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Pangdemonium! Port FC 2-2 Chonburi FC

 

 

Port’s off-field chaos spilled over onto the pitch and the terraces last night as the team played out a pitiful 2-2 draw against struggling Chonburi in an increasingly poisonous atmosphere. Port were simply dreadful in the second half and their cause wasn’t helped by three of the most ludicrous substitutions I’ve seen all season, and their fading title hopes are now surely all but extinct.

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Friday On My Mind: Chonburi vs Port FC Match Preview

 

This Friday, yes Friday Port travel to Chonburi. I can’t remember Port having a Friday fixture before, so this is a vaguely historic occasion. Fake an injury, finish work early and get down to Chonburi, history or infamy awaits.

Port’s visits to Chonburi have been marred with losses of many varieties, one fan even lost his phone there after being viciously attacked by a predatory pond. Be careful people it’s dangerous down there. Port have only picked up one away win in the last ten trips to the see the Sharks. Fortunately that win did come last year, Suarez lifting the ball over a defender’s leg past a flapping Chanin(36). Put that together with a pre-season win and as far as form is concerned there has never been a better time to travel to Chonburi.

 

Chonburi: Impressive and Imploding

The fight shown in first match to get a point away to Buriram was massively undermined by last week’s 2-0  home loss to Samut Prakan. Chonburi’s defence have given up two goals in both of their opening games. The most worrying of the four saw Samut Prakan put a simple cross into the box and two Chonburi defenders fall over each other gifting a golden opportunity to the opposition. Defensively Chonburi look disorganised right and left backs have been chopped and changed. The lowlight being the bleach blonde mohican of Sujarit (63) against Buriram. His shocking hairstyle matching some shocking defending. Chonburi also have Chanin (35) in goal a good shot stopper who had a great spell at Port, but he has always been prone to at least one mistake per match.

Chonburi have some quality going forward, pre-season they bought Brazilian striker Lukian (91) from Pattaya. He knows his way around the Thai League netting 19 goals last year. Lukian served up an excellent ball for Chonburi’s second against Buriram, but also spent half his time throwing his hands in the air complaining about the service he was getting. You want your forwards to be selfish, but you also want them to be good. Lukian can look world class, then look like he’s in a kindergarten class.

A more worrying threat comes on the right wing with Patrick Cruz (46). Cruz has been subbed on in the second half of both games. Cruz showed his quality pouncing on a Tunez mistake setting up an easy chance for Worachit (8) to get Chonburi’s first goal at the Thunder Castle. So why is he not starting? He played in Malaysia for Pahang FC getting 6 goals in 7 games so should be used to South East Asian conditions. The coach is either blind or worried he’s not got 90 minutes of football in him, maybe a bit of both. It will interesting to see if he finally gets into the starting 11 on Friday. And of course there’s Kroekrit (10) the current Chonburi captain an excellent left winger who will be looking to set Cruz and Lukian free. For me Kroekrit will always be the one of the vital players in Port’s 2013 promotion season, who we rewarded with a massive banner at PAT for one of the final home games, on which the club misspelt his name.

 

The Doctor’s Re-Port

In my season preview I did say barring injuries Port have a great team. Well the injuries have come thick and fast. As expected Rattanai returned to his regular ward, Rochela (22) is out for 4 weeks, and now Nurul (31) is going to miss the next 4 to 6 weeks. Worawut stepped in well for Rattanai. I was very impressed with Todsapol (6) on Sunday; he looked more solid than previous seasons and he knows he has a regular spot now until Rochela gets back. The Nurul injury is more serious, Bodin (10) can play left wing but he has never really looked up to standard in decent T1 company. We could move Boskovic to the wing, but that means pushing up Suarez and playing with an even more midfield minded striker. I think it will be a straight swap Nurul for Bodin, but it won’t solve the same old problem we had last year. Boskovic is not getting enough service and he keeps drifting back. Sumanya (11) was meant to be the solution to this problem, but even though he’s linking well with Boskovic we are still not finishing our chances. Hopefully the return of Go Seul-Ki (8) to the midfield will give the team more  freedom to create attacking options.

