Footballer Park Ji-Sung silenced the sceptics this afternoon who said Manchester United only signed him for commercial reasons, such as lucrative sponsorship deals with the likes of Kumho tyres.
The Korean tyres manufacturer and the Seoul tourist board weighed in with their big cheque books after Man U signed their fellow countryman for a £4 million fee back in 2005.
Then there were the two lucrative pre-season games in South Korea’s capital in 2007 and 2009.
But today’s well-timed winning goal against Liverpool, which sealed his teams 2-1 victory and placed them back at the top of Premiership, surely put paid to any cynical suspicions.
Infact, for the past 18 months Park’s value on the pitch, always appreciated by boss Sir Alex Ferguson, has been recognised by the fans and pundits, while the money men have continued to count the millions rolling in from Asia.
The final stamp of approval came from a group of top managers who gathered for post-match drinks in Ferguson’s office after the 4-0 destruction of AC Milan in the Champions League last week.
Ferguson revealed it was not Wayne Rooney that they were drooling over, but Park’s two-fold contribution, combining both tenacity and discipline in subduing Milan playmaker Andrea Pirlo with energy and intelligence to make frequent forays forward, as he did to grab the third goal.
“Everyone was talking about Park,” said Ferguson. “But I told them we saw it all the time and had always recognised his ability.”
Denna Bowman, Head Office