Odd Odds as Bookies Make Chiang Rai Favourites for 2017 Thai League

 

Siamsport this week published the latest betting odds on the 2017 Thai League, with one big surprise in store – big-spending Chiang Rai Utd are favourites to take the title, closely followed by the usual suspects Buriram, Muangthong and Bangkok Utd. Port are unfancied, coming in 15th at 450/1. Worth a cheeky 1000BHT in my opinion.

 

Here is the full list, with thanks to Facebook page Thai League Football for the translation:

 

1. Chiangrai Utd 5/2
2. Buriram Utd 3/1
3. Muangthong Utd 7/2
4. Bangkok Utd 6/1
5. Bangkok Glass 7/1
6. Chonburi 20/1
7. Ratchaburi 30/1
8. Suphanburi 40/1
9. Sukhothai 70/1
10. BEC Tero 150/1
11. Nakhon Ratchasima 300/1
12. Pattaya Utd 300/1
13. Sisaket 350/1
14. Thai Honda 400/1
15. Thai Port 450/1
16. Siam Navy 500/1
17. Ubon UMT 700/1
18. Osotspa Superpower 1000/1

 

Dodgy betting patterns, or a fair reflection of Chiang Rai’s close season transfer activity?

 

Want to Play for Port FC? Here’s Your Chance!

 

Which of us, whilst standing on Zone B during a lull in the game, hasn’t dreamt of being out there on the pitch, clad in the hallowed orange & blue stripes, picking up the ball in midfield, skipping past a couple of defenders, laying the ball out to Ekkapoom on the left, making a run into the box and then watching as his cross goes sailing over our heads for a goal kick?

 

Well, now we have an opportunity to make that dream come true as the Port FC 2017 Academy is taking applications until the end of tomorrow (30 December). Obviously applicants need to be half decent at football, which I suspect rules out most Sandpit readers, and aged 18-20, which rules out the rest. Interestingly, Facebook translates the announcement as “interested in signing up to be a part of Leo?”, which I suspect would be of more interest to Sandpit regulars than actually playing for Port FC.

 

Anyway, in the unlikely event of anyone reading this being physically fit, good at football and younger than 20, you can apply to join the Port FC Academy here. Good luck!

 

Port FC Announce 2017 Season Tickets

 

Port FC today announced their 2017 season ticket packages. As you can see in the graphic above, there are 3 tiers available. Champagne-sipping high rollers can go for the Platinum Card at 5000BHT, Singha-supping medium rollers have the Titanium Card at 3000BHT, and Leo-swigging cheapskates such as myself will most likely opt for the Member Card at a very reasonable 1500BHT.

 

All cards include tickets for all home games (including cup matches), latest club news via SMS (provided you’re an AIS customer, and can read Thai), monthly lucky draw entry and discounts in the club shop. Stump for a Platinum or Titanium card and you’ll get extra goodies such as replica shirts, polo shirts, scarves, car parking, and a seat next to Tommie Duncan in the hallowed halls of Zone A.

 

Tickets are on sale from 4-20 January, and existing season ticket holders get a 200BHT discount.

 

For more info, click on the links in paragraph 1 or go to this page.

 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from The Sandpit!

 

The Sandpit team would like to wish all Port FC fans, and indeed fans of other Thai clubs (even Muangthong – it is the season of goodwill to all men after all) a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

Big thanks to all of you who’ve made the site so popular during our first few weeks, especially those of you who’ve contributed articles & photos. We look forward to sharing more Port FC news, reports and articles in 2017, and to seeing you all at the PAT in February!

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk – 21 Dec 2016

 

Today, Tom’s Transfer Talk brings you the seasonal Port FC Advent Calendar edition. You remember what is was like when you were a kid and you used to stare at that final box – the Christmas Day one – but you knew you couldn’t open it yet. The box was slightly bigger than all the others. What was going to be in there? It might just be a slightly bigger chocolate, but it might be something completely different. The suspense!

