Screaming From Beneath The Waves: Fanzine

In September, 2018, I produced an old school football fanzine. I had a lot of fun putting it together and really enjoyed the whole process. It was so nice to do everything the “old fashioned way” again. A real throwback to the days, before the instant gratification of the internet, and a reminder of my youth.

The first fanzine I ever produced, using my mum’s typewriter and some carbon paper, was called “Irritate” and it was dedicated to Punk Rock. It featured a few singles reviews, a report on a Clash concert and a completely made up interview with the Sex Pistols. There was one edition and three copies (the biggest amount possible using the aforementioned copying method!). It was 1977 and I was 13.

Since then, I’ve been responsible, or partly responsible, for various other football and music publications of varying quality. The most recent being “Sniffin’ Somtam (And Other Thai Football Habits)”, which saw the light of day in 2009. However, it failed to catch the imagination of the match going public, even though Thai football was going through an unprecedented boom period at the time. Indeed, the reaction from most of the foreigners we approached when the mag made its debut on that fateful night before a Thailand international at Rajamangala, was bordering on hostile.

Thankfully, the response to “Screaming From Beneath the Waves” – a title nicked (in true fanzine fashion) from an Echo and the Bunnymen lyric – was fantastic and the initial run sold out.

Over the next few days I will be reproducing it here, as best I can. However, if you would like a proper, stapled together, A4 paper copy, please contact me through the site. Enjoy!

Chonburi FC: All Time Best XI

My Personal Best XI 2002-Present

1.SINTAWEECHAI HATHAIRATTANAKOOL (Position: Goalkeeper, Seasons played: 2007 – 2015)

After coming through the ranks at Assumption College and representing Chonburi province, “Tee” finally signed for the Sharks in 2006. The former Thailand international is still regarded as one of the country’s top stoppers and, apart from the odd rush of blood to the head, was very reliable as our last line of defence. In September, 2009, he officially changed his forename from Kosin to Sinthaweechai in an effort to bring good luck. I guess that worked out OK.

2.SUREE SUKHA (Position: Defender, Seasons played: 2002 – 2012)

If it wasn’t for the the snide, underhand way that he engineered a move to Buriram Utd – allegedly not turning up for training and not answering phone calls from the club – Suree would quite rightly be regarded a Chonburi legend. Right up there with Pipob On-Mo. Brought up through the ranks at Assumption College and giving us ten years loyal service – playing in any position he was asked – he was definitely one of our own and a firm favourite with the Sharks fans. His rugged, non-stop style of play was always very popular with the supporters and earned him a great deal of respect within the game.

3.NATTAPONG SAMANA (Position: Defender, Seasons played: 2008 – 2014)

A left sided player who can operate as either a full back or attacking midfielder. Natthapong is another one who had a long association with Chonburi – playing in the 2002 provincial team and a seven year stint in the TPL. He can occasionally look uncomfortable against a pacy right winger but is dangerous when going forward himself. I was looking forward to him continuing his career with us, however, someone – if their infinite wisdom – decided it would be a good idea to sell him to our TPL rivals Suphanburi at the start of the 2015 season. Talis est vita

4.ANDERSON DOS SANTOS (Position: Defender, Seasons played: 2012 – 2016)

Our 2014 Player of the Year, Anderson dos Santos – or A.D.S. – as we mischieviously liked to call him – was Mr Consistency (we also liked to call him that). Whether he was playing centre half, just in front of the back four or as an emergency striker, we could always guarantee that he would perform. After being deemed surplus to requirements by Buriram Utd, A.D.S. was welcomed with open arms by the Chonburi faithful and repaid us by being one of our better players; whilst also treating us to a range of hairstyles such as the Jheri Curl, Cornrows or Skinhead.

5.SUTTINUN PHUKHOM (Position: Defender, Seasons played: 2008 – 2018)

A cultured footballer who is good in the air and on the ground. One of the best central defenders to have played in the Thai league and well liked and respected within the game. Sadly, Em’s time at the club has been blighted by injury. The unassuming 31 year old has just returned from a two year absence and has already made a big difference to the team. Let’s hope he stays fit now and is allowed to enjoy the rest of his career.

6.SURAT SUKHA (Position: Midfielder, Seasons played: 2006 – 2009)

In total contrast to his twin brother (see no.2) Surat left Chonburi with the good wishes of the the Sharks’ faithful ringing in his ears. He made his final bow in our 4-0 win against PSMS Medan in the AFC Cup 1st Round match at Rajamangala on June 23rd, 2009. He was substituted in the 89th minute in order to let the fans show their appreciation, as he set off for a new career with Melbourne Victory. After a couple of successful years in Australia, the tough tackling defensive midfielder returned to Thailand when he joined Buriram Utd. Like Suree, the 36 year old former Thailand international is also a product of the Assumption College, SriRacha assembly line. However, unlike Suree, he is always assured of a warm welcome whenever he returns.

