Posts

Sentimental: Kenny’s 2019 Season Review

 

Game of the Season

 

 

A few games into Choke’s reign and I was wondering what had really changed since Jadet was (again) sent upstairs, but Chiang Rai in the FA Cup made me a convert. A totally dominant first half saw us play the Champions elect off the park with a “False 9” formation that had raised eyebrows in the Sandpit when the line-up was released. This game also finally saw Sumanya announce his arrival with a superb individual run and goal, it had taken more than half a season but we were finally seeing the best of him. Bangkok United in the semi had the added drama of rain delays, extra time and pens, but this defeat of Chiang Rai was the best footballing performance I’d witnessed live of Port this season, in my defence of not mentioning another game here, I missed out on some of our more convincing routs.

 

Goal of the Season

 

It may not have been the technically best goal of the season, but for me, Josimar vs. Muangthong cannot be beaten for the sheer weight of poetic narrative with Josi scoring his first Port goal since returning, in front of a packed Zone B to put our hated rivals to the sword (for the third time in 2019!). Bordin’s 25 yard screamer to break the deadlock at the SCG was also another personal highlight.

 

Player of the Season

 

 

I can see all the reasons for Nitipong winning and he had the same kind of season I’ve come to expect off him from the last couple of years but I think Bordin deserves the plaudits. After already playing for four of five different clubs by the age of 23, his 2018 season was already showing signs of falling into his usual career pattern and I was beginning to wonder if he would be farmed out this season. Instead, he managed to knuckle down this year and not only nail down a starting berth within Ports starting eleven but also find himself in the Thai national squad. At times this season Bordin schooled many an opposition defence with wizardry straight outta Hogwarts, leaving defenders with no choice but to kick him up in the air and take a tactical yellow.  It was frustrating that even when he was at his peak on the pitch, the number 10 seemed burned into the 4th official’s subs board almost by default whenever changes were about to made.

I also thought Dolah came on leaps and bounds this season, Rochelas injury in the first game instantly put a question mark over our defence but Dolah instantly stepped up in his absence and formed a decent partnership with Todsapol, which was unfairly broken up with the arrival of Tanaboon.

 

Favourite Away Trip

 

I didn’t have much luck results wise with away trips this season, maybe Tim Russell’s curse has rubbed off on me (oo-er). The only win I witnessed (not counting the neutral ground semi and final) was whilst hiding myself in the SCG for Port’s FA Cup win, but being able to only raise not more than a dry smirk as Muangthong’s defence gifted us the win, it didn’t really feel like a proper Port away day. That said, despite the miserable results I witnessed on the road, each trip was a lot of fun and had some amazing experiences each time.

Chiang Rai had the sheer convenience of being able to walk straight from the match to the airport departures lounge in a few minutes. I hope rumours of Chiang Rai airports impending demise are not true! Watching the sheer unadulterated shithousery of Chiang Rai Utd that day, I did not expect they would be crowned champions come November.

My trip to Korat involved getting absolutely drenched after halftime and wondering where the 20,000 crowd had all vanished to, only to find most people on the concourse huddled around a 42” TV that someone had managed to “sneak in”. Seeing Arthit clean through and hit a pathetic shot at the keeper was like watching his entire Port career vanish before my very eyes.

 

 

Samut Prakan was one I wanted to hate based merely on the shady origins of the “new” club, but it has to be said the owners have done a great job converting the Bang Phli stadium into something resembling a football stadium. Other Thai clubs, take note! The rocking full house added to the atmosphere on the day as we found ourselves on the home terrace mixed in with the SP fans and not a hint of trouble. The stadium had an almost British/Luton Town feel to it as it was right on the streets as opposed to being set back from the road.

The PTT Rayong trip saw us have a fantastic lunch on the beach looking across the bay to Pattaya/Jomtien. That said, Toby’s review of the seafood that day probably wasn’t as glowing. The stadium was lovely with an actual roof on all 4 stands. Even Buriram can’t boast that! Yet again the day quickly fell apart after the referee blew for kick-off. Due to more ownership shenanigans in the Thai League, it’s another one we won’t see next year.

The winner for me this season was Sukhothai, a stunning city starting from the moment you land at their quaint little airport, complete with a giraffe and zebra enclosure. My bike ride around the historical park was a delight, in spite of my 30 baht rent-a-bike having about as much traction as Pakorn in a 100yd dash. We had a songtaew booked to pick us up after the match but luckily he waited around for us, such was the post-match friendliness of the Sukhothai fans, they held us up for over half an hour stopping us for photos on the way out.

