Tom’s Transfer Talk: Go-in, Go-in, Hwan!

 

With the arrival of Go Seul-ki at Port confirmed (pending the Madame Pang selfie, of course) Kim Sung-hwan has finally agreed to join Suphanburi on loan. Despite much improved performances in the second half of 2018, it was clear that Kim was still struggling for fitness, and at 32 was probably never going to be the player that Port thought they had signed last season. Despite being the same age as his compatriot, there are a few reasons why Go will be a big upgrade for Port.

Firstly, he’s proven himself in Thai football. The winner of 8 trophies, including 2 league titles in his 3 years with Buriram, Go understands how the game is played in Thailand, and how best to marshal his midfield to success. Kim certainly tried to direct proceedings from the middle of the park at Port, but it often felt as though he was swimming against the tide. With his experience, Thai/English communication skills, and some new teammates to boot, Go ought to be able to lead a more cohesive midfield unit in 2019.

Secondly, he’s fit. Go has just finished a season in the Korean top flight where he was a regular starter for Incheon United, even captaining his side on occasions in the run-in.  In fairness I do remember writing something eerily similar just before Kim’s arrival, but whilst Kim looked out of shape from the moment he arrived, here’s a recent picture of Go.

 

 

Finally, he’s got some connections within the Port squad. With a limited knowledge of both Thai and English, Kim apparently really struggled to build relationships with the other players, but not only does Go have more experience in Thailand, he knows a fair few of his new teammates already. Rochela, Nitipong, Bodin, Arthit, Yossawat and new arrival Sansern all enjoyed stints at Buriram during Go’s stay with the champs, meaning that Go will have plenty of familiar faces to help him settle in.

 

A Word of Warning

And a word of caution, because whilst I’m of the opinion that Go will be more successful with Port than Kim was, Port are still losing one of their most effective performers of last season. Kim was even my vote for The Sandpit Writers’ Player of the Year in 2018, and I think Port will really miss his fantastic vision and range of passing. It ended up being something that we grew accustomed to, but those long, raking diagonal passes that Kim specialized in will be difficult to replace, and Port will have to adapt their style and tactics accordingly.

I fondly remember Kim, almost certainly operating off the cuff, dropping back in to a sweeper position when Port had the ball and pointing at Rochela and Dolah to make a back three that allowed Port’s full backs to bomb forward safely. You could tell me it was Jadet’s idea and I would have no way to disprove it, but I’m just not buying it. That was all Kim.

 

Kannoo Believe It? Thitipan Deal On?

 

The familiar feeling is back. After a quiet start to the transfer window, there are so many transfers in and out of Port at various stages of completion I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. But seeing as we’re here, I’ll tell you what I do and don’t know, and what I think might end up happening.

 

What We Know

Done deals get cancelled, so we don’t really know anything, but the incoming transfers that everyone seems to be able to agree on are Fox Hunt duo Jirattikan Vapilai and Nutchanon Sojit, and Go Seul-ki, who has joined Port on loan from champs Buriram.

Out of the exit door have gone Jetjinn Sriprach and Sammy Slot while loanee Terens Puhiri has rejoined Borneo FC and Somprasong Promsorn has just joined Khon Kaen.

Likely Deals

There are a host of deals that some are claiming are confirmed, but haven’t yet gone on most websites’ lists of done deals. We expect some of them to be confirmed in the new year, but it’s possible that some will still be called off. The players in question are all from Bangkok United: Sansern Limwattana, Ernesto Phumipha and Sumanya Purisai.

We can’t very well have Kim Sung Hwan still on the books next season, so one way or another he’s sure to be out of the door. Apparently he’s not making things easy though, with a rumoured loan move to Suphanburi not yet any closer than when it was proposed to him by the club. Bajram Nebihi is also in the unwanted foreigner category, but he’ll be straight off as soon as he’s got his last month’s salary in the bank.

