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My All-Time Port XI: James

 

After reading Andy’s all-time Port XI, and then hearing Tim and Tom’s teams on the most recent Portcast, it got me thinking as to who would make my team. With no live football to watch at the moment [unless you can get a stream for the games in Belarus] it’s a case of either watching old live streams on YouTube or not watching any football at all.

I’ve only been watching Port since the 2016 season that we spent in T2, so my team may lack variety in a sense, although there’s one player that I just couldn’t not include in my team: he had to be in it regardless, purely due to the stories I’ve had told about him from either Port fans or players that have personally played against him.

I’ll be sticking with the 4-4-2 system that the others have used, and this is my team:

 

GK – Watchara Buathong

 

 

Arguably the best goalkeeper we have on our books at the moment, so it’s no surprise that he’s third choice and not getting a look in. Probably the only goalkeeper that we have that is comfortable catching the ball, and I thought he did quite well for a while last season before a couple of mistakes cost him his place in the side.

 

RB – Nitipong Selanon

One of the easiest selections to make. His consistency is pretty much unrivalled across the entire league, and I’m glad that he’s finally getting a look in on the international stage. Whilst he may not be as good as an attacker as Tristan, he’s ten times the defender, and that should count more on the bigger stage. I imagine he’ll be in most peoples team to be honest.

 

CB – Elias Dolah

 

 

Tough as nails, and puts his body on the line to keep the opposition from scoring. He’s an absolute handful at set-pieces, and if he can add more goals to his locker: an argument could be made for him going to an even higher stage. Has improved a hell of a lot since signing, and I look forward to more games with him in the line-up.

 

CB – David Rochela

It’s no secret that I feel as though we will need to replace Rochela sooner rather than later, but I’ll also admit that he’s a talented player whose done well for the club in the past. I have nothing but respect for the way he conducts himself and goes about his business, and his calmness helps the rest of the squad to settle down too.

 

LB – Kevin Deeromran

This is a position where we have incredible depth at the moment, and the likes of Steuble, Jaturapat and Yossawat can all count themselves unlucky to be at a club with the best Thai left-back to be playing in Thailand at the moment. Kevin’s solid defensively, and there’s always that feeling that he could produce something memorable in the attacking-third too. Brownie points for the way he trolled Muangthong and signed for us instead.

 

RM – Pakorn Prempak

 

 

I missed the spell of Saruta unfortunately, and I can’t remember Ekkapoom playing too much during the 2016-17 seasons unfortunately. What I do remember of 2016-17 is seeing Tana suit up on the right at times, and it’s for that reason that I ended up going with Pakorn. There’s no doubting that he can be the source of incredible frustration, but there’s also no doubting that he has the ability to deliver some fantastic set-pieces that we score from, or score himself.

 

CM – Siwakorn Jakkuprasat

Another easy selection to make: he’s my favourite player at the club. I actually thought he was going to lose his spot last season with the abundance of central-midfielders we went out and purchased, but it actually had the opposite effect. He’s somewhat mellowed out and isn’t constantly getting unnecessary bookings, whilst he’s still the first player that’ll dive into a 50-50 and come out with the ball and leave the opposition player requiring treatment. He’s the only former Muangthong player we have that I like, and I’d prefer it if we didn’t go about signing our biggest rivals players personally.

 

CM – Go Seul-Ki

Probably the most important player at the club at the moment. Go oozes class with almost everything he does, but his ability to attack doesn’t affect his ability to defend. He can do it all, and at a high level too, which makes it crazy that Buriram let him sign for us considering the Korean players that they have had since his departure: not that that I’m complaining..! If he can play until he’s 40 like he says he thinks he can, I’d love it to be with us, as I’d love to see him retire as a Port player.

 

LM – Genki Nagasato

I really enjoyed watching Genki play, because I knew that I’d get a fully committed performance from him every time he stepped onto the pitch. Whilst he may not have had the same level of technical ability of some of the wingers that have played for the club, he was incredibly consistent [I thought] and for that reason alone he became someone that I enjoyed having in the line-up during his spell at the club.

