When you think of Korean footballers in UK clubs, many people will immediately think of Park Ji-sung as the main name. However, there are actually quite a few Korean footballers currently causing a stir on pitches around the UK who deserve some of the spotlight too. One of these footballers being Kim ‘Kimbo’ Bo-kyung, who is currently playing for Cardiff City.
Since transferring over from Cerezo Osaka to Cardiff City in July 2012 for a three year deal, Kim Bo-kyung has been gaining fans and getting used to life in the UK. He’s a footballer with great skills and has even been called the ‘new Park Ji-Sung’. He earned himself a solid reputation with European fans during last year’s Olympics, where he helped win the Bronze medal for South Korea and also got selected by BBC commentator Garth Crooks for his All Star team. Kim been described by Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay as “an all-action, attacking midfield player who is left-footed, but he is comfortable playing on the left, right or through the middle. He also loves to strike at goal” (source). Cardiff City supporters were eager to see him make his Championship debut late last Summer, and so far he’s made 25 appearances and scored 2 goals.
To ease himself into life in Wales, he’s been getting English lessons regularly and“his favourite English words so far are “brilliant” and “great” – compliments he was given after scoring his first goal for the Bluebirds in a 4-1 win at Blackburn” (source). And just like us and many other language students, he’s relying on some traditional listening techniques: “sometimes I am understanding the words that Malky says but sometimes, no. I just pretend to understand everything” (source). Yes, the good old smile and nod tactic. We’ve all been there! Apart from language lessons, Kim Bo-kyung is exploring his new city and seems to have a particular fondness for Cardiff’s department stores. What could his favourite UK brands be?! He appears to be settling into life in Cardiff City with ease, thanking his team mates and management for helping him with the move - “I feel part of a strong squad here and I feel like I’ve been accepted by my team mates and our fans now. I must credit the rest of the team and the management staff for helping me since I’ve been in Wales…..Before I arrived I thought it could be really tough to get used to life in a new country, but it really didn’t take too long for me to feel comfortable and happy. My English is improving and I haven’t found it hard to adapt to the culture so things have gone well so far” (source). With such a seemingly easy going and happy nature, it’s no wonder Kim is adapting so quickly.
Kim shares a few thoughts about playing for Cardiff City……
Kim Bo-kyung is a footballer with big dreams, “I want to play in the Premier League with Cardiff City. That is my first goal. Then, I want to be the best Asian player in Europe” (source), and from the sounds of it, Kim Bo-kyung is well on his way to succeeding in his dreams, one game at a time. Kim has also won the hearts of many fans as he was awarded the fans’ ‘Man of the Match’ award after Cardiff City’s 3-0 win over Blackburn in March due to “his darting runs and eye for a pass” (source). He’s being recognised more and more as a player to watch and as a future Premier League star. Kim was picked out as one of the Cardiff City players who could survive in the Premier League, and it’s even been said that “Kimbo [as he's affectionately known] is the most gifted player at the club bar none, a real gem who will hold his own among the superior class of opponent he will be meeting” (source). There’s even been some criticism that Cardiff City manager, Malky Mackay, has been under-utilising Kim, who many see as one of the real stars of the team and is often viewed as a “highly-gifted individual” (source).
Kim Bo-kyung has big dreams and big talent, is a fan favourite and is sure to go far. Hopefully, he’ll have a chance to fully showcase his talents while at Cardiff City and achieve all his goals, both on the pitch and off! With his determination and skill, he’s a boon for Cardiff City and we’re sure to see much from him!
“I want to contribute as much as I can to our side in every way. I’m ambitious and want to prove to everyone I’m worth having at Cardiff City. I know that the division is tough, but I’m happy with that” (source)