7.THERDSAK CHAIMAN (Position: Midfielder, Seasons played: 2010 – 2018)

Where do you start? The man is an absolute legend. Not just at Chonburi. Not just in Thailand. But in the whole of South East Asia. He’s sure to be included in anyone’s top ten South East Asian players of the last twenty five years. In fact, he’s probably in most people’s top one! He possessed an amazing football brain and could turn a game in the blink of an eye. It was an absolute privilege watching him play for the Sharks during the twilight of his career and he gave us many, many happy memories.

8.MICHAEL BYRNE (Position: Midfielder, Seasons played: 2009 – 2010)

Michael’s career with the Sharks is undoubtedly a case of what might have been. The English born Welshman is without question one of the most talented players we’ve had at the club. His single handed demolition of BEC Tero in July 2010 is one of the greatest individual displays I’ve seen by anyone in a Chonburi shirt. However, a succession of niggling injuries and a seeming fall out with the management, saw him transferred to TPL rivals Bangkok Glass after just 38 first team appearances, over one and a half seasons. Whatever the future holds for Byrnesy, he’ll always be remembered at Chonburi as someone who would run through brick walls for his team and be capable of flashes of brilliance.

9.KONE HAMED (Position: Forward, Seasons played: 2006)

Nicknamed The Little Snake by Chonburi fans, Kone Hamed is one of the most exciting players we’ve had at the club. His unpredictability and love of mazy dribbling runs meant he was a handful for any defender and a joy to watch. If he had a fault, it was that sometimes he’d attempt to do too much, when a simple pass would have been more effective. His performances during our run in the 2006 Singapore Cup caught the eye of Home Utd and the Ivorian signed for The Protectors in the two month gap between the semi final and the final. However, he was given special permission to return on a one match “loan” for the big occasion. After a short spell in Singapore, he went on to achieve some success with Gainare Tottori in Japan.

10.PIPOB ON-MO (Position: Forward, Seasons played: 2005 – 2018)

The legendary Pipob On-Mo. A man who is Chonburi to the core and has a heart as big as Liverpool. Mo is another graduate of Assumption College who has graced the first team for many years. After leaving Assumption, the diminutive striker had a very successful couple of seasons at BEC Tero, who were then the country’s top club. However, the Pichit native returned to his spiritual home in 2005 and cemented his place in Sharks folklore as a speedy, gritty forward with an eye for goal and the incredible ability to out jump much taller players.Even now as a 39 year old, the former Thailand international is a thorn in the side of defenders whenever he plays. He might have lost some of his electrififying pace but he still has his trademark bravery, skill and guile to make life tough for opponents. It will be a sad day indeed when he decides to retire. I just hope that the club keeps him on in some capacity when he does hang up his boots. As well as erecting a statue in his honour and naming one of the stands after him. It’s the least he deserves.

11.THIAGO CUNHA (Position: Forward, Seasons played: 2012 – 2015 & 2017)

Not just our best ever striker, I’d argue the case that he’s our best ever player. The Brazilian made a slow start to his Sharks career but there’s absolutely no doubt that he more than made up for that, with a goalscoring record that anybody would be proud of.When Thiago played, you were always guaranteed thrills, spills and entertainment. And plenty of talking points. Not everything he did was impressive – the diving and harassing of officials really grated – but we wouldn’t have wanted him any other way. The man is a genius and we were a different team when he was in the line up. Chonburi FC is a lot weaker without him and we have a lot less to talk about. Viva, Thiago!

Competition!!!!

Big Mick the Buriram Fan

I dont know why I’ve been asked to write this. We keep ourselfs to ourselfs up here and arent interested in any other teams. I hate Chonburi. I hate all you Bangkok teams. You all think your so grate but what have you won. Nothing. Thats what. Buriram have won everything. The league the cups everything. We are the best. Yous are all jellous cos we have the best team. The best players. The best staydium and the best coach – not the kind you drive in – the kind what tells the players what to do and stuff. We have the best chairman to. Khun Newin. He’s grate. Hes built us football grounds and car race tracks and a 7-11 on every corner. I bet you haven’t got any of those in chonburi Bangkok. Hes good to the fans as well. He invited us all round his house once. He werent there he was out on his big motorbike but we all had loads of beers and got really pissed. Ha ha. I bet you wish you’re chairman would do that. His missus wasnt there either but she made us some sanwitches. Jam. I love beer and sanwitches me. I love beer more but sanwitches are good. My missus cant make sanwitches. shes from esarn so can only make rice. But weve got a English bar up here so I can get me roast on a Sunday and a full English every other day. Can you get that in Chonburi Bangkok. I bet you cant. Khun Newin gets it all in specially for us. He says noone else in Thailad can import english food only him. Its the only place in Thailand you can get it. I bet you wished you lived in buriram so you could get english food. ha, ha. Hes also the only person in Thailand who can ride a moterbike without a helmet. If anyone else does it they have to go to prison for TEN YEARS. we no this is true cos he told us just before he got them two kids boxing to give us all a laugh. And I don’t want to go back inside not after the last seven times. I wish my missus was more like his missus. Shes called Caroona and shes dead cool. Shes just like us. One of the ordinary fans. She sings and stuff and weres nice clothes. I once heard her swearing at a referee. She called him a #*%! but in Thai so he couldnt understand. I understood though. I no all the Thai swear words. Anyway Buriram Utd are the kings of Football. We will win everything for ever cos were so grate and have grate people like Khun newin and his missus telling us what to do. We’ll be Kings of asia next year then youll all be sorry. Ha ha Buriram su su.