 

ST – Leandro de Oliveira da Luz

I missed his spell at the club, but ever since my first trip to PAT Stadium in 2016: I’ve been told stories involving him. A former club of his in Vietnam has been posting nostalgic clips of him during the virus-induced break, and the level of his talents is clear as day. Watching videos of someone online and seeing them live cannot be compared, and I’m somewhat disappointed that I never got to see the Brazilian play in person.

 

ST – Arthit Boodjinda

 

 

It’d be quite funny watching ‘Pele’ play alongside Leandro to be honest, with it either being completely awesome or something that would have the Brazilian ripping his hair out. Arthit is underrated in my opinion [bar by Tom!] and I’d love to have him back at the club instead of some of our current attackers [I’m looking at you Chenrop and Adisak]. Honorable mentions would go to Josimar and Rodrigo Maranhão too, with both of them providing some moments of jubilation.

 


 

We are open to more ‘All-Time XI’ submissions, so feel free to send us your team and we’ll publish it.

 

Assault on Thunder Castle: Buriram Utd vs. Port FC Preview

 

Port are sitting pretty as the league’s pace setters with a 100% record after 3 games, but their first real test of the season looms ominously on the horizon as the Lions of Khlong Toey travel to Thunder Castle (FFS am I supposed to be scared by that name?) to take on Buriram United this weekend.

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A Moment’s Silence: Port FC vs. Nakhon Ratchasima FC Preview

 

Port kick off their 2020 campaign with what looks to be the ideal kind of fixture. A home match against Korat, who are expected to finish mid to bottom half this season, may well allow an under-performing Port to still eke out victory, which is what we need after a less than promising pre-season. Rather than labouring this point once again, I will point you towards Dom’s, Tim’s and my 2020 Previews, which examined our off-season shortcomings in excruciating detail.

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Chairfree PAT Of Dreams: Tom’s 2020 Season Preview

 

Port move in to 2020 with a major trophy victory from last season still fresh in the memory, as well as a pre-season trophy that’s even fresher. We’ve also made arguably the biggest signing of the window, bring in our rivals’ best player for a big pot of cash. So we should be looking at more silverware this year right, and maybe even that coveted T1 title?

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Port Adopt Stray Swatcats: Port FC 2-0 Nakhon Ratchasima FC

 

Port bounced back from Tuesday’s disappointing loss against Ceres Negros by easing past a pretty poor Korat side 2-0 in the Leo Cup. Well, as long as we win the ones that matter!

Port started with a mixed XI including mostly recognized starters with a few lesser known faces thrown in. Rattanai (18) took over from Worawut (36) in the Port goal, Rochela (22) returned to the defence at Dolah’s (4) expense and Steuble (15) was given a run-out in place of Kevin (23). In midfield, Kannarin (31) was given a first start in Siwakorn’s (16) usual position, and up front Adisak (9) was given a chance to impress through the middle with Bordin (10) sitting out, and Heberty (37) switching nominally to the wing.

 

 

This lineup was almost more interesting than the game itself for me, as it gives some insight as to what else Choke has in store for us besides the dross that was served up on Tuesday.

Rather than the more typical blow-by-blow match-report, I’m going to go player by player today and talk a little about their performance and their standing in the squad.

 


 

Rattanai (18)

He made some decent saves, notably hanging on the ball when Port’s other goalkeepers might parry or punch. On the other hand, his distribution was awful. Same old story for Rattanai, he’s good but he’s not quite a complete ‘keeper. Port’s management are a simple bunch though, and the fact that Rattanai kept a clean sheet and Worawut’s mistake is still fresh in the memory probably means that Port have a new/old main man between the sticks. Until he gets injured.

Nitipong (34)

My only bone with Niti in the last couple of games has been that his final ball has been a bit wild. He needs to practice his crossing, forget about shooting altogether and keep doing everything else he’s doing. Solid and high-energy as always.

Tanaboon (71)

It seems that I was wrong to assume it was a question of who was going to be starting alongside Dolah. In Choke’s eyes, Tanaboon may well be the first choice, with Rochela and Dolah battling it out for the right to partner him. He didn’t have a great deal to do at the back, but at least he didn’t make any mistakes today.

