Former Manchester United player Ji-Sung Park has asked the club’s supporters to stop singing a song about him that contains a negative racial stereotype about Korean people.
Although Park does not believe the fans mean to cause offence with the chant, which contains a reference to Koreans eating dog meat, he believes it makes Korean players feel uncomfortable.
The song, which references South Koreans eating dog-meat, was regularly heard at Old Trafford and earlier this season was used when Wolves unveiled Hwang Hee-chan ahead of their game with the Red Devils.
Park is the most successful footballer in the history of Asian football, becoming a fan favourite at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson between 2005 and 2012.
“If I am being honest, I should probably speak out loud more this time,” he told the official UTD podcast.
“In that time (when I was a player at United), 15 years ago, everything changed from Holland to England, I had to adapt and start from zero. So when I heard that song at that time, I felt very proud first because they created a song for me, which is good for a player.
“But when I heard about the lyric – about eating dog meat – it was very uncomfortable for me.
“I was young, I didn’t know the culture here, so it was probably one of the things I had to accept. I never thought the fans created the songs with bad meanings. They always make a song to give some energy to the players. That’s my thought. That’s why I accepted it.
“But time has changed, and it is 15 years later. Probably, last summer, listening to one of the Korean players who joined Wolves, and that time the United fans sang my song, I felt I needed to do something.
“Even in Korea it changed a lot. It is true that, historically, people have been eating dog meat. But these days, particularly the young generation, they hate it. It was there before but these days you really can’t find it. So the culture is changing.
“So I’m really sorry for him to hear that. I know the United fans didn’t mean any offence to him, but I have to educate the fans to stop that word, which these days is a racial insult to the Korean people. I have to ask the fans to stop singing that word because it’s not cheering up someone anymore, it’s going to be more discomfort when they hear that song.”