The Matchstick Mauler vs The Ex-Angel

The return of Go will see the return of the  Siwakorn (16) vs Sumanya debate. Jumbo Jadet favoured the matchstick mauler over the ex-angel away to Chiang Rai. Will he choose him again? I don’t think he should. Port have created chances but been unable to finish, we need to be more positive and have more shooting opportunities. Having Sumanya in and around the box that’s a lot more likely to happen. I don’t think Jadet will do it, I think he’ll put Siwakorn on to shore up the defence in search of an away point. Siwakorn had good games vs Chiang Rai, and Ratchaburi, but the one area he really falls down in is the one area we really need to work on, taking our goal scoring opportunities.

 

My Predicted Lineup

Worawut

Nittipong, Dolah, Todssapol, Kevin

Bodin, Siwakorn, Go, Suarez, Pakorn

Boskovic

Jadet would probably be happy walking away with a point from this match but early on in the season with a dodgy defence Port should be looking to exploit this chance for three points.

On the new kit, it is ok but I would say having gold numbers and lettering on your shirts is a bit showy for a team that hasn’t won anything. Of course if we go on to win something this year the gold will become the perfect good luck emblem. With the injuries it hasn’t been that lucky so far.

Still it’s Friday night and the time is right, as Port have a magnificent unbeaten record every single time I’ve seen them play on a Friday.

 

Chonburi FC vs Port FC Friday 8th March 8.00p.m.

Live on True Sports 2 and True 4U

The game will also be shown live at The Sportsman on Sukhumvit soi 13, with drink discounts available for Port fans. 

 

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Crystal Balls 2019: Chonburi FC

 

Time for our final 2019 Crystal Ball, and this time we look at Chonburi FC. After a couple of mediocre seasons, things seem to be stirring down by the sea and after an impressive transfer window, The Sharks look like they could be top 6 contenders once again. Here’s longtime Chonburi fan and editor of the Screaming from Beneath the Waves blog Dale Farrington with his thoughts…

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Sandpit Away Days 2019: Chonburi

 

Port travel down the eastern seaboard to Chonburi on Friday 8 May, and The Sandpit is, as usual, organising a fleet (one or two) of minivans for the occasion. We’ve already filled one van so if we get a few more signups we’ll be able to take two.

Vans will leave from Pattana School (Sukhumvit 105) at 17:00 on 8 May, and return after the game. Cost should be around 300-400BHT. If you’d like to join, please email us or leave a comment on this post.

 

Sharks & Recreation: Port FC 5-0 Chonburi FC

 

 

In the end, a rousing climax to the home season; just a pity there wasn’t a bigger crowd to witness it. Chonburi proved to be the perfect fall guys as Port racked up their second 5-0 win in a row – surely unprecedented; certainly since I’ve been watching the club anyway.

 

On a heavy, draining surface, Port aimed to carry on where they left off on Saturday with some neat link-up play, with the stylish Suarez at the heart of most of what was good. The silky Spaniard has been a bit of an enigma this season; at his best he is unplayable, making things tick and bringing out the beast in Boskovic; at his worst, he is a moody, argumentative, unproductive hole in the middle, like a Polo without the mint.

 

Kevin, who for most of the evening seemed bent on picking out every single Chonburi defender with his crosses, actually got it right on eleven minutes to set Nurul up with an unmissable chance on the penalty spot. He missed, skying his shot over the bar and probably Zone D as well. Minutes later, Suarez burst into the box only to slightly over-run the ball into goalkeeper Chanin’s legs, with Boskovic in a good position to his right. Nurul’s follow up shot was well saved by former Port keeper Chanin, who at this point had done enough to provoke fears of another heroic goalkeeping performance frustrating the home team before the inevitable breakaway goal.  It was not to last.

 

Chonburi at this stage were reduced to some long-range efforts, although one decent cross from the right was expertly guided over the bar by Dolah.

 

The game was becoming a bit scrappy with both teams finding the conditions  unconducive to intricate, flowing football, at which point Kim took the most sensible option, sending a route one ball over the top for Boskovic to pursue. Chanin had a rush of blood, charging out of his box and missing the ball completely, leaving Bosko with a virtually empty net to aim at. 1-0.  At the other end, Watchara had a similar panic, flailing at a left wing cross but his resultant weak punch was not punished. One disallowed Port goal later, it was half time.

