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Farewell Chungy

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A look back on Lee Chung-Yong's time at Bolton Wanderers.

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

After 176 appearances for the club the inevitable happened on transfer deadline day as Chung-Yong Lee left the club. Signing for a fee believed to be £500,000, with add on's to come, its fair to say Crystal Palace have got themselves a bargain.

Chungy joined Bolton from FC Seoul in August 2009 for £2.2 million and quickly established himself as an important member of the team. Under the leadership of Gary Megson this was a Bolton team starved of creativity so Chungy was a welcome addition.

He scored his first goal for Bolton at St Andrews in a 2-1 win, a ground he would later go on to have arguably his finest moment in a white shirt. However after only securing 4 wins from the first 18 games of the season Megson was sacked and Owen Coyle was brought in to rescue Bolton from relegation.

Chungy would get the crucial goal as Coyle's Bolton got their first win against Burnley and after helping Bolton to a 14th place finish he went off to the 2010 World Cup. He had a successful World Cup as Korea reached the knock out stages scoring a couple of goals himself along the way. It was around this time that a move to Liverpool was rumoured but Chungy returned to Bolton ahead of the 2010/11 season.

This season would see Chungy and Bolton play some of their most entertaining football in years and reach the FA cup semi final. Notable wins over Spurs, Wolves and Newcastle saw Coyle's swashbuckling side receive a lot of plaudits and the midfield of Holden, Muamba, Petrov and Chungy was at times great to watch. With a cup run to come the league form dropped off but Chungy's headed winner at Birmingham in the QF will long be remembered by Bolton Wanderers supporters.

The season would end on a sour note with semi final mauling and then a complacent finish in the league that saw Bolton lose their last 5 games and this complacency would follow them into the new season.

Unfortunately Chungy would suffer a potentially career ending injury in pre season 2011/12 as non league dickhead Tom Miller decided it would be appropriate to put one on the classy Korean. Why Coyle thought it appropriate to take his Premier League team to then non-league Newport County I'll never know. A double leg break saw him miss the majority of the season until brief cameos in the final 2 games. With Owen Coyle's increasing tactical naivety and minus Chungy's invention the 2011/12 season was a disaster as Bolton managed to sleep walk their way to relegation.

In the Championship Chungy struggled to recapture the form he had shown as a Premier League player despite managing 41 appearances and scoring 4 goals. He appeared to struggle with the increased physicality shown in the league which was perhaps understandable considering the serious injury he had suffered.

As Dougie Freedman's Bolton had missed out on the play-offs by a whisker hopes were high going into the 2013/14 season. Again Chungy featured heavily, 45 appearance and 3 goals, he seemed to be the only player immune from Dougie's random team selections. However he appeared to be stifled by Bolton's rigid tactics and the incompetence of those playing alongside him.

It was only after the dismissal of Freedman and the appointment of Neil Lennon that we saw the form shown pre injury from Chungy. Lennon immediately recognised the talent he had on his hands and quickly built the team around the Korean, handing him a free role just behind the striker. An 8 game unbeaten run saw Chungy flourish but was unfortunately interrupted by a call up to the Korea squad for the 2015 Asia Cup.

Injury in the first game meant his tournament was cut short and upon return to Bolton hopes were high that he would remain at the club until the end of the season. However the dire financial situation of the club meant any new signings hinged on the sale of Chungy and on deadline day the move to Crystal Palace was complete. He now joins the list of players such as Cahill, Elmander and Alonso who have shambolically left the club in previous years for much less than they were worth.

Clearly a Premier League player, I find it a little disappointing Chungy didn't get a move to a higher placed club but I wish him well at Palace. It will be interesting to see how Pardew uses him there as they are quite winger happy with the likes of Zaha, Bolasie and Puncheon.

I'm sure Chungy will be fondly remembered for his time in a white shirt and it was a pleasure to see him on top form gliding past opponents.