Anyway, that’s how we feel when we hear rumours from Siam Sport saying that Port are making a marquee Argentine signing, but we’re not going to find out who it is until after the New Year. We wouldn’t be much of a transfer column unless we speculated on who the arrival might be, so with our journalistic integrity on the line we’re going to say that it’s almost certainly Leo Messi. At the very least, we can’t rule it out. It could be Messi. Anything could be in that box.

Panpanpong Pinkong, 29

Leaving the potential signing of multiple Ballon d’Or winners aside, let’s move on to the not quite so interesting but slightly more realistic business of the verbally challenging trialists Panpanpong Pinkong and Tatchanon Nakarawong.

Tongue-twisting left back Panpanpong, formerly of Bangkok United and Osotspa, has been training with Port for at least a week, and has taken part in the last two friendlies, being preferred to Piyachart (23) in what looks like Jadet’s current first XI. Panpanpong has not been particularly impressive, however, whereas Piyachart was Port’s best player in the second half against Pahang FA. Whilst we think that the 29 year old could make a useful addition to the squad, it is doubtful whether he will be first choice if he is eventually signed.

20 year old Tatchanon, previously of Army United, has also featured with the first XI, playing alongside impressive new signing Sergio Suarez and Sivakorn (16) in a midfield three. Tatchanon has gone about his business quietly, keeping play ticking over and allowing Suarez and Sivakorn to thrive, but again has not really done anything to make himself stand out. At just 20, he could be one for the future, but is unlikely to feature prominently in the TPL next season, even if he does make the move to Khlong Toei.

Saer Sene, 30

Finally, we are once again left scratching our heads over French trialist Saer Sene. He did what he needed to do and scored against Pahang, but is he fit? And is he really that good? There’s undoubtedly potential there, but in such an important position, and with flops Brent McGrath, Kayne Vincent and Thiago Cunha still fresh in the memory, can Port afford to take a risk up front?

With the squad scheduled to go on their New Year holidays on the 24th, it’s possible that we have seen the last of Sene, and that the mystery Argentine will be with the squad next time they meet. Or not. It is all gossip after all, and we still have no idea what’s in that damn box!

 

MATCH REPORT: Port FC 1-1 Pahang FA

 

Pahang FA held Port to a 1-1 draw on Sunday, but the result didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the home fans, who brought the noise to PAT Stadium for the first time since the stadium ban took effect in September.

The Zone B Fans

Since then Port fans have been itching to get back on the terraces to cheer on their team, and yesterday they finally had their chance. A few hundred fans hungry for football – and a few dozen particularly thirsty for Leo – saw Port slip to a disappointing draw against a side they should probably have beaten.

Pahang FA play in the Malaysian Super League – where they finished 9th last season – but Port’s first half performance indicated that they were much the stronger side. The first half side was almost identical to the one fielded at Navy on Thursday. The only change was in goal, where Weera (40), who if we’re honest we had completely forgotten about, played a quiet but mistake-free 45 minutes. In front of him was a back four of Rochela (22), Dolah (38), Meechok (20) and a former Bangkok United player currently on trial at Port, the superbly named Panpanpong Pinkong (19). Suarez (4), Siwakorn (16) and a 20 year old tralist from Army – Tatchanon Nakarawong (27) – operated as a three in the centre of midfield, with Ekkapoom (8) and Pakorn (9) on the wings. Sene (40) once again started up front; determined to get on the score sheet after peppering the goal but failing to score against Navy.

The action, as seen from Zone B

Port started brightly, moving the ball through midfield with purpose. Suarez was the stand-out player, showing a nice touch and great vision. He controlled play and delivered some excellent passes out wide. His good work paid off 15 minutes in to the first half. Suarez found Pakorn on the right hand side, and Pakorn hung up an inviting cross which had Sene’s name written all over it. The towering French forward jumped so high that he actually had to stoop in mid-air to connect with the cross, but regardless he powered his header past the ‘keeper to make it 1-0.

Pahang rarely threatened the Port goal, but on one of the rare occasions they ventured forward new signing Dolah showed his strength and timing to win an important tackle and play a smart pass out in to midfield. The six foot five Thai-Swedish centre half looked calm and capable throughout the half, suggesting that he could form a formidable partnership with Rochela, although he was never really tested against the Malaysians.

