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Chonburi FC


Website last updated: 29 Mar, 2015 @ 08:16

Interviews 2013


1/11/13: Here is my recent interview with Frank, from the Angers SCO FC website.



Can you introduce us to Chonburi FC and their current season?
Chonburi FC play in the Thai Premier League and have just finished the current 2013 season in third place. We were knocked out of the FA Cup in the 3rd round and in the quarter finals of the League Cup. The two teams who beat us in those competitions - Bangkok Glass and Ratchaburi, respectively - both went on to reach the finals.

What glorious things have they done in the past?
In 2005 we were promoted to the TPL from the Pro League as champions. Two years later, we became the first provincial team to win the TPL title. In 2006 we were runners up in the Singapore Cup and were the first foreign club to reach the final. In addition, we have won the Kor Royal Cup on four occasions (2008,2009, 2011 & 2012), the FA Cup once (2010) and reached the semi finals of the AFC Cup in 2012.

What is the level of the Thailand championship in comparison to the neighbours?
I would say that the standard in the TPL is higher than that of Thailand's closest neighbours - Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and The Philippines but we are still a long way behind the likes of Korea, Japan and China.

Did French players play in Chonburi FC and what do you recall from them?
Geoffrey Doumeng played for Chonburi last season. He was a hard working, box to box midfielder but, for my money, he didn't score enough goals. Having said that, I also think he suffered from not getting an extended run in the team. He seemed to be in for a couple of games and then sidelined again. We also had David LeBras in our squad a few years ago. However, he was a total disaster. I think he managed to fall out with most of his team mates and the coaching staff and was soon sold on. In 2012 we had Thomas Dossevi on our books. He scored five goals in fourteen appearances but couldn't really be considered a success.

Our former forward Ivan Boskovic played for Chonburi FC. When and how did you recruit him?
Ivan came to our attention following his two performances for Nasaf against us in the 2011 AFC Cup competition. We signed him at the start of this season. 

When did he leave and for which club?
He left during the transfer window in July. He is currently "on loan" at our local rivals SriRacha, who play in the Thai Division One.

What were his stats this season and what did the fans think of him?
He played twelve games for us and scored five goals. I think that he got a rough deal from the coach - who clearly didn't rate him - and we never really played to his strengths. The fans seemed to like him but he wasn't around long enough for us to form any particularly strong bonds. I wish him luck wherever his career takes him next. I'm sure he could have a successful career in Thailand, if he finds the right club.

Ivan Boskovic stats

You can visit Frank's site HERE






Q - Please can you start by introducing yourself

A - Hello I am me, Webbie (of #keepingitpeel and Football and Music fame) - I never use my real name. I am a 40 something 80's throwback. I'm originally from Manchester but I now live in North Carolina in the USA. I am a freelance website developer. There are a few clients that keep me on a retainer to assist them with their website, I do consultancies.  I love building new sites and discovery of new methods. (Parallax is currently my favourite, but haven't found anywhere to use it yet.

Parallax demo: ) 

Q - When did you move to the USA and why?

A - I moved here about 10 years ago because I am married to an American and we were living in the UK, but she got homesick. I've spent most of my life travelling but not to the U.S, so I was curious and wanted to explore.

Q - Which teams do you support and why?

A - Manchester City and Barrow AFC. City - because I could hear the noise of the Kippax from my bedroom and that's the first place my Dad took me. Barrow because I ended up working there (in the shipyard) for a few years in the early 80's and you get really close to football when it is non-league.

Q - How often do you get to a match?

A - Nowadays, never. My nearest MLS team is DC United which is a 5 hour drive. I try to watch as much football online as I can.

Q - How does watching football in the USA compare with what you were used to whilst growing up?

A - Actually with the timezones I see more games than ever. The EPL kicks off early morning - lunchtime, there are some mid afternoon and sometime early evening matches (my time). When I was growing up it was only when CIty were at home (we were poor, couldn't afford to go to away matches)

Q - What the best things about watching football in the USA?

A - As mentioned, the timezones. You can watch the Prem and still have the rest of the day to do stuff. Also with the growing interest in all things football (soccer) many people I've met as soon as they hear my English accent, talk to me about the EPL and football. Their knowledge about the game is impressive. When they discover something they read up and study everything. 

Q - And the worst?

A - It's still not everywhere (the football). I'd like to see more MLS teams, maybe at least one in each state. Where I live here in North Carolina it's a college basketball state, so the coverage isn't all that great. But when you drive past the schools you can see loads of football pitches. The generation growing up now, I'd say in 10 years the USA will be as obsessional as we are about the beautiful game.

Q - There is a popular misconception that Americans know nothing about football, please dispel this myth once and for all.

A - As I said the U.Sians (as I call them) are great students of the game. If you look at some of the online friends -

Maxi at Futbolintellect:  

Elliot at Futfanatico: 

and Miriti at Nutmeg Radio: 

all great writers.

Q - When and why did you start your website, Football and Music?

A - I started F&M in about...2007, I think. At first it was because I wanted to watch the Anfield Rap video again (I don't know why now!) This was when YouTube was in its infancy. It was also because of a couple of blogs I followed occasionally posted a football and musical song - but there wasn't a website out there that just did football and music... so... 

Q - Which have been your favourite stories covered and why?

A - Robin Friday: Because if you know his story, or read about him you'll know the legend. There's talk about getting a movie made about him (don't know the progress). This will have to be one everybody should see. The other favourite was with The Hitchers and Strachan:

This is the very dictionary definition of a great football and music song and how they should be. I post lots and lots of rubbishy F&M songs (because usually they are!) but occasionally you dig up a diamond.

Also coming up - when I get some time, it's getting harder these days - I've got a semi serious post to do about Thatcher's government and their attempts to introduce the football ID card. Yes there is football and music involved with this one.

Q - What is Keeping It Peel and why bother?

A - The title of Keeping it Peel was one I stole from the BBC. A year after John Peel died they staged a John Peel Day, which they said would be annual. It wasn't. A couple more years rolled by and I saw there were some independently staged John Peel Day events, but again from the Beeb - nothing.

I then thought about what I could do from here, from 3000 miles away. I couldn't put on an event obviously. I couldn't play an instrument, obviously, all I did was listen.... I listened... that was it ! Something for those who listened to him rather than the performers. This is something I could do from here and could get everybody to join in. All those like me who discovered so many bands, so much music because of John Peel.

Q - When did you start Keeping It Peel?

A - It was only a few years ago, as I mentioned above it was because of the BBC's inactivity and because the number of John Peel Day events were dwindling. I couldn't put on a live show, I could stage an online event.

Q - What did John Peel mean to you whilst growing up?

A - We were poor and back then there were no TV's in your bedroom, no phones, just the radio. At night I used to have this small transistor radio and an ear piece. I used to listen to him and some of that racket late at night and fall asleep (only to be woken suddenly when he put on some thrash metal or something). But occasionally like The Hitchers song above, a diamond would appear. Growing up, football and music was all I had. John Peel was literally my teacher for both.

Q - What is your favourite John Peel anecdote?

A - I remember there was this one night... I can't remember when now... memory has faded... it was long ago... Peel came on and said that there's a fire alarm going off in the building and he might have to evacuate so he'll put on this long record just in case. After the record had finished there was a bit of silence - and if the silence goes on for too long an emergency back up tape would kick in. Just as the back up started: "... Sorry about that, we didn't have to evacuate in the end. I was in the corridor seeing which way people were running, in case I had to run at the last minute - and I nearly did !"

Q - Who will be participating in this year's Keeping It Peel?

A - I know of a few that are taking part (including you), but it isn't until the actual day that I get notices, usually. Mostly it's with people Tweeting with a Peel Session video, or John Peel memory, which is fine because Twitter is an instant and fast moving social thing. More interactive than blogging or Facebook really.

Q - What sort of response do you usually get for Keeping It Peel?

A - Usually it's good. Two years ago there were mentions in the media - including The Guardian, which is a proud moment.

Q - What do you know about Thailand?

A - I have a friend who lived and worked there - always getting updates on his Facebook page. He's in Singapore now though.

Q - What do you know about Thai football?

A - A bit more, thanks to your site! I know that football fandom in Thailand is just as fanatic as everywhere else in the world. 

Q - If you could ask Thai football fans a couple of questions about Thai football, what would they be?

