Livin’ it Up at the Hotel Kanchanaburia: Thamuang FC 1-5 Port FC (Chang FA Cup R1)



“I’m going to stay up & watch Argentina v Nigeria” Linny tells me the night before. “I’ll be OK, I can sleep in the van”. Ten minutes into the van journey, with ‘Singh Chao Ta’ blasting out of the speakers and the Thai fans in good voice after a Full Khlongthoey Breakfast (two big Leos), sleep is clearly an impossibility. There are 16 people crammed into the van (along with several iceboxes full of Leo and a drumkit), most of whom started drinking before they brushed their teeth this morning, and as the Port songs are replaced by Blondie, The Clash, The Scorpions and three different versions of ‘Hotel bastard California’, there’s little alternative other than to crack open a bottle and sing along, which we do (and Linny even manages to get some sleep, further proving that the Vietnamese can sleep literally anywhere).


The Party Bus in full swing


Yes, we’re on the Port Fanclub bus to Kanchanaburi to watch Port take on T5 minnows Thamuang FC in round 1 of the Chang FA Cup, and spirits are high. Toilet stops are frequent (we make four in two hours, beating the now infamous Saraburi farang van in 2015), and even being pulled over by the traffic police fails to dampen the mood; it seems our van is missing its number plates, and when questioned as to their whereabouts, our driver – a man who has already shown that he cares little for traffic laws – produces one from behind his seat and makes an excuse about having to respray it and the paint still being wet, whilst the rest of us chant “WE ARE TARUA!” behind him. The cop sensibly decides that a bullshitting driver and a van full of drunk Port fans are the last things he needs to be dealing with on a quiet stretch of road at 11am on a Wednesday morning, and waves us on.

We arrive in Kanchanaburi and head straight to the Bridge over the River Kwai, one of the biggest con jobs in Thai tourism (albeit a very scenic one) for group photos and a visit to the nearby pagoda (even walking around the temple I can hear chants of “TARUA!” from the bridge above). Tim and I have a chat with the local tourist police, whose leader speaks excellent English, asking me “May I ask why you have come to Kanchanaburi to watch football?” and, upon hearing that I’m from Coventry, informs me “Your team was in the Premiership for many years, but they are now in the third divsion I believe”. Truly a credit to the force.



After an underwhelming lunch by the river, we head to Kanchanaburi Sports Stadium which, if you stand at a considerable distance and squint, looks a little like the old Wembley and has clearly been spruced up for the arrival of footballing royalty (apart from the gents’ toilets, which don’t appear to have received any attention since the Japanese bailed out in 1945). Tickets are a bargain 50BHT, beers are allowed inside, around 50-60 Port fans have made the trip, and the local fans are clearly treating this like their own cup final.

Port are taking it pretty seriously too, starting with a strong XI including Boskovic, Pakorn, Bodin, Nitipong and Dolah. But they sit back for the first 15 minutes, letting a very young Thamuang side (apart from the keeper who looks about 70) have the ball, sizing them up & seeing just how good they are. “Not very” quickly becomes the obvious answer and so Port release the handbrake, and are 3-0 up within 15 minutes thanks to the quickest – and easiest – hat-trick that Boskovic (23) will ever score, with two tap-ins and a penalty. Port, clearly intent on despatching this game with a minimum of effort, then sit back and even manage to concede a goal, when a speculative Thamuang shot deflects off Todsapol (6) and loops over the keeper’s head into the goal, to ironic cheers from the away end.



3-1 at half-time, and after braving the swamp that is the gents we bump into our old friends the tourist police again who, intrigued by our talk of Port FC, have decided to come & check out the game themselves, their leader greeting me with a Bond villain-esque “We meet again! It is, as they say, a small world”, before launching into a lament about his love life. “This lady you see here” he says, indicating a female colleague, “has broken my heart. Many times I have pledged my love to her, but she rejects me. I believe her heart is promised to another, and I am sad.” Quite why he’s decided a random Leo’d-up farang football fan is the shoulder to cry on he’s been looking for is beyond me, but I make sympathetic noises and give him a manly hug before returning to the away end for what is a fairly uneventful second half. Pakorn (7), who has looked uninterested throughout, scores 6 minutes in and then promptly sits down and makes it clear he wants to come off, and is replaced by Terens (28), who runs about a lot but fails to make much of an impression (note to Pakorn: when 50 people – who’ve taken a day off work to travel for 3 hours to watch you – chant your name, you might at least acknowledge them). On the hour mark Todsapol taps in a 5th from close range, and from then on it’s an exercise in damage limitation for the hosts and energy saving for the visitors.


Caught by the tourist fuzz


5-1 it finishes, face saved by both sides, and after the whistle Boskovic, clearly the big draw for the local fans, stays out on the pitch for a good half an hour posing for pictures & signing everything that’s proffered to him (apart from Tim Walker’s sweaty sock, which gets thrown back at him – at least it wasn’t Tim’s blue underpants, which everyone got a good view of just before half-time). The Port fans hand over scarves and flags to the local kids, winning hearts & minds; and we also chant tributes to the Moo Paa kids and hope for their safe return.

We make a quick beer stop and then head home, and the big difference between Thai & farang away trips becomes apparent – whilst we’re usually quiet on the way to games the Thais are boisterous, on the return journey the opposites apply and it is a very quiet van that arrives back at the PAT, just in time for us to get home to watch South Korea dump Germany out of the World Cup and provide the perfect end to a wonderful day. Big, big thanks to Spiderming & friends for their wonderful hospitality and beer service, and to all at Thamuang FC for the warm welcome.


The Sandpit Man of the Match – Dragan Boskovic

A hat-trick and a one-man diplomatic mission for Port FC – there can be only one. Hats off to Bosko. He even gave Linny her pen back.