 

 

Disappointment(s) of the Season

 

2019, a season that saw three wins over Muangthong, an FA Cup win, three players called into the Thai National squad, Buriram out-shit-housed by the Chiang Rai-Mai connection, Muangthong flirting with relegation until Gama was parachuted in and Chainat despatched back to T2, but that wasn’t to say it was all good in the Klongtoei hood….

With the benefits of hindsight, I think we could be kicking ourselves we didn’t also land the league title this year to go into the cabinet along with the FA Cup. A lot of the expected contenders went backwards. Buriram losing Diogo and not properly replacing him was a great leveller for the Thai League this year but we didn’t do enough to capitalise on it ourselves, revelling in our own predictable mid-season wobbles.

Although our title charge officially ended in the penultimate fixture at the Thunder Castle, the damage was already done much earlier in the season. I wrote in my 2018 review that Port needed to get more than a solitary point from their 4 fixtures against Bangkok Utd and Buriram if we were going to be taken seriously in the title picture, and 2019 again saw us take only a point from those 4 matches. The home draw we did manage against Bangkok United featured by far the most poignant moments I’d ever had attending a football match with the pre-match  service in honour of the 5 fans that never returned from their trip to Nong Bua.

Taking a parallel from Leicester’s title win in 2016, one of the main factors that won them the title that year was all the other main contenders fell over themselves but came back stronger for 2017. I’m sure that for 2020, Newin, SCG and TRUE will be making sure their teams have a stronger showing. Although we had a late rally, it never really felt like we were right in the thick of the title 2019 race as such, more lurking awkwardly to the side of it, a la Ashley Cole in the Roma team photo.

I’m sure Boskovic will get a lot of mentions in this category, I hoped the arrival of Sumanya would revitalise some of his magic from their time at Bangkok United, but alas, he only went further backwards. With Boskovic off the wage bill, we really need to throw the kitchen sink and whatever else is lurking in Madam’s handbag towards recruiting the much lauded “Scary Foreign Striker”. It seems to be the same thing we all seem to wish for year on year; the rest of the squad has good depth in all positions but “up-top” continues to be the Achilles heel. Nearly every team going down as far as the upper reaches of T2 seem able to find themselves their own flat truck bully but this still seems to evade Port, in spite of us being based in the capital, surely a draw for any footballer on the move?

 

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.

 

A Knight’s Tale: Toby’s 2019 Season Review

 

Yes, yes; smashing Chiang Rai, Selanon, Suarez vs Trat, for fuck’s sake Pakorn…. It’s all too obvious so let’s look at some other aspects of this rollercoaster season.

 

Moment of the Season

 

 

Beating The Scum 3 times in a season is something to crow about but Josimar’s late thunderbolt at The PAT brought the house down and lead to some of the most intense and euphoric celebrations I have ever experienced. Suarez’s opener in Buriram was also something I will never forget but that afternoon turned pretty sour and now I’m not welcome in Buriram anymore.

 

Gripe of the Season

 

Can The Thai FA ever get its act together? It seems not. From ridiculous match schedules to inept refereeing and a love/hate relationship with VAR, the suited and well minted gentlemen based in Hua Mak have a hard time employing common sense and logic for basic footballing decisions. After last year’s Pattaya away debacle, this year they upped their game with their FA Cup semi-final and final stadium switches, leaving many Port fans stuck outside the stadium or watching on television. They will really have to go some to screw up next season but I’m betting they can reach the next level.

 

Terens of the Season

 

An award for the forgotten man (tip of the hat to Mr D Barraclough of Ningbo, China), this year’s Terens is Anon Samakorn; a player of great potential and talent when deployed on the pitch. Jadet was never a big fan of blooding youth and, thanks to Go, Siwakorn and Tanaboon, his chances have been extremely limited this season. The Sandpit never forgets and he is frequently mentioned in conversations about what the team is missing. And if it doesn’t work out at Port there’s always those hashtags to admire #onlytimewilltell #walkinfaithnotbysight #memphisdepay

 

 

Away Trip of the Season

 

 

Chonburi away was a great smash and grab Friday night trip full of excitement, goals (including a Pele winner), copious amounts of alcohol, lingerie shopping bags and mild accusations of child abuse, plus no one fell into a pond this time (Hi Dom!). I watched the winner standing on an office chair with another fan peering over a fence (Toby Time©) and was drunk enough to sing a very rude Thai song about Muangthong through a megaphone post match. On the other end of the scale I must mention Rayong away which on paper looked like an amazing day out but turned into the biggest damp squib ever.

