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BadBadNotGood – The State of Things at Port

 

 

So derby day has been and gone, with the Scum victorious at Legoland. There can be no claims of controversy, no claims of favouritism, and no claims of us being unlucky. This loss comes down to the sheer incompetence of what has been going on at the club for years and appears to be (finally) be reaching a ‘breaking point’ of sorts. I don’t speak for all fans, and I know that there’ll be some that agree with me, and some that will disagree wholeheartedly with what I say. Which is fine: that’s football.

What I’ve seen in the past few days across social media (after a quick hit of the ‘translate’ feature!), is the general consensus that the club is being run badly, and that we keep making the same mistakes. Rinse and repeat, it’s a vicious cycle of mediocrity. But, instead of being angry/annoyed about it, there are a few laughing emojis at the end of each post, which to me… it’s just baffling.

Upon reading the open letter that was sent to Madame Pang by a fan (read it here), I thought to myself “this fan gets it” before I then quickly realized that although there were great points made in the letter: none of it would be considered by the club management. It’s all wishful thinking on our behalf for the club to be run professionally, and it’s why we really shouldn’t be surprised that time and time again, we come up short when it matters most. Considering the level of investment over the years, the fact that the club has only won a FA Cup, should be quite worrying to club management.

What’s more noticeable, is the fact our form throughout the second leg is (traditionally) quite poor, so apologies fellow Port fans… but this could get worse to watch in the near future! Below are images of our league position week by week, followed by our result for the weekend, for the past few seasons.

 

2018 Season

 

2019 Season

 

2020/21 Season

 

 

 

It doesn’t make for great viewing, does it!? What are we doing wrong during the mid-season break where it hinders our second-leg performance? Could it be that we’re not taking advantage of the transfer window to fix problem areas? There are a lot of ways that I could describe our transfer policy, but without wanting to use profanity, I’ll simply describe it as this:

Scattered, thoughtless, and unacceptable.

When the club was promoted back to the top tier for the 2017 season, I imagine the goal was to not get relegated and to then push on in the season’s following. If so, they achieved their 2017 goal quite easily and when the decision was made to then try to ‘go to the next level’, that’s typically when you have to say goodbye to a few familiar faces, as it’s very possible that they’re not going to be able to help you to achieve your new goals.

THIS WASN’T DONE.

At the very minimum, players should’ve been pushed back into ‘rotation’ roles rather than continuing to be a ‘starting-11 regular’, and upgrades made that way. At least, should injuries or suspensions occur, you could turn to someone that you feel could be counted upon? Again: we never did this.

In a league where you’re limited to how many foreign players you’re allowed on your books, it’s safe to say that we’ve not set the world alight in that regard, and when we have tried to make those ‘big’ moves: they’ve backfired. I won’t go through all the deals that we’ve made over the years, nor will I list all the ‘head scratching’ ones, as there are just too many to list.

 

 

 

What I will say is this:

The club announced (just before) the mid-season window this season that we’d be spending it on the lookout for an import striker. This was a relief really, as we just haven’t been able to get Bonilla to replicate the form that he showed for the likes of Sukhothai and Bangkok United in seasons past. Us failing to get a striker to replicate his previous form? I’M SHOCKED! It just hasn’t worked out for one reason or another, and I’m not going to lay the blame anywhere. It is what it is, and it seemed it was best for all parties involved to go their separate ways.

We then spent the foreign window seemingly making no business at all, with Pang off at the Suzuki Cup. Which is a whole separate issue, and to be honest: my focus has always been club football.

In the final few days of the window, it became blatantly obvious that a new import striker wasn’t on the way, though a Ukrainian striker (Artem Kravets) was linked. It meant that we’d go into the second-leg with Bonilla, who can’t have been too pleased that the club had publicly stated their intent to sign a new import striker.

Basically, more incompetence from the people that are running the club!

The club is (in my opinion) in desperate need of a significant rebuild, and difficult conversations are necessary if that’s to take place. Do I (honestly) think that Coach Oud will be in charge for the foreseeable future? No, I don’t. The recent decision to bring yet another ex-coach (Choketawee Promrut) back to the club as the ‘Technical Director’ suggests there’s a plan in place for Coach Oud’s eventual removal, but in the grand scheme of things, the coaching merry-go-round really is the least of our worries.

I accepted a long time ago that our head coach is basically a puppet, with them there to run the training sessions and so on. When it comes to matchdays, where there’s publicity on the line: that’s where he has to step back. Since 2015, when the ownership of the club changed, we’ve had the following coaches:

  • Somchai Chuayboonchum (2014-15)
  • Paiboon Lertvimonrut (2015)
  • Gary Stevens (2015)
  • Somchai Subpherm (2015)
  • Masahiro Wada (2015-16)
  • Jadet Meelarp (2016-17, 2017-19, 2020)
  • Kiatisuk Senamuang (2017)
  • Choketawee Promrut (2019-20)
  • Sarawut Treephan (2020-21, 2021- present)
  • Dusit Chalermsan (2021)

You read that right: 13 coaching changes since 2015! In that time, we’ve hired, sacked, and then re-hired the same coach multiple times, with it now a long-running joke on the terraces.

Personally, I think we treated Dusit quite poorly during his time at the club this season (not giving him a transfer window to sign his own players for instance!), and I understood why he chose to walk away from the position, rather than to keep fighting an uphill battle.

Realistically, I get the impression that club management doesn’t want any coaches that can think for themselves, and they’d prefer to deal with coaches that are more adept at saying “yes!” and “great idea!” rather than “why?”.

Again: that’s my personal opinion.

 

 

Moving forwards, the club needs to make major changes, and if the club management is unwilling to do so: they should (in my opinion) relinquish control of the club. To think that because you provide the money, that makes you qualified, just doesn’t add up, and can no longer be accepted.

If I have an electrical problem in my house, I don’t play around with the wires until the problem is solved. I’ll call in a qualified electrician, so that the job is done properly, and in the long run: it’ll be a cost effective fix too.

This is something the club needs to consider doing, but with football people in the decision-making process regarding ALL football decisions. Find the most qualified people, who have a great network and knowledge, and trust them to go out and build the squad that will (ideally) achieve the goals that you have for the club. Provide them with the same level of investment as you’ve done in previous years, and if things don’t work out: that’s when they should get their marching orders.

But, the key thing is: let your head coach do the job he was hired to do! If someone has a UEFA or AFC ‘Pro’ licence, there’s a good chance they aren’t a mug, and they can handle themselves on matchdays and training sessions. Take a step back, let them do their job, and if things become untenable: that’s when it’s time to move in a new direction.

And if they’re successful? Well, you can still be at the forefront of every photo, and take credit for other peoples hard work! It’s a win-win situation, don’t you think?

I laid awake in bed at 4 am this morning, my annoyance from the derby still at the forefront of my mind. It wasn’t anger at the result, it wasn’t even really anger at our players. It was anger that things will never change at the club, and the club that I fell in love with all those years ago… is no longer the club that I see today. I could continue to sit here and write even more about the issues that we seem to be faced with, but there’s one problem that is central to all of it. I don’t even need to say what it is…

 

If you know: you know.