Rochela (22)

Given a chance to re-assert a claim to a starting berth, Rochela also had a solid game. And a clean sheet. How that effects the competition for starting places I have no idea. Dolah’s still my number one, but that means nothing.

Steuble (15) -> Jaturapat (81)

Steuble was facing a quick, lively winger and very effectively shut him down. A good defensive performance, showcasing the part of his game that is arguably stronger than Kevin’s. He’s unlikely to have catapulted himself in to the first team, though.

Jaturapat only played a few minutes, so all we learned is that he’s third choice.

Go (8)

Gave away possession a bit more than I’m used to seeing, but never mind. We know he can turn it on when the serious stuff starts. He might fancy the opportunity to impress against top Asian opposition on Sunday.

Kannarin (31) -> Sansern (69)

A very lively performance from Kannarin. He’s lively, he tackles and he makes dangerous forward runs. A box to box midfielder with a bit of everything. He played a couple of stray passes, but he did more than enough right to overlook that. Looks like and he could well provide Siwakorn with a real challenge to keep his place alongside Go this season, which has to be a good thing. On the early evidence this is a shrewd signing.

Sansern was peak Sansern. He only played a few minutes, and in that time he gave the ball away trying to do something simple before playing one beautiful pass which only he would have even thought to try. Great ability, probably not going to get in to the team.

Pakorn (7) -> Bordin (10)

He’s now in the unfortunate predicament that Nurul found himself in a couple of seasons ago. A bigger name wants to play right wing, so he’s is shunted out on to the left where he’s less effective. Pakorn still did pretty well, but predictable was substituted early. Choke really doesn’t rate him, even when he’s on his game, which could be a big oversight on his part.

Bordin got rid of the awful blonde mop which apparently infected his brain on Tuesday, and he didn’t do much wrong today after coming on for Pakorn. Hit the post from a good chance when he should have scored, but his link up play was nearer the level we’ve come to expect.

Heberty (37)

Much better than Tuesday, although that’s not saying much. He caught some strikes cleanly, showcasing his incredible power, and he played a part in both goals. His assist for the second was gorgeous, showing the damage he can do when he gets his head up and looks for a pass. Moving in the right direction after a poor debut.

Suarez (5) -> Nattawut (45)

Another very Suarez performance, doing all the good things we’ve come to expect. The Spaniard rediscovered his scoring touch this time, making the difference and securing the Man of the Match award. His first goal was scrappy, but the second was sublime. We’ll take them both ways thanks, Sergio.

 

 

Nattawut was only on the pitch for a few minutes, and I didn’t notice him.

Adisak (9) -> Chenrop (39)

Adisak showed again that he’s willing to play like a proper striker, just without the goals. To be fair he’s only played one and a bit games, so there’s plenty of time, but he hasn’t hit the ground running. The fact that Suarez prospered in his more natural position is probably the best thing about Adisak being on the pitch.

Chenrop had his best moment when Heberty pointed where he should run and delivered him a lovely through ball. He was only on the pitch for a few minutes, so not much to report.

 


 

Port’s victory means they face a big challenge in the form of J1 team Cerezo Osaka in the next round. Maybe seeing as we’re playing a Japanese team we can wear those hideous new shirts we released for that explicit purpose.

The next round will kick off on Sunday at 19:00 at PAT Stadium, and the game will be broadcast on True4U.

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Port to Splash Cash on Muangthong Fire Sale?

 

OK, OK, so that’s a very old squad photo back from when Muangthong were actually a decent side. Never mind. Anyone who has been following transfer new for the last few weeks will be aware that Muangthong are experiencing real financial problems. Main sponsors SCG have apparently dramatically reduced funding, meaning that Muangthong are facing the reality of selling all their best players just to balance the books. Heberty has already gone, and more will surely follow.

My original plan for this piece was to laugh heartily about the dilemma Muangthong find themselves in, before picking out the 5 players Port would be best advised to snap up. We’ve already brought in Heberty, of course, which is widely being seen as a massive coup for Port.

Then I had a look at their squad, and realized I’d bitten off more than I could chew. Maybe 3, then. Then I really thought about it, and realized that I genuinely don’t particularly want any of them.