 

Som Nam Na of the Season

 

 

Surely this season’s slice of humble pie should be stuffed into the face of Newin Chidchob of Buriram United. They have been getting away with absolute liberties for too long. I’m not just talking about the game against us; check out the end of their match against Trat or the very, very late penalty against Sukhothai. The equalizer scored by Chiang Mai was just desserts and consigned them to a season with no silverware. Newin even told the media before the match that he wanted to do the trophy presentation back at Thunder Castle!  Although Chiang Rai are a shithouse team it was a case of the lesser shithouse team won. Just.

 

What Happens Next?

 

We buy a striker, a bloody good one, and a big bastard of a centre back to partner Dolah. No back ups – first team quality is needed, and a squad fighting for every position on the pitch. In all seriousness, I thought we wouldn’t improve after last season but I will happily eat my words. If it wasn’t for the mid season slump (and some dodgy reffing) we could have won the league this time around so I don’t see why we can’t do it next season.

Cheers!

 

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.

 

High Hopes: Dom’s 2018 Season Review

Goal of the Season

Boskovic 1st goal vs Pattaya

A clockwork orange n’ blue goal, vintage 2018. This goal sums up Port’s season, when everyone does their job well we can slice teams apart. Nurul, Suarez and Boskovic are all involved, if Nurul and Suarez don’t get injured and Bosko found form a bit sooner we could’ve seen a shed load more of these goals being smashed in. Nurul throws the ball in tees up Suarez, he turns freezing two defenders gives himself the platform. Suarez knows where Bosko is, finds him with a bit of space. Bosko chests the ball down and bang he’s thundered it into the top corner. Keeper stood no chance, suddenly the rain doesn’t seem so bad and the journey out to deepest darkest Minburi is well worth it. We’re all singing in the rain.

Game of the Season

Muangthong Away

It’s the start of the season Port’s players are looking good, but can they stand up to a genuine test?

Yes they bloody can, the 2-0 win that left the North, South, East and West stands very, very quiet. Kevin slotted right into the team, Worawut pulled off some great saves. Everything was good with the world. Top feeling, top match, joint top of the league, on top of the world.

Player of the Season

Nittipong Selanon. He’s not a superstar of Thai Football, but in 2018 what we needed was a bit more of Nittipong’s attitude. Turn up and do a great job week in week out. Other players raised their game for some matches and randomly went missing in others. We have seen some great skills at PAT this year, but skill with a bit of consistency was missing. This is why I have to go for our right back, possibly the best right back in the league. The hardest working man in Thai Port.

That 2018 Look

Milan, Paris, London, Thai Port, it’s the fashion hub of the Bangkok Metropolitan area so I give you the 2018 top merch. awards.

T-Shirt of the Season

This is the most hotly contested section of these awards. Port has always had a ton of different T-shirts made by different fan groups. This year “Nig” in Zone B has outdone himself with the “Port Hub” shirt. You know it’s a top T-shirt when every time you get it out of the cupboard it raises a smile.

 

Cap of the Season

As someone who wears glasses I’m always on the look out for a Thai Port cap to keep the rain off my specs. The previous 2017 one was cheap, plastic and poorly designed. My decent 2015 orange cap was lost a long time ago after a very long away day. I only saw this 2018 cap for sale on the last day of the 2018 season. Still it’s a good simple design silver on black, comfortable and it was on 30% discount.

 

Key Ring of the Season

Everyone’s there nice portraits of all the star players. I wish it was commemorating silverware of some sort, but anyway here’s the commemorative being a decent T1 team Thai Port key ring.

Port Family Portrait

 

The Orange n’ Blues 2018

Since Pang took over in 2015 I’ve been saying she should be spending more on the squad, relegation in her first season in charge was hardly a great start. In 2018 finally a war chest arrived at PAT. A decent enough budget for a good T1 season. We stole Nurul away from Chonburi, we brought in the 38 goal hero Bosko. Then we found a decent Korean player to stabilise our midfield. As the transfer window was closing we snatched Kevin away from the jaws of Muangthong. We assembled the best squad we’d had 10 years.