There’s Some Corner Of A Foreign Field…That Is Forever England

During the close season between 2006 and 2007, Chonburi played a few friendlies at the misleadingly named Coke Stadium in Bangphra. Not so much a ‘stadium’, more a farmer’s field (that later hosted premier league football! – ed). I turned up to watch most of these fixtures – including the long forgotten Jingnarwiganusorn Cup competition – but one match in particular stands out.

I arrived slightly late for kick off – even though I remember sneaking away from work early – to be greeted by my friend, Nitt, who was jabbering away in a very excitable manner.

“What is it, mate?” I asked him.

“Two English players! We’ve got two English players! Two English players on trial!!” he replied, breathlessly.

“Two English players? Who are they?” I asked.

“I don’t know, but they’re over there,” he said, pointing at two young(ish) lads, who were ‘warming’ up on the touchline.

As the game had already started, I felt it prudent not to approach them, but decided I’d have a chat after the final whistle. Meanwhile, I tried to get a closer look to see if I recognised them or could find any clues as to their ability. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait too long to see them in action. “Here we go”, I thought, as they both sprinted purposefully onto the pitch, to a polite round of applause from the few dozen fans who had gathered to witness this historic occasion.

Within a minute, ‘Player A’ received the ball just inside his own half. He controlled it and then played a perfectly weighted through pass, for his mate to run after. ‘Player B’ sprinted behind the defence in pursuit of the ball. He caught it just before it reached the dead ball line. Then . . . he fell over and collapsed, exhausted, in a heap on the floor. He’d run all of 30 yards. Team mates and opponents gathered around him and he eventually got back on his feet. A short while later, he was walking – or more accurately – wobbling about in the middle of the pitch trying to avoid the action. His friend too seemed to be letting the match pass him by.

Now, I wasn’t the only one to notice this and not long after, they were both substituted and retired to the relative sanctuary of the only shade on the ground, behind the changing rooms. Undeterred, I made my way to seek them out. And there I found them, motionless, breathless and extremely red faced – either through heat or embarrassment, or both. I felt it best to leave well alone and returned to my seat. I never did find out who they were, or where they came from (Pattaya beach? – ed) but I’ll never forget those wonderful ten minutes when we had two of my fellow countrymen side by side in a Chonburi team.

A Banner In The Works

by Toby and Daniel

There was a time in Thai football, when Chonburi FC was one of the bigger teams and a title contender for many seasons, but unfortunately finishing as a runner up most of the time. Their biggest rivals were a team from a small district called Nongchok Muangthong. With the help of a lot of money and a general football hype at that time the team went from 20 supporters in the first division to a couple of thousand supporters in the premier league throughout the next couple of years. The newly-rich made good use of their money, built up a good team, developed some fancy marketing and rebuilt the stadium to a proper football ground.

During this time two of the big supporter groups were being formed at Muangthong – Ultra Muangthong and N-ZONE. Both groups were following the so-called “Ultra” style of support (without really knowing the culture of “Ultras”).

Away fans travelling to Muangthong had the luck to be placed at the northern side of the west stand just next to the N-ZONE Ultras. The Chonburi supporters immediately became friends with the local N-ZONE crowd (and they were not the only to do so, as Port supporters also always had a good experience with them). The usual names of the Thai’s most favorite animals were flying from sector to sector, while handy gestures showing a variety of fingers and wobbly hand movements where used showing each other mutual affection.

During one of the last match days in the 2012 season, two unknown lads who had some kind of relationship to Chonburi FC were following the invitation to watch Muangthong play against Chainat from a VIP box (free beverages came in handy and lots of lifestyle drinks found were being put to good use). While Muangthong won the title, and possibly under the influence of too many lifestyle drinks, the two lads came up with one of the most innovative ideas in modern Thai football – to “borrow” the N-ZONE banner (a common thing in the Ultra culture).

Once the idea settled in, the guys faced some infrastructural issues. The banner was on the other side of the ground, the guys behind the banner probably wouldn’t agree to “lend” it out and the banner was fairly big. One problem after another, the two lads decided to reach the other stand by crossing the field. Although probably not the most inconspicuous way, it was surely the fastest. The banner was in reach and no one was left on the stand. Was this possible? Was this so easy?