A - Do you think that Thai football will reach a standard where they could qualify for the World Cup or aren't there enough teams, players, leagues for this to happen ?
Tim B -  The skills are undoubtedly available,whereas the commitment,fitness and mindset are solely missing and until the Thai players embrace those key and pivotal assets, no World Cup qualification beckons. Thai top players moving to play in Japan,S Korea and Australia will help and all the talk of Europe bound players is wasted, although a couple of seasons in the top leagues within ASEAN will definitely be a step in the right direction. Although whether players will leave the comfort of the TPL is another matter.

A - Are there any Thai players that should be noticed who should be playing in one of the top leagues ?
Tim B -  There are a few individuals who could definitely play within ASEAN, although the longer term future for the national team is in the hands of the academy players at clubs like Chonburi.Hopefully, they will develop the key assets of commitment, fitness and mindset. In addition, it is hoped that the Thai FA and TPL will stop behaving like 5 year olds and help provide the overall infrastructure that will develop the players of tomorrow and a league that fosters that goal.

Q - Anything else you'd like to add?

A - Keep the spirit of Peel going by discovering new bands, listening to new music. With the world wide web it is far easier now to hear music, the only problem is though that there's not this one person that could point you in the right direction, so just be your own John Peel.

Twitter, website - the usual suspects:

With thanks to Webbie and Tim. 






Q - Please can you start by telling us a bit about your background
A - I was born in Australia to English parents who returned to England when I was 3. I was then bought up in England. I'm 27 and I have 2 brothers, who both play football as well.

Q - Please can you tell us a little about your career to date
A - I started at Manchester Utd at 14 and stayed for 3 seasons before joining Aston Villa, where I also stayed for 3 years. Then I signed for Sheffield United, where I made my 1st team debut at 19. After the team won promotion to the Premiership I signed for Bradford City, where i stayed for 2 years. After that, I joined Mansfield Town for another 2 years. Whilst at Mansfield we reached the FA Trophy final and played at Wembley in front of 40 thousand. I had a short period in Belgium then came out to Thailand. I have also made 23 appearances for England U16s - U20s.

Q - Who has been the biggest influence on your career and why?
A - I'd say David Beckham has had the biggest influence. When I was at Manchester United I would watch him train all the time and see him practicing free kicks every day. He was a role model for me for sure.

Q - Who is the best coach you've worked under and why
A- Stuart McCall was a very good coach at Bradford City. He was the assistant at Sheffield Utd then became 1st team coach at Bradford and he gave me my break when I was still young and at a big club. He was a very good coach but also good 1 on 1 with the players and he's now doing a good job at Motherwell in the SPL.

Q - Who is the best player you've played with?
A - Gary Cahill. Skilful and strong centre half who's won the Champions League and is a good friend of mine. 

Q - Who is the best player you've played against?
A - Cesc Fabregas. He always seemed to know what he was going to do before he recieved the ball. 

Q - If you weren't a footballer, what would you like to be?
A - A coach. 

Q - How did your move to Thailand come about?
A - Chris Brandon, who I played with at Bradford City, came out and played for 2 years at Bec Tero.He said how good it was and that I should think about it so I took him up on it and he got me out here. 

Q - How did you feel about moving to Thailand?
A - At first I didn't know what to expect but after 10 years of playing in England I was ready for something new. 

Q - What did you know about the TPL before you moved to Thailand?
A - During my conversations with Chris, he said it was getting better every year and the fan clubs are getting bigger but also the standard of the TPL was improving. He also told me there are some very good technical players out here.

Q - How easy has it been for you to settle in Thailand?
A - It's been very easy because the people are very friendly and the staff and lads at Chiang Rai Utd have made me feel at home. 

Q - Please describe a typical day at Chiang Rai Utd
A - We train in the morning, maybe with an 8.30am start. We finish at 10:15am and have something to eat. Then I go back to my apartment and rest or have a swim. I will eat again before afternoon training. Training start again around 4:30pm. When it's over I back home, shower, then out for tea and Skype my family at home. Finally, I go to sleep ready for the next day. 

Q - How does this compare with what you have experienced in the past?
A - To be honest, when you're a footballer there is a lot of eating, sleeping and resting. In England it's important to do all of these if you want to perform as a professional footballer so i guess it's normal for me. 

Q - Please describe a typical away matchday routine?
A - 8:30am breakfast. Then rest in your hotel room until maybe 12:00pm/12:30pm, when we go for lunch. At 1:00pm we have a team meeting. I'll have a snack at 3pm and then do some stretching. At 4:30pm we report for the game. Finally, 6:00pm kick off.

Q - How does this compare with what you've experienced at your other clubs?
A - It is basically the same routine. Thailand, from what I hear, is a lot more profesisonal than it was a few years agao and it shows with our training and matchday schedules. 

Q - What have been the main reasons for Chiang Rai Utd's problems this season?
A - I think in the first 5-10 games we played well but we seemed to concede in the last 5 minutes in nearly every game . I train day in day out with the lads and we have a lot of quality in the squad and I don't think our position reflects the quality we have but sometimes it happens in football. Hopefully we can fight and stay in the TPL. 

Q - Will Chiang Rai Utd stay up this season?
A - Yes. I'm very confident. 

To be continued...

With thanks to Kyle & Yuki. 



Q - Which TPL teams have impressed you this season?
A – BEC Tero when they came to play us in our home stadium. They played really well and produced some good football. Obviously Buriram Utd and Muang Thong Utd are really strong and hard to beat as well. 

Q - Which TPL players have impressed you this season?
A - Cleiton Silva at BEC Tero and Carmelo from Buriram Utd are the two I’ve played against and thought were good players. 

Q - How does the standard in the TPL compare with your previous playing experiences?
A – It’s very hard to compare with the heat etc. The tempo is a lot slower than England and the game is not as physical. I’d say there are a lot more technically good players in Thailand who are comfortable with a ball. 

Q - What do you think about Chonburi FC?
A - I think Chonburi are a strong team and have some very dangerous players, especially Thiago Cunha and Leandro . The coach likes them to play good football and they keep possession well.

Q - What do you think our strengths are?
A - I think you play very good football and it’s difficult to win the ball back if you give Chonburi possession. 

Q - And out weaknesses?
A - Like we saw in the 4-3 game at our place earlier in the season, maybe if Chonburi take the lead they sit back a bit, which gives the other team more opportunities to attack. 

Q - What sort of tactics do you think you'll need to adopt on Sunday?
A - I don’t want to give too much away but I’m sure it will be an entertaining game, like the 4-3 game. 

Q - What sort of match do you think it will be?
A – I’m hoping for both teams to play good football and there are plenty of chances - mainly for us! 

Q - Will you be keeping one eye on the fixtures involving the other teams at the bottom?
A - We can only concentrate on what we do in the 90 minutes, then after we will hope results have gone our way. 

Q - Would you care to make a score prediction?
A -  2-1 to Chiang Rai Utd.

Q - Who's got the best haircut in the TPL?
A – Erm… I honestly haven’t seen many. I’ll go for my old teammate Leandro. He liked a different hairstyle. 

Q - And the worst?
A – I’d say mine at the moment!  I had it shaved off and it’s only just growing back. 

Q - Which team has the worst kit in the TPL?
A - Samut Songkram’s is a little bit plainer than most, if I remember rightly. 

Q - What do you really think of the pre match and pre second half huddles?
A - We did it sometimes in England. I think they’re quite good and it just gets us all motivated for the game. 

Q - Is anything worthwhile actually said in there?
A - Just to fight for the team, have confidence and enjoy playing football, which is important. They also encourage you to win. 

Q - Thank you.
A - You're welcome.

You can follow Kyle on Twitter HERE

With thanks to Yuki and Kyle. 



Q - Please can you start by telling us alittle bit about your background.
A - I was born in the Rhondda Valley, South Wales, UK and I am 25 years old.I started playing football aged 11 and joined Swansea City FC as a 12 year old. I have represented County and Regional National Squads at ages 13,14 and 15. I joined The New Saints (Welsh Premier League) at the age of 16.I then re-joined Swansea City FC at 17 and finished playing at 19

Q - What is your current role?
A - Currently I am Head of Youth Development at Buriram United.  This caters for U12 - U21 years old. However, I am now focusing on the U12 - U14 age bracket with a mid to long term strategy plan to develop elite professionals within the right environment at Buriram United.

Q - How did you get into coaching?
A - I began coaching after finishing playing.  A friend within my local village asked me to give some help and assistance to him with the U11 team. Within 6 months I was running this club. I did this for 18 months.

Q -Which coaches have inspired you the most and why?
A - Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourhino. I really began to follow the game during Arsenal’s Double Winning season in 97 / 98, when they had Vieira, Petit, Bergkamp etc. What impresses me most about Wenger is his attention to detail, coming from relatively nothing to transforming the mentality in England to pay closer attention to Sport Science, Match Preparation and Tactical Philosophies. I’ve been fortunate to meet him on three occasions.

