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!

Tom Earls

Tom Earls

Having moved to Thailand aged 10, Tom has been playing or watching football in Thailand for more than 18 years. A keen follower of the Thai National Team and an avid fan of Port FC, he is a regular contributor to The Sandpit.

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