 

Watchara, apart from that one moment of indecision, was catching the eye with his handling, distribution, defensive cover and general tomfoolery, like a Thai Bruce Grobbelaar. One particular save on 53 minutes, turning a fierce shot around his near post, would have made Bruce proud. With that mild fright over, Port were to extend their lead when Pakorn’s cut back from the right was met by Kim, arriving late in the box to send a perfectly timed header into the net off Chanin’s legs.

 

Bodin replaced Nurul in the 69th minute and two minutes later was brought down in the box after a nifty side step. There was some consternation on Zone B that Bosko might be taking the pen after his horror show last time out but Captain Rochela did indeed give him the thumbs-up. This time, there was to be no mistake, his stop-start run-up sending the hapless Chanin the wrong way, with the ball calmly dispatched into the opposite corner for what turned out to be, apparently, his 100th goal in the Thai League, thereby explaining Rochela’s selfless decision. Well done, Dragan, or Darius, as he seemed to be called by Madame Pang in her post-match tribute.

 

Port were on a roll now and ten minutes later were awarded a free kick in a perfect Pakorn spot after an unfortunate reflex handball by defender Kritsada Kaman resulted in a rather harsh red card. Pakorn delicately curled his shot to Chanin’s left; placement instead of power for once. Chanin was having a bit of a nightmare on his return to PAT, sad for a keeper who figured so prominently in our excellent 2014 season in the TPL, fondly remembered for his creative time-wasting in a 1-0 home victory over Champions, Buriram. The scorer of Port’s goal that day, Kroekrit, was also in Chonburi’s by now well-defeated ranks.

 

There was still time left though for a moment of pure theatre, involving Port’s best loved small person, Terens Puhiri. With Chonburi in total disarray, the ball was pushed forward to Terens, who found himself alone in the Chonburi half with a clear run on goal. The ball was dispatched ahead for himself to chase, like a dog in pursuit of a bus disappearing round the corner, with Boskovic, Bodin and Adisorn trailing in his wake but hoping to pick up some scraps. Zone B held its breath for a moment before urging Tiny Tot Terens to deliver us the goal we had been waiting for all season. Then, inexplicably, the diminutive dunderhead got all lovey-dovey and team-matey, unselfishly picking out Bodin at the far post to slot home, by-passing a now hat-trick, 101 goal-less Bosko on the way. The disappointment from the Port faithful was palpable – a moment frozen in time forever.

 

At the final whistle there was a nerve-wracking wait to get the final score from an insane match at the SCG, which at one point had Pattaya leading Muangthong by 4-1, only to be pulled back more than once for a final score of 5-5. Madness.

 

That draw to savour moved Port ahead of Muangthong on the head-to-head rule: a win each but 4-3 to Port in goals scored. Port now go to our most hated venue, after the SCG – the 72 years anniversary stadium in Minburi, home of Thai Honda and a ground on which none of us, I believe, have seen Port win or even play well. It would take another page to debate the ineptitude of the Thai League in allowing this late change to be made from Pattaya and the sorry choice of alternative venue but the positive side is we are on the back of two 5-0 wins and if that does not give the team the confidence and the momentum to grasp the chance of a third place finish and possible entry into the ACL, we will only have ourselves to blame. Plus, Muangthong are playing Bangkok Utd. There’s always hope.

 

The Sandpit Man of the Match: Watchara

Man of the Match is a tricky one as once again there were many good performances but no outstanding ones so, wishing to spread it around, I am going to nominate Watchara; a confident, eye-catching show – where have you been all season?

 

Not Today, Desmond Ray: Chonburi FC 0-1 Port FC

 

 

Port extended their winning run to 5 with a hard-fought win at a rainy Chonburi Stadium (their first here since 2006) last night, to cement 3rd place and finish the first leg of the 2018 season in some style. If last week’s 7-1 scuttling of Navy was champagne football, this was more Carlsberg Special Brew – rough, gritty, and not particularly pleasant, but it got us where we wanted to go.