Jose Mourinho impressed me when he first went to Chelsea and my admiration has carried on from there. I was also fortunate to attend a dinner with him in Kuala Lumpur last year.

More recently I have been impressed with Brendan Rodgers, after seeing his work at Swansea City FC and then on the behind the scenes documentary “Being: Liverpool”. I feel he also has a unique way and the way he speaks is inspiring yet calm and soothing.

Q - What other coaching roles have you had before your current one?
A - While coaching at the local club I mentioned earlier, I was also employed at Cardiff City FC on a full time basis.I spent 4 years there within the Academy and Community departments which included 1 year in Malaysia under owner Tan Sri Vincent Tan, with a National Football Development Program. During this time I was Head Coach of the Malaysian Yamaha ASEAN Cup squad finishing 3rd and I also spent 3 weeks with the senior team during the visits of Arsenal FC and Manchester City FC.

I also was working as a the Conditioning Coach for a semi-professional club in the Welsh League with my senior manager at Cardiff City FC, ex - player Scott Young.I then left for the US - which was always intended to be for the short term - and then unfortunately a deal fell through to go to the Premier League in Bahrain so I ended up in Australia. 

I am currently finishing my A License in Australia. In addition, I did a Football Development Officer job within Football West and Football Federation Australia.I was also coaching in the Skill Acquisition Program and in the State Premier League of WA, one division below the A League, of which I am sure I was the youngest in the country at that level.

Q - How did you end up at Buriram Utd?
A - I was offered the position via a contact and agent I had worked with previously.

Q - How long have you been a Buriram Utd?
A - I joined on July 1st, 2013.

Q - What did you know about Buriram Utd before you came
A -Not a lot really. I had tried to look at getting into the TPL in some capacity about 2 years ago but the language barrier (with speculative emails) made it difficult and connections were hard to come by.Mika Chunounsee (Suphanburi) is someone I know from home and also John Brown, who spent time with one of the Rayong clubs, so I always looked just to check their progress really.

Q - What do you think of the set up at Buriram Utd?
A - I have been fortunate enough to always work in a professional environment as both a player and coach so to look at the facilities at Buriram United I think is a fantastic development.The academy needs much development but the game in Thailand also needs that.  All I can say is that the senior management is extremely supportive of me in my role.

Q - How does it compare with what you have had before?
A - It is difficult because Europe is so far ahead of the rest of the world in terms of professionalism, mentality and elite performance so any comparison to Thailand is an unrealistic one.Looking at the potential here though to develop top quality players there is most definitely a platform to create the very best with what I/we have at our disposal.

Q - How do you select the youngsters who come to Buriram Utd?
A - I haven’t actually selected any so far, it was done previously. I have recruited five U12 players this week to come in on a training observation week (I don’t like to use the word trial as with it comes un-needed pressure). We will be looking at releasing players in the next fortnight to hone in on smaller squads and create an even more challenging environment.

Q -How many youngsters do you work with?
A - There are currently 130+ players

Q - What age groups do you work with?
A - My first task was to win the Regional Zone in the Coke Cup with the U19. I did that, and now I manage the U12 - U14 group as mentioned previously. At the moment I am working predominantly with the U14 group.

Q - Do you work with boys and girls?
A - The only girls that I observe are those who attend the Yamaha Clinics on a participation basis.

Q - How often do you run coaching sessions?
A - The Academy train full time as all players are housed at Buriram United Camp. There are specific schedules that are catered for and the U12 - U14 are now involved in a specific one that I have designed.

Q - How do you cope with the language barrier?
A - It’s exactly that, just coping.  I learned Bahasa Malaya within 3 months but Thai is a whole new ball game with a different alphabet / symbolic reading to the way it is spoken.I have begun to pick up specific coaching words which are assisting with delivery.  These words have been given to the players to learn in English so we meet almost 50/50.

Q - Are you expected to employ the same coaching methods at youth level that are used throughout the rest of the club?
A - I wouldn’t say coaching methods, as every coach is different and whether they admit it or not each coach will feel they have the capability to do better. If they don’t, they shouldn’t be in the game and that is at all levels - not just relating to Buriram United.

I have written my own philosophy and opus on the way I like to play, the environment, training programs, recovery, nutrition and hydration management, which is all used within a tactical framework to achieve results. This is always adaptive to each role and dependant on what the Head Coach wants.  With the younger age groups it is fairly free to experiment, which it should be.  Obviously with the U18, it is common sense to mirror the first team if possible, dependant on personnel.

Q - What aspects of your job do you particularly enjoy?
A - I wouldn’t really call it a job. I wake up every day in an environment that very few can say they are in full time and I am grateful for that. I try to enjoy as much as I can, you have the days when sessions don’t go to plan, players don’t perform and results don’t go your way but with that there is much to be taken from and learned, which develops my education of the game.

To be continued...

With thanks to Matt.


Q - How does coaching at Buriram Utd compare to your previous jobs?

A - Every job is different and a challenge. I have been fortunate to coach in five countries and on four continents, and they have all had their moments. So, Initially I like to observe for a period of time and decipher what is working / not working and what will work and won’t work, or needs to be adapted slightly.

Q - Do you think Buriram Utd have the foundations to go on to become a major force in Asian football?
A - Any club with solid financial backing can! At Buriram United we are fortunate to have this. In situations when the environment is a vital component, our facilities are at top level. Fortunately the club have been successful in the past two seasons so it is an upward development. Hopefully that will continue.

Q - Do you get the opportunity to work with the first team squad?
A - Under Scott Cooper, I was involved in a small capacity, mainly observation.  I was again fortunate to be within the match day environment, changing room etc listening and watching.  This was great for me because as I answered above, I want to learn and develop my education but at the same time you make comparisons to yourself and what you feel you would or could do, within your internal thinking obviously.I got to work with Ohm (Teerathon) and Suchao while the first team travelled to a particular game away and they were respectively recovering from injury and suspended.It was fantastic to work with them and they were very professional and seemed happy enough within the session.

Q - Which first team players have impressed you and why?
A - Osmar, Carmelo, Suchao and Ohm. Their quality stands out above the rest in all honesty and they have something which can change a game in their respective positions.

Q - How do the players - youth & first team - apply themselves in training?
A - Regardless of the standard compared to Europe, the current and previous coach are of European heritage so as you can imagine, it is as professional as it should be so there is no room for the players to be anything but.The youth team players are on a very fast learning curve in understanding how to train professionally and efficiently. There is a specific group that spent time in Engand with Leicester City FC so they are aware and help with relaying this mentality to those who haven’t had that experience.

Q - What are your impressions of the first team coaches?
A - I got on particularly well with both Scott Cooper and Darren Read.  We have many mutual contacts or know of people on the circuit back in England so it was expected. I liked the way that Scott and Darren worked together and as much as it was a learning curve for me they were also respectful, valued my work and were interested in my opinions.With Alejandro and Jorge now there is a slight language barrier so I haven’t been able to converse as I would like and usually do, but all the same they have been polite and respectful.

Q - What do you think of the standard in the TPL?
A - I think the standard is certainly something that Thailand can be proud of, in comparison to other leagues in Asia, not including the J League and K League. However there is masses of room for improvement. There aren’t many teams whom I have seen that keep possession well or show a true likeness to a game plan from an attacking point of view.  There is a heavy reliance on individual players with that little bit more quality, whereas I think in 12-18 months time, as the game develops, that won’t be enough.

Q - Which TPL teams have impressed you and why?
A - I’d be biased in saying Buriram United but their defensive qualities are there for all to see.  Watching BEC Tero at Thunder Castle in recent weeks was also enjoyable and although they lost 2-0, I felt they passed the ball particularly well and looked dangerous.  Anyone who follows the league will know of Cleiton Silva but also Chanathip is some player.  For a player of his physical presence, or lack of it rather, he is technically superb and causes problems regardless of the physical challenges he will face in games.

Q - Have you had the opportunity to see Chonburi play?
A - No unfortunately, although I have heard about the philosophy of the club. Even though their budget is smaller than other clubs, they try to do things the right way. And within the Academy, they have a playing style which is strictly followed; something I am a believer in.

Q - What are you expecting from Sunday's match?
A - Being at Thunder Castle I would expect an entertaining game, especially as I’ve heard that Chonburi have been playing well of late.  With home advantage, and on the back of a solid result against Muangthong United in the cup on Wednesday, I would like to think we could push on and keep putting the points on the board.