 

Thitipan’s Japanese Deal Off

BG’s superstar midfielder and my man crush Thitipan Puangchan has gone from being an outside transfer punt to maybe a 50/50, with his proposed move to Japan apparently dead in the water. Last time I wrote about him, the rumour was that if his Japanese move fell through he would join Port on loan, and now the latest news is that Bangkok United have joined the race for Thailand’s most exciting central midfielder.

This deal certainly could happen for Port, but at the moment there are no details. This deal could also affect the transfer of Bangkok United midfielder and recently named 2018 Thai League MVP Sumanya Purisai. With Sumanya carrying a hefty 40 million baht price tag, and the Thitipan loan deal sure to cost a pretty penny in loan fees and wages, we imagine that with Go’s signing already confirmed, Port will want one, but not two more good but expensive midfielders on the books. This is pure speculation on my part, though, so take it for what it’s worth.

 

Kan-Who?

 

 

Now I’ll be honest, this is the lowest kind of rumour. Port’s Wikipedia page currently shows young forward Sittichok Kannoo as a Port player, but I haven’t heard any noise anywhere else hinting that this deal could be a goer. Anyway, he’s one of the more promising Thai forwards around, with an excellent record for Thai youth teams at all levels. He has struggled a bit stepping up to T1 level though, netting 6 in 26 for Honda in 2017, then 1 in 5 for Bangkok United last season. Anyway, we need more depth up top, and he’s young and promising. Can’t argue with the logic.

 

My Prediction

Jirattikan and Go will stay, Nutchanon, as one of 5 left backs, could very easily be gone before the start of the season. Either that or he’ll stay but only play for Port B. Ernesto will arrive, meaning that Yossawat leaves on a permanent deal. Sansern will join, but Sumanya’s deal will fall through at the last minute, as Thitipan makes a dramatic late move to Khlongtoei. Sittichok will rightly deny any link to Port, and the only remnant of the rumour will be this Transfer Talk. Port will go on to sign another striker who won’t be as good as Arthit, because, let’s face it, no one is as good as Arthit. Port will not sign a right back, and end up playing Adisorn there in some critical league games, where he will run around a lot before giving away penalties which cost us points.

 

News Update: Joy for Jadet, Junk Sails In

 

Following Saturday’s Futsal triumph, Port’s golden shower of trophies continued this week when the Spherical Supremo himself, Jadet, was presented with the T1 Coach of the Year award after guiding Port to an impressive third-place finish. Not only does the award recognise Jadet’s achievement of being the highest-ranked coach in T1, it also recognises the even more impressive feat of being the first ever coach to last a whole season under the notoriously trigger-happy Madame Pang. Well done Sir Det!

Also, Port have announced another pre-season friendly, against perennial pre-season opponents Samut Sakhon FC, AKA The Proud Junk Ship. They finished 6th in T2 last season so should provide solid opposition to what we expect will be a Port second string. As per usual, KO is 17:00 at the PAT and entrance is free.

 

 

 

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Kim to Go, Go to Come

 

The Sandpit has been sitting on the Port transfer story of the winter for the last couple of weeks now, awaiting the nod from those involved to go public. The story hit the Korean media yesterday and has now reached Thailand so here goes (although the club have yet to officially confirm it): Port have signed former Buriram midfielder Go Seul-Ki!

The big box-to-box midfielder joins Port from the Isaan club after spending 2018 back in his native South Korea on loan at Incheon Utd. 32-year old Ki has an AFC Champions League medal from Ulsan Hyundai, as well as two TPL medals, a Thai FA Cup medal and two Thai League Cup medals from his time at Buriram. Port have apparently fought off five other Korean clubs who were after his services for next season, so it’s quite a coup.

Along with the signing of Bangkok Utd midfielder Sumanya, it’s an exciting deal for Port – Ki is pure quality and adds a bit of steel to a midfield that has looked very lightweight these last couple of seasons. And if 2019 is indeed Madame Pang’s final season, it’s clear she intends to leave with a bit of silverware.

