Following Sunday’s disastrous déjà vu moments, so eloquently lambasted by Tim’s scathing, but fully-earned, reportage, Port will try to restore some sense of pride in another Bangkok nearly-local-derby.
Our opponents, BEC Police Tero, have a somewhat colourful history, featuring footballing characters who, some might say (although not me), have often operated on the fringes of legality and, sometimes, decency. They were formed in 1992 as the Sasana Witthaya School FC by none other than Thailand’s own Sepp Blatter, the mercurial Worawi Mukadi, otherwise known as Bung Dee. Now, a logical, bi-lingual translation would reveal ‘bung’ being English for a bribe and ‘dee’ meaning good, but I certainly hope no-one would be scurrilous enough to put the two together in Mr Makudi’s case, particularly as, allegedly, Mr Makudi’s favourite pastime, apart from allegedly making lots of money from the FIFA gravy train, is suing people. So, in my opinion, he is a VERY GOOD MAN.
In 1996 Sasana allied with BEC Tero Entertainment to become BEC Tero Sasana FC. They enjoyed much success in the new millennium, winning the first division of the Thai League in 2000 and 2001 and then, in 2003, narrowly missed out on the Asian Football Championship, losing 2-1 on aggregate to Ain FC of the United Arab Emirates. One of their top players and captain at this time was the much celebrated, Therdsak Chaiman, of Chonburi fame.
In more recent history, BEC Tero grabbed global attention when chairman, Brian Marcar, managed to persuade Suave Swede Sven (Goran Eriksson), to take over the role of Technical Director in the latter stages of the 2012 season. Or, maybe he didn’t need much persuasion; he may have ventured out here to fulfill a personal dream, as revealed to Didi Hamann, which the ex-Liverpool midfielder describes in his book, ‘The Didi Man’.
‘Recalling a (Man City) pre-season trip to Thailand, Hamann writes: “One morning when I was on a sun lounger by the pool, he (Sven) walked towards me with a bottle of champagne and two glasses on it. It was still only 10 in the morning. I looked up and said, ‘Boss, what are we celebrating?’ expecting him to make the triumphant announcement he was staying.
“He turned to me and smiled that gentle smile of his and took the air of a Buddhist philosopher, as he said, ‘Life, Kaiser. We are celebrating life’. With a glass of champagne in hand he stood and looked out towards the horizon, then spoke in that higgledy-piggledy Swedish accent: ‘You know Kaiser, I like this place. I think I will manage for another five years and come back here and live with two women. Yes. I think I need two beautiful women.’
Port played BEC Tero soon after Sven was appointed and, in one of our best performances in the failed fight against relegation, beat them 2-0 at the National Stadium. With my hand on my heart, I swear that I saw Sven leaving with two, beautiful Thai women. Dream fulfilled or what? Or maybe it wasn’t; the next season saw him with Guangzhou FC in China.
For a team with a successful history and ambitions to be a top-top team, Tero have led rather a nomadic existence, never really establishing a solid, loyal fan-base. They have had four changes of Stadium in the past 8 years, moving between Nong Chok, Thephasadin (my favourite), the much-loathed 72nd Anniversary Stadium and now, Boonyachinda, in the Laksi district. We last visited Boonyachinda in the 2013 promotion season when Leandro’s spectacular, overhead left-foot volley set us on the way to a 5-1 victory against the then occupants, and equally nomadic, Thai Tobacco Monopoly. Like most of Tero’s previous stadiums, it is ‘end-less’ but we do have a decent side-view and will no doubt take up much of its 3,550 capacity.
There still, however, seems to be some confusion over the club’s name, with many football sites listing them as BEC Tero FC, although everyone seems to be aware of their recent amalgamation with Police Utd, albeit in rather confusing circumstances. Any Tero fans out there like to clarify: ‘Who Are Yer?’
They are currently managed by English born, Mike Mulvey, whose biggest triumphs have been in the Australian ‘A’ League with Brisbane Roar, achieving a record three successive titles between 2012-14. Mulvey has come under just a little pressure before the game; Chairman Brian basically telling him, “Lose and you’re out!”. He seems like quite a decent chap, so we might almost wish for a draw. More than that and the best he can hope for is a sympathy card from Frank De Boer.
On the playing side, little will have changed since our home fixture when Tom highlighted key players Michael N’dri (14 goals to date) and former UK Championship player Kalifa Cisse; Port winning on that occasion 2-1, with goals from Josimar and Siwakorn. Port fans, though, were keen to assess the performance of our rejected Thai/Swedish defender Niran Hansson who, despite catching the eye and the ears of the Sandpit, never really had the chance to shine at PAT. With seven performances in a Tero shirt behind him, it would have been interesting to see if he was pitted against Josimar, on whom much of goal-scoring hopes will rest but, alas, Tom informs me that he is unlikely to play. However, the speculation on that fact has used up the best part of a paragraph so I’ve left it in, in case he does!
Of the other Port players, fans are hoping that Suarez and footballing monk, Pakorn, continue their recent revival. I have never been a big fan of Pakorn, watching him running the ball too often into dead-ends, but will be happy to eat my words should he continue to improve. Aside from that, Rochella and Dolah will be fairly rock-like, unless faced with a Duracell bunny like John Baggio; Siwakorn will run abaht a bit and get himself booked, while Tana’s or Wuttichai’s introduction at any point will elicit anguished groans. Now, add to these, Siwapong. Personally, I would keep the same team that started Sunday, with Yossawat replacing Panpanpong and no subs till we’re 10-0 ahead.
Sunday was, in fact, the third time this season that Port have thrown away a two-goal lead, and on every single one of those occasion we have irresponsibly conceded an injury time-penalty for the equalizer. Sadly, I was at all three games and it does my head in. To paraphrase Lady Bracknell, “To give away one penalty in the last minute, Mr Zico, may be regarded as a misfortune; to give away three looks like carelessness.” Sorry, Lady B, it’s shockingly abysmal, that’s what it is. Jetjinn and Adisorn had watched Baggio skinning people all afternoon in tight situations but they still got hopelessly done. I would have them both put in some stocks specially erected in the Sandpit before the next home game, and arm the crowd with some rotten durians. They won’t be that bothered, because if our aim is like most of our forwards, we’ll miss.
So, rather than highlight a duel with any opponent, our biggest threat is ourselves, our biggest shooting danger – in the foot: needless, mindless substitutions and late, inexcusable penalties. Rant spent.
For Mr Mulvey’s sake; I predict a 1-1 draw.
The match will be shown live on True Sport 2 at 17:45 on Saturday 16 September, 2017. For those who can’t make it to the stadium, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will be showing the match on a big screen with sound. The Sandpit will be enjoying some pre-match beers there from2.30pm before heading out to the stadium.