Posts

My All-Time Port XI: Andy Hailstone

 

Having won the F.A. Cup last season, and with no football happening right now, it seemed a good opportunity to take stock of my Port watching experiences dating back to the last F.A. Cup win in 2009 and come up with the best combined team that I have seen over those years and later inevitably the worst combined team too.

Some of this took a great deal of effort and painful recollection, and numerous re-jigs and re-writes as a better or worse player either lit up or plopped into my consciousness. If you know me and my endless incoherent ramblings, you may be expecting the best team to consist of only one player, namely; Moudourou Moise! And yes, I would be interested to see how a team of Moises may function in each position, for example; Moise passes out from the back into midfield where Moise nonchalantly collects it and loops a diagonal ball up front, where Moise controls it effortlessly on his muscular chest and hammers it home, that makes it 5-0, with Moise getting all of them. But, spoiler alert, he is in the team but there are 10 lesser mortals with him too, and also the team could almost be called balanced too.

As all the best teams line up in a traditional 4-4-2 formation, this is what I have gone for. The team includes only players I have watched play and was impressed by, and would obviously be unbeatable.

So, here goes-

GK – Chanin Sae-ear

2014
35 appearances

 

 

We got him on loan from Chonburi and he really truly seemed like a real goalkeeper, you know one that did things like saving the ball, catching, kicking, not looking like a 12-year-old, didn’t have a chronic inner ear infection leading him to repeatedly fall over for no apparent reason, or being made out of balsawood. He did really well for us and was a pleasure to watch, I would really have loved to have seen him sign with us permanently but sadly the evil that is Chainat signed him up permanently instead and we have had a series of unsatisfactory keepers ever since, I would have him back between the sticks in a heartbeat. The other choice could have been Ulrich Munze but his antics playing for Esan United against us in 2013 rather soured the memory of him, despite me meeting him at an away game and him being a nice guy.

RB – Nitipong Selanon

2016-present
108 appearances, 4 goals

 

 

It took me a while to decide that actually we have never had anyone as good as Nitipong at right-back, I kept thinking of other players but no, they have failed to fly at Nitipong’s rarified heights. Many haven’t been close to rivalling all the things that Nitipong does so well and so energetically, I was reminded of the Prakasit era, but he for some reason always reminded me of a poor man’s Gary Neville, tidy and sensible yet unspectacular but with a nice side parting and a teenage boy’s attempt at facial hair, Seeket’s loan period was good, and he was decent enough but didn’t stay very long. So, it would seem that Nitipong rules and is probably one of the most valuable players we have and he is so ridiculously consistent, and being consistently good is a pretty good thing to be.

CB – Moudourdou Moise

2009-10
58 appearances, 4 goals

 

A Port FC legend. and Moise.

 

In my head he had at least 1,000 appearances and almost an equal amount of goals, and I still think he could probably do a job for us now, despite the genuinely competent array of centre backs we have now (excluding Tanaboon) who are pretty darn good, it would be great to see him on the bench as a powerhouse option. I have spoken to some fellow Port fans who claim that they saw Moise make mistakes in games and that maybe he wasn’t as amazing as I claim, but remember they’re nothing but god-damn liars. LIARS, I tell you!

CB – David Rochela

2015-present
86 appearances, 17 goals

 

 

I will be honest I have had periods where I didn’t think much of Rochela, his languid style didn’t always wash with me and I know many Port fans have championed him throughout his time with us, but now he has really grown on me over time, much like mold. Taking penalties always helps a player’s goal scoring record but he always seems the epitome of calm and poise and that bizarre shunting him out the squad last year to make way for Tanaboom, only makes me realize just how good he is for us. Him and Dolah or Todsapol are a good pairing and one that on the whole inspires confidence. Much more than any of his predecessors and for this reason he’s in the best 11.

LB – Kevin Deeromram

2018-present
50 appearances, 5 goals

 

 

I realise that I have both our present fullbacks in the best 11 and that may seem like I can’t actually remember anything beyond what I have just seen, but I do genuinely think that Kevin is one of the best players we have had in this position, it seems to me all parts of his game tick boxes for me, and as far as I can remember only two other left backs really stick in my mind; Ittipol and Pongpipat, who were (in my opinion) god awful, I mean like really awful, totally awful, like the worst awful you can imagine. There was a left back we signed in 2012 who played into the 2013 season called Narongrit, who I rated, but he doesn’t hold a candle to young Kev!