Q - Would you care to make a score prediction?
A - Difficult to say in this league!

Q - Which trophies do you think Buriram Utd will end up with?
A - I think we’ll win the TPL, with the margin as it is now and having played the bigger clubs after this weekend, it should be cemented.As for the FA Cup, I saw Bangkok Glass FC demolish Police in the other semi so it won’t be easy, with Attaphol maybe wanting to prove something against his old club. The beauty of the cups, it’s like back home, you can’t call them. Obviously I am hoping for a deserved treble though.

Q – Thanks, Matt.
A – You’re welcome.



Q - Please can you start by introducing yourself.

A - I'm Juan Quero. I come from Madrid in Spain.  I have a wife and son, who are both here with me in Thailand.

Q - Where did you start your football career?
A - I started my career in the Real Madrid Academy

Q - Who has been the biggest influence on your career and why?
A - My mother because she has always encouraged and supported me playing football, ever since I was a small boy.

Q - Who has been the best coach you've worked with and why?
A - My best coach was Sergio Kresiv because he taught me how to believe in myself and improve.

Q - Who has been the best player you've played with and why?
A - The best player I have played with is Ruben Castro. He is now a star in the Spanish League with Real Betis.

Q - Who are your favourite footballers?
A - Messi and Robben because they are two of the best players in the world.

Q - How did you get the opportunity to come to Thailand?
A – My agent fixed up the move for me.

Q- How easy did you find it to settle into the Thai lifestyle?
A - At the beginning, it was complicated because it is a very different way of life and culture to what I was used to. But I am very happy to be here and I am enjoying this experience.

Q - What are your favourite things about living in Thailand?
A – The tourist places; the beautiful beaches and Bangkok

Q - What is the set up like at Buriram Utd?
A – I think it is a good set up. They have everything in place for the team to win titles.

Q – What do you think about your time at Buriram Utd?
A - There was not much leisure time. And if I had free days, I was spending them at the camp.

Q - How did you get the opportunity to join Chonburi?
A - Again my agent was responsible for giving me the opportunity to come to a great club like this.

Q - What do you think about the set up at Chonburi?
A - I believe that it is a good set and there is a group of players who can become very successful in Thailand in the future.

Q - What are the major differences between Chonburi and Buriram Utd?
A – There are a few differences but they are also very similar. The two club always to try to get the win.

Q - How does the training at Chonburi compare with the training at your other clubs?
A – It is similar to most teams. They mainly train with the ball and that is good for us footballers.

Q - Are you eligible to play against Buriram Utd next Sunday?
A – No. I cannot play due to the agreement between both clubs in my contract

Q - How do you feel about having to miss Sunday's match?
A – It is a pity that I will not to be able to play because I would like to the chance to compete against Buriram United and also to thank them. I will always be grateful for the treatment I received in Buriram.

Q - What sort of reception do you think you would have got from the fans?
A - I think that if I would have played, I would have had a great welcome from the fans of Buriram United.

Q - What sort on match can we expect on Sunday?
A - It will be an attractive and beautiful game but also highly competitive.

Q - What tactics do you think Chonburi will need to adopt on Sunday?
A - We will have to play an attacking game.

Q - Will you be staying at Chonburi next season?
A – My contract ends in November. However, I would like to stay because my family and I are comfortable here. I also have a great relationship with the fans.

Q - What do you think Chonburi need to do to become genuine title challengers?
A – The club needs to believe in itself. It has a great platform and a lot of potential.

Q - What are your impressions of the Chonburi fans?
A - From the day I arrived, they have treated me very well. The reception from the fans is very important to the self-esteem of a player and at Chonburi, their affection for me is 10 out of 10.

Q - What would you like to do when you finish playing football?
A - I would like to become an agent or help soccer players in some other way.

Q - If you weren't a footballer, what job would you do?
A - I would like to commentate or report on sporting events.

Q - Is there anything else you'd like to add?
A - I’d like to thank all at Chonburi because the treatment I have received here is wonderful. I also hope that I can help you to enjoy watching the team.

Q - Thank you.
A - You're welcome. 


Q- Please can you start by introducing yourself
A - My name is Chaiyakrit Aamlid or simply Kevin. I am 19 years old. My father is Norwegian and my mother is Thai. Currently I am living in Norway studying shipping management 
Q- How long have you been involved in Muay Thai?
A - I have enjoyed watching Muay Thai for many years but I only started training when I was 14 years old
Q- What first got you interested in Muay Thai?
A- I got interested basically by living in Thailand. Living in Thailand you couldn't hide from Muay Thai.  

Q- How often do you need to train?
A- 6 days a week, having 1 day of rest which is Sunday 
Q- Who is your trainer?
A- My trainer's name is Kru Oa, 33 year old man from Lop Buri, Thailand. He is not just a trainer but he is also an active fighter himself and has a Muay Thai match in Romania this month. I have been with a few other trainers but no one as good as Kru Oa in my opinion. He has very good technique and I wouldnt want another trainer but him.
Q- Please describe a typical day's training schedule
A- Training is usually twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the afternoon, both training schedules in the morning and afternoon are pretty similar. It first starts off with a run (more of a nice easy jog), then 10 minutes of Tyre jumping, 10 minutes of skipping rope and sometimes 10 minutes of shadow boxing as well (these are all warm ups). After these "warm ups" the trainer and I will do some pad work where the trainer holds the pads and tells me what to do so it could be kicks, elbows, punches or knees (this usually goes on for 4 or 5 rounds of 3 minutes). Next is work on the heavy bag which usually goes on for about 3 rounds. Then a couple of sit ups and last but not least, weight training.

Q- How important is diet to a Muay Thai fighter?
A- Generally it is very important for a Muay Thai fighter to stay in good condition and also to make weight. Food and drinks have a lot to do with it. I tend to eat more veggies and fruit than I used to and stay away from the soft drinks. Also I have to consume a lot of proteins   
Q- Who are your favourite Muay Thai fighters and why?
A- Yodsanklai Fairtex has got to be one of my favorites due to the fact that he is very good. He has also put Muay Thai on the map just by being as good as he is and made a lot of people aware of the sport. Another favorite of mine is Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee, simply because he has a unique fighting style and that he is also from Chonburi province, also a very funny character.
Q- How have you been preparing for your fight?
A- Going to training helps me get prepared. Kru Oa has given me a lot of advice and taught me different techniques. Also sparring and clinching helps a great deal.
Q- When and where is your fight?
A- My fight is on Friday the 16th of August and the event starts at 20:00hrs. The fight will be at Pattaya Boxing World which is right next to Mini Siam, they both share the same parking lot. It is located right next to Sukhumvit Road close to Bangkok Pattaya hospital. 
Q- What do you know about your opponent?
A- Not much at all unfortunately. I know we both are fighting at 72 kgs and that he is not Thai. 
Q- What are your expectations for Friday night?
A- Hopefully put on a great performance. I have trained too long not to get a good result out of it but I know my opponent will have the same thing in mind 
Q- What are your Muay Thai ambitions?
A- I want to make people from other nations more aware of Muay Thai. I would love to teach it one day.

Q- What do you think Muay Thai has taught you?
A- Muay Thai has taught me that success comes from hard work.
Q- What advice would you give to someone who wants to take up Muay Thai?
A- Do it! It is very good exercise and results will show in no time. You can also defend yourself and others at difficult times. 
Q- How long have you been supporting Chonburi FC?
A- From what I remember, I think it was since 2006 
Q- Who is your favourite player and why?
A- It's got to be the super goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool, simply because he has been at Chonburi FC all the years I have been supporting them. I am sure he loves the club as much as the fans do.
Q- What has been the highlight of your Chonburi supporting years?
A- It has to be winning the league in 2007, that moment when we beat Krung Thai Bank to secure a winning spot was one of the best moments in my life. The stadium was full of fireworks, flares and the atmosphere was incredible. It makes me really happy that I was part of something special like that. The stadium was so full, me and my little brother had to climb over the fences and we were sitting right next to the benches where all the coaches and substitutes were. When Pipop scored the winning goal to make it 3-2, I couldnt describe a better feeling. 
Q- What are your thoughts on Chonburi's season so far?
A- We have been playing so poor at times, I am surprised that we are even 3rd. I hate the fact that Buriram Utd and Muang Thong are above us and I hope we do everything to catch up.
Q- What are your expectations for the rest of the season?
A- We will be on top of Pattaya United thats for sure! I assume we will finish top 3.
Q- What would you do to improve the team?
A- Better scouting on players that we buy has to be done and also stop doing silly crosses and long balls, that gets us nowhere. We give the ball way to easily at times, we need to improve in our counter attacks and we seem to be too vulnerable when other teams are counter attacking us.