It’s not that they don’t have any players of value of course – their performance in the second half of last season was vastly improved, and actually better than Port’s – rather that almost all of the players I’d really be interested in taking off their hands probably wouldn’t get in our starting XI anyway, and the last thing we need is more expensive placeholders.

Who am I thinking of specifically? Well, in the last few weeks I’ve seen rumours hinting at the exit of a host of players who clocked up regular minutes last season.

 


 

Sarach Yooyen is one, with Muangthong reportedly very optimistically offering him on loan to Japanese teams. Maybe a few years ago, fellas. The Sarach of today would lose a fight for a place in Port’s midfield, let alone a J League spot. Next.

 

 

Charyl Chappuis is another for sale, but unless Pang wants an extremely expensive mannequin to put our new shirt on, I am pretty sure he won’t be coming to Port. Pass.

Adisak Kraisorn has also been mentioned, and in fact has specifically been linked to Port. Now, I always give the caveat when discussing strikers that because the overall standard is so low, even poor strikers can still be one of the taller midgets in the circus. That’s probably true of Adisak, although I could never bring myself to recommend signing him. He’s no better than Arthit in my opinion, so I’m keeping Pele all day long. Next.

Teerasil Dangda. A tricky one. He’s a long way past his best, but as still arguably the tallest midget in the circus, signing him would probably make some sense. Yes, he’s probably on a big old salary, and no he probably wouldn’t start many games, but he would surely bag us some goals. He has a striker’s instincts and he already notched one for us in the derby last season. Sign him up. Maybe. Eurgh.

 

AL AIN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JANUARY 20: Teerasil Dangda of Thailand looks on prior to the AFC Asian Cup round of 16 match between Thailand and China at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on January 20, 2019 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)

 

Theerathon Bunmathan is the best player available on this list, but the question is would it really benefit Port to sign him? The rumours say we’ve been in talks, but a move back to Japan, where Theeraton won the league last year, would seem to be much more likely. We’d certainly be moving Kevin on to make way for him, and do we really want to shift one of the best young full backs in the country for a player on a big wedge with nothing to prove? Sorry, not for me. If Kevin goes we’re having a different conversation, but for now it’s a no.

 

 

Sanukran Thinjom was the subject of a rumour yesterday, and you know things are getting desperate in Legoland when they’re flogging bog standard squad players. He’s probably OK, and apparently he’s versatile and useful to have around. That’s OK. We’ve got plenty of that at Port. Move along.

 


 

There are probably other players I’m missing that have been put up for sale, such is the extent of the crisis of funding at the SCG, but I’m not following their news that closely. They have one of the top academies, so they are always churning out promising talents, and these players will probably come to the fore next season, once the first team have been sold off. Gama will probably find a way to get the best out of them, and they might do OK. Maybe upper mid table, maybe top 6.  

As I rather provocatively predicted in last week’s podcast, they’ll finish below newly promoted BG Pathum Thani. There it is in print!


 

And just before publishing we’ve received some real, actual transfer news. How about that! It probably doesn’t effect any other prospective business, as the player in question is an 18 year old who is still in his last year of high school, but nevertheless it is being reported that we have signed striker Patchara Chainarong on a 4 year deal.

 

 

Patchara has just helped his school team Debsirin win the Jaturamitr Cup for the first time in 20 years, so Port have decided to swoop in and secure his signature. Here’s a little clip of a nice goal he scored in that tournament. With Port’s abundance of striking options, we doubt we’ll see him in the first team this year, but hopefully he’ll be one for the future. Welcome, Patchara!  

ASEAN Scouting Report: Goalkeepers

 

This is the first of a new series of articles in which I’ve identified 25 players who could in theory be brought in to fill Port’s two spare ASEAN quota slots. All of these players are dual nationality, with most sharing European and South East Asian ancestry. We’ve seen a host of players of a similar ilk come to Thailand and find great success, and it has been bewildering to me that since the 3+1+3 quota has been introduced more clubs haven’t jumped to take full advantage. With just a little scouting – the sort that  a bloke with no scouting background only using free online resources could do – clubs could potentially identify ASEAN players who could be as influential as any foreign player in the league.