RM – Ekkapoom Potharungroj

2010-11, 2015-7
78 appearances, 10 goals

 

 

This spot could have easily gone to any of Ekkapoom, Ekkachai or Sarawut. Ekkachai misses out due to his success at Buriram and tragically I am a sad bitter little man. Sarawut misses partly because I couldn’t find anything about him on the internet and so think maybe I imagined him and partly because despite his best efforts (which I may have imagained) I remember many promising situations falling apart as he seemed to always fall over running to the byline (seemingly from exhaustion) while failing to put in a good enough cross, he also (possibly) often played as a (unconvincing) makeshift striker too. But on to Ekkapoom who regularly excited fans with his effort and commitment and maybe skill too, at times. His second spell with us wasn’t quite as good as his first, when he deserted us for Muangthong, but then had the decency to score an own goal for his in a 4-1 defeat at their place, which was sadly marred by their fans throwing objects down on the port fans, leaving the less violent contingent of fans to watch the remainder of the match in the area next to the stands, while other fans attempted to get up to where the Muangthong medieval-esque defenders of the stadium were located. Still a good player though.

CM – Kiatjaroen Ruangparn

2005-16
104 appearances, 10 goals

 

 

A player of great longevity for us, even if he did seem to be on the verge of leaving us on several occasions. In fact, there was one rumour (I think) at one point during the Big Ben ownership debacle that stated it was the actual Port Authorities that employed him, not the club. Which created amusing images for me of him in a shirt and tie, doing some photocopying, making some coffee, doing a bit of filing while wearing his footie shorts and boots just waiting for training to start. He is and was one of the few players I have ever considered getting his name and number on a shirt. Such was his class and ability, he was rarely outfought, always seemed to be in the right place at the right time to do the right thing. And doing so while also having to contend with needing to cover for the whichever of the contractually required South Koreans that we had “filling” the space next to him in midfield at that time. A club Legend for me.

CM-Siwakorn Jakkuprasat

2011-12, 2015-present
123 appearances, 13 goals

 

 

 

A player who over time I have come to appreciate, like broccoli and cauliflower. He started off, seeming to be the one of angriest of players we had and seemed to be perpetually on the verge of launching a mindlessly silly or leg-breaking challenge despite only appearing to weigh 6 stones. Thankfully he has grown up and blossomed in a fantastic player who is creative and really makes our play tick with his intelligent passing. He really is one of the more important players in the team and has now mastered how to tackle without it being a guaranteed yellow. If he could stamp out his perchance for trying to referee the game, I could fully embrace him as much as Peter does. We can overlook his time at Muang Thong as forgivable, as didn’t really do much there (if I remember correctly), due to what he now does for us game in game out.

LM – Steven Robb

2011-3
49 appearances, 5 goals

 

 

Robb is a very interesting case, he was a true western player, schooled in the arts of how westerners play football and for that reason was both a breath of fresh air for our team but was also a tragic wasted opportunity. I can’t remember the number of games that I watched where he was either in acres of space waiting for the ball to be switched to him only then not receive it, much to his clear and obvious frustration. Or he would play an intelligent raking diagonal ball to space only for the player to totally misread the ball and not be anywhere near it, making Robb just look odd. I remember one game (T.O.T. away) especially where he had Mongkol as the left back and the level of frustration was clear as Mongkol, instead of playing the ball forward or out wide to Robb, would continually turn back inside and play a short ball to the centre midfielders, it’s amazing really that Robb played as often as he did as he really didn’t seem to fit in with how we played at all. He was also a really nice guy who I chatted with on at least three separate occasions (yes, at least three, quite the name dropper aren’t I) and the insights he offered up about Thai football were either breathtaking, bizarre, shocking or deeply depressing. What he told me about the finances was chillingly alarming. It would have been great if it had worked out better for him, and there are probably other choices for his spot, he will always be a legend for Port for me.