The lads started to unknot the strings of the banner from the railing, one after another, when suddenly 20 Muangthong supporters came back to the stand. “What you do?” was their simple question and “We are helping!” the even simpler yet stupid answer that seemed to do the trick, as they ended up helping to fold up all their banners and flags. Preliminary summary at this stage: Mission failed. The Muangthong guys were carrying all the stuff away and disappeared, leaving the two lads on the empty stand with empty hands.

Kind of frustrated that the mission failed back to Bangkok for more lifestyle drinks seemed the only reasonable choice. While trying to find their way out of Legoland our two heros passed a small room under the stands filled with drums, flags, banners and no one to watch it.

What happened next was by far not the bravest thing the two have ever done in their football fan career, but after all they have gone through it was a no brainer at that time and under the given circumstances: Grab the biggest banner and run. And so they did.

Trying to find a taxi at Muangthong after a match is not the easiest thing, but the two got lucky and found themselves sitting in a taxi with a borrowed Muangthong banner just after a few minutes. But was it the right banner? It was big and it was folded. Hence, they couldn’t see what was written on it as the taxi was dimly lit and too small to unfold the banner.

After a 23-minute taxi ride they reached the Asoke junction – the perfect place to see what the banner was all about and also in proximity of a refill of everyones favorite drink. They took the banner to the small square in front of the City Bank, each of them grabbing one side of the banner, walking slowly away from each other and: JACKPOT! The N-ZONE banner.

It was clear that this banner will be given to the Chonburi FC supporters, as they imagined the Chonburi supporters to be more than pleased to hold the banner of their biggest opponents in their hands during one of the next matches and …

… the Chonburi supporters took the banner, gave it back to the Muangthong supporters and said that they are sorry. Not exactly what the two lads expected to happen, but maybe it’s their style of Ultra fan culture. T.I.T.

Where’s Wally – Pattaya Utd Edition

Wally is hiding somewhere in this photo that was taken on a typical match day at Nong Prue Stadium. Use your powers of observation to see if you can spot him.

Home and Away

Heng The DJ

COACH WITTHAYA “HENG” LAOHKUL PICKS HIS TOP TEN FAVOURITE SONGS

  1. Nobody’s Ciro – Stiff Little Fingers
  2. Pipob a Lula – Gene Vincent
  3. Saharat in Mi Kitchen – UB40
  4. Alves Look on the Bright Side of Life – Monty Python
  5. Bajram a Lama Ding Dong – Rocky Sharpe and the Replays
  6. Suttinun the Ritz – Fred Astaire
  7. Witthaya Wanna Make Those Eyes At Me For? – Emile Ford and the Checkmates
  8. That Sittichok Isn’t Funny Anymore – The Smiths
  9. Complete Chontrol – The Clash
  10. Pretty in Blue – The Sharkadelic Furs

Which Way To Thailand’s Yellow Brick Road?

by Peter Reeves

Baum’s children’s book The Wizard of Oz portrays Dorothy following the road in the hope of finding good things. A metaphor for the new immigrants to the US who had been told the streets were paved in gold, it has come to symbolize hope for the future. Chasing the dream, which is what it appears the Thai footballing authorities are staking their future and the future of the game upon. But what dream do they chase?

Surely not the English Premier league which so many Thais seem to be obsessed with. A league destroyed by owners with ulterior motives outside of football, where the influx of foreign money, some if I am being generous, from dubious sources that has turned the league into a rather expensive circus act. Where the total disaster of not having a cap on the number of foreign players has led to teams taking the field with not one player from England in this English league in the starting line-up. That’s an intelligent idea isn’t it. Only for fools.

A league where clubs buy players just to make sure another club doesn’t get them and then lend them out to other clubs. A league that professes itself to be the world’s best. It’s not of course, the Bundesliga and La Liga are far better. Is that Thailand’s Yellow brick Road? Do the powers that be look at it and think they can create the same in Thailand. Surely not. You can copy the image of it but it would be like building the body of a BMW and having no engine. In any case why would you want to copy it?

Thailand should be building its own footballing identity, using the best of the knowledge they can glean from successful nations and applying it. But do the Thai football authorities actually want that? And just who is actually singing the tune the Thai FA or the TPL? Sounds like an English idea that one, with the English FA and PL constantly at odds with each other. One trying in its antiquated way to improve the game, the other prostituted to its ‘money masters’. Does the Thai FA tell the PL what will happen or is the tail wagging the dog?

For Thailand to shake off its amateur status in world football much has to be done but it could be managed. The FA can make little inroads with the most basic of things. Ensure referees are trained properly, teach officials about offside, issue instructions to clubs re players time wasting and feigning injury and then monitor it, help clubs prepare effective business models, ensure that the most basic of activities like taking a throw in conform to the laws of the game. That is if they actually think change is necessary. It’s possible they think that by ignoring the problems they will go away. They won’t.

