Tom’s Transfer Talk: New Year Transfer Roundup

 

We’ve had a lot of comings and goings this transfer window, and it’s not even 2020 yet. By my count there have been 14 arrivals (7 permanent signings, 2 loan signings and 5 players returning from loans) and 9 departures (6 permanent departures, 1 loan departure and 2 players returning to their parent club after loans).

Quite a busy window then, although most arrivals and departures haven’t done much to effect the first choice XI that will take to the pitch most weeks.

The most notable arrival is of course Heberty, who joins on loan from Muangthong, and is expected to be Port’s key player next year. Tanasith may also threaten to break in to the first XI, although he’ll have to dislodge Pakorn first, which is no mean feat. Adisak will likely see significant playing time from the bench, and Jaturapat has an outside chance of challenging for a berth at left back, although if there is no more transfer activity in that position, he will likely remain down the pecking order.

There are players capable of making a contribution returning from loan too, but the fact that they were loaned out in the first place tells you all you need to know about the regard they are held in at Port. Things don’t look good then for Arthit, who made a big contribution from the bench last season, Yossawat, who had a successful loan at Nongbua, and Sansern, a highly rated youngster outside of PAT Stadium.

Notable exits include some big name players. Boskovic was released from Port some time ago, and has been spotted training with Chonburi recently, although no deal has been announced yet. 2018 Thai League MVP Sumanya has been snapped up by BG Pathum Thani, and Port’s marquee Thai arrival from 2017 Nurul has been loaned to Ratchaburi after struggling for form in 2019. One of Port’s vice-captains Adisorn Daeng-rueng has been released, while fellow defensive midfielder Anon has finally been let go after being continually overlooked by multiple Port managers.

Striker Rolando Blackburn, who will be remembered for some key goals and some terrible performances, has returned to his parent club after his 6 month loan spell, as has Piyachanok Darit, who made a solitary league appearance for Port.

Here are all the moves in full.

 

Ins

Tanasith Sripala (Suphanburi)

Nattawut Sombatyotha (Ratchaburi)

Kanarin Thawornsak (Ratchaburi)

Tanakorn Dangthong (Army)

Heberty Fernandes (loan from Muangthong)

Chatmongkol Thongkiri (Chainat)

Jaturaphat Satham (Chainat)

Patchara Chainarong (Debsirin School)

Adisak Kraisorn (loan from Muangthong – pending confirmation)

 

Returning from Loan

Chakrit Rawanprakone (loan to Customs complete)

Yossawat Montha (loan to Nongbua complete)

Arthit Boodjinda (loan to Chonburi complete)

Pinyo Inpinit (loan to Nongbua complete)

Sansern Limwattana (loan to Ayutthaya complete)

 

Outs

Sumanya Purisai (BG Pathum Thani)

Adisorn Daeng-rueng (released)

Panpanpong Pinkong (released)

Anon Samakorn (Nakhon Ratchasima)

Jirattikan Vapilai (released)

Dragan Boskovic (released)

Nurul Sriyankem (loan to Ratchaburi)

 

Loan Expired

Piyachanok Darit (loan from BG complete)

Rolando Blackburn (loan from The Strongest complete)

 

You’re Shirt, and You Know You Are: Ten Years of Port FC Kits

 

With the 10s coming to a close, I thought it time to look back on Port’s sartorial record over the last decade and rank the home shirts in order of stylishness. There isn’t really a lot you can do with orange and blue stripes, but that hasn’t stopped various designers from trying to put their own unique stamp on the hallowed shirt, and has resulted in some very nice shirts, some unnecessary fannying about, and a couple of real atrocities. So, starting with the worst, here’s my rundown of ten years of Port shirts…

 

10: 2019

 

 

It may be the shirt in which Port won their first trophy of the decade, but other than that there is little to commend it. It clearly marks the point at which GrandSport, tired of working on new Port designs only for La Pang to slap that big, ugly MTI logo on them, simply threw their hands up, cracked open a few Leos, and handed over a shirt designed solely to accommodate the dreaded blue square. There’s very little actual orange on it, the shorts are massive, and as anyone who bought the shirt will confirm, it’s far too long. Hands down the worst Port shirt of all time.

