping Pohang return to the AFC Champions League after a long absence. Then there was a last-minute missed penalty against his former employers which would have made it 3-2 and sealed the points. Football is about fine margins and if those two chances go in, Seoul have two extra wins under their belts and are ninth in the table. 

You could argue Seoul aren't getting their rub of the green but they got a massive helping hand from VAR against Pohang recently with a red card to Palacios in the 39th minute and the penalty awarded in the dying embers. Ultimately, it boils down to Park not getting anywhere near enough out of this group of players. The spine of the team is as good as most in the division: Yang Han-bin, Osmar, Ki Sung-yueng, Palocevic, Na Sang-ho - not to mention the recent additions of Connor Chapman, Ji Dong-won and Gabriel. The squad may lack depth in terms of senior players but there is more than enough quality there for Park to mount a push for the top six.

Eulji Lewis

What is hard to fathom is why the board hasn't stepped in. It has shown some ambition by backing Park in the transfer market. Money has most definitely been spent but why the decision-makers at Sangnam have dithered for so long will remain a mystery. FC Seoul outbid Pohang and cash-rich Daejeon to sign Paločević, Ki was brought home last season, Korean international Na Sang-ho was snapped up, deals were sanctioned for Yeo Reum and Hong Jun-ho - players Park himself wanted through the door having worked with them in the past. But there has been an awful lot of tinkering while trying to find the winning formula and now, frankly, it might be too late.

Whether FC Seoul live to fight another day and avoid relegation or not, Park will be remembered for this disastrous spell as manager. Hwang Sun-hong is still remembered for his demolition job in 2018, three years and what seems like countless managers later. FC Seoul sit bottom of the table after winning just six matches all year and losing 13, the second-most in the division. Seoul also have the second-worst attack in the league with just 24 scored.

Earlier this season, under Park Jin-sub, FC Seoul came very close to equalling a club record for consecutive defeats. The run stopped after six, one shy of the record, but that was the joint-worst run in the post-2004 FC Seoul era and worst run of form since 1998 after going 12 matches without a victory. Seoul went on a similar dismal run of form in 2018 when the team finished second-bottom and had the indignity of competing in the promotion/relegation playoff. Regardless of whether Park Jin-sub keeps FC Seoul up or not, or is afforded the opportunity to do so, the unwanted records will be his Sangam legacy.

But still, with no statement from the club or any action taken, the silence is deafening and fans wouldn't be blamed for thinking that the board simply does not care what happens next. Fans are voicing their options on social media but those are easy to ignore. Banners and protests in stadiums are not and the board may well count itself lucky that games are being played behind closed doors at the moment. If Jeonbuk, Ulsan, Suwon Bluewings, or Pohang were in the same situation, a decision would ost likely have been made by now so why not FC Seoul? 

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