Chonburi on a Saturday night – there are few more welcome away fixtures in Thai football and we decided to make the most of it, by leaving Bangkok at 1pm & heading for Bang Saen beach for a few pre-match snifters. Our van driver was clearly also in a holiday mood (as was his wife, who knocked back more Leos in the van than any of us farangs), and decided to take us on a one-hour sightseeing trip around Ramkamhaeng and Rama 3 before finally getting us on the motorway east, much to the delight of Hockers.

 

The Sandpit, with actual sand

 

Once we finally arrived in Bang Saen, we located a toilet (which seemed to be housed in a short-time hotel) and then hit the beach for a few cold beers and snacks. Terens’ minder Bayu had made the trip with us and he confirmed that the petite Papuan will be staying for the rest of the season and should be seeing more action once the cups get underway. Meanwhile Machar ‘The Beerhunter’ Smith had located a craft beer bar not far away so we headed off there, and as we did the deckchair renter told us “Tarua – desmolee!” We had no idea what he was on about but our resident master of the Thai tongue Tom Earls tells us that he was actually saying “Desmond Ray”. Desmond was apparently a US soldier who died in Thailand and, obviously being the only person ever in the history of the world to have actually died, the Thais now use his name when they want to tell you that you’re dead meat. I can’t go into any more detail as there’s nothing about him online and I suspect Tom may have been making it all up. With the deckchairman’s warning ringing in our ears, we were in urgent need of something stronger than Leo, and Hops Addict bar duly obliged. I can heartily recommend the Stone Tangerine Express IPA.

We arrived to find a stadium rather lacking in atmosphere, as Dale had predicted in his preview, with only a large, raucous Port contingent behind the way end to indicate that there was a top-flight football match about to take place. Just before kick-off the heavens opened and we entered the away end to find it even more substandard than usual, with several inches of water on the terracing adding to the cracked seating and poor views.

 

 

Therefore, given the fact that most of the significant action took place at the far end of the pitch (and as such may as well have been taking place on the moon for all we could see of it)  and that note-taking isn’t in the spirit of The Sandpit, most of this report is based on video highlights of the match.

After Chonburi fired a first-minute warning shot across Port’s bows, with striker Naphat heading narrowly wide, Port began bossing the game in the usual fashion, with Kim (8) pulling the strings in midfield, and Pakorn (7), Suarez (5) and Nurul (31) probing at the Sharks’ admittedly very solid defence. Indeed Nurul, on his return to his former club, was clearly a marked man, with Chonburi players hacking him down at every available opportunity and racking up 4 yellow cards in the first half alone for their troubles. Pakorn came close on 20 minutes with his free kick just shaving the Sharks’ crossbar, but Port didn’t have long to wait to make the breakthrough. On 23 minutes, Pakorn chipped in a cross from the right which Chonburi keeper Chanin failed to read with Suarez (5) getting in before him to deftly chip it into the back of the net off the outside of his left boot for 1-0. Chanin, realising he’d been done up like a kipper, added a comical little Weera-esque dive after the event to make it look like he’d been making some kind of effort to stop it.

And that, as far as Port were concerned, was it. After taking the lead they seemed to figure that, given Chonburi’s lack of decent striking options, they may as well let them have the ball and sit back while they wore themselves out. It was a strategy that almost cost Port dear as quickly as the 30th minute when Naphat got away from the typically poor Athibordee (35, once again being played out of position), only to fire straight at the impressive Rattanai (17); then again on 40 minutes when Chonburi’s otherwise comically bad winger Ciro put in a lovely far post cross which was narrowly headed over by Phanuphong.

 

 

After a brief 15-minute respite from what was rapidly becoming a real nerve-shredder of a game for Port fans, during which we calmed said nerves with Leo and other intoxicating substances, the second half was more of the same, with Port seemingly content to let Chonburi have the ball (even passing it to them on numerous occasions) and the Sharks launching wave after wave of attacks without having anyone with the guile or creativity to convert the numerous chances created. When they did get shots away, Port were throwing bodies at them with Kevin (97), Rochela (22) and the Rat all making heroic stops. Port simply weren’t in it, and had the Sharks had a couple of decent strikers, they would have won comfortably.

