2016 Season Preview      
 

A new season and another new name, as Ansan prepares for its 9th season of professional second tier football. The team has been rebranded: "Ansan Mugunghwa", after the Rose of Sharon, Korea's national flower. This is the fourth different name for an Ansan team, after 5 years as Ansan Hallelujah and 1 as Ansan H under the Immanuel franchise, and 2 as Ansan Police. The team remains under the police franchise and the name change is presumably to detoxify the brand and attract more fans. The team will continue to be made up of national service loanees, and with Sangju, the army team and other recipient of national service loanees, now in the top tier, it looks like Ansan can expect the second choice players from the top sides.

After a promising first 2014 season, which ended with a disastrous showing at the Wa in the promotion semi-final against Gwangju, Ansan finished second from bottom, with their best strikers returing to their parent clubs early in the season. As it is always difficult to predict how this group of players will ultimately play together, let's take a look at the opposition in this gruelling 40 game league season.

 
   
Anyang
   
With Suwon City winning promotion last year, Anyang become Ansan's main rivals. Anyang got the better of the 'Line 4 Derby' encounters last season, including a win at the Wa on the last day of the season. Ansan did score a memorable victory away earlier in the season however. Anyang are a 'team of destiny', and like Bucheon, are desperate to be promoted and confront their mortal enemies: FC Seoul. A late push saw them ultimately fall short of the play-offs, but they will be looking to take that momentum into the new season. Prediction: 5th
   
Bucheon 1995
   
Bucheon finished 6 points off of the play-offs last season and will be looking to go one better to reach the top tier and have their showdown with Jeju United, the SK team that relocated from Bucheon to Jeju. A set of fans deserving respect, like Anyang, they will be hoping this is their season, and a play-off push will be their realsitic target. Ansan beat them twice last season, drawing one and losing the other. Prediction: 6th
   
Busan IPark
   
Ansan FSC's most memorable away trip was down to the south-east coast, but it was to face now third tier Busan Transport. IPark are a different kettle of fish and will be feeling humiliated by their relegation last season. Four times K-League Winners, and 1 time Champion's League winner, IPark are favourites to for promotion and are expected to do it as league winners. Prediction: 1st
   
Chungju
   
Is it a bird? is it a plane? No it's another Hummel team! To be fair, the Hummel franchise has been resident in Chungju since the 2010 season, but they have been as naff as ever! Ansan, in their own various guises, have played Chungju a lot down the years, and it is usually the game you take a friend along to to see the team win. Of course, Chungju gave Ansan multiple lessons last season, despite finishing rock bottom. That includes a penalty shoot out win at the Wa stadium... Prediction: Below us!
   
Daejon
   

Daejon are Korea's first yo-yo team having been relegated in 2013, gaining promotion in 2014, and being relegated again last season. They form a formidable threat to IPark's own bid for an instant return to the top table, and their experience of going up and down gives them a unique advantage in the division. Prediction: 2nd

 

   
Daegu
   
Once you go down, you may never get back up. Daegu are still smarting after the league decided to split the top division into two and Deagu's cosy position at the foot of the K league became a trapdoor instead. Ansan failed to beat them last season, as Daegu embarked on one of their best season's ever, missing out on the K League Challenge title by virtue of scoring less goals than Sangju, with both clubs finishing level on points and goal difference. Will Daegu by deflated or determined? Prediction: 4th
   
Gangwon
   
Catch them if you can! Gangwon's headquarters are in Gangneung, but they played much of the 2014 season in Wonju, much of 2015 in Seokcho and will be playing who knows where this season. If you are travelling away, always double check the location of the match. Last season we were almost stung when booking bus tickets to Gangneung, given that was were the official tewam site and the K League site had the match down as being played... only for someone to point out that a ticketing website had the match down as being in Seokcho! They had a poor season last season, and look unlikely to be returning to the top tier any time soon. Prediction: Somewhere in Gangwon
   
Goyang
   
Old Ansan. This is the team that should have been staying in Ansan with the E-land brand but seemingly had enough of the anti-Chrstian sentiment from city officials and packed their bags to a more welcoming Goyang. That being said, the team has done a u-turn on its principals of faith and now proudly bears the name of a sports apparel company. Two times Ansan FSC Player of the Season Kang Jinung recieved our warm applause last season and we hope for another generous offering of points from them. Prediction: Below us!
    Gyeongnam
    The only thing you need to know about Gyeongnam is that it is bloody miles away! Changwon on the south coast to be exact. There is little else to comment on really, with the teams winning one each last season, and drawing the other two meetings. Prediction: Who cares?
    Seoul E-land
    It should have been Ansan E-land. it should have been captained by Shin Jae-pil. We should have been going to game in golden tiger stripes. Of course, a Christian team in an industrial city with an avearge gate of 0.2 did not compare to the rich-kids image their Jamsil home bestows upon them. Their manager is also Scottish, and were rather accomodating to Ansan with three draws and a one nil victory that helped them take the league by storm, finishing 4th at the first attempt. Expect them to make up one of the top four again this season. Prediction: 3rd