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Tom’s Transfer Talk: Kanarin In

 

Port are reportedly close to signing young box-to-box midfielder Kanarin Thawornsak. The 22 year old has been on the books at Ratchaburi since 2016, but has been loaned out every year of his stay. His latest loan spell was with Sisaket, who enjoyed a superb season, only narrowly missing out on promotion despite being docked 12 points. Kanarin played 31 times, scored 3 goals and most impressively managed a Siwakornesque 12 yellow cards. He’s also played for Thailand at all youth levels, although he has yet to be capped by the senior team.

Whilst signing decent young players is generally not a bad idea, there’s absolutely nothing to suggest that Kanarin will get a look in at Port, with there being numerous better options in midfield. His arrival would almost certainly spell the end for Anon Samakorn, who will presumably find himself still further down the pecking order.

 

 

There’s also a far more vague story doing the rounds, which is most likely a figment of some bored writer’s imagination. Doumbouya, who Port have been linked to this off-season, will apparently be joining ‘a big club in Bangkok’. Depending on your definition of both ‘big club’ and ‘Bangkok’, that could be several teams. Whilst I think there is a decent chance that Doumbouya will end up joining a big team in Bangkok, it isn’t because of this rumour.

 

 

Finally, there are also murmurs that Nurul could be on his way after a poor second season with Port. He lost his starting place to Bordin, and after a horrible missed chance in the FA Cup final and the arrival or fellow winger Thanasit Siripala, Nurul leaving – with any luck on loan – could be the right solution for both parties. I’m sure Chonburi would jump at the chance to have him back, and it would seem to be the right move for his career.

 

The Sandpit’s Goal of the Season 2019: Suarez Cashes In Chip

 

Sergio Suarez’ nonchalant chipped finish against Trat has earned him his second Sandpit award in as many years, following up his Player of the Year award in 2018 with the Goal of the Season gong in 2019.

 

 

1st Place – Sergio Suarez (38%)

 

 

It may not have been one of the more important goals, but boy was it stylish. The Spaniard is well known for being one of the most talented foreign stars in the league, and he showed off his incredible vision and technique with a high, looping finish which 38% of Sandpit voters chose as their pick of a very competitive bunch. The Trat ‘keeper was about as close to keeping it out as any of the other goals on our list were to catching Suarez’ strike: nowhere near.

 

2nd Place – Bodin Phala (14%)

 

 

There’s an understandable history of Port goals against Muangthong faring well in our polls, so it is perhaps unsurprising that Bodin’s wonderful long-range strike in the away fixture against Muangthong picked up 14% of the vote, which was good enough for second place. It was a goal of great import in that it gave Port the lead against their bitter rivals in a game we would go on to win, but it has to settle for second best in our poll.

 

3rd Place – Sumanya Purisay (12%)

 

 

Taking the final spot on the podium with 12% of the vote was the best goal from Port’s memorable FA Cup run. Scored in the 3-2 victory against Chiang Rai by a player who didn’t stand out all that often in 2019, but put in an absolutely outstanding performance on the day: Sumanya. Picking the ball up in the centre circle, Sumanya bamboozled Chiang Rai’s midfield and defence, scything straight through them before wrong-footing the ‘keeper with a calm right-footed finish. It ended up being a crucial strike, with Port almost letting a 3-0 lead slip, but doing just enough to hang on for the win, thanks in large part to Sumanya.

 

Mission Accomplished: Tom’s 2019 Season Review

 

It’s been quite a season for Port. Third place and a cup win represents our best effort in at least 20 years, and there’s plenty of acclaim to go around. Port’s owners have invested heavily in the team, the fans have come out in numbers we haven’t seen in recent years, the players took the fight to win the league down to the wire and after a nail-biting final we ended up with an FA Cup to show for it all. It’s a good time to be a Port fan! Here’s a look back at a few things that made this season special.

 

Match of the Season

 

There were some great league games this season, with my pick of the bunch probably being the two 3-2 wins over Chonburi and Suphanburi and the 2-0 home victory against Muangthong.