FW – Leandro de Oliveira da Luz

2013-4
36 appearances, 34 goals

 

Four more Port legends

 

Here is a player that I have both been thrilled and excited by but also annoyed and despairing about often, on occasion, at the same time. His ability made him a justifiable hero to the Port fans and the things he did on the pitch were extraordinary and routinely unroutine-like. It was a pleasure to watch him score amazing goals which defied belief in games that mattered. But it was also his ability to wind up opposition players with a dexterity and skill few could match. When Leandro played against us in 2016 for PTT Rayong, and was up against our then Brazilian dabbler of the dark arts; Cunha, it was like watching a chess match between two grand masters as to see who would be superior and be able to roll over more times after feigning an injury from a nothing tackle, or who could remonstrate with the ref more vigorously over an imaginary elbow to the head. And despite his not playing for us I felt he outclassed Cunha in his ability to rile up the opposition (us) and make Cunha lose focus. I think it is fair to say that clearly Cunha would have killed him if he had been able to really get hold of him, but that only made Leanadro’s effort more impressive.

FW – Rodrigo Maranhao

2016-17 (sort of)
31 appearances, 10 goals

 

 

This one may be a strange choice due to all the other amazing foreign or Thai strikers we have had over the years, like …………….. erm ……………. errrrr ……………. you know …………. er what was his name again? …………. erm. Mmmmmmm maybe not so strange after all, I genuinely thought he was a quality, underutilized and underused player for us, and he was really exciting to watch. I also think he was very cruelly treated and utterly disrespected which also helped to show what utterly shambolic recruitment strategies we have for planning a coherent team. Again, how many times have we seen worse players come in late in a transfer window (possibly on a whim) only for the better players we already have to then be shunted out the team, and often out the registered playing squad while bizarrely still be contracted to the team with just the potential of cup games dangled in front of them as if that somehow makes things ok. We let go a really talented striker who I think would have done great things for, but mismanagement and interference meant we never saw the best of Rodrigo.

 

Thanks Andy! Want to tell us your favourite Port XI? Email us!

 

Sandpit Songs of the Season: Week 7

 

After an international break of quite staggering pointlessness, T1 returns this week with Port taking on lanterne rouge club Air Force at the PAT on Wednesday night (20:00). The Flyboys may be bottom of the league but with a front line featuring the likes of Marques, Assumpcao, Jaycee John and former Port legend Ekkapoom, Port’s defence will need to be on their guard.

Talking of Ekkapoom, I imagine that when he announced to his friends & family that he’d signed for Air Force, it went something like this bit of sub-Sgt Pepper whimsy from a very youthful Bee Gees. “Mother, I don’t care what my father might think/Perhaps it’s going to drive him to drink…It’s better, it’s better than being alone.” Given their performances so far this season, I’m not so sure about that.

 

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Sonic ‘Poom

 

Port have made further moves towards cutting the size of their squad, and by the start of the season could well have the 25 man squad that we suggested back in 2017. Some Port players who were released have also found new homes, including Ekkapoom, who has joined T1 rivals Air Force.

The latest departure, if he ever really arrived, is Chilean-Palestinian Matias Jadue. Jadue was brought in in ludicrous circumstances, with 7 foreign players already on the books and absolutely no route in to the team for a player who had most recently been struggling for form in Malaysia. As precisely everyone could have predicted, he managed nothing more than a few friendly goals during his time with Port, failing to even be registered in the league squad let alone make a competitive appearance. The closest he got to seeing meaningful action was a cup game in which he got injured in the warm-up. At least Jadue’s time with Port got his foot in the Thai League door though, as he has now been picked up by T2 side Krabi FC. We wish Matias the best of luck, and hope that Wikipedia’s Krabi squad, which shows 5 foreign players already on the books, is a mistake rather than the sign of more troubles to come!

 

 

Former Port favourite Ekkapoom could well be making his return to Port in 2018 with Port’s oldest rivals Air Force. Air Force, led by former Port supremo Sasom, have been splashing the cash upon their return to the big time, bringing in arguably the most fearsome three-pronged strike force in the country. After Jaycee John and Renan Marques arrived from Bangkok United and Chonburi respectively, The Blue Eagles have further bolstered their attack with Leandro Assumpcao from Muangthong. And then there’s the Poom! With Leandro mostly operating on the left, it seems Ekkapoom will most likely be used as back-up on the wing, but with any luck will get a reasonable amount of playing time. As long as he doesn’t score against us, we wish him all the best!

