Pangdemonium! Port FC 2-2 Chonburi FC

 

 

Port’s off-field chaos spilled over onto the pitch and the terraces last night as the team played out a pitiful 2-2 draw against struggling Chonburi in an increasingly poisonous atmosphere. Port were simply dreadful in the second half and their cause wasn’t helped by three of the most ludicrous substitutions I’ve seen all season, and their fading title hopes are now surely all but extinct.

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Toothless Sharks: Port FC vs. Chonburi FC Preview

 

Port take on Chonburi in a big clash for both teams, which also represents a hilarious role reversal from the first half of the season. Chonburi, in possession of one of the most prolific strikers in the league in Lukian (91), had already upgraded their second string Brazilian, bringing in Prachuap’s Caion (7) for the less than impressive Patrick Cruz, and looked set to have one of the stronger forward lines in the league.

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Panama ‘Kinell! Port Sign Striker Blackburn

 

As a chaotic week at Port FC draws to a close, the club have confirmed the signing of Panamanian international striker Rolando Blackburn on loan from Bolivian Primera Division side The Strongest. And if anyone thinks that’s an amusing name, note that they’re not alone – the Bolivian top division also features teams called Sport Boys, Always Ready, Blooming, and best of all, Jorge Wilstermann. The Strongest were runners-up in the 2019 Apertura (like many South American leagues, Bolivia awards a title for the team winning the first leg of the season – the Apertura – and the second leg – the Clausura – with each winner playing off for the ultimate title), and Blackburn was third highest scorer. He also figured for the Panama national side in the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Apart from a spell in the Slovakian league, where he scored 20 goals in 53 games for FC Senica, the 29-yr old has spent most of his career in Panama, Guatemala and Bolivia, and has scored goals wherever he’s played, most recently banging in 20 in 26 for The Strongest, suggesting that if he can do it on a wet Wednesday night in La Paz he should be able to do it in Thailand.

Blackburn joins on loan until the end of the 2019 season, with no indication whether there’s an option to make the deal permanent. Welcome to Port Rolando, and all of us at The Sandpit wish you a successful spell in the blue & orange shirt!

Where this leaves Port’s other foreign strikers, Boskovic and Josimar, remains to be seen, but for Blackburn to be registered one of them – or indeed one of Rochela or Suarez – will have to make way. More news on that as soon as we get it.

 

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Chenropping and Changing

 

Port have once again decided their mid-season transfer business is incomplete, reportedly making moves to bring in two further strikers. Yes, that’s two more strikers. One of the deals is more or less confirmed, so let’s look at that first.

I have given a short, unbiased and objective account of Chenrop Samphaodi’s career to date in his player profile, but Transfer Talk is where I say what I think, and I honestly think he’s pretty much the worst striker in the league. And that’s really saying something. How can a player so bad have 25 caps for the Thai under 23 team? And how can he already have 84 T1 appearances under his belt at the age of 24? I have absolutely no idea, particularly in light of the fact that he averages a T1 goal every 8.4 games. He makes Emile Heskey look like Ronaldo. Let’s be absurdly charitable to him, and compare this season – his best to date – with Arthit, who he’ll be competing with for a place in the team. Arthit has 3 goals in 9 appearances at the superb rate of a goal every 58 minutes, whereas Chenrop has 3 goals in 12 appearances at the very Chenrop rate of a goal every 325 minutes.

 

 

Even leaving stats aside though, I think there’s a reason he’s so bad. I think it probably stems from being the ‘striker’ in Thailand youth teams’ 4-5-1 system, when he spent most of his games playing against Timorese teenagers. Competing against other ASEAN nations Chenrop was taught to hold the ball up and basically play as a target man, despite being 1.79m or 5 ft. 10 and change. That’s all well and good when you’re playing against South East Asian boys, but put the poor lad up against Victor or Dolah and he’s not going to get a sniff, and so it’s turned out. He’s the big man who never grew up.

There is a young Thai forward who has grown up to be quite a strapping, powerful fella who still may well reach his considerable potential, though. Buriram youngster Supachai Jaided has also been linked with a move to Port, although both our common sense and The Sandpit’s sources tell us the deal is most definitely not happening, as it also didn’t when the same rumour cropped up a couple of seasons back. This would be a fantastic signing if we could pull it off, but it would also be ludicrously expensive and, again, it’s not going to happen.