Ki’s arrival means that one of the club’s existing foreigners has to make way, and we believe that will be his fellow Korean Kim Sung Hwan, who will leave on loan, with Suphanburi having been mentioned as a possible destination. Kim had his moments last season but was way too inconsistent, and there’s no doubt that Ki is a massive upgrade. Exciting times for Port fans!

 

Things Bodin’ Well for Port: Port FC 4-2 Ratchaburi (Friendly)

 

After watching Port crowned 2018 Futsal champions at the Thai-Japanese Stadium, we piled into a taxi and headed down to the PAT for the second friendly of the pre-season. It was good to see Port team win a trophy but there’s no substitute for real football and we were rewarded with a highly entertaining game.

Port began the game with pretty much a first-team XI, missing only Thailand internationals Kevin, Nurul and Sumanya, and more worryingly Boskovic, who was conspicuous by his absence. Dolah started alongside Rochela which suggests he is finally first choice in Jadet’s thinking.

Ratchaburi opened the scoring on 5 minutes when their very impressive new signing, ex-Auxerre, Nimes & NEC winger Steeven Langil teed up a perfect cross for Kang Soo-Il who headed past Rattanai. Langil looks the real deal and could be one of the signings of the season.

Port equalised a minute later when Rochela converted a penalty after Suarez had been upended by Ratchaburi’s keeper. The Spanish midfielder was as fired up as ever and showed that the word “friendly” isn’t in is vocabulary as, even after being awarded a penalty, he continued to get in the keeper’s face, followed by that of the referee. Don’t ever change Sergio.

With the Sandpit crew sitting close to the pitch we were able to, ahem, enter into dialogue with a few players, and whilst Ratchaburi striker Kang Soo-Il got some inevitable taunts about his use of moustache cream, the focus was on Port’s portly winger Pakorn. Dom gave him a bit of bantz about his selfishness and lack of teamwork; Pakorn made a “yeah yeah, keep talking” gesture, went down the other end, and set up a tap-in for a newly-shorn Bodin. Dom took this as evidence of his motivational skills, but really Dom, until Pakorn picks you out of the crowd, comes over to shake your hand and thanks you for inspiring him with your abuse, you’re an amateur.

The second “third” of the game kicked off with almost identical lineups and Bodin soon made it 3-1 with an absolute screamer. The removal of his trademark afro seems to have given the lacklustre winger a new lease of life as he looked well up for it yesterday. Ratchaburi got a goal back soon after this if memory serves me correctly but I can’t remember anything about it.

The third third featured a reserve side, which unfortunately featured Yossawat, who must’ve run over Jadet’s dog or something as he is about as far away from the first XI as I am at the moment. The stiffs gave a good account of themselves and in the 82nd minute the Port Pele himself, Arthit, bundled in a bustling header to extend Port’s lead.

An impressive win then, and Port’s key men all look well up for the season ahead. With Nurul, Kevin, Boskovic (hopefully), Sumanya and our new mystery midfielder all to come into the side, the signs for 2019 are very positive indeed.

Man of the Match

Anon bossed the midfield like a seasoned pro; Dolah led by example, yelling at his teammates throughout; and Bodin capped a superb performance with two goals; but the MOTM was indisputably (apart from Dom) Pakorn. The Midfield Monk could’ve taken the day off like his fellow AFF participants, but he chose to show up and put in a very impressive shift, even chasing a long ball at one point. New season, new Pakorn? Let’s hope so.

 

Dragan vs Dragons: Port to Face Ratchaburi in Friendly

 

Port’s pre-season friendly campaign is now well underway, and following last weekend’s defeat to Guus Hiddink’s China U21 side, this Saturday Port face the somewhat less intimidating prospect of a visit from Ratchaburi Mitr Phol FC, aka The Dragons. As well as a chance to pay our respects to Sandpit favourite, the Moustache Cream Cowboy himself Kang Soo-Il, we may also get our first look at ex-PSG player (and nephew of former French international Basile) Yannick Boli, who joined the Dragons last week. We may also get to see new Port signing Sumanya.

