Incheon United FC

Incheon United
인천 유나이티드
Full name Incheon United Football Club
인천 유나이티드 프로축구단
Nickname(s) Durumi (The Cranes)
Neroazzurre (Blue-Black)
Short name IUFC
Founded 2003 (2003)
Ground Incheon Football Stadium
(capacity: 20,891)
Chairman Mayor of Incheon
Manager Lee Ki-hyung
League K League Classic
2016 K League Classic, 10th
Website Club home page

Incheon United FC is a professional football club based in Incheon, the third biggest city in the South Korea. Founded in 2003, the club plays in the K League Classic, the top flight of South Korean football. The club is a so-called 'community club', with the Incheon city being the key shareholder. The club's home stadium is the Incheon Football Stadium.



Officially founded at the end of the 2003 season, the move to create a professional club in Incheon had come about in part by the construction of the Incheon Munhak Stadium for the 2002 FIFA World Cup tournament.[1] Incheon city mayor Ahn Sang-soo began the process of creating the club in earnest in June 2003 with the official founding of Incheon FC, and German Werner Lorant was appointed as manager of the team in September of that year, with Chang Woe-Ryong and Kim Si-Seok added to the coaching staff.

A public share issue was launched and ran from October to November 2003, and in December the name Incheon United was adopted.[2] Sponsorship contracts worth a total of $4m were signed with GM Daewoo and Daeduk Construction Company, and a deal was struck with Puma to be the inaugural kit suppliers to the new club.

Debut season

Lorant and his coaching staff recruited several high-profile players in a bid to make an impact on the league in the club's debut season in 2004. Goalkeeper Shim Bum-chul was recruited along with talented youngsters Choi Tae-Uk, Kim Chi-Woo and popular Japanese playmaker Masakiyo Maezono. The most high profile of the imports was Turkish international defender Alpay Özalan, recruited from English Premier League side Aston Villa.

The club's first K-League match was a home encounter with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on 3 April 2004 which ended in a goalless draw. Their first league victory came in the third game of the season, also at home, as a Jasenko Sabitovic's own goal gave them a 1–0 victory over defending champions Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma.

Despite that promising start to the year, Incheon recorded just one more victory in the first stage of the season and finished bottom of the table on just nine points. Manager Lorant stepped down as manager at the end of August, and he was replaced in the hotseat by his assistant Chang Woe-Ryong as caretaker manager. Caretaker manager Chang Woe-Ryong made instant impacts on the side as the club finished fourth overall in the second stage of the league season, remaining in the race to claim victory in the stage until the final day.

Title challenge: Fly Up (2005)

Chang was confirmed as permanent Incheon manager in January 2005 as the club prepared to embark on what was to become a memorable season. The team finished runners-up in the first stage of the league season and joint third in the second stage of the K League, qualifying for the post-season championship playoffs by virtue of having the best overall record. Incheon were to face first stage winners Busan I'Park in the semi-final, and they easily defeated the southern side by a 2–0 scoreline to set up a championship final against Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i. In the first leg of the final at the Munhak stadium, goalkeeper Kim Lee-sub endured a torrid ninety minutes as Ulsan hit the back of the net five times in a stunning display of football, with Dženan Radončić netting a late consolation goal for the home side. Sung Kyung-mo replaced Kim Lee-sub in the Incheon goal for the second leg, and though United claimed a 2–1 victory they lost out on the title 6–3 on aggregate, but finished their second season in existence as K-League runners-up. This dramatic season was reproduced in a film, as a documentary film "Fly Up (Korean: 비상)" was released on December 14, 2006[3]

Incheon United also finished the 2005 season with the highest total and average home attendance in the league, with 316,591 spectators in total coming through the gates, an average of 24,353[4]


After a remarkable 2005 season, Incheon United failed to continue its success. Although they reached semi-final in the FA Cup for two consecutive seasons in 2006 and 2007, they failed to make the playoff. Before the 2009 season, Incheon United appointed Ilija Petković, who had managed Serbia-Montenegro in the 2006 FIFA World Cup as their manager and finished 5th in the league, proceeding to the K League Championship. However, they lost to Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma in the first round after a penalty shoot-out.

In the middle of the 2010 season, Petković suddenly resigned due to his wife's health problems. Three months later, Incheon United appointed Huh Jung-moo, who had just led South Korea to the Round of 16 in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as their next manager. In the 2010 season, Incheon United produced their first ever K League Top Scorer as striker Yoo Byung-soo managed to score 22 goals in 28 appearances, becoming the youngest player in the K League history to win the award.

