So here we are. Last game of the season. We have something to play for, which doesn’t involve dropping in to the abyss of T2. We are on the cusp of an Asian adventure.
Wednesday’s training session was my first Port game in some time due to crushed balls at home. Seems 5-0 is becoming a trend. We didn’t play with a great deal of panache, but there was enough there to suggest we can comfortably beat Pattaya, who were a place below Chonburi before Wednesday’s game, and remained there following an epic tragi-comedy 5-5 draw with MTU.
For those not aware of events under the flyover in Muang Thong Thani (of which you must number about one, given the vibrations in Zone B on Wednesday), Pattaya raced into an unassailable 4-1 lead after 25 minutes, only to surrender like timid mice in the 96th (ninety sixth) minute to an equaliser to make it 5-5. Two bottles of Leo to the person who can tot up the amount of ‘injury’ time MTU opponents have ‘enjoyed’ this season. It must be at least a full game of 90 minutes, if not two. That result though saw us leap over MTU in to third.
I’m not one to trawl through statistics at this time of season, particularly given that it is win or bust for us. A win (or equaling) the result of MTU v. Bangkok United means we have a fair chance of making the Asian Champions League, providing Buriram lift the FA Cup. A sizable contingent of Port fans will be expected at the FA Cup final should this become a genuine possibility after Sunday.
So, what can we expect from a trip to Pattaya for the game? Well, a bus back. A bus back all the way to Suvarnabhumi or Ekamai given the consummate professionals of the Thai FA’s decision to move the game from anywhere near Pattaya to as close as possible to the middle of f*cking nowhere, due to electricity being in short supply around Dolphins Stadium. As far as their team is concerned we should be keeping a close eye on Lukian, who has bagged 18 this season, and Carlao who chipped in with a brace on Wednesday.
Us? Well, I’d be very happy to see Bodin start given his very perky display at the back end of the game on Wednesday. But who could blame Jadet for not changing a thing following back-to-back 5-0 wins? Stick with it Jadet, we’ve smashed the coastal teams of Navy and Chonburi. We’re about as welcome as a fleet of Viking longboats appearing on the horizon of the North Sea right now to any team down that way. My likely line up is a facsimile of Wednesday’s. I believe there were no significant injuries and there is no good reason to break up a team that’s scored 10 in two games. Particularly against a team who has leaked 8 in two.
We have our future in our own hands. FORZA PORT. SU-SU PORT. ALLEZ LE PORT. Fucking get up ‘em.
And in the interests of fair play, I asked the legend of Pattaya that is Robin Lennon a few questions. Yes Leos had been involved.
Q. Using a maximum of one word per goal – which must only be an adjective – care to talk us through each of the 10 goals from Wednesday?
A. Brilliant [0-1], shit [1-1], terrific [1-2], fantastic [1-3], orgasmic [1-4], jammy [2-4], sporny [sic] [3-4], cracker [3-5], flukey [4-5], heartbreaking [5-5].
Q. Can you guess how many minutes of ‘injury’ time the opponents of MTU have ‘enjoyed’ this season?
A. 1 minute too many [and then some, Robin].
Q. Is there a lack of electricians in Pattaya? Has nobody there got NVQ level 3 sparky certificates?
A. I guess this situation is a prime example why our owners want a new stadium so we are not at the mercy of Nongprue municipality who own the stadium. I was in Buriram so didn’t experience the storm but my friend who I was with saw the aftermath when we got back on Sunday and the damage was pretty evident in that area.
Q. Is anyone from Pattaya actually likely to bother traipsing up to Minburi?
A. I think everyone is gutted as I’m sure if it had been at home we could have expected something approaching a full house and a cracking atmosphere. As it is we’ll have a couple of bus loads and maybe the same again of independents. Probably be the first game in Thailand I’ve been to where the Away fans will outnumber the home fans (it’s pretty normal if you follow Port! Ed). A somewhat bizarre choice of venue.
Q. If you had to sum up your season in a facial expression, what would it be?
A. A smile
Q. For those readers who booked villas, other accommodation and transport to Pattaya this weekend, what words of comfort can you give?
A. None whatsoever as I can understand the frustration and disappointment, I’ve experienced the same thing the previous two seasons and they both included flights, Chiang Rai when the King passed and the remainder of the season was cancelled and then Ubon when our match was switched to Chonburi because a Farang held up a sign about ref corruption. I think the powers that be seem to think fans turn up on a whim rather than pre-plan their trips.
Q. And what words of comfort would you give the Thai FA?
A. No comment they aren’t listening or have a clue about fixture scheduling.
Q. Last season in Pattaya there were slight handbags between Pattaya farang supporters and the fence between them and the Port fans. Is Pattaya a hotbed of pathetic machismo?
A. Things have been particularly tetchy of late, maybe our beers are being spiked. Our VIP section had a somewhat heated altercation with the Korat manager and staff after the match the game before last and last game a riot nearly broke out caused by that Korean idiot from Ratchaburi inciting our fans, I understand he has form with Port fans as well. I didn’t see what caused that last season as we prioritise things and left our usual minute before half time to avoid the beer queue and get to our table. To be honest I had a bit of a concern something might happen this match but those concerns are now alleviated by sticking us in the middle of nowhere.
Q. Port have finally got a game to look forward to at the end of the season. Would you prefer Pattaya to gain an extra 3 points on Sunday and move up to 7th from 8th, or lose to Port and potentially drop 4 places so that Port can gloriously lord it over MTU?
A. I’m afraid finishing above Chonburi is more important for me so hopefully Muangthong will lose and you’ll finish above them anyway. The fact you have something to play for will hopefully make it an entertaining final game and if our goalie has as bad a game as he did on Wednesday we should be guaranteed seeing goals.
Q. Name your most favourite ever 7-inch single.
A. Geno – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Pattaya Utd vs Port FC, Sunday 7 October 18:00 at 72nd Anniversary Stadium, Minburi.