9: 2012

 

 

Another shirt that looks like it was designed to give the sponsor some better exposure, this FBT horror from 2012 adds the stripes as an afterthought and has some silly blue bits on the sleeve to make it look as if they’ve put some effort in. What a mess.

8: 2011

 

 

 

There’s a fine line between classic and awful, and this effort falls just on the wrong side due to the designer deciding, presumably after a night on the Blend, to add some yellow stripes, collar and cuffs for no discernible reason. WHY?

7: 2018

 

 

Another poor effort from Grand Sport here. It’s half a classic – the right hand side of the shirt with the classic orange & blue stripes is very nice indeed and, had they made the whole shirt like this, it might have made the top three. But for some reason the left hand side throws in black and purple stripes and turns it into a real soi dog’s breakfast. I like the round collar, and it’s a very nice fit, but otherwise it has little to commend it.

6: 2015

 

 

Into mid-table now, and a just-about-acceptable effort from 2015, the season when Port had three different shirts. This was the first shirt of the Pang era, and stuck fairly closely to the classic stripes, but lost points by having more sponsor logos than an F1 car, and being very poor quality indeed – my wife’s shirt barely lasted 3 washes before all the badges faded out. But this was the shirt that clothed the mighty Gorka, so a special place in Port history.

5: 2016

 

 

A bit of a grower this one. I didn’t like the white sleeves at first but it’s actually become a bit of a classic and, due to the club massively overestimating how many shirts the club would sell in T2 and it not being released until two months into the season, it’s still on sale in the club shop today. Classic stripes, a nice collar, a snug fit, and the debut of the current lion badge make this a very nice shirt indeed.

4: 2013

 

 

Pretty much everything a Port shirt should be this – orange & blue stripes, simple round neck, and PAT in big letters on the front. A textbook example of why shirt designers shouldn’t fanny about too much.

3: 2014

 

 

Then again, sometimes a bit of fanny can be a good thing, as this lovely Mizuno shirt from 2014 proves. Maybe it has a special place in my heart as it’s the first Port shirt I ever bought, but I really like the way the left & right sides of the shirt mirror each other. Apart from the rather pointless white bit on the collar, it’s almost perfect.

2: 2017

 

 

A fine effort from GrandSport this. A stylish collar, nice dark sleeves, and some superb stripe work. Again, it’s let down by that bloody blue square, but otherwise it’s a very nice shirt indeed and if you have the version with the ’50th Anniversary’ badge on, worth at least 2000BHT these days.

1: 2010

 

 

Port’s first shirt of the decade would also turn out to be by far the best. The only time this decade Port worked with one of the big shirt manufacturers, it just does everything right – lovely stripes, just the one, tasteful sponsor logo, and the three stripes & Adidas badge. Truly a thing of beauty and the black away shirt was a belter too.

 

Don’t agree with my selection? Vote for your favourite shirt below and we’ll reveal the readers’ choice on Monday!

 

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Port to Splash Cash on Muangthong Fire Sale?

 

OK, OK, so that’s a very old squad photo back from when Muangthong were actually a decent side. Never mind. Anyone who has been following transfer new for the last few weeks will be aware that Muangthong are experiencing real financial problems. Main sponsors SCG have apparently dramatically reduced funding, meaning that Muangthong are facing the reality of selling all their best players just to balance the books. Heberty has already gone, and more will surely follow.

My original plan for this piece was to laugh heartily about the dilemma Muangthong find themselves in, before picking out the 5 players Port would be best advised to snap up. We’ve already brought in Heberty, of course, which is widely being seen as a massive coup for Port.

Then I had a look at their squad, and realized I’d bitten off more than I could chew. Maybe 3, then. Then I really thought about it, and realized that I genuinely don’t particularly want any of them.

It’s not that they don’t have any players of value of course – their performance in the second half of last season was vastly improved, and actually better than Port’s – rather that almost all of the players I’d really be interested in taking off their hands probably wouldn’t get in our starting XI anyway, and the last thing we need is more expensive placeholders.

Who am I thinking of specifically? Well, in the last few weeks I’ve seen rumours hinting at the exit of a host of players who clocked up regular minutes last season.