Before the 2012 season, Incheon United unveiled their new uniform which used blue as the main color and red lines on the shoulder, instead of their traditional blue and black stripes. Although the club explained that the design was created based on the inaugural season's uniform, supporters were furious with the club's decision to abandon their traditional stripes. Incheon manager Huh Jung-moo also lost fans' support as he openly expressed disagreement with the fans' concern over the issue.[5] Huh Jung-moo eventually resigned in the middle of the season after a poor start. Kim Bong-gil took over as a caretaker manager and on July 16, 2012, he was officially appointed as the manager of the club.

Meanwhile, Incheon United suffered from financial crisis. Rumors about Incheon city trying to sell the club to corporate were published through media. According to the reports, Incheon United had been suffering from budget deficit for years, and Incheon city could not afford to spend more on the club because of the 2014 Asian Games.[6] It was also later revealed that the club had been failing to pay the wages for the players on time for two months.[7] The club had to sell key players such as Jung In-Hwan, Jeong Hyuk, Lee Kyu-ro, Han Kyo-won, Kim Nam-il and Ivo. Despite the hardships, Kim Bong-gil managed to save the club from relegation. However, the club decided to fire him after the 2014 season.

Incheon United had planned to appoint Lee Lim-saeng as their next manager, but Lee Lim-saeng eventually refused to take the seat as he was concerned with the club's inappropriate fire of Kim Bong-gil[8]

Kim Do-hoon era: the wolves

Incheon United appointed former legendary striker Kim Do-hoon as their manager on January 13, 2015. Kim Do-hoon successfully spent his debut season as a manager, reaching the FA Cup final for the first time in the club's history. However, Incheon lost to FC Seoul 3–1 in the final. Incheon United under Kim Do-hoon was praised by the media and was dubbed the 'wolves' for their team effort and fighting spirit.


Incheon United used Incheon Munhak Stadium, which was built for the 2002 FIFA World Cup from its debut season to 2011. However, as it was built as a multi-purpose stadium, it was too large and did not provide good view to the spectators. From 2012 season, they have been using the Incheon Football Stadium with the capacity of 20,891, which was built for the 2014 Asian Games.


Domestic competitions


2nd, silver medalist(s) Runners-up (1): 2005


2nd, silver medalist(s) Runners-up (1): 2015


Season Division Tms. Pos. FA Cup
2004 1 13 12 Round of 32
2005 1 13 2 Round of 16
2006 1 14 9 Semi-final
2007 1 14 9 Semi-final
2008 1 14 7 Round of 32
2009 1 15 6 Round of 32
2010 1 15 11 Quarter-final
2011 1 16 13 Round of 16
2012 1 16 9 Round of 16
2013 1 14 7 Quarter-final
2014 1 12 10 Round of 32
2015 1 12 8 Runners-up
2016 1 12 10 Quarter-final

Current squad

As of 11 June 2016

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 South Korea GK Yoo Hyun (Captain)
2 South Korea DF Kwon Wan-kyu
3 South Korea DF Kim Yong-hwan
4 South Korea MF Kim Won-sik
5 South Korea DF Kim Jin-hwan
6 South Korea MF Yun Ju-yeol
7 South Korea MF Kim Do-hyuk
8 South Korea MF Ahn Jin-beom
10 Belgium FW Kevin Oris
11 South Korea FW Kim In-sung
13 South Korea DF Yong Hyun-jin
14 South Korea MF Kim Jae-woong
15 South Korea DF Kim Dae-joong
16 South Korea FW Lee Sung-woo
17 South Korea MF Kim Dae-kyung
18 South Korea FW Jin Sung-wook
No. Position Player
19 South Korea FW Song Si-woo
20 Croatia DF Matej Jonjić
21 South Korea GK Jo Su-hyuk
22 South Korea MF Kim Dong-suk
23 South Korea MF Yun Sang-ho
24 South Korea MF Park Se-jik
25 South Korea DF Park Dae-han
26 South Korea MF Cho Soo-chul
27 South Korea FW Lee Jin-wook
28 South Korea DF Paik Seung-won
29 South Korea DF Cho Byung-Kuk
31 South Korea GK Lee Tae-hee
44 South Korea FW Ji Byung-joo
60 Vietnam MF Lương Xuân Trường (on loan from Hoàng Anh Gia Lai)
77 South Korea DF Lee Yun-pyo
88 Republic of Macedonia FW Krste Velkoski