To start off I didn’t think we had a chance in the league, I thought a top 6 finish maybe. Then slowly the hope creeps up on you, coming up to the two Air force matches we had 11 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw in 14. What kind of super human form is that? That’s unheard of, could we possibly challenge for the top spot? Nurul and Suarez are both back and on form. Maybe Chainat was just a blip, maybe this is our year in the league. As for the Cup, well we got to a league cup semi-final when we were in T2, with this team we must be able to…

Maybe this is our year? Maybe not, the league cup and league losses to Air Force were crushing. After these games we really had to face the fact that on our day when we really tried we could manage to lose to anyone. Chainat was a terrible game, but I thought maybe it was just a one off. After seeing lightning strike twice in the same week; I much like the lightning crashed back down to earth.

There’s no shame in losing to Buriram in the FA Cup quarter final. Finishing 3rd shows good progress; it’s our highest finish in 15 years. We beat Muangthong away, so why does it feel a bit hollow. We ended the season on a high with three brilliant results. I’m still left thinking it would’ve been nice to be going to a Cup Final in 2018, and it wasn’t too far from our grasp. In the end as always it’s the hope of something greater that kills you, the forlorn fan thinking if only those 17 results when the other way it was our year.

2018 was a great year at Port so good it made me hope for some silverware not fear relegation. Anyway there’s always next year, I think if we strengthen the squad with three more quality players. I think we really can… here we go again looking forward to High Hopes in 2019.

 

The Whole Nine Yards 2017 Season Review

 

Goal of the Season

Josimar to make it 3-1 v Muangthong Away

It’s difficult to separate the quality of the goal from the situation it was scored in, but luckily this goal combines scoring against Muangthong with a top quality strike. The ever venturing up front Nittipong put in a great ball, teeing Josimar up. Josimar struck it like an exocet missile, and was grinning as soon as the ball left is boot. Kawin seemed to be knocked over in the wake of the strike. Pick that out of the net. It was the third of three excellent goals against Maungthong in the first half, it’s all got too much. Has someone spiked my drink with LSD? Walking in a Josi wonderland.

 

Away trip of the Season – Chiang Rai Away


 

Not exactly a surprising choice from me. My first Chiang Rai away trip, a large away group including about 20 or so Thai Port Importz. Brian wrote a great lyrical match report, well worth another read.

 

Game of the Season – Suphanburi Home

 

 

Suarez putting in a great performance reminding everyone when he’s on his game he can really push the rest of the team along. Up 1-0, down 1-2 then back to 3-2. A comeback win showing 2017 Port have a bit of character. Here’s Tommie’s Match Report

 

Player of the Season

1st Rochela

2nd Pakorn

3rd Josimar

All three of these players played a crucial role in their own area of the pitch. I’ve ranked them 1st,2nd,3rd but these top three are pretty difficult to separate. Take any of them away and Port would be a different team this year.

 

Quotes of the Season

Tim on noticing Genki’s balls,

“Genki put in one of those balls-out left wing shifts that made us all love him.”

Everyone, “Why is it called ‘The Sandpit’?”

After some boisterous Port fans were let into the tunnel at half time, the Chiang Rai owner,

“I think you need to leave now.”

“Is this why they go away? For victories? For the sum total of sweet success surpassing the sum total of sour failure? Of course not. It just doesn’t add up. They go away because it distills down what they value into shouts, jokes, grins and grimaces. A chance for reality to manifest itself right in front of you. When this is why you go, you always win away.”

……. last paragraph of Brian’s Chiang Rai Match Report.

Me at Chonburi away. “What pond?”

After five different Port fans had predicted Buriram would win convincingly at PAT Stadium. Peter Hughes a visiting Buriram fan,

“I think you boys will get a point today.” Cue huge laughs at what would turn out to be a correct prediction.

Achim, after another thrashing by Bangkok United.

“There’s only one word for that, arbeitsverweigerung.” (‘refusal to work’)

…there you were cheering together, thumping one another on the shoulders, swopping judgments like lords of the earth, having pushed your way through a turnstile into another and altogether more splendid kind of life, hurtling with conflict and yet passionate and beautiful in its Art.”

…..J.B. Priestley, from “I’m Zone D Hardcore till I die”

Tommie, “He’s worse than my Grandma, and she’s dead.”

Pang, “Zico is here long term, we are building for 2018.”

Jim, “You know what we need, we need a real shit bag playing for us, an utter

bastard.”