The clubs themselves could start it off, but that is unlikely as most of the powers that be at the clubs don’t think anything is wrong. Surely though they see that whatever business plan they have in place is unfit for purpose. Assuming firstly there is a plan and secondly that the idea is to be as profitable as possible.

Where do football clubs get their money? There are ‘fixed’ and ‘fluctuating’ income streams. The fixed are contracted issues that provide a pre-agreed level of funding. This might come from TV rights, Transfers, Sponsorships or other partnership arrangements. They are fixed amounts, some incremental but they arrive without question. Clubs therefore should focus their attention on the fluctuating streams. Income they can do something about on an ongoing basis.  The most important of these is attendance at matches. Attendance has its spin offs in terms of merchandising and cash brought in on matchdays. It is vital.

Those that dispute this should ask themselves the question why clubs all round Europe are increasing the size of their stadiums. And therein lies the next problem. Facility. With a few exceptions they are not football stadiums but community sports facilities complete with a running track. This is not good for a football atmosphere at all. They offer nothing to what a football stadium should be. In fact the worst football ‘stadium’ I have been to anywhere in the world is just down the road from here in Nakhon Ratchasima. Take your binoculars.

When a Thai premier league club gets attendances of 2000 that is a very poor return. Clubs that have that number are not well run. In fact anything less than 10,000, depending on the clubs location, is not acceptable neither can it be profitable. I know amateur clubs in the UK that get more than 2000 despite being surrounded by 5 PL clubs and 6 Championship clubs,. A club needs to make what is known as ‘operational profit’ and not rely on the ‘sugar daddys. If a club has 2000 coming along the income will be roughly 200,000 baht. Every two weeks. Anyone with the right approach can turn that, after planning, into 600,000 baht inside 3 months. In real terms that equates to about 7 million baht per season. Is any owner going to say they don’t need it? It really isn’t that hard.

All of these issues are correctible with the right activity but if not addressed will worsen over time. Certainly in the four years and a bit I have been here standards seem to have lowered on the pitch, haven’t noticeably improved off it and attendances are at most clubs down. The national team embarrassed themselves in a futile attempt at WC qualification and the U23’s recently did no better. But there still seems to be this belief that things will get better without attention to the details. Just follow the Yellow Brick Road.

I hope that road is not the English PL. I don’t often watch those games anymore but did turn on to watch Chelsea’s foreigners play Manchester United’s foreigners. Turned it off. Just a circus, inclusive of animals and self-opinionated ringmasters. Yes, I have a problem with it. My problem is they go on about how wonderful it is, about the quality on show, but they have done nothing themselves to attain it other than getting a cheque book out. Is that where the Thais want to go? And all the money spent does it bring automatic success? Not always. The Thai PL already has its share of foreign ‘talent’ earning a pretty penny for very little ability.

Thais should look beyond it and learn from the best. Get the German strength in depth of their league, the Spanish ideas on how to fill a stadium, the Dutch to learn how to produce world class juniors, anyone who can teach them a little about marketing (not merchandising) and avoid England at all costs. Thailand has a population that loves football. Translating that love of the game into regular attendance is the trick, but at least it’s there. They have players who with the right coaching and disciplined approaches to playing the game could make an impact. The raw material exists. But to build your BMW there is more involved than what it looks like. It does actually need its engine.

For Thailand, Elton John gets it right, “the future lies beyond the Yellow Brick Road”

There are no streets paved with gold.

A Swatcat Fan’s Experiences Of A Bangkok Semi Final

by Russ John

The minibus; Off to Pak Thong Chai to get the minibus to Bangkok. How these guys can do the trip for a mere 200 bt is amazing – great service. After two life threatening episodes in the first 5 minutes the driver settled into a pretty sedate drive to downtown Bangkok although the constant tail gating and lane swapping as we entered the Metropolis was pretty scary.

Next scary moment; Motorbike taxi to BTS Mo Chit. Now some of you might know that I am a motorbike fan, driving a big bike around with relative aplomb but being pillion on a motor bike taxi – not for me. I am a lanky lad and with knees stuck out in the breeze and elbows gently grazing the wing mirrors of Mercs and Beemers, this mode of transport is not for me and is not my choice of fun. As luck would have it, I was wearing my brown trousers for the trip!!!

Onto the BTS; At this point, it has to be said that my experience with public transport is pretty limited and finally discovering how to buy ticket and navigate was achieved with a certain amount of help from fellow travelers. I felt quite proud of myself when we arrived at Nana and just a 50 metre walk to my hotel.

The Nana experience. A nice night out the day before the big match, Nana plaza here I come!! To me Nana is like a cross between a scene from Bladerunner and the bar scene in hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy. It is busy, busy, busy, full of foreign looking chaps and very tall chappesses and you have to pay a bloody fortune to sit down for a drink…it does however have its plusses!!!