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
South Korea GK Yun Pyung-guk (to Sangju Sangmu)
South Korea DF Kim Kyung-min (to Sangju Sangmu for military service)
South Korea DF Kim Chang-hoon (to Sangju Sangmu for military service)
South Korea DF Choi Jong-hoan (to Sangju Sangmu for military service)
No. Position Player
South Korea DF An Jae-jun (to Ansan Police)
South Korea DF Bae Seung-jin (to Ansan Police)
South Korea DF Lim Ha-ram (to Chungju Hummel)
South Korea FW Lee Hyo-kyun (to Bucheon 1995)

Retired number(s)

12 Club Supporters (the 12th Man)

Coaching staff

Senior coaching staff

Position Name
Assistant Manager South Korea Lee Ki-hyung
Coach South Korea Kim Sung-il
South Korea Park Sung-chul
Goalkeeper Coach South Korea Kim Lee-sub
Scout South Korea Shin Jin-won
Trainer South Korea Lee Seung-jae
South Korea Lee Dong-won
South Korea Yang Seung-min
Translator South Korea Chun Ji-hun

Youth coaching staff

Position Name
U-18 Head Coach South Korea Lim Joong-yong
U-18 Coach South Korea Jeon Jae-ho
U-18 Goalkeeper Coach South Korea Yoon Jin-ho
U-15 Head Coach South Korea Woo Sung-yong
U-15 Coach South Korea Lee Sung-gyu
U-15 Goalkeeper Coach South Korea Lee Sun-hyung
U-12 Head Coach South Korea Kim Tae-jong
U-12 Coach South Korea Choi Jae-young


# Name From To Season Notes
1 Germany Werner Lorant 2003/09/25 2004/08/30 2004
C South Korea Chang Woe-Ryong 2004/08/31 2005/01/02 2004
2 South Korea Chang Woe-Ryong 2005/01/03 2006/12/28 2005–06
C South Korea Park Lee-Chun 2007/01/04 2007/12/20 2007
2 South Korea Chang Woe-Ryong 2007/12/21 2008/12/09 2008 After overseas coaching training, returned.
3 Serbia Ilija Petković 2009/01/29 2010/06/08 2009–10 After appointed technical advisor(2009/01/29),
promoted manager.
C South Korea Kim Bong-Gil 2010/06/27 2010/08/21 2010
4 South Korea Huh Jung-Moo 2010/08/23 2012/04/11 2010–12
C South Korea Kim Bong-Gil 2012/04/12 2012/07/15 2012
5 South Korea Kim Bong-Gil 2012/07/16 2014/12/19 2012–14
6 South Korea Kim Do-hoon 2015/01/13 2015–

Shirt sponsors and manufacturers

Year Kit SupplierMain Shirt SponsorSecondary Shirt Sponsor
2004 Germany Puma GM Daewoo Daeduk Construction Corp.
2005 None
2007 Shinhan Bank
2009 Incheon Bridge Shinhan Bank
2010 Shinhan Bank None
2012 France Le Coq Sportif
2013 Incheon Government Shinhan Bank
2014 Shinhan Bank Lotte Department Store
2015 Denmark Hummel Incheon International Airport

See also


  1. "인천 프로축구단 올해안 창단" (in Korean). Mail Business News Korea. August 13, 2003.
  2. "'인천 유나이티드 FC'" (in Korean). The Hankook Ilbo. December 23, 2003.
  3. "인천, 스크린서도 돌풍... `비상` 1만 관중 돌파" (in Korean). Sportal Korea. December 19, 2006.
  4. "인천-수원, 서울에 이어 관중 동원 2–3위" (in Korean). OSEN. December 13, 2005.
  5. "인천UTD, 새 유니폼 바라보는 팬들과의 온도차" (in Korean). The Asia Economy Daily. February 14, 2012.
  6. "경영난 인천유나이티드FC '매각설 솔솔'" (in Korean). Yonhap News. November 13, 2014.
  7. "또 월급 못주는 인천유나이티드FC" (in Korean). The Kyeongin Ilbo. December 10, 2014.
  8. "'연이은 헛발질' 인천유나이티드, 감독 선임 난항" (in Korean). Sports Hankook. December 26, 2014.

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