Assault on Thunder Castle: Buriram Utd vs. Port FC Preview

 

Port are sitting pretty as the league’s pace setters with a 100% record after 3 games, but their first real test of the season looms ominously on the horizon as the Lions of Khlong Toey travel to Thunder Castle (FFS am I supposed to be scared by that name?) to take on Buriram United this weekend.

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It’s Grim Up North: Sukhothai FC 1-2 Port FC

 

Port made it three wins out of three in their first away game of the season, but where wins one and two featured goals galore and champagne football, win three was gritty, ugly and somewhat fortunate. What with Sukhothai on a Wednesday being one of the least accessible fixtures on the calendar, the Sandpit crew watched the game from the comfort of The Sportsman, accompanied by the dulcet tones of a loud American (a tautology I know) relating the plot of long-forgotten 1980s Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor comedy See No Evil, Hear No Evil to an audience of baffled Thai girls. Thanks for that.

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Fire Bats With Dire Tats: Sukhothai FC vs. Port FC Preview

 

Port embark on their first away trip of the season this Wednesday looking to do what they couldn’t last year and leave Sukhothai’s Talayluang Stadium with all 3 points. After last season’s debacle if we leave without one of our players having assaulted an official it’ll be a significant improvement.

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Fangs for the Points: Port FC 4-1 Samut Prakan City

 

 

Top of the league and spirits were at a high level as the boys took the field at PAT Stadium. Coming off an impressive win last Saturday night, an unchanged eleven had the confidence to go out and do it again versus local “rivals” Samut Prakan City FC (established in 2019 after being stolen from Pattaya).  

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Number 1 vs The 1 Year Olds: Port FC vs Samut Prakan City Preview

We are top of the league, said we are top of the league… Well it is only week 1, but better to be top than bottom of the league. This week Port face the 1 year olds of Samut Prakarn City (est. 2019). The match kicks off at 5.45 p.m, Saturday 22nd February and is on True Sports 2.

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The FAT Catwalk 2020: This Season’s T1 Kits Rated & Slated

 

Heads up fashionistas, it’s that time again, when we don our sunglasses, keep a bucket handy, and trawl through the design atrocities that constitute this season’s lineup of T1 kits. And I have to say since I started doing this list in 2018, this has to be the shoddiest, most half-arsed collection of kits the Thai league has ever had inflicted on it. Outside the top three, it’s really very slim pickings indeed and shirts that would’ve been relegation material the last couple of seasons have even made the top half.

If there’s a common theme to this year’s kits, its designers accepting that their work is going to be vandalised with dozens of sponsor logos, and simply throwing their hands in the air & saying “Will this do?”, and the clubs, who know their loyal fans will buy the shirts anyway – and for whose owners the money generated by shirt sales is utterly insignificant, replying “yeah, go on then”.

It really is time for the FAT to introduce stricter guidelines on the amount, size and placing of sponsor logos, or go to an MLS-style system where one kit designer – Adidas – does every club’s shirt to ensure they’re all well turned out and a credit to the league. I’ve not bought a Port shirt since 2018 and that’s sadly not going to change this season, and I know I’m not alone.

Anyway enough moaning, and here’s this season’s rundown…

 

1 PT Prachuap FC

Prachuap & Warrix have been making sweet music together for a couple of years now, and this year’s shirt is the best yet. Visually striking, excellent integration of the sponsor logo, and a nod to their ‘Killer Wasps’ nickname, this is – despite the grandad collar – a very nice shirt indeed. Probably wouldn’t have won in 2018 or 2019 but in a poor year it’s enough to take the coveted Sandpit Kit of the Year prize.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Rayong FC

Excellent showing from new boys Rayong here, designed by Volt. Simple, sleek, and something that most fans would be more than happy to wear, ensuring they finish at the opposite end of this table to where they’ll finish in T1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Sukhothai FC

Stung into action by finishing in the relegation zone last year, the Firebats come flying back with this lovely Mawin-designed polo-style shirt. Not sure button down collars necessarily work on football shirts but otherwise it’s a very stylish bit of work and, this year at least, worthy of a Champions’ League slot.

 

 

 

4 Bangkok Utd

BU are usually well turned out and Ari have done it again this year with a big, bold black & red striped number which will have many Port fans wondering just what might have been – this is how you do stripes. Just misses out on the top 3 due to that randomly placed Euro Cake logo.

 

 

 

5 Chonburi

Chonburi’s deal with Nike has consistently thrown up some of the nicest shirts T1 has seen in recent years and 2020 is no exception, with a simple electric blue number. Would be higher but for those somewhat odd lightning flashes down the sides.

 

 

 

6 Buriram

Following last season’s disaster, which saw them bottom of our T1 kits ranking, Buriram get back to what they do best – a boring but solid dark blue polo-style shirt. Nothing special, but at least it won’t make you look like a Thai waiter, and the fact the material is made from recycled plastic earns them not inconsiderable brownie points from those of us who care about such things.