“Certainly, on capacity-full nights, under the lights, the mist rolling in from the klongs, gazing across at the orange and blue sea of shirts massed in Zone C, a tingle ripples down my spine.”

…….. Hockers “A view from the Terraces Part 2”

 

“Shiiiiiit on the Muangthong…”

Dave Baraclough, “SIT DOWN SHUT UP, SIT DOWN SHUT UP”

Muangthong fan in the Sportsman Pub, “I am sitting down.”

Dave Baraclough, “Well shut up then.”

Costa after the Samut Prakarn game. “I’m off to watch some football in Beirut next week.”

Keith’s review of my hi-so packed lunch.

“Weren’t you the one taking the piss out of me for having my Au Bon Pain sandwich at TOT Away? Today you’ve turned up with a croque monsieur and crème caramel for dessert!”

Keith, “I’m happy the drums aren’t here yet, it’s nice n’ quiet.”

Tom, “Combine the work-rate of Tana, the skill of Weera, the strength of Siwakorn, the positional discipline of Panpanpong and the sportsmanship of Suarez, and you have Sompong. He’s like the Frankenstein’s monster of shit footballers.”

Tim Walker, “That reminds me of the Archie Gemmill goal against Holland, that goal was so good I almost killed my dog.”

Me, “Amaretto anyone?”

Tim’s curse, “I began following Port F.C. in the summer of 2014, yet due to some curse put on me by a vengeful Burmese gypsy in Khlong Thoey market after I refused to buy her kumquats, as yesterday dawned I had still to see my team win an away league game.”

 

Giving something back

Great work from Spider Ming, great to see him rallying round and raising money from all of the Zones at PAT Stadium for one Port fan who had to have his foot amputated.

The fans and the club helping out with donations after the fire in Klong Toei. Good to see the website helping to raise money for a worthy cause.

Port it’s more than just a club.

 

Obscure Pun of the Season

“It’s a shame about Rayong”

Get that? …….No, I had to ask about it too. Andy Griffin was one of the 1% who got the reference.

“It’s a shame about Ray”, by The Lemonheads

 

Song of the Season

Winner “The Genki Nagsato Song”

You were working as a winger in Ratchaburi

When we met you

We picked you out, we signed you up,

We cheered you on

We turned you into something new

Genki

Gengki Naga

Genki Nagasato, Genki Nagasaaaaaaatoooo

Genki Nagasato, Genki Nagasaaaaaaaaaaatooo

Oh, Nagasato – you know I don’t believe you when you say you can play football

You’d better step it up or we will sign your sister,

Genki Nagasato, Genki Nagasaaaaaaatoooo

Genki Nagasato, Genki Nagasaaaaaaaaaaatooo

A close second the “A win away, A win away” song.

This song was not sung as much as I thought it would be, as Port actually had some great away wins this year.

 

Match Day Dinner of Year Award (vegetarian section)

Omelettes n’ rice at PAT, simple made to order, cheap as chips, no in fact cheaper than chips.

 

9 General High points

1) The debut year of www.portfcsandpit.com

2) 1st win against Muangthong in since 2009.

3) Random friendly in Hua Hin.

4) Secret away game Muangthong v Brisbane Roar.

5) A serene moment of peace at Honda away. I got there early went to a nice little restaurant by the lake, very relaxing. It turned out to be the calm before the storm.

6) My first futsal match, a rain delayed indoor match.

7) Pakorn scoring from a corner twice, after Leandro had tried to do it every single time he took a corner for two years.

8) Siwakorn named top yellow card collector with 13 bookings in 2017.

9) Finishing 9th

 

9 General Low points

1) 50 year anniversary celebrations? There’s a key ring for sale in the club shop.

2) Port in yellow shirts, Pang’s subliminal political campaign, we know your game madam.

3) Still no beer on the terraces.

4) Losing so many leads.

5) Pondgate fiasco, there should have been a gate next to that pond.

6) Astrubal fiasco

7) Maranhao mid season transfer fiasco

8) Kalu off early fisaco

9) Zico fiasco

The main highlight of 2017 for me has been this website. Since I started following Port in 2011 we have always had some online presence. It started with Marco’s blogspot site, then me trying to update things via the Thai Port Importz Facebook page. Now we have moved into a new era with a swanky website, one that is better than Port’s official site, and to be fair it’s better than Welling United’s website which makes me both happier and sadder at the same time.

