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2020 Vision: Samut Prakan City

 

After taking over Pattaya Utd’s licence, newly-formed Samut Prakan City were the surprise package of 2019, challenging the top clubs before tailing off in the second half of the season. Will they build on the promise of last year, or will it be a case of Second Season Syndrome? here’s Sea Fang (nope, us neither) fan, and man behind popular Thailand teaching website Ajarn, Phil Williams with his thoughts…

How did your team perform in 2019? Where do they need to improve?

It was a season of two halves – brilliant in the first half and spectacularly average in the second. No, make that relegation form in the second. We lacked a depth of squad. When key players got injured midway through the season, they were replaced by fringe players who just weren’t of the standard required.

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?

I’m most excited about our two new defenders – Ernesto Phumipha, who has joined from Muangthong, and Nattaphon Malapun from Prachuap. Both have looked very good in the pre-season friendlies. Sad of course to see top scorer Ibson Melo move on but glad to see the back of those two Korean players we signed midway through last season. Panic signings, they were simply not good enough. I’m not 100% sure they’ve gone but I haven’t seen them around and I did offer to drive them to the airport personally!

Happy with your club’s coach?

He’s new to the job so it’s a case of wait and see. He’s talked up a good game so far though and the players seem to like him so I’ve got confidence in him.

What are your realistic ambitions for the 2020 season?

A repeat of last season and a top six finish. Ask me again after our first three games against Chiang Rai, Port and Bangkok United.

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

The usual suspects to win it – Buriram, Port and Bangkok United. I don’t think Chiang Rai will retain the trophy though. I have no real opinion on who will go down but it looks like Rayong FC are the bookies favourites and I think Suphanburi might struggle again.

What 3 things would you change about Thai football?

1) Scrap those dreadful 5.45 midweek kick offs. They’re no use to anyone.
2) Treat away fans better and not just stick them in some forgotten and forlorn part of the stadium, miles away from the action.
3) Improve updates and communication about the cup competitions. Too often I’ve had to rely on fans and not from the clubs themselves. I’d just like to see the cup competitions taken a lot more seriously and not treated as some inconvenient afterthought.

 

Thanks Phil & good luck to the Sea Fang this season!

 

 

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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