Kickoff is a logistically tricky 16:30 (given that Port Futsal’s last game of the season finishes just before 16:00 and will hopefully involve some post-match celebrating), entrance is free, and, for those interested, alcoholic beverages are allowed inside.

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Sumanya, My Lord, Sumanya

 

Sumanya Purisai is Port’s first big signing for the 2019 season, although his acquisition hasn’t yet been confirmed by Port. The move has, however, been all but confirmed by Bangkok United coach Mano Polking, who cryptically stated “Actually easy to explain… but not here!” when asked why he was letting one his best performers in 2018 leave the club. The reported fee is a whopping 40 million baht which, bearing in mind Sumanya is 32 years old, is quite a statement of intent from Port, and could well be the easy explanation Mano is teasing us with. This transfer could be interpreted as a pretty shocking example of overpaying for an aging player, but I’ll shelve the skepticism for now as I think this is an excellent signing from the perspective of improving Port’s chances next season.

 

 

Sumanya is an attacking midfielder capable of playing in an advanced role (think Suarez) or a central role (think Siwakorn). Considering Port’s propensity to rely on width and their lack of penetration through the middle in recent seasons, playing Sumanya and Suarez together with a solid defensive midfielder behind them (think Anon or Port’s Asian quota midfielder) could really address this imbalance. Sumanya would offer Port a much more potent attacking threat, while also providing competition for set-pieces, which Pakorn has had a monopoly on for the last few seasons.

This is a really positive move from Port management, who have had a few fans worried by the lack of early movement this transfer window. Those doubters can now be assured that the club intends to strengthen their squad once again this season – whatever the cost – and with another big announcement possibly set for the coming days (my lips are sealed… for now) Port could yet be fielding a significantly stronger first XI than they did in 2018.

As always, new signings go straight on to our Squad Page where we have player profiles including everything you need to know about our players. Sumanya’s is here.

 

Highway Robbery Foiled: Port Futsal Club 5-3 Department of Highways FC

 

It’s mid-December 2017. Chonburi Bluewave have won seven league titles in a row, and hold a slim advantage over second placed Port Futsal Club with just two games of a closely fought season remaining. Despite Port’s point deficit, the final day clash against their biggest rivals means that two victories in their final two games will see them become champions for the first time since 2007. Port’s next opponents sit third in the league, and their visit to Kodang Stadium promises to be a severe test for the title pretenders.

On that day in 2017 Port shot out to a lead against Bangkok BTS, before their dogged opponents clawed the tie back in to the balance, snatching a late goal to level the scores with just seconds remaining on the clock. In the dying moments, Port were to be denied a stone-wall penalty resulting from an accumulation of six fouls. This injustice understandably sent the home crowd in to a frenzy in which advertising hoardings were pushed over, coins were thrown and the referee escaped round the back of the stadium before being evacuated to widespread boos and verbal abuse from the home faithful. It rendered Port unable to close the gap on the final day, and to add insult to injury the final home game was moved to a neutral venue.

Fast-forward just a few days shy of a year…

It’s mid-December 2018. Chonburi Bluewave have won eight league titles in a row, and hold a slim advantage over second placed Port Futsal Club with just two games of a closely fought season remaining. Despite Port’s point deficit, a game in hand means that two victories in their final two games will see them become champions for the first time since 2007. Port’s next opponents sit fourth in the league, and their visit to Kodang Stadium promises to be a severe test for the title pretenders.

Department of Highways Futsal Club are the opposition – a well-drilled side who bring a healthy number of fans to Kodang Stadium. It’s a sell-out, the first I’ve seen in Port’s hot-box warehouse, with people perched on the edge of the terraced stands behind the goals, and those without anywhere to sit hunched over the advertising hoardings. The atmosphere is hopeful. And loud. Very, very loud. There are drums both in ‘Zone B’ where I sit, just a few meters down from the black-clad ultras, and in ‘Zone C’, where Spiderming holds court, and a bullhorn of course, with the usual suspects.