Big thanks to Tim and Tom for all their hard work on the website and thanks to everyone that has contributed to its success.

From Wondrous Wins to Weera: The Best and Worst of Port in 2017

 

It’s been a season of extremes at Port, although ironically all the highs and lows have led to us finishing slap bang in the middle of the table. In this review of the 2017 season, I talk about the best and worst that Port and their opposition offered up throughout the year.

 


Best Match

There are quite a few contenders for match of the season. Port games certainly weren’t wanting for goals, and there were some riveting ding-dong affairs with late comebacks I could choose. The 3-2 win against Suphanburi at home was a great game with a near-full crowd, the 2-1 victory over Police at home likewise, and even the 0-0 draw with Buriram was riveting in its’ own way. I couldn’t possibly choose anything other than the stunning 2-3 win against the Muangscum, though. When you haven’t beaten your fiercest rivals in 8 years, then you come from a goal behind with a flying header and two volleys there’s just about nothing better. Except actually being allowed to go and watch the match, I suppose!

Worst Match

When you sit in a minivan for 4 hours to get to an away game, you generally expect the game itself to be more interesting than staring out of the van window. Unfortunately, the 0-0 draw away at Korat was such a turgid affair we would probably have been better off staying in that winery we stopped at on the way up.

 

 

Best Team Performance

The Muangthong performance was of course outstanding, but besides that incredible 4 minute spell, it was largely characterized by backs-to-the-wall defending and quite a bit of help from the woodwork. Port needed little help when they stunningly dispatched table-topping Chiang Rai in April. Port went a goal down, but kept their heads up and over the course of the 90 minutes battered their opponents mercilessly. Worawut’s penalty save was the turning point, and Port ultimately went on to record a comfortable 3-1 victory, with Pakorn turning in a man-of-the-match performance.

Worst Team Performance

Losing 5-1 against a team who got relegated is never good. Port were lazy, sluggish, bereft of ideas and the willingness to win any individual duels at Honda. Whilst some individual performances stick out for being particularly rank, this was a team effort, and the blame has to be shared.

 


 

Best Individual Performance

2 stunning volleys in 2 minutes against the Muangscum? Take the award Josimar, you’ve earned it! Honourable mentions for Adisorn, who made Buriram’s midfield look ordinary at PAT Stadium, and Suarez for his match-winning turn against Suphanburi.

Worst Individual Performance

After the corruption allegations leveled against former Port goal-allower Weera, this performance takes on a whole other level of bad. Port fans were already pretty disgusted when they thought it was just gross ineptitude, but to find out that there’s every possibility that he was intentionally sticking it to the club and the fans makes it worse. Much worse. It the allegations are true, he should never set foot on a football pitch again, unless it’s in prison. Even then I doubt he’d make the team. Siwapong comes in a distant second for his performance against the same team, which wouldn’t have been out of place in a girl’s under 11 game.

 

 

Best Port Player

For me, Port ended up in the top half of the league because of their attack, rather than their defence. Of course Rochela’s part in keeping defensive errors to a minimum is an important factor, but for me Pakorn’s creativity going forward won Port more points than any other player. Honourable mentions also go to Suarez, Josimar, Rochela and Siwakorn.

Worst Port Player

Weera. See Above. And Below.

 

 

Best Opposition Team Performance

Bangkok Glass, not for the first time, really dismantled Port at PAT Stadium. Port generally upped their game when the big guns came to Khlong Toei, but Glass’ fluid football, and an outstanding individual performance from Toti, meant they were chasing shadows for most of the game, and ended up losing 3-0, although it could have been a much more chastening scoreline. Honourable mention for Bangkok United, who smashed Port 6-2 at Thammasat Stadium.

Worst Opposition Team Performance

You would think Super Power would have this gong in the bag, but they weren’t that bad on either occasion that Port played them. Sisaket, however, were truly abysmal in the penultimate week of the season. They eventually ‘only’ lost 5-3 but it would have been 5-1 if Port hadn’t switched off for the last few minutes with the result already secured.

 


 

Best Opposition Individual Performance

Port put in a superb performance at home to Buriram, and were very unlucky to let the champions escape PAT Stadium with a point. Buriram ‘keeper Siwarak Tedsungnoen was unbeatable between the sticks, with a particular point-blank stop from a Genki header sticking in the memory. Honourable mentions to Toti of Bangkok Glass, Leesaw of Bangkok United and Chiang Rai ‘keeper Nont.