Thankfully they don’t, and despite the ref adding on a surprisingly generous 5 minutes of stoppage time, Port held on for, as I predicted, an ugly win against a limited but very robust and well-organised side. That is, as I said, Port’s 5th win in a row (3 of them away from home), and since the Chainat debacle Port’s record has been outstanding – 5 games, 5 wins, 16 goals scored, 3 conceded. That is title-winning form and come the end of the season those dropped points against the likes of Chainat and Police Tero could come back to haunt us; but keep this form up, and if Buriram and Bangkok Utd hit rough patches of their own, it might just turn into a 3-horse race. Next up? 4th-placed Muangthong on 9 June, for by far the biggest game played at the PAT for a couple of years at least.

 

The Sandpit Man of the Match: David Rochela

There were some huge performances in Port’s defence last night, with Rattanai, Nitipong, Kevin and Kim all sweating blood for the shirt. But cometh the hour, cometh the man, and it was cap’n Rochela who took this week’s award with a performance that mixed classy, visionary defending with down & dirty blocks & tackles. It’s actually David’s first MOTM award this season, which is less of a reflection on his form and more a reflection on how much more quality there is in the team these days, that they are no longer quite so reliant on the schmooooove Spaniard. But of course, when needed, he’s always there, and last night was a match-winning performance.

 

Sandpit Songs of the Season: Week 17 – Chonburi FC

 

The first half of what’s been a thrilling 2018 season comes to an end tomorrow with a nice trip to our old friends Chonburi FC. The Sharks have had an up & down season but are as tight as the proverbial gnat’s chuff at the back and so it’s likely to be a tough game for Port’s buzzing strikers.

As for us fans, we’ll be turning up with binoculars and telescopes, because when you’re in the away end at Chonburi the pitch is…

 

 

Smile You Son of a Bitch: Chonburi FC vs Port FC Match Preview

 

Port make the short trip down the coast to Chonburi on Saturday for one of T1’s most amicable fixtures. Fans of the Lions & the Sharks have a long-standing entente cordiale that makes our matches a friendly affair, though last year Port were a little bit too friendly, going down 2-1 away and losing 3-1 at home in what turned out to be the last game of the disastrous Zico Experiment. With much-loved former Chonburi coach Jadet now firmly ensconced on the Port bench, and ex-Shark Nurul a permanent fixture in our attack, there are further reasons for the Sharks to extend the usual warm welcome to those of us making the trip on Saturday.

 

The Form Guide (last 5 games)

CHONBURI: WDLWW

PORT: WWWWL

Chonburi’s form has been all over the place like a madwoman’s shit this season, whilst Port (apart from a brief blip culminating in the airing of grievances that was Chainat) have been banging in the goals & playing some superb football. Port go into the game on the back of 4 consecutive wins (including 2 consecutive away wins) and, with the Sharks struggling to find the net this season (only 20 goals in 16 games), Jadet & co will surely be targeting 3 points from this one, though Chonburi’s miserly defence (only 18 conceded in 16 games) will almost certainly be harder to break down than that of Navy.

And the history of this fixture certainly doesn’t make encouraging reading for Port fans. The two clubs have played each other 20 times, with Chonburi winning 14 to Port’s measly 3.

So will Port be dealing with the Pathetic Sharks on Saturday, or are we gonna need a bigger boat?

 

 

The Opposition

Chonburi fan Dale Farrington is a legend in expat football circles, having set up what is believed to be the longest-established English-language club website in Thailand. I asked him for his thoughts on Sunday’s game…

Tell us the story of Chonburi’s season so far. Are you happy or unhappy with the way it’s gone?
It’s been quite painful so far. There’s very little to feel excited or happy about. Sadly, this is unlikely to change, as long as certain individuals remain at the club. And, realistically, they’re going nowhere. We’re doomed to an eternity of mediocrity.

 

You’re one of 10 clubs to change coach so far this season. Has the change helped?
If you look at this purely in terms of results then the answer would appear to be ‘yes’. However, performances – with the odd exception – have actually been worse. We could see that Goran was trying to build something and was making steady progress. Unfortunately, those who employed him in the first place, seemingly didn’t have the patience to wait for all the hard work to pay off. I’m privy to a lot of what went on during the run up to his resignation (it was 100% his decision to leave) and, I’m afraid, the club doesn’t come out of it very well.