Q- If you could give coach Heng one piece of advice, what would it be?
A- All I can say is think of better tactics and new management might be needed. Something has obviously gone wrong this season. Also I think he needs to work on his decision making, he is an alright coach (better than Robbie Fowler at Muang Thong) but for some reason Heng seems to have lost it this season. Also I think we should try as hard as possible to hold on to our top players and get them to communicate with each other more.
Q- How do you keep in touch with Chonburi FC when you're away?
A- I do anything I can to do it. I subscribed to Thai tv in Norway just so I can watch the matches. Livescore and Twitter helps a lot. I have been watching a lot of the matches during my lectures, after all Chonburi FC is much more important.
Q- Would you rather be a world champion Muay Thai fighter or score the winning goal for Chonburi in an AFC Champions League final?
A- Score the winning goal for Chonburi FC in a AFC CL final, without a shadow of a doubt. Chonburi FC is more than a club for me and I dream of that moment everyday.
Q- Anything else you'd like to add?
A- Suree Sukha is a traitor and I hope he struggles at Buriram Utd. Another thing is that I can't wait for Pattaya United to get relegated, it will be a very happy day when it happens.

With thanks to Kevin 



Q - Please can you introduce yourself

A - My name is Yuki Suzuki. I am 28 years old and I am the Business Development Manager of Chiang Rai United.
Q - How long have you worked at Chiang Rai United?
A - I have worked at Chiang Rai United for 3 months so far.
Q - How did you get the job at Chiang Rai Utd?
A - I was searching for a new club to work for anywhere around the world. Then I applied to a couple of football clubs. Shortly after that, I had a chance to talk to our president Miti via Skype. After my conversation with him, he offered me a job, and here I am.

Q - What do you enjoy most about your job?
A - I enjoy everything about my job. But what I enjoy the most is to getting to know new things about Thai football. There is definitely a big difference in sports business in Thailand compared to other countries. There is always some surprise that I can learn a lot from in a good way. That is why I enjoy learning new things the most.

Q - What were the expectations before the two matches against Chonburi?
A - My expectations of the two matches were that they would be difficult games for us. We all knew that it wouldn’t be easy.
Q - How do you think Chiang Rai Utd performed in the two matches?
A - I honestly think that we weren’t bad, compared to other matches that we have had this season. But where we are always missing is in our finishing. I think it was the case this time as well.

Q - How do you think Chonburi performed in the two matches?
A - Chonburi performed better than us. That’s why you guys got the results. But I don’t think Chonburi performance at their best in the last two matches against us. 
Q - How were the Chiang Rai staff and players feeling after the two defeats?
A - Of course, we were not feeling good after losing the games. However, we are all positive and ready for the next match.

Q - Which Chonburi players were you most wary of of before the games?
A - I was afraid of No.8 Therdsak Chaiman and No.10 Pipob On-Mo the most. They are the key players who can control the game.

Q - Which Chonburi players impressed you in the two games?
A - I’d say Therdsak was the most impressive player, technically and physically. He is 39 years old and he is still able to play in the top league. He is also one of the best players in Thailand. He is the one that I am impressed by the most in the TPL.

Q - He seemed to get a bit of stick from the home crowd in both games, why do you think this was?
A - I think it is because he scored in the first game. Then, the home fans booed him all the time.

Q - Overall, how do you rate Chonburi?
A - It is hard to say because they are not performing well at this moment. But Chonburi is in the list of A class clubs after the Big 2 teams. There is no argument, they are one of the top TPL teams.

Q - What, if anything, do you think Chonburi can win this season?
A - Any team in the top 4 or 5 has the possibility to win anything this season. Chonburi is definitely a team who can win something this season.

Q - As someone who works for another club, what do you admire about the way Chonburi FC is run?
A - I admire the way Chonburi FC organise and manage the club. The club is well-organised.
I can also say this about the youth academy as well. It is planned and thought about as a long term project. This is what I admire about the club and management team.

Q - Do you think there is anything we can do better as a club?
A - There are many things that every club can do better. Part of my job is to think about this for Chiang Rai United. Let’s look at European clubs or Asian clubs, it does not matter whether they are big or small clubs, there is always a way to make things better, in my opinion.
Q - Which has been the best team you have seen this season?
A - Buriram Utd is the best so far. They showed quality both individually and as a team.

Q - How do you think Chiang Rai Utd will do in the rest of the season?
A - I think we will do better over the rest of the season. We’ve only got 8 points so far. We surely can’t get worse than that! We will find solutions to make the club better. We will try to play the best and get to where we want to be.
Q - Who would you like to see as your new coach?
A - We want to change our situation so I would like to see a new coach who can bring in a change for this club. For me it doesn’t matter who he is, I just want to see a new coach who has a strong desire to change this situation.

Q - Anything else you'd like to add?
A - Thank you, Dale, for interviewing me.


Q - Please can you start by introducing yourself.
A – My name is Marc Stevenson. I’m  27 years old and I come from Manchester in England.

Q - What is the name of your team?
A - We are called Lees Park Rangers.

Q - Where are you based?
A – We are based in Tameside.

Q - How long have you been together?
A – We have been together for 3 years.

Q - Which league do you play in?
A – We play in the Ashton under Lyne 6 a side Division 1.

Q - What is the standard like?
A - The league is of a very high standard, with good players and some very well drilled teams.

Q - What sort of season are you having?
A - We’ve got off to a good start. We finished 4th last season and after one game of our new season, we are currently joint 2nd.

Q - Which has been your best performance this season?
A - We’ve only played one game so far this season but our best result last season was when we beat the team who were top of the league.

Q - Who is your best player and why?
A - Ooohh, thats a tough one! I'm going to be diplomatic and say we all bring something different to the team. Glyn Rolfe gets our goals, Adam Hatton is our work horse, Jamie Ainscow has safe hands in nets, Rob Cunliffe and myself play at the back and try to give Jamie an easy game, Rob Royal and Rob Clarke make the most of the plays going forward.

Q - How did you happen to start wearing the Chonburi kit?
A - We started wearing the Chonburi kit because, Rob knew a lad at university from Thailand, called Pong Cherisuriwankit. He started playing for us and was our top scorer for a few seasons. Pong used to turn up to training in his Chonburi shirt and we all agreed it looked amazing. So when Pong went back to Thailand he brought us some shirts back for the team.

Q - What was the reaction from your team mates when you first introduced the Chonburi shirts?
A - They loved them.

Q - Do you have names and numbers on the back?
A – Yes, we have nicknames on our shirts and numbers too.

Q - What sort of reaction does the kit get from other teams?
A – It always gets positive comments and we get asked "what teams that?" When we explain to them we get a thumbs up and a "nice kit" comment.

Q - Which kit did you play in before?
A – A Donnay yellow and black striped long sleeved top. Which was a bit boring.

Q - How closely do you follow Chonburi FC?
A – I always keep an eye on the league table but there's a lack of TV coverage of the TPL in the UK.

Q - Does anyone else in your team follow Chonburi?
A - We are all football fans at heart and have an interest in pretty much all leagues.

Q - Would you like to visit Chonburi for a match?
A – Yes we would love to see Chonburi in action if the opportunity came around.

With thanks to Marc 



Q – Please can you introduce yourself.
A - I am Ray Hall and I am the Academy Ambassador responsible for International Player and Coach Development

Q – What was the reason for your visit to Chonburi?
A - To facilitate a course that is an integral part of our Everton FC / Chang Partnership

Q – Who organised the course?
A - I did, in conjunction with the Thai Talent team at Chang

Q – What aspects of coaching did the course cover?
A - Grass roots, Elite player development , Coach Education for the AFC ”C” Licence Course and the Chang / Everton Junior Cup

Q – Who were the main facilitators on the course?
A - Chang and Coach Daeng from the Chonburi F.A.

Q – Where did the course take place?
A - The course for players was held at  the ThaiBev / Chang Academy in Bangkok  and we were based at Chonburi F.C. for the coaches course.

Q – What was your schedule like?
A - Busy, as always

Q – Did you think this schedule was beneficial to learning?
A - Yes. Absolutely.

Q – Which aspects of the course did you feel worked well?
A - I felt that all aspects of the course worked well.

Q – Were there any aspects that you felt didn’t work so well? If so, how would you have improved them?
A - No. There were no problems at all

Q – How did the course compare to others of a similar nature you have been on?
A - In my opinion, this was the best yet !!!