In all three games the final goal was scored by a Port striker with a point to prove. First Arthit showed the damage he could do as an impact sub with the winner against Chonburi, then Boskovic belied his deteriorating form to snatch the game late on against Suphanburi, and finally Josimar made up for a shocking earlier miss by blasting in a beautiful goal from outside the box, making the game safe against Muangthong. All three goals sparked wild celebrations, not just for their significance in their respective games but for giving us hope that our strikers were going to turn the corner and make a big impact on our season. The degree to which that happened is not the point; in the moment we believed, and that’s what made them so enjoyable.

None of these three matches scoop the award, though. We did after all win some silverware this season, and I’m plumping for the most hard-fought win on our road to glory: the 5-4 penalty shootout victory against Bangkok United.

 

 

Was it a great game? No, by the time the heavens had opened we were practically playing in a swimming pool, and the standard very much reflected that. There’s something about standing outside for hours in a torrential downpour, though, that makes victories that much sweeter when they eventually materialize. Captain Siwakorn saw red, putting Port a man down with the whole of extra time to play. We survived. Worawut made that stunning save with his legs, slicing his back open on the goalpost in the process. If the ball had gone in, that was probably that. His replacement Rattanai went in to the shootout facing off against the finest stopper in the league, and against all odds won his duel. Don’t even get me started on Rolando’s outrageous penalty.

An amazing evening at Army stadium, where Port put us through the wringer, but ultimately defied the odds to set Port up for their first FA Cup win in a decade.

 

Away Trip of the Season

 

I had it as ‘best game’ in our mid-season review, and I don’t think it was topped by another away trip in the second half of the season. The 3-2 away win against Chonburi had it all, and although the trip to Buriram was certainly memorable for many reasons, the feeling of helpless anger brought on by a loss against Buriram’s 14 men is no comparison to the elation felt after a late Arthit winner.

 

 

Goal of the Season

 

The polls are still open, with Sergio Suarez’ gorgeous chip against Trat currently out in front by a mile. It wasn’t even my favourite chip of the season, nor was it my favourite of Suarez’ goals. Nurul’s lofted effort against Chainat was the cheekier chip for me, whilst Suarez’ long range banger against Buriram held far more significance.

I’m in a massive minority though, and my choice for winner isn’t even in the top 5 according to the popular vote. I’m going for Josimar’s volley against Chainat, which featured wonderful buildup between the Brazilian, Bodin and Suarez, before an emphatic finish from a tricky position. First, Go’s freekick was flicked on by Bodin, before Josi took it on his chest and backheeled it back to Bodin. The Fresh Prince laid it off for Suarez, whose chipped pass found Josimar with barely any goal to aim at and a goalkeeper fast closing down his angle. Unphased, he took it first time, blasting it goalwards and finding an unlikely gap. From my spot in Zone B, Josimar was so close to the byline that I couldn’t even see him connect with the ball, but I sure as hell saw it nestle in the back of the net, and promptly joined in the slightly shocked celebrations. What a screamer.

 

 

Player of the Season

 

This is just an impossible call for me. By my reckoning, several players have been in the running for player of the year at various times, with no one standing out quite enough to take the award.