 

 

Finally, the striker that it looks very much as though Port will be signing. This is mental We heard rumours that this Panamanian striker’s name was in the frame to replace Josimar, who has already replaced Boskovic. In fact, the deal for Rolando Blackburn is apparently just a medical away from being signed and sealed, meaning that Josimar will have had just one start before being unceremoniously dumped. That’s if it happens, of course. Don’t count anything out. We could bring Boskovic back in, as we did with Kaludjerovic in 2016, or we could sign the Panamanian, sit him on his arse for 6 months and put Josimar on the bench while Chenrop blasts balls in to the Loxley car park and Boskovic and Arthit dance around shaking pom poms. Nothing is outside the realms of possibility.

 

 

Having said that, there’s also a chance that Blackburn could be an excellent signing. The 29 year old ought to be near his prime, and indeed his scoring record indicated that he is in the form of his life, banging in 20 goals in 26 games for superbly names Bolivian side The Strongest, managed by none other than Pablo Escobar. I’m not even kidding. Predicting how things are going to work out for strikers at Port is a fool’s errand though (unless they’re Chenrop), so I’ll reserve my predictions until I’ve seen the guy play. Apparently if the paper work can be rushed through, that could be as soon Saturday. Blimey. Strap in.

Purely for the sake of being thorough, the names Nicolas Orsini and Jose Fajardo have also been mentioned, although there doesn’t appear to be anything to these rumours.

 

Here Comes the Fear Again: Ratchaburi FC 1-1 Port FC

 

Pulp’s underrated 1997 single ‘The Fear‘ is an exercise in paranoia, loss of confidence, sexual impotence, the sound of a man who made it to the top but found it impossible to stay there. Watching Port’s fragile, overly-defensive performance at Ratchaburi on Saturday was to see Jarvis Cocker’s words made flesh – back in April/May, Port would’ve swaggered into the Mitr Phol and breezed past these piss-poor relegation strugglers without so much as breaking sweat; July’s Port just looked terrified. And as for the line about having a monkey on your back, Dom knows exactly what that means.

 

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Playing Ratch-up: Ratchaburi FC vs. Port FC Preview

 

Port face their worst crisis this season, having suffered their third loss on the trot last Sunday. Before we get too down on ourselves though, it’s also worth pointing out that it’s our only crisis this season. Port had enjoyed the best start to a season in recent memory, and until just three matches ago, were top of T1. Having been beaten by champs Buriram – predictably if you weren’t getting swept away with the unlikely predictions that we would be champions – the next loss against high-flying Samut Prakan hurt more, and the third against a particularly objectionable Chiang Rai side more still. But remember, all three of these sides are currently in the top 4. Yes, we lost 3 consecutive games, but it’s not the end of the world. We’re not going to be champions, but an AFC place is very much still within our reach.

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Steuble Grows on Port: Filipino Defender Signs Up

 

Following Kevin’s injury on Sunday, which will leave him out of action until October, Port have moved quickly in the transfer market and signed up Philippines international defender Martin Steuble from Ceres-Negros FC. Originally from Switzerland, where he played for the likes of Neuchatel Xamax and Grasshoppers Zurich, Steuble became a Philippines international in 2013 and has since earned 39 caps, which means he’s part of Port’s ASEAN quota. He also had a spell at Sporting Kansas City in the MLS.

A versatile defender he can play at LB or RB, as well as in midfield, which means he’ll probably slot in in place of Kevin but also provide cover should the usually indestructible Nitipong somehow meet with misfortune. He joins on a deal for the rest of the 2019 season with an option to extend until the end of 2020. Welcome Martin and good luck in your Port career!

 

The Chiangover: Port FC 1-4 Chiang Rai FC

 

 

Port’s traditional mid-season slump continued with a home thumping by a solid if unspectacular Chiang Rai side. This wasn’t a bad performance per se – indeed Port were better here than they were at Samut Prakan last week – but Jadet’s dogmatism/favouritism in team selection and the usual clueless substitution, along with some simply terrible defending, handed the Beetles a much easier win than they would’ve been expecting.

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