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Toby Time: Beyond Doubt

 

With the release of the excellent Portcast episode featuring our very own Toby Knight, and the discussion therein pertaining to the phenomena known as “Toby Time”, I became inspired to have a look at the numbers and see if they would lie or simply tell us what we already knew for certain; that Port simply perform better when Mr. Knight leaves a little early, and returns a little late, to get a few halftime lagers under his belt.

“Did I not have anything better to do with my time than to go through all our league games since the start of 2018 and see at what time each goal was scored or conceded”, you may ask. Well… yes, yes I did, but my ability to procrastinate is all but unmatched even in the land of Sabai Sabai and, as far as my better half is concerned, this article never happened. Anyway, I have now performed the thorough scientific work needed to truly examine what defies all science, but has long been beyond any doubt to every self-respecting sports fan; our rituals have a real effect on the outcome of the games.

So, what did I find?

First of all, the main character himself says it all started with the mad beginning to the second half at home to Muangthong in June 2018, during which we scored 2 and conceded 3 within the first 14 minutes, all while he was knocking back Leos outside the PAT. This was halfway through the first of our consecutive 3rd place finish seasons so it also happens to make it a perfect cut-off point for a before- and after comparison. Now, I don’t know exactly which games Toby may have missed, and exactly when he would have left and returned to the stands during the ones when he was there, so I have simply looked at every league fixture and defined “Toby Time” as minute 36 through 60, the last 10 and opening 15 of the first and second half respectively.

Since the start of 2018, we have scored 128, and conceded 81 goals in T1. Statistically, goals are about as likely to be scored during any stage of the game so, even taking the extra minutes awarded for stoppages in the first half, the 47 goals (37%) we’ve racked up during Toby Time in the two latest seasons are roughly 12 more than the 34.54 (27%) that we should perhaps have expected. Defensively, we are more aligned with the normal curve, with 24 goals (30%) falling at the wrong end in the same interval, although there were slightly more goals conceded than the expected 21.87 (27%).

The graph below shows the big disparity between expected and actual goals scored, and a smaller difference between expected and actual goals conceded.

 

 

The goals came thick and fast even before Toby stumbled on to his magic formula, with 11 out of 35 (31%) scored, and 8 out of 22 (36%) conceded in the timespan between 36 and 60 minutes.

In order to prove Toby Time though, we have to look closer at what has happened since that fateful night when Toby’s thirst for beer and conversation just barely trumped his hunger for derby day football. During the last season and a half, Port have banged in 93 goals and allowed our opponents to find the net 59 times. 36 of our goals came during Toby Time, an increase of a whopping 8% from the 31% in the first half of 2018, while the number of goals conceded were merely 16, representing a 9% drop down to the expected 27%. The graph below shows the 8% increase in goals scored and the 9% drop in goals conceded since the Muangthong game in June 2018.

 

Goals Scored Jan-June 2018 (mins 36-60)Goals Scored since June 2018 (mins 36-60)
11 (31%)36 (39%)

 

Goals Conceded Jan-June 2018 (mins 36-60)Goals Conceded since June 2018 (mins 36-60)
8 (36%)16 (27%)

 

 

All of this shows that we were not only right all along in that we are more likely to score when Toby leaves for an extended half time beer break, perhaps a bit surprisingly, we are far less likely to concede. Proving once and for all that what, when, and where the fans drink, is almost as important as the performance of the players on the pitch. And Toby, by taking one for the team and keeping away during the most goal intense period of the games, could well be one of the key components in Port’s 2020 title bid.

 

Top Dolah: Peter’s 2019 Season Review

 

In a 2019 with some serious ups and downs on all levels, it all still ended with some silverware and a top three league finish. Adding to that, another championship title with only a golden goal away from the double in the futsal, and it becomes clear that the Lions of Khlong Toei are top of the food chain when it comes to kicking a ball about in the Kingdom of Thailand. Remembering this one was quite the enjoyable little afternoon activity.

