Former Man Utd star Jesse Lingard's debut in South Korea sets attendance record

By Hoang Nguyen   March 11, 2024 | 04:10 am PT
Former Manchester United star Jesse Lingard attracted huge attention from South Korean fans as his home debut for FC Seoul broke the attendance record of the K-League.
Jesse Lingard signs for FC Seoul in 2024. Photo by FC Seoul

Jesse Lingard signs for FC Seoul in 2024. Photo by FC Seoul

Before the game on Sunday, a "Lingard Zone" was set up outside the Seoul World Cup Stadium for fans to buy merchandise of the 31-year-old forward who was once a star of Manchester United and England.

Hours before kick-off, long queues were spotted outside the zone.

The anticipation of fans got much bigger inside the stadium, with 51,670 fans on the stands, a record for the K-League, which is more than the average attendance of Seoul last season, The Athletic reported.

Fans had to wait more than half-an-hour to see Lingard, the biggest signing in K-League’s 41-year history, making his home debut in the Gyeongin Derby between Seoul and Incheon United.

Lingard came on to replace Takuya Shigehiro as the crowd cheered for him. His every touch received great delight from the fans, The Sun reported.

In the 83rd minute he had a chance to score on his home debut but took it high and wide.

After the game, Lingard thanked the fans for the immense support.

The previous K-League record was set in 2018, when Seoul’s game against Daegu FC attracted 45,007 spectators.

FC Seoul’s YouTube channel also saw an 800% increase in new viewers and they are now the first K-League club to have over 100,000 subcribers.

Earlier this year, Lingard, who had 32 caps for England, 232 appearances for Man Utd and was earning US$147,000 a week in Premier League club Nottingham Forest last seaon, chose K-League as his next adventure.

China, Japan and Saudi Arabia are usually the destinations for football stars who are already past their time and seeking money.

Lingard’s move is considered unconventional, as the last English player to join K-League before him was Jordon Mutch, a lesser known midfielder who plays for the lower league tiers of England.

He signed for Gyeongnam in 2019, playing there just one year before moving back to Europe.

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