Worst Opposition Individual Performance

Do linesmen count? Because when Port visited the Thunder Castle, the linesman may as well have been playing for the opposition. Yes, Jaja and Rochela were running in opposite directions at pace, but he’s miles offside, lino! Bloody miles! The linesman’s attack of blindness ultimately cost Port a point, as they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to the men in luminous yellow, I mean navy blue.

 

 

Best Goal

He didn’t score many in 2017, and his shooting was often more cause for concern for those behind the goals than the opposition ‘keeper, but his goal against Bangkok United early on in the season was an absolute peach. He beats a man, sets himself and curls an un-stoppable effort over the keeper and in to the back of the net. There wasn’t much to cheer that night, but Siwakorn’s screamer made the trip worthwhile. Honourable mentions to Tana for his superb long range effort against Suphanburi and Josimar for his volleys against Muangthong.

Worst Goal

Pakorn’s freekick against Super Power at PAT Stadium was more of a back-pass than a shot. Nevertheless, former Port goalkeeper Narong managed to let it squirm through his grasp and in to the net. Shocking. Honourable mentions must go to both of his other blunders in that game, and Todsapol’s tap-in at Dolphin Stadium when the Pattaya keeper thoughtfully dropped the ball at his feet in the six yard box.

 


 

Best Assist

Panpanpong has had a mixed season, but some of his crossing has been delicious. His finest moment of the season was the ball he lofted to the far post against Muangthong, while Suarez leaped like a salmon and headed in from close range. Great jump, solid header, but it was all about the cross. Of course Pakorn was Port’s main provider over the course of the season, exemplified by his perfectly-weighted through-ball to Suarez against Sisaket, but Panpanpong just edges him out here.

Worst Assist

There was nothing wrong with the way Rochela dispatched his penalties against Super Power, but there’s absolutely no way either of them should have been given. One was for a non-existent handball, and the other for a non-foul outside the area. The ref scoops the award for these two ridiculous assists.

 


 

Best Trick

Every time Pakorn caught a ‘keeper out with one of his devilish in-swinging corners from the left. You would think they know it’s coming by now, but time after time Pakorn catches T1 ‘keepers with their pants down. Pakorn’s pearlers yielded a couple of goals and assists throughout the season.

Worst Trick

Any one of Tana’s attempts to win a penalty by falling over in the area. It’s a combination of laziness, and a preemptive excuse for having messed up another attack. Find another club. Please?

 


 

Best Coach

Hmm, this is a toughie. Oh no, wait. Jadet put Port in the top half and secured remarkable upset victories against some of the league’s best teams along the way, whereas Zico masterminded a run of 1 win in 10 league games. Jadet, we should never have doubted you!

Worst Coach

Oh dear, Zico. It seemed like such a promising appointment, but couldn’t have turned out much worse. Port slipped a few places in the league table, and Zico’s reputation sank without a trace.

 

 

Best Tactical Move

Port were largely expected to get annihilated at home against Buriram, and Jadet’s team selection – pairing Josimar and Kaludjerovic up front in a 4-4-2 for the first time – seemed to to indicate that Port would just try to go for broke and outscore their opponents. Instead Port held their opponents to a 0-0 draw with a disciplined performance. Well played, Sir Det!

Worst Tactical Move

It’s no secret that I was getting very, very frustrated by Zico’s insistence on switching players’ positions, and the worst of all was when he had Pakorn and Nitipong swap positions against Police Tero. Guess what, Zico? If you put a player with zero defensive experience in defence, he’ll make mistakes. Yes, Pakorn has to take responsibility for dispatching a pretty harmless cross in to his own top corner, but he should have been nowhere near that part of the field in the first place.

 


 

Here’s hoping that in 2018 the peaks hit new heights, and the troughs don’t leave us too down in the dumps. Whatever happens, I’m sure it won’t be boring. It never is being a Port fan, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

 

Podcast

Spit in the Sandpit Episode 1: Season Review 2017

 

As the curtain falls on another season of Port football we now contemplate what and who will it take to improve our beloved Port FC Lions. Port supporter John Spittal spent some time in the Sandpit before last weekends final home match asking fellow Port Importz about the 2017 season and their thoughts on next season… it’s Spit in the Sandpit season review.

Note…Peter Hockley is lovingly referred to as Peter Hockers. I hope he doesn’t mind.