Suwon Samsung Bluewings Football Club, founded in December 1995, has positioned itself as one of the most prominent football clubs in Korea in a short period of time. In the very first year of the club’s participation in the K-Leagu, Suwon claimed the second stage of the 1996 league championship, an achievement that caused quite a big sensation in Korean football. Although they lost out to Ulsan Hyundai in the Championship playoff that year the club had progressed a lot and indeed reached the final of the inaugural FA Cup competition in December that year where they narrowly lost out to Pohang Steelers on penalties.
1997 was all about building on the foundations laid in the debut year as the club continued to strengthen their squad and develop a unique style of play. When the 1998 season began it was clear something special was happening with the Bluewings, and on the final day of the season a 3-0 victory away at Bucheon was enough to see off the challenge of nearest rivals Ulsan as Suwon were crowned 1998 K-League champions. The Bluewings also made their first foray into Asian competition that season by competing in the 1997/98 Asian Cup Winners’ Cup tournament. Making it all the way to the final, Suwon fell at the final hurdle to Saudi Arabian side Al-Nasr, but already the Bluewings name had been made known all around Asia.
The following season the Bluewings swept all before them on the domestic stage, picking up the 1999 K-League Championship, Adidas Cup, League Cup and Korean Super Cup trophies. With players such as Sasa Drakulic, Denis Laktionov, Seo Jung-won and Park Kon-ha setting the league on fire it was clear that Suwon’s potential was only beginning to be realized.
Suwon Samsung Bluewings did not sit back in light of their remarkable domestic achievements but instead started to make greater efforts to become an international force. The club competed in the 1999/00 Asian Champions Cup where they were eliminated at the semi-final stage, but made up for that disappointment by retaining the Adidas Cup and Korean Super cup trophies.
The club had always dreamed of establishing itself as the best in Asia, and that dream was realized on May 26th 2001 when the Bluewings defeated Japanese side Jubilo Iwata to lift the 20th Asian Club Championship. Three months later they won the 27th Asian Super Cup, which meant that the club raised the level and profile of Korean football internationally.
In 2002, when the profile of Korean football was being raised massively around the world thanks to the efforts of the national side at the World Cup tournament, the Bluewings again scaled the heights of Asian football by retaining both the Asian Club Championship and Asian Super Cup trophies. One trophy was, however, missing from the Bluewings’ trophy cabinet but that was finally added as Suwon defeated Pohang Steelers in the 2002 FA Cup final.
At the end of the 2003 season Kim Ho, who led the club for seven glorious years, announced his retirement as head coach and Suwon Samsung Bluewings unveiled Cha Bum-keun, arguably Asia’s greatest ever player, as the second coach in Bluewings’ history.
In 2004, the Bluewings made a big sensation with their new slogan ‘BOOM 2004’. With their new coach Cha the club won the second stage of the league championship and finally won their third K-League title in a thrilling Championship final against Pohang. It was the first time in K-League history that a new coach had won the Championship in his first year with a club.
Suwon Samsung Bluewings also introduced a scientific and effective management system to Korean football, starting with the first general manager , Korean-German Yoon Seong-kyun (1995~1998). Yoon brought advanced European systems to the club, which helped immensely in improving individual performances and strengthening the physical condition of the players. As the second general manager Hue Young-ho took office (1998~2003), the club was able put these philosophies into action, which made it possible for the club to win the K-League twice as well as claiming two Asian Club Championships and two Asian Super Cups. Now with third general manager An Gi-heon (2003~present) in place, the Bluewings are preparing a higher flight.
Suwon Samsung Bluewings plans to maintain their reputation as one of Asia’s best clubs through their participation in the Asian Champions’ League, and has been making steady efforts to become an international powerhouse beyond the Asian arena.
Not satisfied with their reputation as one of the most successful clubs in Asia, Suwon Samsung Bluewings will not forget their resolution that they will pay back the deep affection and warm support of the fans by leaping to prominence on the international football stage. This may be the true and real driving factor for the Bluewings today.