Thai Football: a Moveable Feast
by Absolute Thai Football
Two or three seasons ago, arming yourself with the kick off time, location and double checking with fellow fans gave a slightly better than even chance of seeing the game you wanted, when you wanted to. Two seasons ago I got a call from the coach of the team who were winning the TPL at the time, asking when the game was rescheduled. it had started ten minutes ago.
The increasing range of information sources has only muddied the waters further. This is the detective work for a trip to a Thai game. Official website: check. Bangkok Post ch… Hold on, that information is different. Find out from thaileaguefootball.com, but that is different on Twitter. So, ask a player who is selected to play in that game. I promise you that in a recent Muang Thong FA Cup game against Pattaya that is exactly what I did. We arrived at the Chonburi stadium; the wrong Chonburi stadium. The player was very apologetic, but he hadn’t been told either…
As there is no authoritative voice from the FA so clubs can reschedule games when and how it suits them. Suspensions, injuries and transfers can be maximized or marginalised by the most powerful clubs.
Whilst reeling from the FA decision to present next season’s fixtures that cannot be changed but “amended,” someone needs to take a step back and ask a simple question: If this was a product, would you buy it?
“We can offer you a holiday, but we can’t tell you where you are going or when you’ll get there.”
“Sorry but the film started 30 minutes ago at a cinema two hours away. Your custom is valuable to us. Please come again.”
Of course, even when a game is “on time,” kick offs remain flexible. AFC games kick off with an unseemly hast; bang on schedule. In Thailand, once the dignitaries have had their feathers publicly stroked, the national anthem is played, the squad huddles, the team huddles, the individual hug fests begin, prayers are said and flower garlands are tied to goals. A game that kicks off less than ten minutes late is unfashionably early.
So, it is now exactly 24 hours before the semi finals of the FA Cup; one of the showpiece events of any league. When is it? I can confidently tell you it is 6 PM. Location. Now you’ve got me. On the official website it is Army Stadium but Siam Sport,who own one of the clubs, say it is at Tephasadin. When watching the Army Chainat game on Siam Sport they said the former and not the latter.
There is a certain gallows humour in turning up to a fixture with a handful of other fans who also made the mistake of believing what they heard, but as players move from Thai football to other countries, stories about drinking festivals and breweries may not be the ideal public relations exercise to attract players in the future.