 


 

Sarach Yooyen is one, with Muangthong reportedly very optimistically offering him on loan to Japanese teams. Maybe a few years ago, fellas. The Sarach of today would lose a fight for a place in Port’s midfield, let alone a J League spot. Next.

 

 

Charyl Chappuis is another for sale, but unless Pang wants an extremely expensive mannequin to put our new shirt on, I am pretty sure he won’t be coming to Port. Pass.

Adisak Kraisorn has also been mentioned, and in fact has specifically been linked to Port. Now, I always give the caveat when discussing strikers that because the overall standard is so low, even poor strikers can still be one of the taller midgets in the circus. That’s probably true of Adisak, although I could never bring myself to recommend signing him. He’s no better than Arthit in my opinion, so I’m keeping Pele all day long. Next.

Teerasil Dangda. A tricky one. He’s a long way past his best, but as still arguably the tallest midget in the circus, signing him would probably make some sense. Yes, he’s probably on a big old salary, and no he probably wouldn’t start many games, but he would surely bag us some goals. He has a striker’s instincts and he already notched one for us in the derby last season. Sign him up. Maybe. Eurgh.

 

AL AIN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JANUARY 20: Teerasil Dangda of Thailand looks on prior to the AFC Asian Cup round of 16 match between Thailand and China at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on January 20, 2019 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)

 

Theerathon Bunmathan is the best player available on this list, but the question is would it really benefit Port to sign him? The rumours say we’ve been in talks, but a move back to Japan, where Theeraton won the league last year, would seem to be much more likely. We’d certainly be moving Kevin on to make way for him, and do we really want to shift one of the best young full backs in the country for a player on a big wedge with nothing to prove? Sorry, not for me. If Kevin goes we’re having a different conversation, but for now it’s a no.

 

 

Sanukran Thinjom was the subject of a rumour yesterday, and you know things are getting desperate in Legoland when they’re flogging bog standard squad players. He’s probably OK, and apparently he’s versatile and useful to have around. That’s OK. We’ve got plenty of that at Port. Move along.

 


 

There are probably other players I’m missing that have been put up for sale, such is the extent of the crisis of funding at the SCG, but I’m not following their news that closely. They have one of the top academies, so they are always churning out promising talents, and these players will probably come to the fore next season, once the first team have been sold off. Gama will probably find a way to get the best out of them, and they might do OK. Maybe upper mid table, maybe top 6.  

As I rather provocatively predicted in last week’s podcast, they’ll finish below newly promoted BG Pathum Thani. There it is in print!


 

And just before publishing we’ve received some real, actual transfer news. How about that! It probably doesn’t effect any other prospective business, as the player in question is an 18 year old who is still in his last year of high school, but nevertheless it is being reported that we have signed striker Patchara Chainarong on a 4 year deal.

 

 

Patchara has just helped his school team Debsirin win the Jaturamitr Cup for the first time in 20 years, so Port have decided to swoop in and secure his signature. Here’s a little clip of a nice goal he scored in that tournament. With Port’s abundance of striking options, we doubt we’ll see him in the first team this year, but hopefully he’ll be one for the future. Welcome, Patchara!  

Toby Time: Beyond Doubt

 

With the release of the excellent Portcast episode featuring our very own Toby Knight, and the discussion therein pertaining to the phenomena known as “Toby Time”, I became inspired to have a look at the numbers and see if they would lie or simply tell us what we already knew for certain; that Port simply perform better when Mr. Knight leaves a little early, and returns a little late, to get a few halftime lagers under his belt.

“Did I not have anything better to do with my time than to go through all our league games since the start of 2018 and see at what time each goal was scored or conceded”, you may ask. Well… yes, yes I did, but my ability to procrastinate is all but unmatched even in the land of Sabai Sabai and, as far as my better half is concerned, this article never happened. Anyway, I have now performed the thorough scientific work needed to truly examine what defies all science, but has long been beyond any doubt to every self-respecting sports fan; our rituals have a real effect on the outcome of the games.

So, what did I find?

