바카라Gimpo FC is a ‘goblin team’. Strong against the strong, weak against the weak. After defeating ‘leader’ Gimcheon Sangmu 2-1 on the 15th, Gimpo lost 0-1 at home to the Ansan Greeners on the 24th, who had suffered nine consecutive defeats. Gimpo coach Kim Jung-woon warned before the game that Ansan was a “must-win opponent, but a trickier opponent for us,” and in the end, they fell short. With three consecutive wins, they had hoped to challenge for the top spot, but it was not to be.
Gimpo’s goblin grit, as it has been throughout the 2023 season. Gimpo has only lost four times this season, including against Ansan. All of them were against teams lower in the standings than Gimpo. They were beaten by Bucheon FC, Jeonnam Dragons, Cheongju, and Ansan. On the other hand, they’ve been what you might call a ‘powerhouse killer’: they’ve lost to the ‘Big 4’ Gimcheon, Gyeongnam FC, Busan I-Park, and FC Anyang. Against Gimcheon, they won both times. In the FA Cup, they even took out K League 1 powerhouse FC Seoul.
This season, Gimpo has exceeded expectations. The team should be in last place based on the total amount of salary in the squad, but thanks to the magic of coach Choi Jung-woon, they are in fourth place. Solid defence, quick counter-attacks, and aggressive, organised pressing have become Gimpo’s trademark. Gimpo may have been number one at one point, but let’s face it, it’s not their place. Their current form is enough to earn them plaudits.
But Ko is looking further ahead. “Everyone around me is talking about promotion to the first division. I thought it was premature, and I thought it was a bad idea. “I thought it was premature, and I didn’t think it was possible. Our team is up and down. If we want to go higher, we have to change the way people look at us. When we have momentum, we need to go straight up, and then other teams will evaluate Gimpo as a mid-tier or upper mid-tier team.” That’s what made the result against Ansan all the more unfortunate for Ko. If you lose to a lower-ranked team that you need to beat, it’s easy to say, “So be it,” and devalue your previous good results. Ko sees a time when other teams are truly wary of Gimpo as the right time to make the leap to the top flight.
“In the end, it’s up to the players. They need to change their mentality. So far, it’s been Ko’s hard work that has gotten them there, but the players have to get over the hump. We need to be more determined than we are now. In a game where you need to win points, it is a must for a strong team.