Noone (Should) Like Us, But I Care!

 

I have supported Port since the season of 2010, I watched about half the games that year, some home and some away. I have seen plenty of bizarre, fantastic and unpleasant things occur over the years some of the unpleasant ones have included the farcical floodlights debacle, the Port Authority’s squabble over the ownership of the club, the truly embarrassing “Big Ben” era and various periods of hierarchical apathy and directionlessness in both tactics and player acquisition. But it is the present developing state of affairs that has troubled me most.

 

I realize I may speaking from a position of a minority of one, but I care and think it needs raising. For the first time ever in my footballing experience, I actually wanted the team that I was supporting to lose the game I was watching. While I don’t deny that the quality of some the play at times was excellent and the way we passed the ball around with vim and vigor was fantastic to watch, and that many of our players have their impressive qualities. For me the negative, in my humble opinion, far outweighed the positive.

 

I started the season thinking that the transfer window had been a missed opportunity for us to build on last year. As we seemed no stronger with the new recruits than we were last year. It would seem i disagree with most of what I have read about  Go Seul-Ki and think that actually he isn’t any noticeable upgrade on our previous Korean midfielder we had and we have ever had. He seems to fit the standard average Korean midfielder we always get; plays simple balls but is largely ineffective and (for me) forgettable. Also Sumanya, doesn’t seem an ideal signing at all.

 

So it seems to me we haven’t addressed the inadequacies of the team from last season. And so due to our patchy form this season and our clear refusal to solve those issues, it would appear to me that the club, as a collective, appear to have decided on the narrative that it is all the referee’s fault that results may not go our way. And that explanation of our woes seemed disgustingly apparent in the whining, moaning, bitching, cheating conduct of the team in the Trat game.

 

I do, to a degree, fully agree with many of the dissenting voices that the quality of refereeing in the Thai league structure isn’t ideal, but it seems for the most part to be on par with the quality of the footballers on display. If players struggle and often fail to make easy passes to each other, then it seems logical that maybe referees may also struggle and fail to make the correct decision in 50/50 challenges. This is especially made all the more difficult with all players seemingly absolutely committed to conning the referee into incorrect decisions at every opportunity available. However the way that Port seemed to play in the Trat game was a disgrace, and it left me utterly ashamed and embarrassed that the team I support would choose to conduct themselves in such a manner.

 

Our players seemed far more intent on surrounding the ref and arguing every decision given either against us and bizarrely for us too. Too many times our players imitated the old Man Utd teams, and surrounded, intimidated and abused the ref to simply unacceptable degrees. I remember the bad old days of Mario and Pipipat attempting to ref games but what was done by Siwakorn, Dolah, Boskovic, Suarez, and Todsapol was an absolute disgrace. The only time Siwakorn wasn’t in the ref’s face screaming vitriolic abuse at him was when he was down injured. He appeared to be shadowing the ref rather than focusing on the ball. The patience (or sadly more likely cowardice) of the ref not to send off 2 or 3 Port players appeared endless. Boskovic really should be far more focused on trying to play football and doing what he paid handsomely to do instead of sprinting up to the ref after each and every decision. His form this year, in my opinion has been utterly awful. But as there appears to be little or no option other than him, sadly I doubt he will be dropped anytime soon.

 

Boskovic’s shameful open letter, which lacked all sense of self awareness, slamming referees was totally unwarranted and seems to sum up the developing approach of the whole Port structure to this victim narrative. Watching the coaching staff and Madame Pang herself, throughout the game repeatedly sarcastically clapping most of the official’s decisions, hardly sets a respectful precedence. I really didn’t think that the ref did that badly, he was under extremely and unnecessarily hostile conditions. And don’t get me started on our goalkeeping coach attempting to do tricks and juggling the ball instead of simply returning it to play. I can just imagine the tsunami of rage and abuse of Port’s coaching staff should an opposition coach have tried something similar when we were trying to chase a game. And then his bowing to the crowd just demonstrated even more the disrespectful nature that seems so prevalent in our set-up.

 

Now I realise there will be those fans who will argue it is just a bit of fun, and just a bit of banter, and why do I need to be so serious? But the level of aggression, abuse and spite that was pouring out of the mouths of Port fans around me in zone C, directed at the officials and opposition, was horrendous. And it was all encouraged by the on-field antics of the players and conduct of the staff. For the first time in a Port crowd I found myself truly ashamed and disgusted by the behaviour of the majority of the fans, and not just the smaller lunatic fringe you always get in all crowds.

 

Other incidents also set the unpleasant and poisonous tone of the experience, like Siwakorn ordering stretcher bearers to come on the pitch slower so as to waste more time, and then Port players forcing them to leave the pitch the long way. We were 3-1 up at that point, how embarrassing is it that we, in a winning position, feel we have to waste time with such base tactics like that against the bottom team in the division? It’s shameful. And Worawut’s behaviour in goal was equally juvenile and petty.

 

I doubt there may be many who agree with my analysis of our present situation and the game, but I found the behaviour of our players and coaching staff in the Trat game totally unacceptable and embarrassing, and really for first time made me think about whether watching Port was something I want to do anymore. A 4-1 win should be fun and something that sends me home with a spring in my step, but instead I found myself sickened by the histrionics and gamesmanship we conducted during the game and was willing Trat to stick one up the cheating Port players, and that is a feeling I never thought I would have and one I never want to have again.

 

Andy Hailstone

Andy Hailstone

Andy has supported Port/Port MTI/Singhtarua/Thai Port since 2010, being well used to "rustic" and "agricultural" football styles having supported Aldershot Town for a good couple of decades. He is actively involved in inspiring the next generation of Port fan by making both his daughter and son support them, to varying degrees of success.

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