 

Game of the season

 

 

Muangthong away, T1. No away fans allowed as Port traveled to Legoland with the opportunity to shove our fiercest and most despised rivals deeper into the bottom end of the table where they truly belong. Still, some of us made the journey to the rural north in neutral colours (well, Toby more or less) and were treated to an evening of football we’ll remember forever. Two fantastic goals, the first a long range effort from Bordin, who was arguably the best player in the league at that point, the second when Nitipong, of all people, put the finishing touch to a team effort of passing play that made for the most perfect counter attack I’ve seen since starting to follow Thai footie. Sure, they pulled one back late in the game but the gulf in class was hammered in by Pakorn all by his lonesome making most of the opposition look like pre-schoolers to see out the final moments of the match.

 

Goal of the Season

 

Suarez. Like most of my fellow Sandpitters, my vote went to the exquisite chip against Trat. Now, there are different ways to value goals. Importance, aesthetics, or a combination. But, as the only real contender to this one in my mind, the aforementioned second goal away to Muangthong, was so questionably left out of the competition I didn’t even have to think twice about it. The level difficulty and technique displayed by our top scorer would have edged it in the end anyway.

 

Player of the Season

 

 

Dolah. After such a fantastic season, there’s intense competition for this award. The popular vote, far from undeserved, went to Nitipong “Consistency” Selanon. In the absence of a proper striking option, Sergio Suarez led the offensive line, often from an unfamiliar position as a so called “false 9”. Go Seul-ki always made everyone around him look much better. But Elias earned the title in my book, through the improvement in his game from previous season, not only by finally settling into the role of centre-back, but becoming a true leader and being forced to keep the defence together, even when paired up with and having to carry a central midfielder with a severe phobia of any physical contact around for much of the season. Then, topping it all off with a Thai NT debut. Kudos, my Swedish brother.

 

Disappointment of the Season

 

 

Alexandre Gama. Even though I’m still fuming about what was supposed to be, and started out, as a dignified ceremony to celebrate the memory of five of the clubs’ most dedicated supporters but ended up as what can only be described as perversely self-indulging behaviour from “someone”. Even though hearing the very face of corruption in the sport I love congratulate Thailand on becoming the first country in the region to taint the game with the farcical phenomenon that is VAR has scarred me for life. Even though some bizarre mid-season experimenting with our formation coincided with a poor run of form that ultimately cost us the league title. I refuse to make anything remotely connected to Port FC my disappointment of the season in a year where we finished 3rd and won the FA Cup. My nomination therefore befalls Alexandre Gama. Wasn’t it enough to turn Chiangrai into what is possibly the most repulsive unit ever to step on the football pitch? You had to go and save Muangthong from relegation just to add insult to injury? Really? Talk about getting on the wrong side of history…

 


 

For all the faults we bitch about week in and week out, the results still point to the club heading in the right general direction. With just a little bit of well-considered work in the transfer market *pause for snickering* to fill our foreign player quota with a clear first choice striker next year, along with some managerial freedom in team selections *pause for guffaw*, we should be well equipped to make an even better push for the title next year. Now let’s all just sit back and calmly observe the ever predictable Thai silly season activities.

 

Podcast

The Portcast #22: The Swedish Model

 

No, this week’s guest Peter Sheppard hasn’t taken to strutting his stuff on the catwalk, but he has landed a position working in Swedish football, and he’s here to tell us all about it. How does football differ in one of the world’s most developed countries, with a league nearing it’s 100th birthday, and a developing nation in South East Asia who’s football league is in it’s teen years?

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The Portcast #11: Zone F Meets Peter Sheppard

 

The Portcast is back!

It’s been more than a year since our last podcast, but so excited are we with what transpired last season, and with next still season feeling an age away, here we are bringing back our long-form conversations with fans about the fan experience.

What better way to fill the hole left by the off-season than listening to two helpless obsessives talking about what makes the football experience great, whether in the suburbs of Stockholm or the slums of Bangkok?

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