Q – How important are courses like these for coaches, local FAs, local football as a whole?
A - I believe that our knowledge and expertise is invaluable in improving standards in all these areas.

Q – What was your involvement with local children?
A - We hosted more than 500 Children for “Children’s Day” at Thai Bev/Chang Academy

Q – What were your impressions on the coaching methods employed with local children?
A - This was my twelfth visit and I’ve seen an improvement every time.

Q – Did any of the local youngsters impress you?
A - There were several technically talented local youngsters who impressed me.

Q – Did you have any involvement with the Chonburi FC squad?
A - No. I worked with 14 year old elite squad all week

Q – What were your overall impressions of the Chonburi FA?
A - I thought they were very good

Q – How does it compare to other local FAs you have experienced?
A - It was better than others because it is led by Coach Daeng

Q – How were you treated by the Chonburi FA?
A - Their treatment of us was first Class

Q – Would you like to come back to work with the Chonburi FA on similar courses?
A - Yes I would.

With thanks to Ray 



Q - Please can you introduce yourself

A - I'm Bani Maryanto, 35, a football journalist for I live in Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia.

Q - When did you first become aware of Irfan Bachdim?
A - When he first came from Holland with an Indonesian passport, to play for the National Team. It was around the middle of 2010. The news that he was willing to play only for Indonesia was the thing attracted me to him and he became my favorite player. 

Q - What is it you like about his style of play?
A - He is very good when the coach gives him a free role up front. His agility as a forward is very high. He shows tireless movement through the game, even coming back to take the ball from the defence to create attacks.

Q - What do you think his strengths are?
A - On the field he has good fundamental, basic skills, which he got from his early days playing football in the Netherlands. Off the field I get the impression that he is very motivated to be successful.

Q - And his weaknesses?
A - On the field, it looks like he lacks a finishing touch. Off the field I've noticed that he needs to control his emotions a bit more.

Q - Which of his performances for club or country have impressed you the most and why?
A - One of them was when he played for the national team against The Azkals in a friendly match in June, 2012. He got the through ball after an opposition corner kick, than took the ball from the centre of the field on his own. He passed three defenders then scored through the legs of the goalkeeper. 

Q - What sort of reputation does he have with fans of Indonesian football?
A - The fans see him as a flamboyant athlete. Besides his football skills, he has also featured in TV commercials.

Q - What sort of reputation does he have with the local media?
A - I am sure what Irfan does in football is always newsworthy for the local media.

Q - How much interest has there been in Indonesia over his transfer to Chonburi?
A - It has now become a trending topic on social media all around the country. Even his recent Tweets have already been written as headlines on one national newspaper website. And I'm also sure that many travelling fans would have to add a special visit to Thailand to catch a match to see Irfan with Chonburi FC, to their agenda.

Q - What is the general feeling about Thai football in Indonesia?
A - We are currently in a reformed federation and the Indonesian League could follow the success of TPL in terms of clubs professionalism and what that brings to the pride of the Thai National Team.

Q - Do you regard this move as a step up for him or a step down?
A - Surely this will be good for his career and help to improve his overall performance.

Q - How do you think he will adapt to playing in Thailand?
A - As I said earlier, it is my belief that his basic knowledge of football will help him adjust to a new football environment.

Q - How do you think he will adapt to the Thai lifestyle?
A - Where he is resident now in Indonesia, is the small city of Malang. Moving to Chonburi will be a good change for Irfan and his small family. 

Q - What can we expect to see from him in a Chonburi shirt?
A - He will help to get more goals for the team and score a few of his own. Irfan has a will to give his best for the team with his assists or by only a small contribution.

Q - What did you think of his two performances for Chonburi in the Chang Chonburi Invitation Cup?
A - First of all, in Chonburi he has played in a different position to what he plays in Indonesia. He was playing in a right flank role, which is the original position he played in for FC Utrecth. He showed up well in the first match against Suphanburi. He made a good cross from a free kick, that went in the goal. But, unfortunately, it was ruled out for a foul on the goalie. He also showed that he can pass for the team and overall he played well with the team plan.

In the second match, again he was more of a team player He was taking free kicks and corners, and crossing a good ball in front of goal. He did this until he was taken off after seventy minutes, which I saw as the coach wanting to change the game plan, which maybe did not suit Irfan's style of play.

Q - And how have they been reported in the Indonesian press?
A - The news is concentrating mainly on Irfan's move to a TPL club, and is  taken and translated from your local Thai media. There has also been a bit of criticism of him for not showing up for the national team, which is now preparing for the Asian Cup qualifiers. I, myself do hope that he will join your club soon and get a settled contract with Chonburi.

Q - Thank you.
A - Cheers. 



Please can you start by introducing yourselves
Tim Banks (Chonburi FC) : I’m Tim Banks age 60. I live in Bangsaen and I am a retired Aviation Consultant.

Brian Millington (Oldham Athletic) : I’m Brian Millington, 57, resident of Royton, a small village just in Oldham. I am a Self Employed Accountant, married to a nurse with 4 children 25,23,20 and 16.

How long have you been a fan of your club?
TB : 3 years.

BM : I have been following Oldham Athletic for over 50 years.

Why did you become a fan of your club?
TB : After moving full time to Bangsaen I was eager to get involved with a football club and living in the midst of “Sharks” territory there was only going to be one club to support.

BM : I started by going with friends and their parents whilst at Hathershaw Junior School in Oldham.

How many home and away games do you attend each season?
TB : As a season ticket holder, I go to all the home games. I also attend 50% of away matches, mainly most of the Bangkok and Chonburi regional games

BM : I attend every home game and almost all away games with number two daughter Sarah age 23.

How long have you been a season ticket holder?
TB : This will be my third season.

BM : I have been a season ticket holder for over ten years -

Why did you become a season ticket holder?
TB : Ease of booking, obtaining a regular seat with an excellent position in the main double-decker grandstand and being amongst a group of like minded Sharks fans.

BM : When I became able to attend every game again - the joys of kids preventing this prior to then!!

How much does your season ticket cost and how much does this work out at per match?
TB : With no AFC Cup Group stage involvement this season, it is reduced from the previous two seasons to 3,500 Thai baht. With 17 home league games and no AFC involvement it works out to be 205 Thai baht per match, although replica shirts have been included in season ticket prices previously so the per match price will definitely reduce, although we are unaware of the final inclusive package for the forthcoming season, i. e are there replica shirts/leisure shirts, books etc? However, the 10% discount in the club shops remains. Are the club going to also include FA Cup and League Cup home matches within the package, which were excluded previously?

BM : My season ticket costs £ 328.00 (B16,000), which is about £ 14.00 (B685) per game.

What is the regular admission price?
TB : 200 Thai baht in the main grandstand. It varies between B80-B150 elsewhere in the stadium.

BM : The normal match day price is £19.00 (B930) pre paid or £ 20.00 (B978) on the day.

What benefits do you get as a season ticket holder?
TB : Priority booking for all matches including AFC Knock out stage matches and both domestic Cup competitions, (although I believe these should be in the overall package) Season ticket renewal gifts and importantly choice of seat and the facility to renew the same seat thereafter. Plus 10% discount on Chonburi F.C merchandise in the club shop and various other marketing incentives throughout the season.

BM : Benefits of a season ticket are many: You look forward to Saturday (it all goes to pot at 4.45p.m.). You have your own seat along with friends, you are assured of FA Cup tickets - I have mine for Liverpool (Oldham have drawn the Merseyside club at home in the 4th Round of the FA Cup). You get discount in the club shop and you have the chance to bring a friend for a fiver (B240)!!!!

What would you say to fellow fans to encourage them to become season ticket holders?
TB : All clubs need the bulk of their monies up front to be able to administer a budget and plan accordingly and Chonburi is no different in that respect. I believe that fans want to sit with their friends on a regular basis and if you do not utilise the season ticket facility this becomes less likely as our stadium is one of only a few in Thailand that has individual and numbered seats. We also have an electronic booking facility, whereas many clubs still have stadiums with “slab concrete terraces” that whilst enabling many more fans to be accommodated, without specific individual seating and just tickets for zones, this does cause serious issues regarding unsafe overcrowding at various big matches throughout the season, especially for visiting fans.

BM : I would tell my mates that a season ticket is good value and that every match watching Oldham is a rollercoaster  ride - the problem is ALL my friends are closet United and City fans and spend their money on Sky T V and a slab of Lager!!

To be continued... 



Who do you usually travel to the match with?
Tim Banks (Chonburi FC) : I travel to home games alone - as I live only a very short distance from the stadium - prior to meeting with a regular group of ex-pat fans.