  • Worawut had some absolutely outstanding moments after winning his place mid-way through the season, and after his cup final heroics I thought he was in with a real shout. Unfortunately a couple of sub-par performances in the last few games somewhat sullied his earlier form, and he fell out of contention for me.
  • Dolah became leader of the back 4, earning his way in to a seemingly never-ending string of teams of the week, as well as some pundits’ team of the season. He even managed to get a long-overdue call-up to the national team squad, making his debut when he came off the bench against Congo. His steady performances gave Port the confidence (ill-advised confidence, one might argue) to dispense with the services of Captain Rochela in the second half of the T1 campaign, and he will go in to 2020 one of the first names on the team sheet.
  • Nitipong was once again unerringly consistent, also earning a spot in most pundits’ team of the season and forcing his way in to the national team setup. His consistency prompted our readers to vote for him in droves, as he won our poll comfortably. I’m not sold that he’s done any more than Dolah, Go or Suarez to earn the award, though.
  • Go crowned his season in the best possible way during Port’s FA Cup Final triumph. He provided a masterful assist for Suarez’ winner and was chosen as MVP, reinforcing his status as one of the top foreign players in T1. His consistent performances at the base of Port’s midfield were crucial in Port’s improved defending, and I think the South Korean can take as much credit as anyone else for Port’s most successful season this millennium.
  • Siwakorn was superb in the first half of the season, and was among those to force his way in to national team contention. His link-up play with Go and Suarez was excellent, and he really carved out a role for himself in midfield. I’m going to have to call him out on not producing enough, though. Playing in a more advanced role than go, Siwakorn scored twice and only managed one assist, while the South Korean scored three and assisted four. He just has to do more with the ball going forward for me.
  • Bodin looked like the favourite in this race until the last month or two, when his confidence faded and the goals and assists dried up. He’s still finished with a pretty damn handy nine goals and six assists, but if he’d kept the electric form he’d shown earlier up for a little while longer I think the Fresh Prince would have won. He’s shown us what he can do, now he’s got to show that he can sustain it.
  • Suarez is always in contention, and I think at times we’re guilty of taking the Spaniard for granted. He was used in an unfamiliar position up front at times, and even when he was in his favoured role he often had little to work with in front of him. His cup final winner was no more than he deserved for another excellent campaign, and his 13 goals and 9 assists were absolutely crucial in firing Port in to third place. Great work once again, Sergio.

It’s a shared award, then. I had seven players in contention at various times, and there are still four that I find it impossible to choose between. Congratulations to Dolah, Nitipong, Go and Suarez for their excellent contributions.

 

Most Improved Player

 

 

Bodin takes this one at a canter. The Fresh Prince’s extraordinary close control and his shooting from distance were outstanding, and he’s got a lot to do next season to prove that it wasn’t a fluke and that he can maintain the same form for an equal or longer period of time.

 

Most Disappointing Player

 

Unfortunately despite Port having a successful season there are a few candidates for this award.

  • Nurul isn’t 100% to blame for his decline, as it was brought about by Bodin’s superb performances. It’s tough sitting on the bench and having to produce in 15 minute bursts, but we still needed to see more from Nurul than he did in his cameo appearances. His embarrassing attempt to finish off the cup final was the final nail in his coffin, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him loaned back to Chonburi next season with Thanasit coming in.
  • Pakorn had by far his worst season in a Port shirt. I’ve always used numbers to defend him in the past, but this season I’m going to use them to beat him over the head.
    2017 – 36 apps, 6 goals, 18 assists
    2018 – 38 apps, 7 goals, 14 assists
    2019 – 28 apps, 6 goals, 3 assists
    Sorry Pakorn, but that’s just not going to cut it.
  • Boskovic, in contrast to Nurul, is entirely to blame for his poor half-season. The Monenegrin combined a stubborn refusal to enter the penalty area with abject laziness in his last few games before being dropped, and for me thoroughly deserved to be let go for the second leg. What a waste of money.
  • Unfortunately we replaced one flop with another, as Blackburn was brought in to the squad at Boskovic’s expense. The Panamanian couldn’t even nail down a place in the team, making most of his appearances from the bench. His return of five goals was actually very useful, but his performances were pretty poor. There were a couple of moments from El Toro that save him the ignominy of taking this award though, namely his magnificent bicycle kick against Suphanburi and his outrageous penalty against Bangkok United.
  • Does Chenrop even count as a disappointment if I already knew he was going to be absolutely useless?
  • Tanaboon, just because he’s so highly rated. His performances weren’t terrible, but they were in no way befitting a player getting in every national team squad. Whereas he always had Thitipan to babysit him in midfield in the past, this season he relied on Dolah to win the headers and the tackles, while he flounced around passing the ball sideways. He did perform well in the FA Cup Final, but he’s going to have to do much more to convince me he’s worthy of a place in our starting XI.

 

 

I’m picking a winner this time. Boskovic was among the highest paid players in the league, but became the latest in a long line of players to fail miserably to lead the Port line. Was he playing in his best position? No. Could he have at least tried to perform the role given to him? Yes. He didn’t.