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Crystal Balls 2019: Bangkok Utd

 

After finishing second last season, and having probably the most impressive transfer window of any T1 club, hopes are high that Mano Polking can finally guide Bangkok Utd to silverware this season. We spoke to not one but TWO Angels fans – Matt Jenkins and Svein Falk Lorentzen – to get their thoughts on what should be an exciting season for the Rangsit-based club…

How did your team perform in 2018? Where do they need to improve?

Matt: We had a good season last year, which fell apart towards the end in one horrid month, that we just couldn’t recover from. The 2 defeats to Buriram in a week completely knocked us out . Prior to that we had our best ever run , including a 13 game unbeaten streak and played some superb football. We lacked finishing last season , and should have had a lot more goals but for some poor finishing. So ending the season losing to Sukhothai and watching Bonilla tear us apart had me super excited a few weeks later when he was signed.

Svein: They did very good in the league, except for 1 or 2 periods, but poor in the cups. Scoring more goals is what they need to improve if they are to challenge for trophies.

Transfer window – which new signings are you most excited about? Which departing players are you sorry to see go/happy to see the back of?

Matt: Our transfer business was done so early in the window its almost easy to forget who we signed! Bonilla, Tristan Do, Peerapat, Anon all will offer something very different from what we had . Bonilla is class , and I am super excited to see him and Vander Luiz or Vanilla as they shall know be known! combine upfront together , I think once they find their range they will cause a lot of problems for teams. Do & Peerapat will give us the width we need to go 3-5-2 . We have some great options for a midfield 3 now as well, with box2box, creative and holding midfield options. Interestingly I still feel it will boil down to how much Dechmitr can bring to the pitch, and if he and a couple of others want to play or run around chasing the ref complaining for 90mins. We didnt have the biggest clear out of players that I expected to be honest, but I was surprised that we let Sumanya Purisay go …He always gave everything for us, and was one of my favoured players, I’m not sure you know what you have signed in him for Port, but you are getting a great great player, and one that Bole campaigned for. Always 100%.

Svein: I`m very excited about signing Bonilla. I`m sure he will score 25+ goals this season.
And I`m very disappointed to see Sumanya go. That`s even worse than letting Boscovic go. I don`t understand any of those decisions. And they let both go to the same team. Why are Bangkok United making Port a much better team??

Happy with your club’s coach?

Matt: Yes – Very. Its Mano Polking . And if you dont know what you have , you dont deserve it. The board and club have backed him fantastically during close season, and he’s a quality coach, its 100% up to the players to deliver for him.

Svein: Of course! Mano is the best coach in Thai football.

What are your realistic ambitions for the 2019 season?

Matt: Trophy… is a must. Club will be focussed on the league quite rightly – We could play a maximum of about 42 games this season (if we got to both cup finals) , its not a huge amount over the season , we have a big squad and a lot of quality. We have to improve on last season , and that means even if we go to the last game of the season, we have to be in contention. If you offered me 2nd in the league and the FA Cup right now…. I’m not sure if I would take it. On an overall TPL perspective I’d like a very early clampdown on surrounding referees – however shit their decisions are. Its frankly embarrassing – But I would also like the TPL to take to task those referees clearly in pocket of certain clubs.

Svein: League champions and winning one of the domestic cups.

Which teams will be in contention for the title? Which teams will struggle to survive?

Matt: I expect Muangthong to bounce back this season, Buriram will always be the toughest test . Port have strengthened well and will always be up there. Suphanburi to be the dark horses. Down – Trat, Rayong and I think Prachuap minus 55% of their goals in Jonathan Reiss will struggle.

Svein: Bangkok United, Buriram United and Muangthong United.
Chiang Mai, Trat, Ratchaburi, PTT Rayong and Chainat.

Tell us your very favourite, and your absolute least favourite, things about following your club

Matt: Favourite thing this season is not really having an excuses.. I’m super excited for the season, even after the Ha Noi game. We have a group of players that I feel can deliver silverwear. Its the first season I’ve also loved Home Away and 3rd shirts as well. Least favourite – the 45km commute to home games… but I heard some positive news for the future on that front , so maybe soon there will be nothing to complain about 🙂 Enjoy the season Sandpit! I’m expecting it to be a cracker!

Svein: Playing good and entertaining football.
Playing at Thammsat is the worst. Far away from where they should be.

 

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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