Port’s fans can’t inspire their team to the kind of fast start they were hoping for, though. The Highways take the lead, despite the ball appearing to go out of play in the build-up, as two Port defenders can’t make their mind up who to mark, leaving space for an attacker to slot the ball in to Kanison Phoopan’s (18) bottom corner.

With Port backs well and truly against the wall a swift response was needed, and boy did they provide it. Brazilian Marcos de Mendonca (10) provided the near instant response, with a ball from the right finding its’ way in to the back of the net off his midriff. Compatriot Rian Gomes (20) soon got in on the act, with his incredible laser-like strike from distance flying past the ‘keeper, slamming in to the net via the stanchion and sending the Port crowd in to ecstasy. Gomes wasn’t finished yet, though, although the credit for his second and Port’s third belongs squarely with veteran Lertchai Issarasuwipakorn (6). His change of direction on the left sat the goalkeeper on his arse, before his deft backheel sent the ball across the goal line where Gomes was on hand to turn it in from just centimetres out.

 

 

The Highways were not to go down without a fight though, and they obviously thought that the situation – even mid-way through the first half – was desperate enough to warrant a radical change of tactics. Now, any regular viewer of futsal is familiar with rush-goalie tactics, when an outfield player takes the field in a goalkeeper’s shirt to add an extra attacker, while obviously putting themselves at great risk of being caught out on the break. It’s not unusual to see this tactic deployed by a team facing a deficit in the final few minutes of a match, but neither I nor my fellow fans have ever seen this used in the first half. These guys really wanted it.

As it turned out, they displayed some of the most effective use of the 5 man attack that I’ve seen, led expertly by captain and former Chonburi and Thailand midfielder Kiatiyot Chalarmkhet (32). Keeping possession while probing for an opening, The Highways tested Port’s defence until just before half time when they finally made the breakthrough, although once again the ball seemed to have been dragged out of play by the attacker, before it was eventually turned in by a sliding Highwayman.

 

 

A Port goal was also ruled out, causing some serious flaring of tempers from both benches. Several rough challenges punctuated the final minutes of the half, with Port perhaps fortunate that the referees missed a flying elbow from one of their players.

Come the second half, come that same sinking feeling that those who witnessed the second half collapse against Bangkok BTS last year wish they could forget. The Highways continued with their 5 man attack, and with less than 7 minutes left on the clock they finally drew a mistake from the Port defence. Normally reliable Port and Thailand defender Chaivat Jamgrajang (7) was a little unlucky with a low ball across the box, failing to sort out his feet and turning the ball in to his own net to level the scores at 3-3.

Incredibly, The Highways still continued playing the 5 man attack, but it was to be no match for a reinvigorated Port being roared on by an increasingly anxious and belligerent Kodang Stadium. It was more fine work from Marcos that created an opening which Thananchai Chomboon (17) couldn’t fail to take advantage of from close range, but much more impressive than his goal was the celebration which followed. The best way I can describe his reaction is to liken it to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s assault on Conor McGregor’s team after their MMA fight earlier this year. Thananchai leapt feet first in to the netting separating the fans and the court, somehow finding, losing then regaining his balance on top of the flimsy barriers while wildly cheering fans grabbed hold of the hero of the hour. I’m not going to lie. I was one of them. What a moment! Witnessing the passion showed by so many of the Port faithful being reflected by the players is always great to see, and it was clear from that moment that Port were not going to let their opportunity be taken away from them a second time.

 

 

There was still time for Gomes to get his hattrick, turning in a fizzing cross from the left, before Port protected their lead expertly, defending like their lives depended on it. Huge celebrations, tinged I’m sure with more than a little relief, greeted the final whistle, confirming the 5-3 final score. The curse of 2017 has been exorcised, and now 8th place Bangkok City are all that stand between Port and that elusive Futsal Thai League trophy.

