Kim Byung-ji (53), president of Gangwon FC, remained a “soccer man” after hanging up his goalkeeping gloves in 2015. He met soccer fans through broadcasting as a commentator and YouTuber.
Since 2021, Kim has been a soccer administrator, serving as vice president of the Korea Football Association (KFA). Since the 2023 season, he has been the head coach of Gangwon. He has made an impact across the club, including improving the treatment of staff and players.
“Gangwon has seen a 67% increase in attendance from last year,” said Kim. It is encouraging to think that we can accomplish a lot through the efforts of the secretariat staff while managing.” In fact, Gangwon’s average attendance per game increased from 2165 last year to 6056 this year. Attendance at K League clubs has increased across the board this season, which Kangwon credits to aggressive marketing.
Kim Byung-ji, who has been working to improve the treatment of club members, including raising the salaries of the secretariat staff, since taking over as president of the club, said, “The base must be in place so that the best resources can come into the club and be retained. It’s that level. We wanted to create a space where people want to work and stay.”
Kim Byung-ji’s name came up the most this season when Yang Hyun-joon was on the verge of moving to Celtic. At the time, Kim was criticized for not letting Yang go. However, after the club and Yang reached a dramatic agreement and the transfer fee was announced, Kim’s “negotiating power” was highlighted.
Initially, Celtic offered 2 million euros ($2.84 billion) for Yang, but Gangwon and Celtic agreed to a final fee of 2.75 million euros ($3.9 billion). That’s more than 1 billion won more than the initial offer. It was a “win-win” for both Gangwon and Yang. With the money from the sale of Yang Hyun-jun, Gangwon has acquired several quality players during the summer transfer window.스포츠토토
“When you send a player, you have to do it well. You have to evaluate the player’s value correctly. Our club also had to prepare for the following.” “We also inserted a sell-on clause. If Yang Hyun-joon becomes like Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich) and Son Heung-min (Tottenham), our club will receive more than 1 billion won (in case of Yang’s transfer).” Kim credits his experience negotiating with clubs without an agent for 24 years as a player as a key to his success.
There is “homework,” however. Gangwon finished 11th out of 12 teams in the K League 1 this season, putting them at risk of relegation. “If you look at Suwon Samsung and Suwon FC, who are competing with us, the recent performance and atmosphere is quite good. If we survive, we will build a squad that can compete in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) next year through aggressive marketing and player recruitment.”