A gallon of lager and back to the hotel for some kip.

The Big Day; Breakfast was my first ever sub – felt like the last supper with growing anxiety about the match. 12 inches of pleasure but rather expensive – 6 inches would have sufficed – oh ‘er mother!!

The Match; League Cup Semi final played at Supachalasai Stadium

The Mascot; Always wanted a pic with the mascot – he smelt of ale!!

The Fans; You know we all have an occasional moan about football in Thailand but honestly, is there a better way to spend one’s time than mixing with Thai football fans. The genuine friendship, the whiskey and food offered, the insistence of taking selfies, the smell of the admixture of fart, ale and sweat, yes it’s a winner.

The Match; FT Chang Rai United 1 NRFC 1

Chiang Rai United beat Nakhon Ratchasima 3-1 in a penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw at the Supachalasai Stadium in Bangkok. 

Chiang Rai started brightly and had the first effort on goal in the sixth minute when Phititwat struck his drive wide from 20 yards. After continual pressure, the Beetles opened the scoring five minutes later when Chaiyawat fired in.

In a half completely dominated by Chang Rai whose movement off the ball and slick passing left the Swatcats players chasing shadows, the men from Korat were lucky to go into the half only one down.

The phrase “the team did not turn up tonight” might have been ascribed to the Swatcats in the first half and at half time, it was difficult to see away back for the men in orange.

The second half commenced with a more determined approach from the Swatcats and they began to exert pressure on the Chang Rai defence. In the 49th minute Kunath went close with a clever header after a chipped pass from Pina. Chang Rai then countered and Siwakorn smashed in from 12 yards but the keeper managed to beat his drive away.

In the 68th minute a vicious Pina free kick was headed off the line as the Swatcats searched for an equalizer. With time running out, the Swatcats continued to dominate and their dominance was rewarded when they won a penalty in the 72ndminute. Thanasak brought down Leandro and the Brazilian took the kick himself, firing low into the corner to level the score.

On 78 minutes Swatcat elation was turned to despair when, with Chiang Rai fading, Jakkit slotted home at the far post but the flag was up for offside.

Full time ended with the Swatcats looking the stronger of the two teams although Sivacorn had a chance to win the tie in the dying minutes with his rasping drive going narrowly wide.

A largely uneventful first period of extra time was followed by a second period in which the Swatcats had their chances to seal the tie. Assumpcao prodded over from 6 yards out and then the striker had a real chance to win it when he swiveled but his shot went straight into the keeper’s arms.

The tie then went to penalties and misses from Shahrel, Jakkit and Chanatphon sealed the tie for Chang Rai.

The defeat; There was a glorious inevitability about this defeat but we live to fight on – another year in the Premiership to come, a few beers to drink and perhaps a few tears will be shed.

Back home again; Well, back home – shaken but not stirred, no victory but a bloody good trip. An admixture of football and all the other delights that Bangkok has to offer – can’t wait for the next trip … I bloody love Thai football!!

Pretty In Pink Blue – The PsychSharkedelic Furs

Mix Master Tim Spear has adapted the lyrics of the Psychedlic Furs classic, “Pretty in Pink” to fit in with the current woes at Chonburi. I’m not sure that Molly Ringwald would approve, but I think he nails it here.

To enhance your enjoyment of this feature, use this LINK and sing along!

1st Verse
Ciro laughs and it’s raining all day
He loves to fall all of the time
He lives on the wing at the side of our pitch
Where running is never just straight
He turns himself round and he falls and he says
“This is it that’s the end of the joke”
And loses himself in his drama and we weep
And his teammates walk through in their stupor

Chorus
Pretty in Blue, isn’t he?
Pretty in Blue, isn’t he?

2nd Verse
All of his lovers all talk of Worachit
And the crosses that he never sent
And wasn’t he easy?
Isn’t he pretty in blue?
The one who we know who is first on the sheet
Is the last to remember to tackle
He’s walking around in the strip that he wears
He will play but the joke’s the same

Chorus
Pretty in Blue, isn’t he?
Pretty in Blue, isn’t he?

3rd Verse
Jukkapant talks to them softly sometimes
He says, “I love you” and “Too much”
He doesn’t have anything constructive to say
Well nothing you can coach
He stands, He brings on his mate
The fans they are shouting upstairs
We give him some stick
He sends the police, we two collide

Chorus
Pretty in Blue, isn’t he?
Pretty in Blue, isn’t he?

4th Verse
All the academy players are played
And foreigners not up to scratch
Kroerkrit (Kritty), you’re really free like individuality
You aren’t what you want to be
Come every weekend the teamwork’s broken
Our fans sing their songs
In time with what and for who
God knows why I love this
forsaken team and I shake

Pretty in Blue – The Sharkedelic Furs
Available to download now!