 

 

The final game of the season is unfortunately an away clash, but it’s an easy enough game to make it to. Bangkok City are based in the Thai Japanese Youth Centre in Din Daeng which Bangkok United called home from 2009-15. It’s this coming Saturday 15th December at 14:00. The gravity of the occasion as far as Port is concerned is sure to mean that a very sizable traveling army will descend on Bangkok City, making a Port-friendly atmosphere which will surely turn in to a party for the ages if The Port Lions prevail and are crowned champions.

 

 

My advice is simple. BE THERE!

 

China Crisis: Port FC 0-3 China U21

 

Port’s first pre-season match of the off-season ended in a disappointing 0-3 defeat to Guus Hiddink’s China under 21 team. Port fielded a second XI in the first half, before fielding a stronger XI in the second half. Whereas Port played at a pretty sluggish pace – understandably considering that the players are coming back from their holidays – China played at a high tempo with plenty of intensity, and although they were not the most talented team to grace PAT Stadium they were effective and clinical where Port were anything but.

 

 

Port’s starting XI featured one new face, alongside a host of squad players and returning loanees. And Elias Dolah, who for some strange reason was included with the second string, despite being one of Port’s best performers in the second half of 2018. The new face was young Fox Hunt left back Nutchanon Sojit, who looked a little off the pace on his debut.

With Nutchanon starting in his favoured position at left back, Sandpit favourite but clearly not Jadet favourite Yossawat Montha was pushed forward on to the wing, and was Port’s most threatening player in the early going. In the 17th minute, his wicked free kick from the right beat the goalkeeper, before cannoning off the bar and then the post before being hacked away by some desperate Chinese defending. Two minutes later, Arthit almost latched on to a ball through the middle, but couldn’t quite gather the ball under pressure.

 

 

Port were soon punished for not taking their chances, with China being rightly awarded a penalty after a clumsy challenge from right back Adisorn. Adisorn has been used regularly in central midfield in recent seasons, but started several games at right back in 2016. Jadet seems to be considering having Adisorn as his backup right back next season, as there aren’t as yet any rumours linking Port with a replacement for Meechok, who left midway through last season. Adisorn will want to iron out mistakes like the one he made here though, if he is to convince Port not to go looking for a specialist full back. Caught out of position, Adisorn made up ground on his opponent, but a change of direction caught him unawares, and he clearly upended his opponent in the box. The Chinese forward sent Worawut the wrong way to give his side the lead against the run of play.

The rest of the first half seemed to have passed without incident before more Port mistakes in added time handed China a simple chance, which they took. Nutchanon – the lone defender back after a Port corner had been cleared – misjudged a high ball, allowing an attacker to ghost past him and get a clear run on goal. Worawut obligingly stayed on his line until the last second, by which time the ball was already past him and China were celebrating a 0-2 advantage.

 

 

Port fielded an entirely new XI in the second half, with the one big selection shock being the other new Fox Hunt addition Jirattikan Vapilai. He must have impressed in training to have been included with the first team, although it looked like he would rather have been playing in a more withdrawn role than the one he was handed. Boskovic was in the stadium but didn’t make it on to the pitch, meaning that either of Suarez and Jirattikan had to try to lead the line. Neither did so to much effect, although Suarez did show some lovely touches.

China struck first once again with a goal coming down Port’s right hand side, but although the result was now beyond much doubt, Port were by far the dominant side. Anon looked excellent in the middle of the park, but Suarez and Bodin were Port’s most threatening attackers. In the space of two minutes, both broke through down the left, but failed to find a teammate from promising positions. In the 77th minute, Jirattikan found Nitipong with an inviting layoff, but Nitipong blasted the ball wide. A minute later Siwakorn skied a similar effort after some good work from Suarez. Port were well on top, but the goal was not to come and Port’s visitors ended up securing a victory far more comfortable than the scoreline suggests.

