The South Korean star Park Ji-sung, a fan-favorite during his time at Old Trafford, says he doesn’t think fans want to be offended but knows the play makes young players uncomfortable. Ji-sung Park has urged Manchester United fans to stop singing a song about him that contains a negative stereotype about his native Korea, according to the club’s website.
Park played more than 200 football matches during United’s seven seasons, winning several trophies including four Premier League titles and one Champions League trophy. Despite leaving in 2012, fans are still singing his song and did it again this season in a game against Wolverhampton Wanderers, who have just signed South Korean international Hee-chan Hwang.
“I know that United fans don’t mean any offence to him for that song, but still I have to educate the fans to stop that word [dog meat], which is usually these days a racial insult to the Korean people,” Park said in an interview for the official UTD Podcast.
Park, who joined Dutch side PSV Eindhoven in 2005, says he felt uncomfortable when he first heard his player sing, but initially considered it a cultural change he should get used to. Now retired from football, he knows times have changed and urged fans to stop playing.
“It was one of those things that I had to accept, because I never thought fans would make a drama with bad connotations,” he said. “I always make a song to make players proud, to make players happy, to give energy to players, that is my idea. So I accepted him as a player.”
“Listening to the chant even 10 years later now, I feel sorry for the younger me who tried to overcome this discomfort that I felt back then. In Korea, things have changed a lot. It is true that historically we have eaten dog meat but these days, particularly the younger generation, they really dislike it. The culture has changed.”
“I really request the fans to stop singing that word,” he said. “It causes discomfort to Korean people when they hear that song. It’s time to stop.”