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Rovers World Cup Connections: South Korea

11 June 2018

Just three days are left until the 2018 FIFA World Cup gets under way - here are the connections that link Rovers with South Korea.

Semi finalists in 2002, South Korea are competing in their tenth World Cup Finals. 

A Pirate in South Korea

Only one Rovers player has played professionally in South Korea.

Striker Jamie Cureton, born in August 1975, scored 72 goals for Rovers in 167 (+9) League matches and added four goals in 20 K-League games in 2003 with Pusan Icons, a club in the south east of the country.

Cureton famously scored four second half goals as Rovers won 6-0 at the Madejski Stadium in January 1999 and, suitably impressed, the opposition Reading later signed him, such that he became both the first visiting player and the first Reading player to register a League hat-trick at the new stadium.

His popularity at Reading was such that supporters paid for a newly discovered star in the constellation Perseus to be named after him.

Opposition

Two South Korean nationals have opposed Rovers, both of them in the FA Cup.

Seol Ki-Hyeon, born at Jeongseon in January 1979 and the holder of 82 full caps, played in both Fulham’s FA Cup ties against Rovers in January 2008. After a spell in Saudi Arabia, he played for Pohang Steelers and Ulsan Hyundai before joining Incheon United.

Kim Do-Heon, on loan from Seongnam, played as a substitute in the West Brom side which defeated Rovers 5-1 in an FA Cup quarter final at The Mem in March 2008; he enjoyed two extensive spells with Suwon Blue Wings.

Playing on the Korean Peninsula

Five further players are known to have opposed Rovers and also enjoyed football in South Korea.

Andy Cooke played for Burnley, Stoke City and Shrewsbury Town against Rovers, scoring in Burnley’s 4-3 win at The Mem in January 1999, and he was with Pusan Icons from July 2003 to January 2005.

Derek Asamoah, who opposed Rovers with Northampton Town, Shrewsbury Town and Carlisle United, most notably playing for the Shrews at Wembley in the 2007 play off final, was with Pohang Steelers in 2010 and later at Daegu.

Norwegian Jon Olav Hjelde played 16 times for Busan I’Park in 2003/04 and was later in the Mansfield Town side against Rovers.

Chris Marsden also played for I’Park in 2004 and appeared against Rovers with both Huddersfield Town and Stockport County.

Ian Porterfield (1946-2007), who played in both Sunderland’s League fixtures against Rovers in the 1975/76 season, was the I’Park’s coach at that time, leading them to victory in the 2003/04 Korean Cup Final.

 


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