The Pohang Steelers’ 50th anniversary celebration ended on a perfect note.
The Pohang Steelers defeated Jeonbuk Hyundai 1-0 in the 15th round of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 29 at Steelyard. Pohang continued its unbeaten streak to four matches and maintained its fourth place in the standings with another win over Jeonbuk following their last meeting.
The match marked the 50th anniversary of Pohang’s founding. Founded in 1973, Pohang has been one of the foundations of Korean soccer, producing countless players over the years. Pohang was the first city to build and use a professional soccer stadium. It also set a precedent for developing a youth system to create a virtuous cycle. Pohang celebrated its 50th anniversary with a variety of events, including a group sing-a-long with players and fans and the release of a recording.
A Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held. In 2013, during its 40th anniversary, the club became the first in the K League to create its own Hall of Fame, with a total of 13 inductees. The criteria were the late Park Tae-joon, Chairman Emeritus of POSCO, the late Han Hong-ki, the first coach, and Lee Hoe-taek, and the following players were honored: Park Kyung-hoon, Lee Heung-sil, Choi Sun-ho, Gong Moon-bae, Lee Sang-young, Park Tae-ha, Hwang Sun-hong, Hong Myung-bo, Rade, and Kim Ki-dong.
Ten years later, in 2023, the 50th Anniversary Hall of Fame inducted four new members. Kim Kwang-seok, Hwang Jin-sung, Shin Shinh-yong, and Hwang Ji-soo will be inducted. In attendance at the stadium were Lee Hoe-taek, Hwang Sun-hong, Gong Moon-bae, Park Tae-ha, and Lee Heung-sil, among the 13 existing Hall of Famers. Pohang head coach Kim Ki-dong was an automatic inductee. Four newcomers, Kim Kwang-seok, Hwang Jin-sung, Shin Hyung-yong, and Hwang Ji-soo, showed up. During the introduction of the legends, Jeonbuk fans were respectful by not cheering.
When the introductions were over and the commemorative plaques were handed out, applause erupted. Many fans came to the Steel Yard despite the rainy weather, and when firecrackers were set off, the stadium became even more enthusiastic. At halftime, Pohang high school singer Jeon Yoo-jin performed to celebrate. Jeon became popular after 먹튀검증 appearing on the popular TV program “Tomorrow is Mistrot 2,” where she demonstrated her natural singing skills despite her young age. Despite the rainy weather, Jeon gave a passionate performance.
Now all Pohang needed was a win. From the first half, Pohang controlled the flow. Their link-up play utilizing Zeca, Go Young-joon, and Baek Sung-dong was impressive. They also had many good chances, including hitting the post twice. In the second half, they were pushed back a bit by Jeonbuk, who stepped up their attack, but they gained mobility through substitutions and opened up with quick counterattacks.
Go Young-jun scored in the 22nd minute to give them the lead. The game ended with the final goal. It was the scenario Pohang wanted. It was the scenario Pohang wanted. Ko is a local boy who grew up in Pohang. He played for Pocheol Dongo, Pocheol Jung, and Pocheol Go before making his professional debut for Pohang. It’s safe to call him an ace this season.
It was a perfect narrative for Pohang to have a local boy lead them to victory in the 50th anniversary game. Go said at the press conference, “It’s a great honor to be a legend in Pohang. I don’t know yet, and I think it’s better to do what I can do now rather than thinking about it, and then the day may come when I can do that.” He expressed his desire to become a legend and be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the future.
Despite the rainy weather, 14,377 people showed up to the stadium. The game had it all: box office, meaning, and public attention.