PHIL’S FIRST TIME

Confessions of a Thai Football Virgin by Phil Williams

Phil has lived in Thailand for almost three decades and yet had never been to a Thai Premier League football match. In 2018, he decided it was time to put that right.

So who was playing?
It was a mid-table clash between Chonburi FC and Suphanburi FC at Chonburi’s stadium, which is about an hour’s drive from Bangkok – if you’re fortunate to have a driver who knows where he’s going.

Why had it taken 28 years?
I’ve never felt motivated enough to attend a match- and that’s purely based on the handful of televised Thai games I’ve seen. After twenty minutes of intricate sideways / backwards passing movements and shots on goal that end up in the next post-code, I lose the will to live. Not only that but it always feels like there’s an element of passion missing among the crowd – and I’ll get on to that later. Perhaps I’ve just watched the wrong games.

And then you turned up at the wrong stadium didn’t you?
Hey, that wasn’t my fault! That was Ben the driver and his inability to use a sat nav. “I’ve been to Chonburi’s football stadium loads of times”, he said. “I used to study part-time at the university next door”, he said. “I’ve never watched a game there but I’ve done a few laps around the running track”, he said.

So we’ve ended up outside some tiny little stadium, somewhere in Chonburi Province, and even though the official kick off time is two hours away, the place is like the grave. The only person around is a handyman doing things with blue pvc pipe.
We had arranged to meet Dale in front of the club’s souvenir shop so Ben approached the handyman. “Excuse me but where is the souvenir shop?”

“It’s at the bottom of the main stand at Chonburi Football Club, which is about a 30-minute drive from here”, the handyman replied.

But you got to the right place eventually?
Yes, we got to the official Chonburi FC stadium an hour before the start. Plenty of time to park up, meet Dale and his friends and then grab some refreshments. I must say the Chonburi stadium looks impressive from the outside. It’s in pleasant, leafy surroundings, the floodlights were on, the club shop seemed to be doing a decent trade and there were plenty of company-sponsored activities for the younger supporters. There were also more snack vendors than you could shake a stick at. The whole atmosphere (at least outside the ground) brought back the buzz of going to see a mid-week football match in England.

And inside the ground?
We bought the most expensive seats (THB200) in the main stand because it was near to where Dale sits. We were seated almost on the half-way line and high up in the upper tier of the stand with a completely unobstructed view. Great seats! Once we got settled, I took in the surroundings and it’s painfully obvious that Chonburi is a club on its uppers. The whole stadium could do with some serious tender loving care, starting perhaps with a good lick of blue paint. Even a resurfacing of the perimeter running track would smarten things up no end.

It looks like a club that’s fallen on hard times and now just living on past glories. It was sad to see because the club has great potential. But it’s all about an investor or visionary who’s willing to splash the cash and that’s just not happening at the present time.

Many there?
Frankly, it was never going to be a well-attended game. Chonburi aren’t exactly playing champagne football at the moment. Mid-table, draw specialists Suphanburi were not the most glamorous of opponents, and to top it off, you had Belgium playing Tunisia in the World Cup. I wonder how many hundreds decided that Hazard, De Bruyne and Lukuka were a far more attractive option than a relatively humdrum Thai League fixture and opted to stay home?

So to the game itself, what was the first half like?
You know that incredible feeling of relief that you get when you finally get the chance to take off a pair of new shoes that have been killing you all day? That feeling of relief when you chuck the shoes into a corner of the room, flop back on the sofa and proclaim ‘Oh my God! That’s better than sex!’ Well that’s how I felt when the ref blew the whistle for half-time. It was better than sex.

I don’t think there was a single incident for either set of fans to get excited about in that first 45 minutes. It was dire. I watched that first half constantly shaking my head at far too many players who simply couldn’t perform the basics. Players who couldn’t even complete a simple sideways pass to a team-mate twenty meters away.

Perhaps I’m being a tad harsh, because there was much to be admired about some of the midfield play. There was some good intricate passing and decent ball control but if there is one thing I’ve noticed about Thai football it’s in that final third, when strikers are bearing down on goal, that it all goes Pete Tong and shots end up in row Z or somewhere out near the corner flag or trickle harmlessly into the goalkeeper’s gloves.

So you enjoyed the half-time break?
Well, it was the chance to go outside, stretch my legs and get something to drink because my throat was drier than a baby camel’s chewing rag. The club doesn’t allow food and drink to be taken inside the stadium, which just seems daft to me. We all know how much the Thais love their snacking. On such a hot and muggy evening, and with the glare of the floodlights making it feel psychologically ten degrees warmer, I was desperate for a bottle of water to sip on.

The second half was better?
Yes, it was much better. It couldn’t have been any worse. Not only did the crowd have a couple of Chonburi goals to cheer but a few of the Suphanburi players turned pantomime villain by rolling around on the floor as if they’d been shot by snipers.