Which players should we be looking out for? Who’s most likely to do us some damage?
Worachit is on a good scoring run – three in three, I believe – but he often flatters to deceive. Other than that, our centre back pairing of Gyeong-Min and Nattphol have been the stand out performers so far this season. Which tells you all you need to know. However, if you’re looking for comedy…

Who are the weakest links in your team?
The goalkeeper, the full backs, the midfield, the so called strikers and everyone on the bench.

You’re just above the relegation zone but only a couple of wins off the top 4. Where do you think the Sharks will finish?
It’s been a strange season, with most teams being unable to find any sort of consistency, and we definitely fall into that category. Therefore, anywhere between 6th and 13th is a possibility.

How do you rate this 2018 Port side? Which players are you most concerned about?
They certainly seem to have hit a rich vein of form just lately. If you can keep that up there’s no reason why you won’t finish in the top three and possibly bag a cup. Your coach – a Chonburi legend – has plenty of experience in winning things and I’m so pleased it’s working out for him, although, I hope he has a miserable time on Saturday. As for individuals, I think most of us are looking forward to seeing Nurul return – and have a stinker!

We have a few Chonburi virgins on the bus this week. Give us a quick guide to your stadium and its facilities.
Don’t bother going anywhere near the ground until ten minutes before kick off. It’s like the stadium at the end of the world on match days. In fact there’s more life – and entertainment – there during the week. I’d suggest heading to Bang Saen pre match. However, it is a long weekend for many people and is likely to be packed full of Bangkokians. So give yourselves plenty of time and grab the first parking space you can find!

Finally, score prediction please.
I’ll be extremely optimistic and go for 1-1.

 

Port Lineup

Whatever the opposite of a Tinkerman is, that’s Jadet. The Globular Guru knows his best XI and only changes it when circumstances such as injuries or suspensions dictate. So whilst we may bemoan the fact that we don’t get to see as much of Terens or Bodin as we may wish, 4 wins in a row suggests that the Obese Oberleutnant has hit on a winning formula and sees no reason to change things up. In a season that has seen 18 managerial changes across 10 clubs, the Corpulent Capo somehow manages to dodge the slings & arrows of Thai footballing fortune and remains the highest-placed Thai coach in T1, and long may it continue.

This week the only change is going to come in defence where Elias Dolah (4), who has supplanted Todsapol (6) in the heart of Port’s defence of late, is suspended, meaning Tossa will almost certainly be the man to replace him. With Chonburi relying more on pace than brawn up front, that’s probably no bad thing.

Elsewhere, Rattanai (17) should continue in goal after very solid performances against Navy & Suphanburi. In midfield, it’s likely to be as-you-were with Kim (8) scoring his first goal of the season against Navy and Siwakorn (16) looking back to his old self, although Adisorn (13) may be called upon to add a bit of bite to Port’s midfield. Pakorn (7) took a bit of a pounding from the sailors on Sunday and went off injured late in the game; if he’s deemed unfit to face Chonburi then expect Bodin (10) to replace him. The Flying Marmoset, Nurul (31), will almost certainly be called upon to face his old club.

Up front, the Boskovic (23) & Suarez (5) bromance is blossoming nicely, with 17 goals & 9 assists between them already this season, so it’s highly likely that both will start on Sunday. Bosko’s sudden rediscovery of form (6 goals in his last 3 games) and Suarez’ return from injury have revitalised Port’s season and Chonburi certainly won’t be looking forward to facing them – it’s a long time since we had such a sphincter-loosening forward line.

Tim’s XI

 

The Stadium

Chonburi Municipality Stadium has been home to The Sharks since 2012. Whilst it’s in pretty good shape for a Thai stadium, it does have the dreaded running track and, with away fans shoved behind one of the goals on a low-rise terrace, the view is one of the worst in Thai football. Factor in the lack of atmosphere (home crowds have been declining in the last few years and they were very quiet on our last visit), the total food/drink ban inside the stadium, and the 200BHT away ticket cost, and you have one of the least agreeable away fan experiences in T1. But on the plus side, the Chonburi fans are a friendly lot, there’s plenty of food & beer available outside the ground (the Muslim Fried Chicken stall won The Sandpit’s Best Away Ground Food Award 2018), and the beaches of Bang Saen are just a short drive away, and that’s where we’ll be spending the afternoon prior to the game.

