Sandpitter-Patter: Our Writers’ Thoughts on 2017

 

To finish off our 2017 reviews, here’s a roundup of our regular – and irregular – writers’ thoughts on the season, which for some reason include Archie Gemmell, Bangladeshi cricket fans and, weirdest of all, numerous mentions of Tana…

 

Dave Barraclough

Dave Barraclough

 

 

Match of the Season

Chiang Rai away – The game that made many think we might just do something special this season. Of course that was totally delusional. The penalty save turned the game on it’s head, when the third went in… probably parallels with Archie Gemmell against Holland. After spankings given out by Thai Honda and Bangkok “where we’re going we don’t need fans” United, this was the perfect antidote to what was looking like a rather ominous start to the season.

Goal of the season

Josimar’s twins against MTU – can’t split them. Ecstasy.

Player of the season

Madam Pang…no hang on, the fans, for putting up with: Tana; nonsensical season breaks; ridiculous lack of any 50th anniversary celebration; Tana; the transfer window that wasn’t; a non-existent club shop; Tana.

Villain of the season

Whichever pillock thought of taking that photo at Bangkok Glass. And Tana.

 

Tommie Duncan

Tommie Duncan

 

 

Match of the Season

The away win against MTU. Just the look on the Scum’s faces was enough to secure top spot.

Goal of the Season

Huh? I’m too old to remember minute details as such!!! Umm…probably one of Pakorn’s free kick goals.

Player of the Year

With Pakorn a close second, my vote goes to Rochela. Still a solid defender and I think we’d have a few points less if it were not for him.

 

Peter Hockley

Peter Hockley

 

 

Match of the Season

March 11th: Thai Port 0 Buriram 0

In spite of a lack of goals, this fixture, not for the first time, epitomized what Big Match Day at Port is all about. A ground-filling, raucous, passionate home crowd and a pulsating away end; full blooded, grown-up football, played with no little commitment, skill and a bubbling undercurrent of spite, with a doubtful sending off adding a touch of controversy. Buriram missed a couple of golden chances, Genki had a late header thwarted by a miraculous save, but it would have been harsh for there to have been a loser.

Goal of the Season

May 17th: Josimar’s 3rd against Muang Thong

This goal is chosen more for its significance than being a strike of beauty (although it was decent) or the culmination of a flowing team move. For, nobody will need reminding, this was the goal that put Port in striking distance of their first win over the Scum in 8 years. Josimar’s volley, just on the stroke of half time from Nittipong’s cross, will be his lasting legacy.

Player of the Season

Siwakorn Jakkuprasat (16)

I make no apologies for nominating the ‘Thin White Duke’, as he has been dubbed. He is, after all, the players’ player, as the Sandpit has often noted. He is at the heart of all that happens between the boxes: switching play, providing a combative shield in front of the back four and weighing in with the occasional eye-catching goal. He is always the first player Rochela looks for when building from the back. He has the finest collection of yellow cards at the club year on year, proving he is always ready to take one for the team. Watching him chase after a Ratchaburi midfielder on Saturday with the whole Port crowd knowing the outcome was a moment of rare, artistic beauty and some amusement.

 

James Clarke

James Clarke

 

 

Player of the Season

David Rochela by a mile. With full backs who think defending is optional and a porous midfield, his job often amounts to herding cats. That he does it so efficiently his work often goes unnoticed is remarkable. Thankfully we’re at least another season from finding out how bad things get in a post-Rochela world. Suarez since Jadet came back has been great but whilst he was never deserving of the level criticism earlier in the season he didn’t do enough back then to get near el capitan portero basadora.