Brian Millington (Oldham Athletic) : We live in Royton about 1.5 miles away from the ground. Sarah and I walk to home games with a stop at the bookies to give them my hard earned cash with a bet on Oldham and a five fold bet on 5 league one games. (the first week of this season we won £ 510 for £ 5!!!) We tend to stop outside the ground for a chat with other friends who sit in different stands to us.

What is your usual matchday routine for a home game?
TB : Our group of ex pats meets at a Sala in the park behind the away end, about two hours before kick-off, where we have access to all the usual food and drink. Whereas all these are currently banned in the stadium itself, which continues to be a “huge bone of contention”

BM : We use the same turnstile each week buying a programme and "strike it lucky" ticket from the same vendors.

Do you buy a programme at the match and how much does it cost?
TB : All season ticket holders are given their “free” programme as they enter into the stadium via their designated gateways. They cost 20 Thai baht for non season ticket holders.

BM : The programme is £ 3 (B146) and Sarah reads it at half time, I take it home to read in bed!!

Do you buy food and drink at the ground?
TB : As mentioned I purchase my food and drinks via the street vendors alongside the entrance to the stadium but not via the club sponsor vendors situated inside the stadium confines.

BM : Being the second highest league ground in the UK and being on the Pennines we tend to buy a pie at 50% of the games and a hot Bovril at 100% of the games.

How much does food and drink at the stadium cost, and how do these prices compare with the same food bought elsewhere?
TB : Via the street vendors 3 cans of beer (primarily Leo & Chang) currently cost 100 Thai baht but at certain times promotions with Chang, a club sponsor, will sometimes price 4 beers for B100. Food wise ten chicken pieces and chips cost 40 Thai baht and various sausages, chicken and typical Thai snacks would cost between 20-40 Thai baht and soft drinks would be priced between B10-20.

The street vendor prices are about the same throughout the city, excluding the Bangsaen beachfront, although certain beers (Singha) are in scarce supply as they cost more for the vendor to obtain so choice is reasonably limited

BM : Pies are £ 2.60 (B127) and hot drinks are £ 1.60 (B78). To me these are very expensive in comparison to outside the ground. (Two pies for £ 1 (B48) at the shop in Royton)

Are you allowed to take food and drink, including alcohol, to your seat?
TB : After a couple of match day incidents in 2011 versus Buriram PEA (which we were correctly sanctioned with having to play 3 games behind closed doors) ALL food and drink is currently banned from inside the stadium. Whereas I would understand perhaps beer being banned from some high profile full house matches, to ban all food and drink is draconian and has led to considerable fall out and various season ticket holders threatening not to renew for the coming season. Not allowing water into the stadium is actually a health hazard, with the temperatures still in the 30’s at kick off.

There is not a standard policy throughout the Thai Premier League and each club dictates what can be allowed inside their grounds. Chonburi undobtedly has the toughest zero tolerance policy, which is completely “ over the top” in my honest opinion and this continues to be hotly debated as we approach the new season

BM : We sit in The Chadderton Road Stand (Chaddy End) although no alcohol is served in our stand it is in the other two. We tend to take the food to our seat to watch the team warm up pre match. After the game we drown our sorrows, or raise a glass to the team in The Railway Hotel in Royton - J W Lees Bitter £ 2.65 (B130) a pint!!

Who do you sit with inside the stadium?
TB : I sit with the webmaster and a regular group of ex-pats, numbering between 6-10. These are primarily Thai based English and German football fans.

BM : We sit with 3 or 4 friends we have made at football,

How do you feel you are treated at the stadium and how does this affect your matchday experience?
TB : Poorly, as stated above, due to this zero tolerance policy and certainly compared to other grounds we visit and with such a tough policy the security staff are therefore particularly offensive in adhering to the rules etc and add nothing but negative vibes to the match day experience

There is a groundswell that the fans enjoy the away games more than the home games, which is surely an indictment of the clubs ill advised policy and their undoubted over reaction to incidents that have been blown out of all proportion. We have already been punished for these incidents. In fact, the season ticket holders came off worst, as we were banned from attending three home matches that we'd already paid for.

The view is excellent from the main double decker stand and the individual seats comfortable, although the lack of exits would cause UK Health and Safety a seizure!

In my opinion, the atmosphere is lacking at the new stadium, and doesn't come close to equalling that generated on the concrete slabs at the old IPE Stadium. However, at the away games, especially the big ones, it is sensational and memories of Muang Thong away at Christmas 2011 remind me of what a fantastic away following the club has. Sadly with the individual seating and therefore a more splintered group of supporters and perhaps a new breed of fans the noise level and commitment at home games, is not as good as it could be.

As regards the overall match day experience, the management have got their match day policies so wrong (compared to the other top sides in the TPL) that it could have major repercussions this season in season ticket renewals and it will be key whether they relax the policy in the advent of such massive criticisms on all fronts.

BM : There is little or no police presence and we know the stewards in our stand (Sarah's future husband is one!!) We enjoy the day, the view is good (there are posts in our stand) but being a small club there is a great friendly atmosphere as we are all behind the team.

How easy is it to mix with rival fans before and after the match?
TB : Pretty easy and enjoyable, especially as we base ourselves at the Sala in the park at the “away” end of the stadium. With the exception of a couple of games where the police cordoned off the whole of the visitors/away end - shades of the UK - but fortunately that has passed and there is a good banter with our rivals and ex-pats supporters are always in demand for photos with the visiting fans.

MB : With crowd segregation and not going to the pub before a home game we don't get to mix with the away fans at home games which is sad really as we are all football fans at heart.

To be continued...



Who do you usually travel to away matches with?
Tim Banks (Chonburi FC) : The webmaster and various members of the group of ex pat fans.

Brian Millington (Oldham Athletic) : Most away game are with Sarah, my daughter, although we sometimes travel with two friends Ian and Kenny. We tend to have one or two away games where we stay away for the weekend and visit the local area - Crawley and Nottingham so far this season.

What is your usual routine for an away match?
TB : I usually travel in private cars to the more local games with the webmaster or various members of the ex pat group and use the official supporters bus on longer trips, when my job is to bring the refreshments/sweets etc.

BM : Most away games are south of us and the deal is I buy the match tickets (in advance as they are cheaper) although some games are pay on the day. Sarah drives and buys the petrol and uses her car. I navigate and as we have been going to games for so long, we don't even take a sat-nav or map!!

Do you ever travel on the club’s official transport?
TB : Yes, the supporters bus that departs from SriRacha actually picks me up at the end of my road, although timing is very much by Thai time and can vary by up to 30-45 minutes from the original pick up time.

BM : Once a season we have a break and use the official coach - it's a chance to chat to some people we only ever see at away games. The club manages to fill one 52 seat coach for each away game. Most people travel by car or train.

How much does it usually cost?
TB : Obviously it varies according to the destination but a mean average would between 250-350 Thai baht.

BM : In my view it's overpriced at £ 25 (B1,210) for games in the London area. Hence the limited use of it!!

How do you rate the experience of travelling on the official transport?
TB : Excellent, as the regular bus is a double decker luxury one with all the facilities and the added advantage of a very good and safe driver.

BM : Travel by coach is slow - 60mph (96kmph) at the most - and with a 30 minute break every 3 hours.

Do you buy a programme at away games?
TB : No, as I do not read Thai and few have any pages with English content.

BM : I don't tend to buy a programme at away grounds.

Do you buy food and drink at away grounds?
TB : Yes, same as at our home matches with prices roughly the same, although perhaps slightly cheaper at the more provincial grounds. We can also buy alcohol and soft drinks inside stadiums - served in plastic glasses or plastic bags - elsewhere throughout the TPL, so I’ll often have a beer.

BM : For most away games we know of a good pub for a pre match drink for me (Sarah drives thus doesn't drink - happy days)  and we visit ones with real ale and food. We quite often bump into fellow Oldham fans in these pubs! It’s funny but I don't tend to drink alcohol at away grounds, just in the pub prior to the game, but I will have a Bovril (a hot beef drink) or a coffee.

Are you allowed to take food and drink to your seat?
TB : Yes, in pretty much all stadiums in the TPL, although it must be in plastic glasses.

BM : Most grounds allow food and drink (but NOT alcohol) to be consumed at your seat.

What is the cheapest and most expensive away ticket you’ve bought this season?
TB : 100 Thai Baht at the League Cup match against Customs Utd was the cheapest, although I understand that they’d put their prices up from 80 baht just for our visit. The most expensive was at Muang Thong, when they were 150 Thai baht for the league match.

