I popped in to the club shop on Monday afternoon to pick up a few ‘Back to Thai League’ t-shirts that I’d ordered from the club Facebook page. Having a few hours to kill, I decided to grab myself some pork satay from across the road and a cheeky Leo from the bloke who sells snacks and booze from the back of his truck outside the ticket office and watch training.
I was a bit early, so was the first in to Zone C, but Ittipol (7) and vice-captain Wuttichai (14) were already out on the pitch doing some fitness work. As I made my way to the upper tier I noticed that either the port fans have been taste-testing several different brands of lemonade or… ohhhh. None of the nearby bathrooms were open, so… great. Undeterred, I found myself a spot a safe distance from the mystery bottles and settled in.
Before long the players began to appear. Of the 5 foreign players who finished last season at the club, Wagner (35), captain Rochela (22), Maranhao (29) and Genki (18) were all there, but Oliveira (25), who barely played last season, was nowhere to be seen. No surprise there. Most of the rest of the squad were present except Meechok (20), Rattanai (17) and Tana (5), who have been on international duty for the last few weeks; Meechok with the under 20’s, Rattanai with the under 23’s and Tana with the first team. Atit (19) and Sathaporn (15) who were on loan last season from Muang Thong and Buriram respectively, seem to have gone back to their parent clubs. Piyachat (28) was the only player I expected to see but didn’t. He was a mid-season signing from Sukhothai, so I assume he is injured, rather than having moved on again.
There were about ten players who I have never seen before, so I assume there are several trialists, but no way to work out who any of them are. We will have to wait for the start of the season and follow everyone’s favourite source of Port transfer news – Madame Pang’s Instagram – in order to get confirmations of new signings.
There were also a few new faces on the coaching staff. A well-built Brazilian, who I gather is called Rod Pellegrino, was in charge of training, while another new coach, who I assume is also Brazilian, was training the goalkeepers seperately. He seems to have replaced the bleached-blonde goalkeeping coach from last season. So, for what they’re worth, those are my probably-completely-meaningless observations from a Monday afternoon training session.
It’s only been a couple of months, but it seems like forever since the season was so abruptly cut short. Can’t wait for the pre-season friendlies to begin, as it’s perfect football weather, and I assume it means the club will open the Zone B bathrooms again, ending the lemonade craze that has taken off on the upper tier of Zone C. See you all at PAT Stadium soon for beers, laughs and hopelessly trying to work out who is who during friendlies!