First of all, the main character himself says it all started with the mad beginning to the second half at home to Muangthong in June 2018, during which we scored 2 and conceded 3 within the first 14 minutes, all while he was knocking back Leos outside the PAT. This was halfway through the first of our consecutive 3rd place finish seasons so it also happens to make it a perfect cut-off point for a before- and after comparison. Now, I don’t know exactly which games Toby may have missed, and exactly when he would have left and returned to the stands during the ones when he was there, so I have simply looked at every league fixture and defined “Toby Time” as minute 36 through 60, the last 10 and opening 15 of the first and second half respectively.

Since the start of 2018, we have scored 128, and conceded 81 goals in T1. Statistically, goals are about as likely to be scored during any stage of the game so, even taking the extra minutes awarded for stoppages in the first half, the 47 goals (37%) we’ve racked up during Toby Time in the two latest seasons are roughly 12 more than the 34.54 (27%) that we should perhaps have expected. Defensively, we are more aligned with the normal curve, with 24 goals (30%) falling at the wrong end in the same interval, although there were slightly more goals conceded than the expected 21.87 (27%).

The graph below shows the big disparity between expected and actual goals scored, and a smaller difference between expected and actual goals conceded.

 

 

The goals came thick and fast even before Toby stumbled on to his magic formula, with 11 out of 35 (31%) scored, and 8 out of 22 (36%) conceded in the timespan between 36 and 60 minutes.

In order to prove Toby Time though, we have to look closer at what has happened since that fateful night when Toby’s thirst for beer and conversation just barely trumped his hunger for derby day football. During the last season and a half, Port have banged in 93 goals and allowed our opponents to find the net 59 times. 36 of our goals came during Toby Time, an increase of a whopping 8% from the 31% in the first half of 2018, while the number of goals conceded were merely 16, representing a 9% drop down to the expected 27%. The graph below shows the 8% increase in goals scored and the 9% drop in goals conceded since the Muangthong game in June 2018.

 

Goals Scored Jan-June 2018 (mins 36-60)Goals Scored since June 2018 (mins 36-60)
11 (31%)36 (39%)

 

Goals Conceded Jan-June 2018 (mins 36-60)Goals Conceded since June 2018 (mins 36-60)
8 (36%)16 (27%)

 

 

All of this shows that we were not only right all along in that we are more likely to score when Toby leaves for an extended half time beer break, perhaps a bit surprisingly, we are far less likely to concede. Proving once and for all that what, when, and where the fans drink, is almost as important as the performance of the players on the pitch. And Toby, by taking one for the team and keeping away during the most goal intense period of the games, could well be one of the key components in Port’s 2020 title bid.

 

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‘Berty? Mee! Striker Joins Port

 

As we predicted in yesterday’s Transfer Talk, Brazilian-Timorese (cough) forward Heberty Fernandes was officially announced as a Port player last night. Heberty joins on a season-long loan from rivals Muangthong where he has spent the last three seasons. It’s somewhat unusual that a T1 team would loan their star player to a rival for a season, but this is Thai football and stranger things will no doubt happen before the 2020 season begins.

As we observed yesterday, Heberty has an absolutely stellar scoring record in Thai football, hitting 65 in 90 appearances for Ratchaburi from 2014-16, and a further 51 in 79 for Muangthong from 2017-19. Ironically he was on Port’s radar at the start of the 2017 season but Pang baulked at his wage demands; now, with the T1 title a much more realistic target than it was back then, she’s decided to splash the cash on T1’s probable top earner.

So welcome to Port Heberty! We wish you all the best and hope that you can break the curse that seems to afflict any previously prolific strikers as soon as they run out at the PAT.

Heberty Player Bio

 

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Tim’s Transfer Talk: ‘Berty Booster?

 

Welcome to the latest Sandpit transfer rumour roundup, and we have three zingers for you today. The first one concerns T1 goal machine, Brazilian-Timorese forward Heberty Fernandes. Reports in the Thai press suggest that the prolific scorer is poised to join Port on a season-long loan from rivals Muangthong, at a head-spinning salary of 2mBHT per month. Ye gods.

