Meet the Cheatles!: Port FC vs Chiang Rai Utd Preview


The second half of the season begins with Port in somewhat of a slump. Having gone into the Buriram match top of the table and for the first time feeling like we did so not as underdogs but as genuine rivals to the champions, we have twice been undone by well organised teams that got a lead and sat back, as the Port game plan was reduced, as so many times before, to get it wide and hope for the best.

So, having spent the first half of the season building up the belief of the Klong Toei faithful that the title challenge was real, we come up against Chiang Rai in a situation that in many ways mirrors the first day of the season. The questions about Jadet’s ability to lead a team to the title are back. Whilst the pecking order of the wide men seems to have been settled, the certainty of the first-choice centre back pairing has been unsettled by the long-term injury (Rochela), good form (Todsapol) and the potential constraints of the rules on registered players. The arrival of Tanaboon and stuttering first half of the season for Sumanya (11), mean that central midfield is heavily over supplied and we still don’t seem to have anyone who will score regularly/lead the line.

However, the same questions being asked in preseason are still being asked of the other title contenders, just as in February the sense remains that Buriram are well organised but not quite as good as in previous years and still searching for a Diogo replacement. Bangkok United (of Rangsit) blow hot and cold, will they click and kick on to the title, can they find a way to get both Bonilla and Havenaar/Jaycee John in the team. While the only real shock is that the Frankenstein’s monster club in fourth whilst from Bangkok, play in blue and have a stadium made of Meccano, as it’s the ghost of Pattaya, currently trading as Samut Prakan Dons, who have exceeded expectations (for the unaware the red clad Lego residing team are currently in the relegation places, long may it continue).

With this week’s opposition in fifth. The temptation is to regard this as a grudge match and whilst it’s certainly one our players will look forwards too, for Chiang Rai it’s just another week playing against a team they’ve kicked previously. With Gama and Victor leaving, I suspect I was joined by fans and players across the league, in hoping this season Chiang Rai might tone it down on the cheating bastard front. A hope that more than evaporated for anyone who watched them kick, dive and generally dickhead their way to a 0-0 draw with us on the first day of the season.

Bastard in chief for the Beetles is Bill (9), who appears to be a part Brazilian part Klingon experiment to produce the ultimate footballing git. A player who often appears to nothing for 90 minutes, bar diving and getting sly (and not so sly) digs in on defenders, abusing officials and somehow scoring (six so far this season). You got the impression that Victor’s occasional look to the sky and call to god for forgiveness are the act of a man who understands that kicking people and ceaseless shithousery aren’t really on, while Bill seems to generally enjoy his role as bastard in chief.

Victor has been replaced by Brinner Henrique Santos Souza or that bastard Brinner (5) as he’s more commonly known. Both graduated from the Ubon school of underhand tactics in Thai football before heading to Chiang Rai, whilst a down grade on Victor as defender and in the excessive splits department he’s a more than competent player.

The third Brazilian is skinny Bill or William Henrique who’s quick, skilful, has five goals this season and is mainly of note for being not massively disagreeable and the only man in Thailand to play with his shorts pulled higher than Arthit.

Chiang Rai have also signed a fourth Brazilian Caique Venancio Lemes from Portuguese club C.D. Aves who have just completed their first season in the top tier for over a decade, although there is little chance of Caique being fatigued as he managed just one substitute appearance (for a total of 21 minutes) and was an unused sub on two other occasions. In the two previous seasons with the club in the second tier he managed 6 goals and an assist from 46 appearances. Given that his press shot show him holding up a numberless Chiang Rai shirt, I suspect this GSFS (Goal Shy Foreign Striker) isn’t going straight in to the starting eleven. Then again, some bloke called Bonilla arrived in Thailand having only scored twice from six starts in the Portuguese second tier and he’s done OK.

It would be unfair to say that the Thai players don’t join in with Chiang Rai’s antics. Tanasak (3) seems to be Thai bastard in chief and has collected 6 yellow cards this season. Last time l saw him he was trying to elbow Tristan Do out of the game, so I’d expect him to be try and get a rise out someone on Sunday. Not to be confused with Shinnaphat Leeaoh (36) who you can see here kicking someone in the face and laughing about it. Or Decha Sa Ardchom (40) who if you skip this to about 9.20 gets a great knee in on Supachok (19) of Buriram, despite already being down to 10 men and needing to hold on for just a couple of minutes for a point, the commitment to scumbaggery overrides all else with the Beetles. Finally, there’s Chaiyawat (18) who got Dolah sent off in the game up north a couple of years ago, apparently, he can play a bit, not that I’ve ever seen much evidence of that.

However, they do have one good guy playing for them in Peerapong Pichitchotirat (23) a classy midfield he played all his career at Bangkok Glass before heading north. Its him you see showing concern for the player kicked in the head in the clip above, which is probably why he’s been benched in recent weeks.

Normally the easiest part of writing a preview is predicting the Port lineup. Given that Jadet changes his preferred starting 11 at a glacial pace, its normally just a case of checking who is and out due to suspension and injury and making the required changes to the template. However, this week, couldn’t be further from the norm. I’m writing this on Wednesday night (UK time) and been asked to get it to Tim for dedyslexifcation by morning (a challenge that is beyond me I’m afraid – Ed), thus leaving a lengthy gap for new signings and potential registration meltdowns.

I guess objective number one is not to repeat the wonder that was 2017’s operation registration fuck up when it was decided to bring Maranhao back in for a game, too seemingly shop window him for a loan move. Which then occurred and was followed by a return to the squad for Kaluderovic, who then went home to Serbia via New Zealand. Meaning that Port had burnt two foreigner spots. As it stands, we have four fully foreigners on the books in Rochela (22), Suarez (5), Boskovic (23) and Josimar, with only three spots available for the league squad. There is also rumour that still unhappy with the striking options further signing options are being looked at. Which of course could be mere internet talk. So, with 2017 in mind we could see more than one of those four held back from the first team. Kevin (97) and Dolah (4) should return after injury and suspension respectively. Alongside Dolah, Todsapol (6) has played well, whilst for greater part of the period since rumours of potential mid-season signings it was Rochela who be dropped from the group. I’d expect the two Thais to get the nod. In central midfield Go (8) and Siwakorn (16) could come under pressure from Tanaboon but I’d expect the Thai Ray Wilkins to start on the bench. Suarez (5) is probably the only foreigner who is 100% assured of remaining. Whilst up front anything could happen from Arthit (29) starting to keep registration spots open, to Josi and Bosko being asked to play together, Josi though the middle and Bosko out wide.

My guess at starters:

GK Watchara

LB Kevin

RB Nitipong

CB Dolah

CB Todsapol


CM Siwakorn

LW Bodin

AM Suarez

RW Pakorn

CF Josimar


Port FC vs Chiang Rai Utd, Sunday 30 June 19:00 at PAT Stadium


James Clarke

James Clarke

Originally from England, James first came to Thailand in 2010 to escape big cities and spend time on beaches away from crowds. He now divides his time between living in Bangkok and wishing he was living in Bangkok.

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