So how would you summarize the standard?
That is a very intriguing question. I would put the standard of the game I watched somewhere on a par with about level 7-8 of the English football league pyramid, which is very much non-league, part-time level. One of the clubs I follow back in England are Sutton Coldfield FC. Up until last season – when Sutton sadly got relegated – they were playing in the Evostik Premier, which is level 7 of the English league. They are – for want of a better expression – a raggle taggle collection of plumbers, electricians, lorry drivers and builders mates. But I bet they’d still give either Chonburi or Suphanburi a decent game.

What’s missing from the Thai game compared to watching football back home?
What was missing from the game I saw between Chonburi and Suphanburi is probably a better question? I think the answer is ‘passion’. I’ve been at non-league games in England with barely a hundred home fans watching and the atmosphere can be electric because there’s some fat bloke hurling dog’s abuse at the linesman from six feet away. Then perhaps both the home and away dugouts will get involved in a bit of touchline pushing and shoving. The result matters to everyone concerned. It’s what I love most about watching football. But at Chonburi FC on this Saturday night, the only time I felt any degree of tension and passion was when Dale and his pals rose to their feet to loudly question the referee’s eyesight and parentage. Now that’s more like it I thought. Let’s ramp up the atmosphere a few notches.

The Thai supporters around us just smiled. Sure, they wanted to see their team win but I just don’t think the final outcome is anywhere near as important. “Oh we lost again. Now where are we going to go for dinner?” And off they go – boyfriend and girlfriend, holding hands in their matching replica shirts. There will be many neutrals saying ‘well isn’t that lovely – and such a refreshing contrast from the evils that blight the English game. Two thumbs up for the Thai culture”

Naaah, it’s not for me. It’s too nicey-nicey. I like my football-watching experience to be working class and grubby. I almost craved that air of menace as you make your way from car-park to stadium, taking care to conceal your club’s colours and avoid running into an opposing ‘firm’. I missed that just as much as I missed baying police dogs, ticket touts, programme sellers, the hot dogs dripping with fried onions and the beery farts. I shouldn’t be generalising though, not after experiencing just one Thai Premier League game. Maybe I just never got to witness Thai club football on one of its better nights.

T1 – Saturday 23rd June, 2018

CHONBURI 2-0 SUPHANBURI (HT: 0-0)

Scorers: Bajram, Kroerkrit

Attendance: 3,808

MISSING!

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS SHARK?

Name: Sharky, aka The Sharkmeister, aka The Sharkatolla, aka Senor Sharksi, aka El Sharkissimo, aka Phil
Age: 12 years old (approximately)
Height: 6’00”
Weight: 18 stone (when wet)
Colour: Grey and white – wearing a blue and white striped shirt and blue shorts


Last seen at Chonburi Stadium sometime in 2014
If you have information, please call 038 467 109
HELP US PLEASE
Find Sharky and bring some much needed joy back to match days

THE SE7EN DEADLY SINS OF THAI FOOTBALL

⦁ The Huddle
Absolute nonsense. If you have to do this at all, do it in the dressing room – we don’t want to see it. Did Shankly’s Liverpool do this? NO! Did Busby’s Man Utd do this? NO! Did Cloughie’s Derby & Forest teams do this? NO. Just get on with the game. (See 6. Fannying About)

⦁ Foul Throws
Jeez! These are professional footballers. They are also grown ups. Why can’t they take a legitimate throw in? It’s embarrassing. And why don’y the refs clamp down it? Maybe they don’t know what constitutes a foul throw either. It wouldn’t surprise me.

⦁ Kicking The Ball Out When An Opponent Goes Down “Injured”
Why, oh why, oh why, oh why? If I was a coach, this would drive me mad! Leave these decisions to the ref. I was always taught to play to the whistle. This was pretty much the first thing I learnt and is still true. Chances are he’s faking it anyway, to try and gain an advantage. Can’t you see that?!

⦁ Kicking The Ball Out When One Of Your Own Players Goes Down “Injured”
As above. With bells on!

⦁ Fans Serenading The Players At Full Time
Sure, applaud or cheer the team if they’ve won. Or chant and sing in defiance if they’ve lost and played well. But don’t, DON’T, serenade them if they’ve played like drains and lost. Give ‘em stick. Loads of it! You’ll feel better for it. They’ll feel better for it. Trust me.

⦁ Fannying About
Following on from the pre kick off huddles – mass and starting XI – we get the fannying about. High Fives. High Tens. Running over to the fans for a wave, a bow and sometimes even a song. More nonsense. If the players put half as much effort into actually playing, we might see some decent football once in a while. (See 2. The Huddle)

⦁ Players Feigning Injury
There’s an easy way to stop this – Play on. The physio (or whatever they call themselves these days) can come on and administer treatment, but the game goes on around them. In 90% of the cases, there’s “nowt wrong wi’ ‘im!” – as my old man would say – so they wouldn’t go down if they knew play wouldn’t be stopped. Simple, eh!