 

 

 

Heberty has an extraordinary goal record in the Thai top flight. After a 3-year spell at Ratchaburi, in which he netted 65 goals in 90 games, he moved to Muangthong in 2017 (after almost signing for Port, who were then reluctant to pay his salary) where he scored 51 in 79. I would say he’d be a guaranteed goalscorer, but we know what a strikers’ graveyard Port is and the last time we signed a prolific Brazilian-Timorese striker it did not end well. There’s also the question of where Heberty would fit in. He’s not an out & out no9, more of a 10 or a winger, so either Suarez makes way so Heb can play in his AM slot with Josimar (or AN Other) up front, or he gets shoehorned into a position in which he’s not entirely comfortable, and as we know from experience at Port, the latter is far more likely. But whatever happens, his goal and assist record suggest he’d be a cracking signing, which would both strengthen Port and weaken one of their rivals.

On the subject of strikers, we hear that Josimar picked up an injury in training this week which could see him out of action for the next 5-6 weeks, so the chances of Port moving for a big name striker just shot up. Which is where our next rumour comes in. You may want to sit down for this one, but Port have been linked with former Arsenal & Juventus striker Nicklas Bendtner. Before you get too excited/angry (depending on your views on one of football’s more colourful characters), bear in mind that the only substance to this rumour is that Bendtner’s agent has been hawking his client around various clubs, and presumably Port were one of those who picked up the phone. Lord Bendtner may not be the most prolific scorer, but there’s no doubt that if he took a move to Thailand seriously he would probably have a field day against Thai defences, though given his penchant for nightlife he may find Bangkok somewhat distracting, and he’d be ill advised to continue his hobby of assaulting taxi drivers given that the local cabbies are generally very sensitive to criticism, tooled up, and ripped to the tits on M-150. File this one under ‘almost certainly won’t happen’.

 

 

Our final rumour concerns perennial Sandpit rumour Thitiphan, recently returned to Bangkok Glass following a successful year-long loan at J-League club Oia Trinita. The Thai press are claiming that Port have struck a swap deal involving the chunky midfielder and left-back Kevin Deeromram. This would be a shame, as in my opinion Kevin is one of the most talented players at Port and, on his day, the best LB in the league, and is the kind of young player the future of the club should be built around. That said, he is somewhat injury-prone, the arrival of Martin Steuble has made him somewhat more expendable, and with Pang seemingly positioning Port as the club of choice for Thai national team players, his less than enthusiastic attitude to playing for his country could also count against him. Whether Port need yet another midfielder is highly debatable, but there’s no doubt Big Thits would be a great signing and my Sandpit colleague Tom Earls would need a cold shower before every game if it happened. File this one under ‘highly likely’.

For the latest news on these and other rumours, keep watching this space!

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Meerkat to Swat Cats

 

Anon Samakorn, known by me as ‘the meerkat’ for his head-swiveling awareness in midfield, has finally ended a frustrating spell with Port and joined Korat on a free transfer. Anon, who briefly broke in to the team shortly after his arrival from OHL Leuven in 2018, was underrated and underused by successive Port managers, having shown great promise in those first few games before being unceremoniously dropped out of sight and out of mind. He would make just two appearances in 2019.

 

 

 

I thought Anon was a player with great potential, but apparently Port management didn’t agree, and have deemed him surplus to requirements for the following season. After the arrival of Kanarin Thawornsak, it was clear there was no future for Anon at Port, and hopefully he will find more opportunities to start games at his new club and fulfill his potential there. We’ll miss you, fella.

 


 

Other news from the first day of training yesterday were the confirmed arrivals of Thanasit Sripala, Nattawut Sombatyotha, Tanakorn Dangthong and the aforementioned Kanarin Thawornsak.

 

From left to right; Kanarin, Nattawut and Thanasit

 

Curiously, defender Worawut Namwech was also pictured training, which makes no sense to me as I thought he was only ever on loan at Port, and was moved from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai at the mid-season interval.

 


 

And finally, Madame Pang was yesterday pictured meeting with a BG big-wig, but there is no indication who or what she may have been discussing. Midfielder Thitipan Puangchan, a favourite of mine, will be returning to BG from the J League next week, so that could be a possibility. I mean it’s not like we just signed 3 midfielders or anything!