Still, results in friendlies mean little, and having played a well-drilled team who have just had a military-style training camp, Port shouldn’t be too worried about the score in a game they looked on top in for long periods.

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Thit or GTFO

 

Well, once the midfield rumours started, the genie was never going back in the bottle. Port’s search for a new engine room has been revving up, or at the very least, speculation surrounding Port’s transfer dealings has been.

Once again there are two rumours to report, and once again I find myself loving one and hating the other. Let’s start with the good stuff this time, shall we?

 

 

Anyone who has listened to me drone on about the Thai national team will know that I am absolutely enamored by Thitipan Puangchan. He’s my kind of footballer. But before I start the love-in, let’s have a look at where things stand career-wise.

One of the senior members of Thailand’s ‘golden generation’, Thitipan started out – as almost all of them did – with Muangthong. Between 2011 and 2016 he played over 100 top tier games – including a loan spell with Suphanburi – but towards the end of his time with Muangthong he was seeing very little action, and finally in 2017 opted to move to Chiang Rai in search of more regular football.

It was a timely decision, with Thitipan’s impressive exploits at youth level becoming a more and more distant memory, and it took him just one game to launch himself back in to Thai football’s consciousness with a stunning hattrick. He would go on to be named in the T1 team of the season, before Bangkok Glass made him their 30 million baht marquee signing in 2018.

It’s fair to say that things didn’t go quite so well from there. It probably didn’t help that Thitipan appeared to have embarked on a competitive eating career in the off season and at the start of the 2018 season was looking rather more like a football than a footballer. It didn’t take one of Thailand’s hardest working footballers long to shed the Pakorn bodysuit, but it didn’t make much difference to Glass’ fortunes. Thitipan’s performances were certainly not to blame for BG’s eventual relegation – his 5 goals and 6 assists were a pretty reasonable return – but neither he or his team played anywhere near their potential, before relegation was confirmed on an insane final day of the season.

 

 

But whilst Thitipan was struggling for his club he was absolutely excelling for the national team. He was the player of the tournament in Thailand’s 2017 King’s Cup victory, and was again among Thailand best performers in 2018. He has become absolutely indispensable to coach Rajevac, who trusts Thitipan enough to stick him just about anywhere on the pitch – he played central midfield, right midfield and right back for spells in the recent Suzuki Cup semi-final.

This brings us up to his current situation. Apparently, 25 year old Thitipan is on the hunt for a J League club to take his career to the next level, but right now no deal has been signed. The reporting over the last couple of days is that if no deal is reached with a Japanese suitor then Thitipan’s fall-back option is a season-long loan deal with Port. GET IN!

Now, what kind of player is he? The quintessential box-to-box midfielder. He has a superb work rate, he can tackle (and does so in an overzealous way every 30 seconds or so) and he is always on the lookout for an opportunity to drive the team forward with a searching pass or a powerful run. A little known fact about Thitipan? He has never not been on a yellow card. He spends entire games wincing and looking as tired as a fat kid who has just ran a marathon, but never stops going and never gives up. He shouts at his team mates and gets pissed off when they don’t put in the work. He is also capable of the most magnificent moments of laughably awful football you’ve ever seen. Sometimes when he shoots, he misses. The corner flag. When he scores he celebrates like Marco Tardelli. Sometimes he trips over the ball and falls on his arse. He’ll be on the right wing, and 5 seconds later he’ll be playing in goal. You never know what you’re going to get with Thitipan, but you can sure it’ll either be good or it’ll be funny.

Can you tell that I kind of like the guy? Come on Port, sign him up!

 

 

The other rumour is about a bog-standard left-footed right winger from Chiang Rai called Sivakorn Tiatrakul who would have no business joining Port, and would be behind Pakorn, Nurul and Bodin in the pecking order. Blah.

Can you tell I’m not particularly enthused? Come on Port, sign Thitipan!

Please.