Match of the Season

Buriram 0-0. A few spring to mind. Beating the vermin in their own back yard, (personally, only enhanced by watching the end on a mobile, over 6000 miles away at a cricket ODI in an Irish castle surrounded by screaming Bangladeshi cricket fans). Hanging out in the tunnel away to (our now good buddies) Chiangrai. Combined with a great team performance and classic away weekend. However, I’m going with Buriram at home. Coming off the back of a mid-week 5-1 hammering to Honda (who Buriram had beaten by the same scoreline the round before), expectations were non-existent and the mood truly gloomy pre match, yet the 6905 people who made their way to the PAT puffed themselves up to look closer to 10000 and set about making the noise of 15000. Adisorn made a one night only cameo as the marauding midfield filthbag Port’s season ceaselessly screamed out for. The crowd got involved, every good thing Port did was celebrated and the hiso money boys, were hassled, abused and intimated at every turn. Diogo was sent off and Port were probably worthy of the win but anyone can be involved in an upset. Glorious nil nils they’re truly special.
Pattaya away came from a similar place. You wouldn’t think it could get lower than Honda but the end of Zico’s reign managed it. The big man got his team back. Tactical changes actually occurred. Five minutes in Port were two rubbish goals up. Hoola hoop dude. Cartoon hooliganism. It wasn’t so much that it was great, as that all things Port weren’t utter shit anymore and when you’ve been down where Zico took us, that’s enough.

Goal of the Season

Siwakorn at Bangkok United (6-2 match).
Genki on day one wasn’t a screamer but it had drama and meaning. Round two saw the best thing Tana did all season. Any goal against the lizard vermin is joyous but Josi managed two belters at legoland.
Pakorn could have a sub genre of his own. Weather its taking a corner, too far out, too narrow an angle or the fact they play for the same team, no keeper in Thailand should ever feel truly safe when he has the ball.
The fourth against Sisaket, was the kind of goal we normally concede by the bucket load to the total football of teams based in Rangsit but for once it was Port pinging the ball about with guile and pace, Ekkapoom playing a central role only added to it.
However, it was an utterly meaningless goal, as we were already 3-0 down, in what would prove to be a 14-3 aggregate hammer across three matches against Bangkok United, that takes the tops the list for me. Siwakorn long range effort to make it 3-1 and give absolutely nobody hope we were getting back into the game but it was a thing of true beauty and about the only thing we had over Bangkok United this season.

 

Andy Hailstone

Andy Hailstone

 

 

Due to the constraints of the family, I have only made it to 4 games this season (plus two friendlies), so I’m not sure I can really contribute too much to a season review piece.  All can I offer would be this…

My Stats for a Poorly Attended Season

2 Clearly well-deserved, devastatingly efficiently achieved wins
1 Heroically fought-out draw
1 Soul destroyingly, existence questioningly loss
4 Mind blowing goals scored
2 Annoyingly annoying goals conceded
3 Tana talent free league appearances that challenge the definition of what a footballer can be seen as
1 Glorious Tana free game, thanking whatever deity you care to mention for his absence
2 Comically tragic Weera friendly appearances (3 if you count opposition appearances)
1 Heroic performance against Buriram
1 or 2 Suarez child-like tantrums
2 Bittersweet Maranhao friendly appearances, suggesting at what could have been
1 hopeful Tatchanon performance that ultimately led to nothing
0 Zico managed games witnessed, thank god.
4 games wondering what the hell it is that Madame Pang actually does or contributes, other than needlessly interfering with team affairs and trying to be the centre of attention at every opportunity.
1 baffling goal by Wuttichai
1 all too brief exposure to the potential that was Hansson
4 games of wondering why Genki seemed incapable of keeping his socks rolled up
2 games wondering if Dolah is better a better partner for Rochela than Todsapol
2 games wondering if Todsapol is better a better partner for Rochela than Dolah

 

 

Tim Russell

Tim Russell

The founder and editor of The Sandpit, Tim has been in SE Asia since 2003 and in Bangkok since 2012, where he runs a travel tech business. Tim has followed Port FC since 2014, and is also a fan of his hometown club Coventry City, and French club AS St-Etienne. He has written for the likes of Football365, ITV.com, NME and The Quietus, and is a regular contributor to God Is In the TV. He's a keen photographer and his work can be seen on his website.

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