Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland star Niall McGinn joins Korean side Gwangju

By Gareth Hanna

Northern Ireland winger Niall McGinn has made history by joining the K-League.

The 29 year-old is the first player from Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland to sign for a South Korean club. The move comes after his Aberdeen contract expired at the end of last season.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted to have signed for Gwangju FC.

“Since I met the club president a few weeks ago in Belfast I have been researching Asian football and Korean football in particular. I have been very impressed with what I have discovered.

“This is new, exciting challenge for me one that is very different to anything I have experienced in my career to date."

“When I joined Aberdeen in 2012 I had no idea of the great times that lay ahead. I want to thank Craig Brown, Archie Knox, Derek McInnes and Tony Doherty. I also want to thank all other staff at the club.

“The fans at Aberdeen also deserve immense credit and thanks. They took me to their hearts and I took them to mine. After five great years I am moving on but I will always remember my Aberdeen days very fondly. Without hesitation I can say that I will always be an Aberdeen fan.

“I am looking forward to continuing my career at Gwangju FC. I am the first Irish player ever to have signed for a Korean club. I will give this club the same effort and commitment I have given my other clubs to date and I’m sure I will pick up a few words of Korean along the way.”

McGinn began his career with Dungannon Swifts and played for Derry City and Celtic before his move to Aberdeen.

Who are Gwangju FC?

Gwangju FC was founded just seven years ago in South Korea's sixth largest city. The club plays in the 40,000 capacity Gwangju World Cup stadium. They suffered relegation in 2012 to the K-League Challenge although were promoted back to the top tier just two years later.

McGinn joins with the season in full flow but his new side are rock bottom of the table. They do have a game in hand on the teams above them and McGinn will be on hand to aid their battle to stave off relegation.

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