BM : Away admission prices this season have been as low as £ 10 (B484) - Nottingham Forest - and as high as £ 25 (B1,210) - MK Dons and Hartlepool (last season) - but they average out at about £ 20.00 (B968)

Generally, how do you feel you are treated at away grounds?
TB : Very well indeed and I thoroughly enjoy all the away games, although the high profile ones at Buriram and Muang Thong United have to be policed slightly differently. I fully understand this, as with 20,000 plus fans filling the grounds to capacity, safety is a concern.

BM : I do like away games better than home games. In League One everyone is friendly, the away fans, the stewards, the police and I find the atmosphere to be better.

How easy is it to mix with rival fans before and after the match?
TB : Excluding the two teams mentioned earlier with their huge attendances, it is very easy to mingle and share a beer and/or food with rival fans. We ex-pats are seen as a bit of a curiosity and I would guess we have our photos taken with the home fans on average about 3 or 4 times each match.

BM : Sarah tends to wear a Latics top to away games and this gets us into conversation with fans from the home club. Most fans are passionate about their club and to me the banter with the opposition fans is a highlight of the day.

Please give one example of a positive experience at an away game and one example of a negative experience?
TB : This was an example of the difference between home and away attitudes and a positive experience occurred at the end of last season in Saraburi, the home of Osotspa. I was mistakenly allowed into the grandstand with some cans of beer, which were then taken from me by a security guard. However, he returned a couple of minutes later with two large plastic glasses, some ice and my “missing” beer. He then proceeded to serve it to me this “brought the house down” especially compared to the treatment we receive at our home stadium. 

An unfortunate negative was at the Leo Stadium, the home of Bangkok Glass. The stewards ignored our initial pleas to open the empty centre section between the rival fans even though it was obvious to everyone that our section was completely oversold and was becoming unsafe. Fortunately, good sense did prevail, as it was opened shortly afterwards.

BM : Positive points to away games are at some smaller grounds (Yeovil and Dagenham), where home and away fans are in the same stand and you can have the banter. A negative experience would be at Sheffield Wednesday a few seasons ago. Quite a nasty game of football and then at the end 18,000 fans - both Oldham & Sheffield - were leaving the ground through the same small opening. Some of the Sheffield fans were not friendly, to say the least!

Which is your favourite away trip and why?
TB : Muang Thong, because the atmosphere at a full SCG Stadium is excellent and the football is always some of the best on show in the TPL. We always seem to take at least 20 buses and overfill our visitors allocation by 50% and until this last season, it was a fairly happy hunting ground for us.

BM : My most enjoyable away trip is Carlisle United . Not for the football, but for the scenery on the trip up there, the Lune Gorge and Shap Fell in the Lake District are awesome; the traffic is very light on the motorway going to Carlisle; we always go into Scotland to Gretna before the match as there is the most fantastic fish and chip shop in the village.

What do you enjoy most about travelling to away games?
TB : The camaraderie and the banter and the ability to visit far flung Provinces throughout the TPL and as I expressed earlier the away support is 100% committed and a credit to the club and I know the players and owner are really thankful for the masses that follow the team.

BM : Visiting different parts of the country, meeting fellow Oldham fans in far flung places  and enjoying the banter with the home supporters.

What don’t you enjoy about travelling to away games?
TB : Losing and the prospect of a four hour plus coach journey through Sunday night traffic.

BM : The only downside to away games, in the UK in winter, is after the game, (more so if we have lost) is travelling home in the cold, dark, over crowded motorway for 4 or 5 hours. Although with Sarah's choice in “yagga gagga ding dong” music, I can hold my own with anyone in conversation about modern pop groups and singers.

To be continued... 



How do ticket prices compare with other forms of entertainment in your area?
Tim Banks (Chonburi FC): Season tickets are slightly more expensive but general ticket prices within the ground compare to other forms of local entertainment.

Brian Millington (Oldham Athletic): I think football is overpriced - although Sarah has just paid £ 80 (B3,828) to watch The Lion King at the theatre.

Roughly, how much do you spend in a season following your club?
TB : 17,000-20,000 Thai baht

BM : With Sarah's tickets, travel, the odd pie and a pint or two, I would say £ 60 (B2,870) per home game and £ 100 (B4,785) per away game. I would hate my wife to work out what I spend following the Super Blues.

How do you feel that your club regards you as a fan and how much of an affinity do you feel with the players, coaches and management?
TB : As I outlined previously I feel that the club in general is unfortunately becoming more distant from the fans, as it grows. This is a worrying trend that has to be arrested. There is certainly a good rapport with the players who really enjoy the away support in particular, with the regulars travelling all over Thailand, although very little with the current coaches who seem very unapproachable. Again the relationships with the management could be so much better, although transparency and communication are areas that need addressing throughout Thai life and not just at football clubs.

BM : There is a family atmosphere at the club. This season whilst buying things in the club shop two players stopped for a chat and whilst collecting some tickets Simon Corney - Club Owner and Chairman also stopped for a chat saying he sees Sarah and me at most away games.

Do you ever attend club organised functions?
TB : I usually go to the start of season party and promotions at Central shopping mall, such as the pre season kit launch.

BM : I tend to stay away from any organised functions as they are in my opinion, overpriced. I did go to a Meet the Players at a dog racing night but there were problems there with a couple of players who, shall we say, "enjoyed a drink".

Do you think your club organise enough of these functions?
TB : No, they need to organise more of these in order to gauge feedback from the backbone of the club and digest what these fans think and want.

BM : No I don't think they do, apart from the end of season awards, that's about it. There are a few meet the player/manager events, but not enough!

What type of functions would you like to see the club organise?
TB : A regular schedule of events throughout the season underwritten partially by club sponsors and published well in advance with some events held to coincide with Youth matches to encourage the fans to support the Chonburi FC of tomorrow.

BM : More social events based around the club to get everyone, players, youth players, backroom staff and management together to communicate how people see the club and what if anything could be done to improve the match day experience etc.

Does your club give you the opportunity to make your feelings known on relevant matters?
TB : I do not believe so as again it is not the “Thai way”. Although I feel that it should start with a comprehensive questionnaire to be completed when you fill in your season ticket application. They could extend this idea to include non season ticket holders and club members. I also think that there should be an end of season questionnaire and much better use of the club’s website for the Thai fans feedback throughout the year. Although I believe the General Manager is a regular online visitor to the English Chonburi F.C. independent website and would be able to gauge feedback accordingly, as the webmaster is very fair and impartial in his coverage, whilst being a true committed Shark.

BM : You can contact the club by e-mail and they do respond, although not always in the way you would anticipate. I think they could do more for the fans including keeping them better informed.

Name one thing, not playing related, your club has done that has given you a nice warm glow?
TB : Travelling to my wife’s province in Phitsanulok and Petchabun to play two games back to back over one weekend to raise money for those suffering from flood damage.

BM : High point of the last few years was last season at Hartlepool, on a wet, cold winter Tuesday night. After the game the manager Paul Dickoff came over to the away stand and shook the hand of each and every travelling supporter - all 79 of us!!

Name one thing your club has done, again not playing related, that has made you go “grrr”?
TB : I repeat my dismay at the banning of all drinks/foodstuffs in the stadium and the negative impact that this has on the fans. Also the need recently to change the club logo, when the old one is seen everywhere throughout the region. This obviously means that all merchandise needs changing and the higher costs associated will impact on the fans.

BM : What don't I like about the club - they should have left the club badge alone - the new design of Owl is awful!!!!!!!!!!!

Anything else you’d like to add?
TB : The club has made huge strides since its formation, especially in the last couple of years as a visit to the ground would testify and they should be rightly congratulated. However, I would caution it against continued growth and expansion if this alienates the fans, and the club in general loses touch with its supporters which, in my honest opinion, is beginning to be the case.

All the froth and marketing is very well but the club's heart is its supporters and there is a great deal of discontent which is illustrated by the fact that regulars of 5/6 years ago, when the club had very little compared to the present day, no longer attend. And those reasons why are paramount in ensuring that the club does go forward but with their fan base in tact and 100% on side.

BM : I love my football and my club and you can't beat the match day atmosphere. I am off to the pub for my Sunday afternoon pint and today I will have to put up with "Armchair" City and United fans as they are both on TV. My mate Gary "supports" United, he will have the shirt on but has never been to Old Trafford - it's only 8 miles (13kms) away for goodness sake. If I can make Crawley - 225 miles (362kms) -  why can't he do 8?!!

I rest my case.

Many thanks to both Tim and Brian for taking the time to answer my questions and give their honest and interesting opinions. I owe you both a drink!