Speaking of former Port players and Air Force, we have also just heard that Kayne Vincent has finally fallen prey to the Air Force spending spree, and has been moved on to T2 Kasetsart FC. Vincent will be replacing Brazilian striker Jonatan Fereira Reis at Kasetsart, who scored 28 goals as The Emerald Nagas finished in 13th place. With Vincent unlikely to provide anywhere near that much firepower, we can’t say things look good for Kasetsart this season. The transfer also brings to mind a recent Instagram post from Port’s most arbeitsverweigerung striker, in which he wished former Buriram teammate Charyl Chappuis a Happy Birthday, and said “See you on the pitch.” Well, there’s always the Cup, I suppose. Chappuis, the rather more realistic of the two, replied “See you soon.”

 

 

Another Port player to have found a new home is midfielder Siwapong Jarernsin, who was released late in 2017. He has joined up with Khon Kaen FC, where he will with any luck be linking up with Tana, if he ever manages to find a move away from Port that is!

Assuming that Tana does eventually move on and one of Suarez and Nebihi also don’t make the cut, that will leave Port with exactly 25 players, all of whom you can find about at our freshly updated Squad page. For more on which one of Port’s attacking midfielders is likely to make the cut, and which one will get the chop, you can find Tim’s analysis here.

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Training Day

 

Port returned to training on Thursday, giving fans the opportunity to see some new arrivals for the first time, as well as bid farewell to some of the old guard.

Among those spotted in action at PAT Stadium for the first time were attacking midfielder Bajram Nebihi, wingers Chakrit Rawanprakone and Terens Puhiri and defensive midfielders Athibordee Atirat and Kim Sung-Hwan. It seems that fellow new arrival Dragan Boskovic has not yet returned from his holidays, but is expected back soon.

 

We think Jadet probably prefers standing next to Terens Puhiri (r) rather than Bajram Nebihi (l)

 

The super-fans from Facebook group เกรียนสิงห์ท่าเรือ also caught up with Port’s latest signing around the back of Zone A. The man in question is 23 year old forward Arthit Butjinda, who joins from Buriram and will add depth to Port’s striking options, although his rather underwhelming record in lower divisions suggests that depth is about all he will be adding. Well, that’s the current state of Thai strikers for you! If Arthit doesn’t whet your appetite, bear in mind that Muangthong have just brought in Chenrop Sampaodi from Police Tero, who has netted just 3 times in 61 T1 appearances.

 

Arthiti Butjinda. Photo by เกรียนสิงห์ท่าเรือ

 

For those player-spotting in the coming days, Nebihi was seen wearing number 18, Chakrit number 8, Puhiri number 88, Athibordee number 92, Kim number 39, Nurul number 31, and Bodin number 15, although these could well change. Additionally, Pakorn has switched to wearing number 7, and two players from the youth team are taking part in first team training. Forward Chanayut Jejue ha been seen wearing number 29 and 99 shirts, while Sarawin Phakdeekan is wearing Pravinwat’s number 55 shirt (his loan from Bangkok Glass was only 6 months, and is now finished.)

 

Chanayut and Sarawin

 

There were also some players in plain-clothes who were bidding farewell to their teammates, namely Pakasit Sansook (2), Ekkapoom Potharungroj (8), Wuttichai Tathong (14) and Piyachart Tamaphan (23). These four, all over the age of thirty, were very unlikely to see any significant action in Port’s much-improved 2018 squad, and have been sensibly released. Pakasit, who has been running a coaching school with former national team star Datsakorn Thonglao, may well decide to hang up his boots, but Piyachart will return to Ubon UMT, where he spent the second half of 2017 on loan. He will be joined in Isaan by Wuttichai, and both will be coached by former Port boss Gary Stevens next season. Whilst we’re largely glad to see fat being trimmed from the squad, it’s always sad to see a fan-favourite like Ekkapoom move on. He has yet to find a new club, but we hope he finds himself playing regularly in either T1 or T2 next season!

An additional departure which was announced on Wednesday was Narakorn Khana, who along with Ekkapoom fell victim to the influx of new wingers. Narakorn was scooped up from BBCU after their liquidation last season, but failed to make an appearance in the league, and will be playing for Navy in 2018. It can also now be confirmed that defender Pravinwat Boonyong, who came in on loan after Hansson’s exit last season, has returned to parent club Bangkok Glass.

 


 

Phew! There’s of course a lot going on, with more arrivals and departures expected over the coming days, so we will do out best to keep you posted. Happy New Year from Transfer Talk!