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Park: I’m Not Here To Sell Shirts!

When Manchester United bought Ji-Sung Park from PSV, the ABUs start whispering that he was just here to sell shirts. Is there no end to the lengths Manchester United will go to in order to firmly establish their global brand?

United went on their pre-season tour of Asia just after the signing, which seemed to confirm the player was just bought to grab fans abroad. The fact we were playing in China and Japan, who have long running historys of less than friendly encounters with South Korea, seemed lost on everyone. How suprising that the media and rival fans would ignore (or be ignorant to) this fact to give them the opportunity to slate us.

Anyone with just a bit of sense would have been able to see the real reasons behind his signing. Maybe there are some managers who will be drawn in to a ridiculous money-making market, but Sir Alex Ferguson isn’t one of them. He would never devalue the team or risk defeat for the sake of throwing on a player just there to sell shirts.

The great manager, Guus Hiddink, was the first man of note to really recognise the potential in Park. Whilst manager of South Korea, he converted Park from a holding midfielder (no, honestly!) to a winger and his career really began to take off.

Hiddink played Park on the wing during the 2002 World Cup, where he scored the winning goal against Portugal to secure their place in the Round of 16.

PSV then lured Hiddink away from the South Korea post, and in doing so, brought Park to Europe. He played a blinder in the 2005 Champions League semi-finals against AC Milan, scoring the opening goal in their 3-1 victory over the Italians at home. He finished with the highest number of assists for PSV that season, before being sold to United.

Clearly, a player bought for shirt sales…

“When I first came here I heard about that,” Park said. “People said I was here for merchandising, but I couldn’t say anything because I’m a football player and had to show my ability on the pitch. I kept showing that and now everybody knows I’m not here to sell T-shirts. I had proved my ability at PSV Eindhoven, but still European people thought that Asian players aren’t good enough to play in Europe. But I always wanted to face the challenge and prove that I can play here. I will keep showing that. The criticism hurt a bit, but not too much because I know that historically Asian players haven’t done well in Europe. But I think we can show our ability and that Asian players can play better than some European players. Now everybody is seeing that Asian players can also play in Europe so I am satisfied with that.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. John says:

    could be worse, he could be scouse, eating rats in his council house! :)

  2. austin reynolds says:

    love him to bits park. another adopted OLDER son!
    we need a new song for park as i think the rat one is a little disrespectful to himself and countrymen. maybe he likes it but we still need a new chant for him. players like him and fletch, oshea, brown. u really need these types of players if ur going to be continually successful.

  3. Jai says:

    What about Dong? Is Sir Alex now a manager who would devalue the shirt then?

  4. Steeley says:

    Park is an absolute gem – how revealing the contrast between his behaviour to the club and the self-prostitution currently being engaged in by that boy Ronaldo.

    He may only be a fraction of the footballer of his team mate but I know which one I trust more…

  5. Primachenko says:


    that’s hilarious!

  6. Scott the Red says:

    Sorry Jai, when does Dong play for United? You are aware he’s only ever played 3 games for United before, right? 1 in the meaningless game against Chelsea the season before last when we were already Champions, 1 the League Cup this season against Coventry, and 1 the appearance against Roma this season when our top spot in the group had already been confirmed.

    Search him on YouTube.

    Just because the lad had turned out to be shite, it doesn’t mean it was a bad idea signing him. Scored some proper belters.

    You lose, bye.

  7. Manuxtreme says:

    Definitely not there to sell shirts. He is committed and works hard for the club in every game. I was slightly disappointed to see his name not on the list of players for the Final. Ferguson skewed up by giving the likes of Silvestre a chance and leaving out Park who was exceptional in the both legs against Barcelona. He should have at least had a seat on the bench.

  8. jesbit says:

    dude,thought park played 180 minutes against barca?

  9. Adam says:

    I love Park, one half of our Rush Hour…

    I had doubts of his ability before he come but he put them all to bed and has performed magnificently when called upon…


  10. Scott the Red says:

    Jesbit – Yup you’re right. Played both games start to finish. Which United Barca game were you watching Manuxtreme? ;)

  11. Joe Ekesi says:

    Please John am quite dissapointed that low thinking minds like you could opine on park in such vulgar and disrespecting terms. Tender an unreserved apology. U are quite shallow minded.

    Joseph from Nigeria

  12. jimmy Bob says:

    Park is a handy player, runs all day , gets his foot in and can get the odd goal

    good signing for the money paid

    well done SAF

  13. PeeJay says:

    Hmmm..I think that the fact that he sells shirts helped a little bit. Not as much as Dong Fangzhuo on the other hand who seems to have come only for that reason.

  14. Scott the Red says:

    PeeJay – that’s not entirely fair. Watch this.

    So no, it’s turned out he’s not good enough. But he certainly had potential to be a good player.

  15. daddy says:

    hes decent, gives his heart out in every match, and is an asset in europe. He wasnt played in the final because chelski is full of brutes who would’ve have muscled him out of the game and he would not have been a factor.
    The sad thing is his injuries after he’s come to us have taken a yard of pace off him. You should have seen hm at PSV, ripping the milan defence to pieces. Milan were verrry lucky to be in the final that year and they were beaten by an even luckier team…

  16. Manuxtreme says:

    Scott the Red

    I said I was disappointed not to see him at least on the bench in the final against Chelsea seeing how he played superbly well for us in the both games against Barcelona.

    When did I say he never started the Barcelona game ??

  17. Nazr says:

    Hardworking and committed this lad. Proud to see an Asian wearing the United jersey.

  18. Phoenixred says:

    For the fact that the statement that he cam here to sell shirts came from Liverpool fans, should already show you that it was crap to begin with. Besides Park, other players due for a song are Evra(who just signed a 4 year contract and loves Utd like a family, hope you’re listening, *cough* Ronaldo *cough* and Vidic.

  19. John says:

    Joseph from Nigeria

    my comment was a joke based on a well known terrace chant at old trafford sung every week in love of park!!!

    grow up mate and stick with following the rafalution! “next year is your year”

  20. Tom F says:

    I am always the first person to support the likes of Fletcher and Park. They both get written off so easily, yet considering Park has spent a long time out injured he got s a couple of important assists late in the season and we all saw what Fletch did to Arsenal.

    Dong isn’t shite, he isn’t at the level required to stay at United either though. I remember seeing him score in the pre-season tour in South East Asia (i think) and that goal was promising. He also started finding the net a bit more in the reserves following his first goal.. which came after ten years or so.

    I reckon we should buy Mark Lawrenson and that would help United break into the Scouse market… maybe sell a bit more merch on the mersey… and at the same time get that twat off of the tele… his commentating has gone beyond laughable, to embarrassing and annoying! I wanna watch United’s few players at the Euros without listening to his endless shite.

    Ah, now that’s off of my chest I can sleep easy!

  21. dan says:

    @ pheonixred
    Why did u mention vida as being someone who doesn’t love United, he signed a contract that keeps him at OT unitl 2012 and always works his a$$ off.

  22. jimmy Bob says:

    ha ha the park song is another reason to love the guy :)


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