 

 

 

 

 

7 Police Tero

Two years ago, Police won our inaugural wooden spoon with a truly horrific dog’s breakfast of a shirt. This time they’ve mirrored Bangkok Utd and gone for safe red & black stripes. Won’t go down as a classic, but at the same time you wouldn’t be ashamed to pop round to the local Sewen in it.

 

 

8 Chiang Rai Utd

You may be league champions, but your kit isn’t. Typically half-arsed Grand Sport work here, though it has to be said their AFC shirt is very nice indeed and, unlike Port’s, they actually got to play football in it.

 

 

 

 

9 Suphanburi

Last year’s winners slump into the bottom half with an aberration from the usually reliable Warrix. The usual Suphan boring dark blue is all present and correct, but that collar makes it look like a bugry shirt, and the Sandpit has zero tolerance for bugry, so bottom half it is.

 

 

 

10 Ratchaburi

Ratchaburi can always be relied on for crap shirts, and 2020 is no exception. It’s a slight improvement on last year’s, but the collar is a mess and, like Port, they have a sponsor logo that would ruin the finest of designs. Which this isn’t.

 

 

 

11 Muangthong

MTU’s well-known financial problems have seen them cut corners when it comes to shirts and partner up with previously unknown manufacturer Shoot, who have come up with this thoroughly unimaginative red number that looks like one of those cheap Sunday league kits they advertise in the back of Four Four Two. Which is of course entirely appropriate.

 

 

12 Nakhon Ratchasima

Grand Sport’s design department clearly barely broke into a sweat over the close season, and here’s another thoroughly unimaginative GS design. It’s not awful, and as always their sponsor logo enhances rather than defiles the shirt, but like most Grand Sport efforts it just looks a bit cheap.

 

13 Samut Prakan

Just avoiding the metaphorical drop, Samut Prakan’s shirt is crap in a way I can’t quite put my finger on. It could be the complete lack of anything interesting going on; it could be the sheen that makes it look like a cheap 1970s knockoff; or it could be the way it’s got the team name written on the front in massive letters. Either way it’s pretty nasty.

 

 

 

14 BG Pathum Utd

Into the bottom 3, and we welcome back Bangkok Glass whose last T1 shirt was our 2018 runner-up. ‘Damned sexy, and is only let down by particularly obnoxious sponsor logos which clash horribly with an otherwise stylish design‘ I wrote at the time, and this year’s shirt suffers from the same problem, but neglects to bring the sexy. A boring blue number, with garish logos seemingly thrown on at random like a blind child trying to complete a Panini album. And more bloody Euro Cake!

 

 

 

 

 

15 Port FC

Grand Sport office, 12 February:

“Boss, Port just called. They need a new shirt by Saturday. What are we going to do?”

“Tell you what, take last season’s shirt, add a button collar, then drive a car over it. That’ll do.”

A genuinely awful kit for a club that deserves better‘ I wrote of last year’s awful Port effort, and this year they’ve actually managed to come up with something even worse. And it costs over 1000BHT. No thanks.

 

 

 

16 Trat FC

Occupying the position they’ll most likely finish in the real thing, it’s Trat, and another dreadful Grand Sport design. I really do not know what’s going on here, why there appears to be black smoke rising from the bottom of the shirt, unless someone set fire to it which would be entirely understandable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note to Thai football clubs. If you want to know how it’s done, bow down before these three absolute beauties from Thai Union Samut Sakhon FC. No idea who the manufacturer is but they’ve done an absolutely splendid job. 

 

 

 

Swat a Start! Port FC 4-1 Nakhon Ratchasima FC

 

 

The day before the game Dom, Tom and I shared our pre-season previews which were unanimously pessimistic about Port’s T1 chances this season. 90 minutes into the season and Port made us all look a little bit silly with a performance of style, energy and panache which, although it was against truly abject opponents, bodes well for the weeks to come.

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Right-Back At Ya! The Sandpit Meets Nitipong Selanon

 

Since his relatively unheralded signing from Buriram in 2015, Nitipong Selanon has steadily improved year on year to the point that he is now undoubtedly Port’s most consistent player – a fact recognised by our readers who voted him the Sandpit Player of the Year for 2019, and by the Thai national team who gave him his first cap last season. Both fully deserved rewards for a player who trains like a demon and quietly gets on with his job, never letting the team down and always putting in a full shift week in week out. Read more

A Moment’s Silence: Port FC vs. Nakhon Ratchasima FC Preview

 

Port kick off their 2020 campaign with what looks to be the ideal kind of fixture. A home match against Korat, who are expected to finish mid to bottom half this season, may well allow an under-performing Port to still eke out victory, which is what we need after a less than promising pre-season. Rather than labouring this point once again, I will point you towards Dom’s, Tim’s and my 2020 Previews, which examined our off-season shortcomings in excruciating detail.

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Chairfree PAT Of Dreams: Tom’s 2020 Season Preview

 

Port move in to 2020 with a major trophy victory from last season still fresh in the memory, as well as a pre-season trophy that’s even fresher. We’ve also made arguably the biggest signing of the window, bring in our rivals’ best player for a big pot of cash. So we should be looking at more silverware this year right, and maybe even that coveted T1 title?

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