Choke’s Away! Port Coach Victim of COVID-19 Cuts

 

Life on COVID-19 lockdown is boring, and many of us struggle to pass the time. Some of us watch old Peep Show episodes on Netflix; some of us discover this amazing new site called Pornhub; some of us watch old Premiership games on Sky; some of us – ie Madame Pang – engage in our favourite hobby, sacking coaches.

Just when we were starting to go crazy at the lack of any kind of football news to report, Port dropped the biggest bombshell of the T1 season so far and announced that coach Choke had left the club. Initially it was reported that he had resigned but, speaking on Football 108 last night, it seems resignation was the last thing on his mind.  You can hear the full interview on the link or below:

 

 

Choke begins by claiming that he’s been released as, with no football happening and no matchday or TV income, Port had to reduce the budget – the only possible reason he believes, as he’d had no problems with any of the staff or players up to that point. He also claims he wasn’t fired as such – “They just stopped paying me. This is football.

Clearly unhappy with the decision, Choke goes on to say what we’ve all believed for many years – that coaches at Port have little to no input in transfers or team selection. “If I do something wrong and we lose, I’ll take responsibility” he says. “But if someone else is making the decisions and we lose I’ve still got to take responsibility. I understand it’s football, the coach has to accept responsibility, and yes I made some mistakes. But if I’m going to take all the responsibility then I’d like to make some decisions as well!

Speaking with a frankness rare in Thai football, Choke gives an insight into just how things work at Port. Talking about transfers, he says “I don’t choose players, I get them and have to put them into the team. I have some input occasionally but not much. “I’m the coach. I’m in training every day. I say this player should play here this player there. But I know I have to talk to my assistant, my assistant has to talk to Pang and Biak (Manager). But then I have to get approval, someone else is making the final decisions. So if someone else makes the decisions, what’s the point of having a coach? Sure she’s the person paying the wages, but I’m the person who has to take all the responsibility.

Choke’s coaching staff are all leaving with him, though sadly not disappointing Choke-era signings such as Tanaboon and Chenrop. Personally I can’t say I’m heartbroken at his departure – he inherited arguably the strongest squad in T1 and, with the title there for the taking, blew it, and even the much celebrated cup win was reliant on some highly questionable VAR-assisted refereeing. He was a lucky manager rather than a good one, and whilst performances in the early 2020 games suggested he was bringing back the Port swagger of old, his failure to progress in the ACL and add more silverware in the form of the Champions’ Cup meant that the axe was always likely to fall sooner rather than later. On the plus side however, he DID win a trophy, seemed to have got the team playing slightly more disciplined (if less attractive) football, and showed much more willingness to blood youngsters than any of his predecessors.

In particular Jadet, who returns for his third stint as coach, having seen off Zico and Choke. The wily old chubster will no doubt be welcomed back by the players, with whom he remains very popular, and, should the season start again, we’ll no doubt see a succession of swaggering wins, followed by a 6-game slump, followed by Jadet being replaced by a younger Thai coach who will take Port to third place, then get fired early in 2021 and replaced by…Jadet. In a world in chaos, it’s good to know that some things can be relied upon.

 

Thanks to Dominick Cartwright for translating the interview

 

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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  1. […] at the club, while he was forced to take the full responsibility for their failings (via portfcsandpit). These comments indicate that all was not well behind the scenes, as do the troubling reports that […]

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