clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Played For Bolton Wanderers & Crystal Palace: Lee Chung-Yong

<3 이청용

Arsenal v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Kieran Galvin/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Saturday sees the return of Sam Allardyce to the Reebok as his Crystal Palace side to face Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup.

He isn't the only familiar face who will make the trip.

Amongst the Palace ranks is none other than Lee Chung-Yong. Our former midfielder remains immensely popular amongst Bolton supporters and his return is one that I know that I am particularly looking forward to.

Turning pro in 2004 at FC Seoul, it would be in 2007 where he made his debut under the tutelage of former Portugal boss Şenol Güneş.

In total he made 54 appearances for the club, scoring 11 times and coming to the attention of managers far and wide with his dynamic attacking play.

One manager who is renowned for his dynamic attacking play is Gary Megson (OK I made that bit up) - it was the former Sheffield Wednesday man to persuaded Phil Gartside to part with £2.2m to bring the Korean winger to the Reebok.

A slow start soon led to more impressive and improving performances. He was, initially, a slight and easily outfought wide man who despite having the technical skill to thrive would often find it hard to cope with the physicality of the Premier League.

Despite this, at the end of his first season, Lee won a triumvirate of awards including Player of the Year, Players' Player of the Year, and best newcomer awards. There was interest from Liverpool after the 2010 World Cup, but instead Lee signed an extension to his contract, keeping him at the club until 2013.

Tragedy was to strike that summer, as the player broke his leg playing in an away friendly against Newport County. He would return on 6th May in a must-win home game against West Bromwich Albion, one which ultimately secured our relegation from the top flight.

Against all odds, it was announced that Lee had signed a new contract the previous summer, extending his stay at the Reebok to the end of the 2014–15 season. For some reason this was kept secret but came as a great surprise to Bolton fans.

Dropping down a league, it took him time to find his feet - under manager Neil Lennon he was pushed into the centre of our attacking midfield and he immediately began to shine despite the team struggling into 14th position.

His excellent form attracted interest from Crystal Palace, and on deadline day he signed for Palace for an undisclosed fee with Barry Bannan coming the other way on loan.

Despite his ability, he was treated appallingly by Alan Pardew, who, more often than not, left him on the sidelines. Thus the hashtag #FreeChungy was born. Let's hope that Big Sam can free him from the shackles.

He'll get a great reception, of that I'm sure.

Ah Chungy.

Our mate.

Still miss him to this day.