OWL Magazine Korea

Park Ji-sung’s “Ah… This Isn’t Manchester United.”

Park Ji-sung, who played a prominent role in Korean football for a long time, created various viral moments. One interview from a documentary video became a topic of discussion, and the scene where he performed a walking celebration after scoring a goal against Japan is still vivid in many people’s memories.

The “Ah… This Isn’t Manchester United” meme, which gained fame online, was based on a scene that was later explained by Shoot for Love.

“May 26, 2006: South Korea vs. Bosnia Friendly. Match”

The game where this scene occurred was a friendly match held with grandeur ahead of the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Although they did not qualify for the World Cup, it was a friendly match against the strong European team “Bosnia and Herzegovina,” who had drawn 2-2 against Spain in the European qualifiers. The match took place at the Sangam World Cup Stadium.

During the game, there was a moment captured by the camera where Park Ji-sung appeared to give instructions to his teammates but then shrugged and shook his head, leading netizens to label it as “Ah… This Isn’t Manchester United.”

At that time, Park Ji-sung was with Manchester United, led by the legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson, consistently occupying top positions in the league and performing well in the Champions League, continuing the prestigious club’s legacy.

Having played alongside some of the world’s best players in such a team, Park Ji-sung may have felt a noticeable difference tactically and in terms of individual skills when playing for the national team. Even with similar abilities, playing for the national team, where teamwork is relatively less cohesive compared to club teams that train together daily and build teamwork, might have felt frustrating.

It’s mentioned that communication was difficult during the game due to the intense atmosphere surrounding the match, with the stadium packed with spectators resembling a national team send-off ceremony, creating high-energy support. This difficulty in player communication on the field likely led to the shrugging and head-shaking gesture by Park Ji-sung.

The exact truth remains unclear, but Park Ji-sung later explained through Shoot for Love that the stadium was full of spectators, and the match was akin to a national team send-off ceremony, resulting in fervent support that made communication between players challenging and led to the visible gesture of frustration.