 

 

 

Chonburi FC vs Port FC, Saturday 26 May 19:00 at Chonburi Stadium. The game will be shown live on True, and on the big screen at our sponsors The Sportsman.

 

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Crystal Balls 2018: Chonburi FC

 

In our final Crystal Balls for the 2018 season, we hear from long-time Chonburi fan Dale Farrington, who is fully forgiven for handing in his homework late as he’s been busy organising The Wedding Present’s first ever Bangkok gig (19 April). Dale, we salute you.

Despite not having the greatest of seasons, Chonburi managed to finish in 7th place and also did the double over Port (booooo). But they appear to have done little to strengthen their squad during the break and with Port, Chiang Rai, Glass and even Police improving their squads, they may find it difficult to reach those heights in 2018. Dale is certainly less than enthusiastic about the new season…

 


 

What was your highlight of the 2017 season?

Aside from the performance against Buriram Utd in the League Cup, there was very little for us Chonburi fans to get excited about. Therefore, the highlight was when it ended and we could look forward to our weekends again.

How will your team fare in 2018?

With a new (unknown and untried) coach, a whole host of new players and many others leaving, it’s difficult to say. I’d like to think we’ll improve on last season’s performance, but I’m not holding my breath.

Who is your most exciting new signing?

Centre half, Kim Gyeong-Min is the only one who has really featured in pre season and he looks to be a very solid addition at the back. I can’t really comment on the rest, as I haven’t seen enough of them.

Which departed players from 2017 will you miss the most? Who are you glad to see the back of?

Nurul will be the biggest miss. He had his best season for a while last year – so we sold him! No-one in particular from the second category. Apart from the aforementioned Nurul, all the other departees are pretty much of a muchness.

What changes would you like to see at your club? Or are you happy with the way things are going?

Far too many to mention here. The management has really lost touch with the fans – which is a shame, as we used to be a pretty tight knit club. Maybe if this issue was addressed, then things could start to improve generally.

Which teams will be in contention for the T1 title, and who will win?

Buriram Utd and Muang Thong Utd. The former, if they aren’t too distracted by the AFC Champions League. The latter if their rivals take their eye of the ball domestically to chase continental honours.

Which 5 – yes 5 – teams will go down to T2, and which 3 will come up to T1?

Down: Air Force, Nakorn Ratchasima, Navy, Prachuap and Sukhothai.
Up: Khon Kaen, PTT Rayong and Udon Thani.

Which fixtures are you most looking forward to in 2018?

Prachuap away. A new ground and the chance for a weekend break.

Thai football crowds are declining year on year. Why do you think this is, and what can be done to make the game more popular?

I think it was always going to be difficult to maintain the high crowds we saw during the boom period and, to a large extent, they have plateaued. I prefer to come at from the angle that attendances are much higher throughout the leagues than they were ten years ago. When you’ve sat in grounds watching top flight football in front of a few dozen people, anything else is a bonus.

Finally, give us your three wishes for the 2018 season.

Entertaining football.
No injury faking or time wasting.
No-one will buy our new THB2,200 shirt and the club will realise the folly of its deal with Nike.

 

Big thanks to Dale for sharing his thoughts with us, and you can follow Chonburi’s 2018 season on his website, which we believe to be the oldest English language fan website in Thailand. 

 

Friendly News: Port Catch Buri-Buri

 

The Port squad reconvened for pre-season training last week, and the first two friendlies have just been announced. On Wednesday 13 December at 17:00, Port entertain Krung Thonburi FC, aka The Knight (just one of them), who despite their name play their football in Nakhon Pathom and are currently in T3 Lower.

Then on Saturday 16 December at 15:30, Port travel to Chonburi to take on the Sharks in what is likely to be a much more competitive game, given that both sides have already strengthened considerably during the window. As it’s a friendly you’ll probably be able to sit in the decent seats rather than 7km away behind the goal, and you’ll be able to sample the wares of The Sandpit’s 2017 Best Away Ground Food Award winner, the Muslim fried chicken lady.

FOOTBALL’S BACK!!!