Bosko signs his 785th autograph of the day


Magical Mystery Tour: Thamuang FC vs Port FC Preview (Chang FA Cup R1)


Ahh… the magic of the FA Cup. Minnows against giants isn’t it? Shocks. Surprise. Last minute winners hmm? Reassuring.

Port’s chase for silverware now begins on two fronts (three if the outrageously optimistic/bonkers amongst you believe we have any sort of shout in the league) with a trip to Kanchanaburi to face Thamuang FC. They are an amateur side plying their trade in some corner of T5 and as you can probably imagine, information on them is scarcer than a blemish on The Radiant She of Pang’s porcelain, milk-bathed skin. (The team picture above suggests they have Nick Cave playing at right-back – Ed)

Sadly then, there is little I can tell you. Their Facebook page is awash with impressive photos of the tickets for Wednesday’s clash, and seemingly photos of the players giving these tickets to school children – lots of school children each one individually photographed at the handing over of the ticket ceremony. The club, or some local Del Boy, has also rattled up quantities of merchandise for the game which have limited runs – hopefully much like their cup run this year. Place your orders now! It is understood that the match will be played at Kanchanaburi Municipal Sports Stadium, which has an ambitious capacity of 13,000. The stadium also looks nearly fully roofed for those seeking shade or shelter.



How about Port? Well, we do want to take these cups rather seriously as they are the most likely route to seeing a return of silver for all of Pang’s gold she laid out at the start of the season. Playing a T5 side should allow some of the less used players to get a run out, and given this, I am loath to try to second guess any line up (and it is fair to say, a touch ‘tired and emotional’ from England’s show against Panama, and therefore lazy). This should be a stroll in the park for Port, so expect a 1-0 loss. I still can’t shake the feeling of imminent destruction, despite the season we are having so far.

Seriously though, this should be double figures regardless of who we put out.

All this without a single railway, bridge or river pun. Things are improving.


Jumpers for Goalposts: Port Travel to Thamuang in FA Cup


The draw for the first round of the Chang FA Cup was made last week, but we held off writing about it because we didn’t know where the game would be played. Anyway, Port have been drawn away at T5 (Central West) amateurs Thamuang FC, who play in Kanchanaburi Province. And that is pretty much all we have been able to find out about the club, other than that they play in a rather swanky purple & gold kit, and have an elephant on their badge. We really hope their nickname is the Purple Elephants, as we often see those after several pre-match Leos. They have no website, but they do have a Facebook page, whence we nicked the image for this article.

Being a T5 club, facilities at Thamuang are pretty basic and their budget does not run to the provision of floodlights, so the game will be kicking off at 16:00. This is about as grassroots as it gets and should be a fun day out for the more intrepid fans amongst us.

Here’s the rest of the R1 draw:

27 June 2018 Samut Prakan (T4) v Ubon UMT United (T1) Samut Prakan
27 June 2018 Sing Ubon (T5) v BGC (T4) Bangkok
27 June 2018 Bankhai United (T4) v Muangkrung (T5) Rayong
27 June 2018 Naresuan (T5) v Bangkok Glass (T1) Phitsanulok
27 June 2018 Samutsongkhram (T4) v Army United (T2) Samut Songkhram
27 June 2018 Royal Thai Fleet (T4) v Sakaeo (T3) Chonburi
27 June 2018 Petpittayakom Alumni (T5) v Pattaya United (T1) Phetchabun
27 June 2018 Royal Thai Army (T3) v Udon Thani (T2) Bangkok
27 June 2018 Chainat United (T4) v Thai Honda (T2) Chainat
27 June 2018 Rajamangala University Of Technology Rattanakosin (T5) v Vongchavalitkul University (T5) Bangkok
27 June 2018 Ubon Kids City (T5) v PTT Rayong (T2) Ubon Ratchathani
27 June 2018 Nara United (T3) v Rayong (T2) Narathiwat
27 June 2018 NBN Kanthararom United (T5) v JL Chiangmai United (T3) Sisaket
27 June 2018 PT Prachuap (T1) v Sukhothai (T1) Prachuap Khiri Khan
27 June 2018 Uttaradit (T4) v Pualand (T5) Uttaradit
27 June 2018 Buriram United (T1) v Bangkok United (T1) Buriram
27 June 2018 Chonburi (T1) v Pibulsongkram Rajabhat University (T5) Chonburi
27 June 2018 Chiangmai (T2) v Air Force Central (T1) Chiang Mai
27 June 2018 Khonkaen (T2) v Bangkok (T3) Khon Kaen
27 June 2018 Nakhon Ratchasima (T1) v Chiangrai United (T1) Nakhon Ratchasima
27 June 2018 Suphanburi (T1) v Ratchaburi Mitr Phol (T1) Suphanburi
27 June 2018 Nonthaburi (T4) v Kasetsart (T2) Nonthaburi
27 June 2018 Trat (T2) v Phitsanulok (T4) Trat
27 June 2018 Phrae United (T3) v Kohkwang Subdistrict Municipality (T5) Phrae
27 June 2018 Nakhon Mae Sot United (T4) v Krabi (T2) Tak
27 June 2018 SCG Muangthong United (T1) v Nongbua Pitchaya (T2) Nonthaburi
27 June 2018 Navy (T1) v Muang Loei United (T4) Chonburi
27 June 2018 Lampang (T2) v Salaeng Subdistrict Municipality (T5) Lampang
27 June 2018 Army Welfare Department (T5) v Sisaket (T2) TBD
27 June 2018 Tamuang (T5) v Port (T1) TBD
27 June 2018 Kranuan (T5) v Nakhon Pathom United (T4) TBD