Wholesale changes were made at half time again, with only Sene staying on the pitch. The second string were more evenly matched with Pahang, and they largely cancelled eachother out in a half where chances were at a premium. Genki (18) was industrious as ever, and Piyachart (23) made some enterprising runs forward, but Port couldn’t really find their rhythm. Matters were not helped when Sene was replaced by Wuttichai (14) and Maranhao (29) limped off the pitch after picking up a knock.

In the 75th minute Pahang found themselves back on level terms, and the game started to become a little feisty. Substitute Wuttichai was fouled and exchanged heated words with a Pahang defender, then seconds before the final whistle he was deservedly given his marching orders for an ugly foul, clearly an act of retribution.

Despite the not-so-friendly game ending on a sour note, the Port fans had a good day out, particularly the fans from Zone B who brought their drums and created a more upbeat atmosphere than we’re used to seeing in pre-season.

Port are yet to announce any more friendlies, but when they do The Sandpit will be sure to keep you updated.

 

MATCH REPORT: Siam Navy 2-1 Port FC

Siam Navy overcame an experimental Port side 2-1 in Thursday’s pre-season friendly.

Despite our shiny new sponsorship deal with The Sportsman, The Sandpit is not in the business of sending it’s minions to Sattahip for a weekday friendly, so this is less match report and more highlight report.

Port fielded a strong side in the first half, including regular starters Rochela (22), Meechok (20), Siwakorn (16), Ekkapoom (8) and Pakorn (9), new signings Sergio Suarez (5) and Elias Dolah (4) and French trialist Saer Sene (24). Wachara (1) who spent last season on loan at BBCU was a surprise starter in goal, and he looked determined to impress coach Jadet, coming off his line quickly to thwart a few early Navy attacks, before saving well from a free-kick. There were two players – presumably trialists – that we haven’t seen before, playing at left back (19) and centre midfield (27).

Port created a host of chances, most of which fell to Saer Sene, but the big man looked a little short of match fitness and luck, frequently hitting the target but not finding a way past the Navy ‘keeper.

In the second half Port made 9 changes, with only Dolah and Sene staying on the pitch. It didn’t take Navy long to punish the weakened side. Adisorn (13) was left for dead by a sharp turn from Navy’s left winger, and his cross was met with an unstoppable strike which went in off the crossbar.

Navy soon doubled their lead from a corner. A deep cross was headed back across goal, and neither Piyachart (23) or Todsapol (6) could react quickly enough to prevent the shot, which easily beat the flat-footed Worawut (36) in goal.

Late in the second half, Port claimed a consolation goal. With Pakorn not on the pitch free-kick duty fell to new signing Siwapong (39), and he proved himself an able deputy, finding the top left-hand corner with a well placed strike.

Port host Malaysian side Pahang FC on Sunday at PAT Stadium, where there will likely be more experimentation from Jadet. The Sandpit expects to see more game time for Sene, who will need to find the net if he is to convince the coach that he is the man to spearhead the team in the TPL.

Highlights have just appeared on Youtube, so here they are for your viewing pleasure!

The Sandpit Announces Sponsorship Deal with The Sportsman

We’re delighted to announce that The Sportsman, Bangkok’s number 1 sports bar, is now The Sandpit’s official sponsor!

 

Located on Sukhumvit soi 13 on the ground floor of Trendy Condo building, The Sportsman is the city’s biggest sports bar with a grand total of 26 TVs and 8 HD projectors showing all the big sports events, including Premier League football, F1, rugby, boxing, cricket and much more – including Thai Premier League football. You can find out more about The Sportsman on their website.

 

As well as sponsoring our site, they’ve put together a special deal for all Port FC fans – simply show the digital discount card below to the bar staff when you order, and you’ll get 10% off your bill. And reserve a table for a televised Port away game, and you’ll get 99BHT pints of Tiger or Singha, or 120BHT pints of Heineken throughout the game. If our last visit is any indication, you may even bump into Port captain David Rochela!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Port Fans In Exile

“Supporting and watching Port at that time reinvigorated my passion for football.”

