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Happy When it Rains: Port FC vs R&F FC

 

After reading on the informative and quite excellent Sandpit site (that should get this posted) of the upcoming Port friendlies and realising that all the forces of the universe had aligned, namely the fantastically well planned, well implemented and fully justifiable elongated break for the Asian Games, which saw Thailand again perform so manfully in their execution of abject failure, I realized I could attend the game on Friday against R&F F.C.

When I emerged from the MRT station, I was greeted with a sky as dark and foreboding as anything a wizard or hobbit may expect to see at the end of a long journey or at the especially tense climax of their quest suggesting imminent disaster and skullduggery, I thought that there may be a chance of a spot of rain or two.

I had expected to need to fight my way through crowds of confused looking Hong Kong(ese) fans marveling at the sights and sounds of the Port pre-match experience, intermingling with the frenzied home fans excited and hyped up by the arrival of such international prestigious opponents, but it wasn’t quite as busy as that. I luckily stumbled across some familiar faces amongst the thronging emptiness and effortlessly got a beer at an under-patronized beer stall.

With the decision made to watch the game from the safety of the covered Stand A, picking a path through the non-existent plethora of fans was a veritable joy.  However, the slight rain that was falling was a portent for things to come. Settling down in the luxury of Stand A amongst the great and the good of the Port fan base was made much nicer by the unexpected appearance of numerous potted shrubs, which really gave the impression of trying to create a good impression and was certainly the most greenery I have been surrounded by while watching football. (I was going to make a joke about naïve fans but decided not to).

I was impressed by the fielding of a really strong first 11, (real football report type info now) consisting of: Worawut in goal, with a back line of Nitipong, Rochela, Dolah and (almost definitively) Kevin. Midfield was made up of Bodin, Kim, Sivakorn and (the ever languid) Pakorn with Arthit and a freshly scalped Boskovic up front. This clearly demonstrated how meaningful this meaningless friendly was.

By this point the point the rain had become heavier and reminded me of those scenes of U.S. soldiers trudging through Vietnamese rice fields in lashing violent rain. The sparse number of supporters then had to concentrate in the ever decreasing area of the stand that wasn’t flooded to biblical levels or didn’t mean you getting covered in the type of fine mist you may expect to experience on a boat at the bottom of Niagara Falls. As the players skidded and slipped around well more than the ball did, the football took a secondary nature as it dawned on all concerned that we were now clearly cut off from dry access to the beer stall. Neither side were really able to stay vertical for long enough to really make any creditable impression of being footballers. You could sense the groundsman’s (inexplicably in a hardhat) annoyance at seeing his life’s work being torn up with each fresh gauge and divot being needlessly created.

It was only when the thunder and lightning started that the players understandably trudged off the pitch amid the lake-sized puddles in the forlorn hope that maybe, just maybe somehow defying all logic and basic understanding of how the ground works the pitch would somehow be playable again in 10 minutes or so. Humorous attempts were made to test the bounce of the pitch, with the ball having taken on the features of a medicine ball. More hardy foreign players; Rochela and Dolah, clearly unafraid of melting in the rain, displayed game attempts at keepy-uppy that made me feel better about my own skills before the ref finally confirmed that the game (which had lasted an epic 12 minutes) was abandoned. As with everything that day it took a while for this realization to soak into the clearly dampened crowd. With various wildly optimistic claims of being able to see clearer and bright patches of sky in the distance and that in fact the rain was starting to ease off.

The next challenge was how to make it back to the safety of the Beer stall to discuss and dissect the intricacies of the 12 minutes of football we had witnessed. I’m not sure what the coaches would have got from the game, other than now knowing for sure what all their players would look like if any of them ever entered a Wet-T-shirt contest. Not sure what I got from it either, but whatever “it” was it was deeply debated over a few more beers, while listening to possibly the greatest, but most bizarre mix tape ever assembled, while witnessing a middle-aged Thai man lowering his shorts to reveal his tattoos, until even the beer stalls gave up and went home.

A classic (friendly) Port (abandoned) match day experience!

 

Kong & Kang: Port Announce Two Friendlies

 

STOP PRESS Please note the Ratchaburi game on 29 August will now be played at the Mitr Phol Stadium in Ratchaburi, NOT at the PAT!

With yet another long break for the Asian Games (a month off, with Thailand likely coming home after the first week), Port have arranged a couple of friendlies to get the players back to match fitness prior to the 5 September restart.

First up this Friday (24 August) are Hong Kong Premier League side R&F FC, the B team of the more famous CSL side Guangzhou R&F FC. We know little about them beyond their Wikipedia page, but they did beat Chonburi’s reserves 5-1 in a friendly at the weekend, not that that is necessarily an indicator of quality given the current standard of Chonburi’s first XI. They also have former Scottish U21 goalkeeper Andy McNeil on their coaching staff.

Then the following Wednesday (29 August), Port welcome Ratchaburi Mitr Phol FC to the PAT. Port have already beaten the Sugar Boys twice this season, including that spectacular 4-1 demolition at the Mitr Phol Stadium back in June, and so whoever is coaching Ratchaburi this week won’t be looking forward to facing us again. It also gives us a chance to welcome our old friend Kang Soo-Il, the Moustache Cream Cowboy himself, back to Khlong Thoey, after he decided to spit water at the front few rows of Zone B on his last visit. I seriously hope noone tries to intimidate him by making moustache gestures at him, because that would not be funny AT ALL.

Admission is free to both games and the usual friendly beer amnesty applies.

 

Friday 24 August

Port FC vs R&F FC

17:00 at PAT Stadium

 

Wednesday 29 August

Port FC vs Ratchaburi Mitr Phol FC

17:00 at PAT Stadium