“I think there is a possibility that I could play for Seoul (for the rest of the season).”
Despite it being billed as his farewell game for FC Seoul, Hwang Ui-jo, 32, has not ruled out the possibility of staying put. “I’m talking to (original club) Nottingham,” he said after playing the full 90 minutes of the K League One 19th round ‘Super Match’ against Suwon Samsung at Suwon World Cup Stadium on April 24, helping his side to a 1-0 victory, “but I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know what will happen, but my contract (with Seoul) is for 30 days. I have to think about it after that,” he said.
While the Super Match was the K League’s representative derby, the main focus was on Hwang Eui-jo. Last year, the former English Premier League (EPL) Nottingham player went on a season-long loan to Olympiakos (Greece) as scheduled, but struggled with “12 games without a goal”. Olympiakos opted to terminate the loan early. A FIFA rule that prohibits players from playing for three teams in a season made it difficult for Hwang to stay in Europe, so he reached out to Seoul, where he was coached by Ahn, his mentor at his professional debut team, Seongnam. A six-month loan deal.
After an uneven start to the season, Hwang didn’t score as many goals as he would have liked. Nevertheless, the national team striker has been a role model for his younger teammates off the field, giving them advice as well as playing the kind of link-up play that Seoul is looking for. His dedication and presence have helped Seoul play ‘above water’ this season. With Gearco’s faith in him, Hwang Ui-jo steadily developed his game sense and scored his first goal in two consecutive K League 1 matches this month with his proprietary right-footed curling shot, and then tasted goal in the A-match trial against El Salvador (1-1 draw) on the 20th. It was his first goal in a national team uniform in a year, signaling a clear resurgence.
Four goals and two assists in 18 games. That’s how many offensive points Hwang has earned in his six months with Seoul. Coach Ahn Ik-soo said, “He’s a player with a good look and a good mind. He was a moving energizer who energized not only Seoul but also Korean soccer fans with his good performances and brought happiness to their tired lives. Thank you for playing a role in the team’s development,” he said, adding that he was worth more than points. Ahn said he had initially said he would respect his student’s choice, but he was honest about his feelings about parting ways immediately after the game. “I think I have a lot more to show,” he said, adding, 메이저놀이터 “I met Uijo when he was 21 years younger (as Seongnam’s coach) and then 10 years later (in Seoul). It was really cool. I think it would be great for FC Seoul. I don’t think he’ll fit in anywhere else, so I hope he takes that into consideration,” he joked. At the end, Hwang Ui-jo and his companion said, “I hope it’s ING.”
What are the chances of Hwang actually staying in Seoul? The first option is to return to Europe on his own. Nottingham managed to stay in the EPL last season. The best-case scenario would be for Hwang to join Nottingham’s preseason camp for the new season and become a mainstay. However, the team has a solid core of strikers in Chris Wood and Taiwo Awoniyi. Even if he doesn’t get a chance at Nottingham, Hwang is determined to challenge if a club in Europe recognizes his worth. A move within Europe is Plan B. Staying with Seoul for the rest of the season is next.