In solidarity with exiled Port FC fans scattered across the globe from Nanning to Coventry, I thought I would share some of their stories about life as a Port fan abroad.

Matt Scott

 

Matt at Leo Stadium

Matt Scott lived in Thailand for about 2 years; more than enough time to catch the Tarua bug. He was a season-ticket holder for the 2015 season, and would be at The PAT on match-day come rain or shine. Now living in Nanning, China he says “Some of the things I miss the most about my Port FC experience are the anticipation of game day, finishing classes and heading to PAT Stadium, meeting up with the guys for a beer, food and good conversation. Of course, the highlight was once the match started. It was an awesome experience to be part of the crowd and cheer on our beloved Port FC! I can still hear the songs and chants throughout the crowd. Some louder than others…not naming names.”

Anyone who has been in Zone B, the right-hand side of Zone C or is particularly attuned to high-pitched screaching noises will probably know who he is referring to. I asked Matt if there were any anecdotes that particularly stuck out.

The infamous Mme Pang selfie!

“One of the only times I voluntarily decided to take a selfie was with Madam Pang after the away game at TOT. The guys didn’t let me live that one down too quickly….lots of well deserved head-shakes were sent my way that night, but it was still worth it!”

Finally, Matt told me “I still watch the odd Premier League match, but nothing beats the experience of live football. Good luck this season, Port. Thanks for the memories!”

Mo Shah

 

Fellow exile Mo hails from Coventry, England; a city he describes as “Famous for being bombed in the second world war.” His hometown club – Coventry City – had been, and still are, enduring tough times, making him particularly susceptible to the unique charms of Khlong Toei.

Mo in his sky-blue Port shirt

He only visited Bangkok for two weeks, but watched three Port games in that time. He says “Supporting and watching Port at that time reinvigorated my passion for football. I miss the convoy of Port FC fans on their scooters and parking up at the stadium. I miss the congregation outside the stadium, the food stalls and the general atmosphere. I miss the weather, the standing up and cheering and jeering of the opposition. I remember a certain woman. She didn’t look old, but when she shouted it reminded me of the older woman in that Jackie Chan movie Shanghai Noon. She had a distinct voice and shouted to everyone to drink up.”

Drinking Beer Through a Straw

 

For our exiles, it seems to be the little things that stick in the memory. An especially eccentric fellow fan, a tasty local delicacy, rampantly disobeying traffic laws… The little things that make supporting Port great may be individually insignificant, but when woven in to the rich living tapestry that is the Port experience, they take on a whole new meaning. Does the fact that I drink beer through a straw or collect scarves in a tropical country make any sense at all? No, but this is Khlong Toei damn it, and every moment – whether objectively good or bad – is all part of that experience.

Cherish it, fellow fans, because one day you might be looking back through orange-and-blue tinted spectacles thousands of miles from PAT Stadium thinking about that time you forgot your umbrella, got soaked through and cheered twice as loud anyway.

Exiles, we salute you!

Thi-Aggro: Ex-Port Star in Comedy Brawl Action

 

Following his on-pitch meltdown and GBH on the dressing room door during the game against Samut Songkhram last August, lovable East Timorese goal machine Thiago Cunha left Port FC and joined Indian Super League side Mumbai City FC, joining Uruguayan legend Diego Forlan in the most mismatched partnership since Ed Sheeran hooked up with Taylor Swift.

 

Thiago, you’ll be stunned to learn, has yet to find the net for his new club, but he did make the news this week when he was involved in an almighty post-whistle dust-up at the end of the second leg of the ISL semi-final, which saw Mumbai dumped out by the amusingly named Atletico de Kolkata. Kolkata’s Juan Belencoso gets dumped on his arse just as the final whistle blows, which is the cue for a highly entertaining bout of handbags.

 

Our hero makes his entrance around the 20-second mark in the clip below, punching a Kolkata player from behind and then aiming a flying kick at Belencoso himself, before running away to the safety of the match officials, whilst looking around him in panic and making hilarious boxing gestures. It’s all here:

 

 

…and The Sandpit has also paid tribute to Thiago’s moment of glory by turning it into a GIF: