Retired Official to Play in Goal against Iran?


Thailand’s football manager Peter Reid is apparently and rather controversially thinking of calling up a certain well-known retired official to play in goal in the big match against Iran. According to Khun Peter, with the official’s massive invisible hands in the way, the Iranian forwards will have no chance of getting the ball into the net.

AFF Suzuki Cup Semi-Final Line Up Confirmed


The semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup have been finalized, after last night’s Group B matches, in which Thailand brushed aside Malaysia 3-0 and Vietnam overcame a goalless first half to beat Laos 4-0.

Thailand, the favourites, will now play Indonesia and Vietnam will play Singapore. This has all been rather predictable, once it turned out the Burmese team were not able to replicate the form they showed last term and Malaysia demonstrated that, despite all their bluster, they remain fundamentally NBG.

It is disappointing that the semi-finals and indeed final (I think the final too) involve two-legged affairs, since this dispels much of the momentum of the tournament and means most of the games are even more defensive than usual. Thailand will keep it tight in Indonesia and so will Singapore in Vietnam. It’s nice for home fans to get their chance to see their teams in action but that does not compensate for the slackening of the tension, in my opinion.

The commentator on the Lao-Vietnam game last night, a guy named Sashi or similar (I could look it up, I suppose) who once score the winning goal for Singapore in a final against Thailand and who appears to play a Trevor Brooking role on the network, observed that some technical aspects had improved in the last two years – for example, forwards better able to hold the ball up when their back was to the goal, but I found it difficult to see much progress. Perhaps Thai efficiency and pressing under Peter Reid is the most noticeable feature. Let us hope the Thai FA treat him better than they did Peter Withe.

(P)Lucky Thais Defeat Mighty Communist Machine


It was a close-run thing, apparently but Thailand sneaked an injury time goal for a 1-0 win over 10-man North Korea yesterday. I did not see it myself – alas I get to watch almost nothing despite … OK, too much personal information.

It was in no way simian cephalodian Peter Reid’s first match as manager and he struck a sensible tone: we were lucky, in essence and a lot of things are going to have to change via severe shouting at on the practice pitch. Khun Peter is famous in his native UK for his industrial strength language and a fairly robust playing style with a big lad up top (which is not going to work here, of course). He is most famous, perhaps (Everton fans will differ) in his playing days for forming a new midfield with Steve Hodge in the 1986 World Cup after Bryan Robson was declared dead and Ray ‘Butch’ Wilkins sent off in the morocco fiasco. He it was who covered every inch of the baking ground to enable Gary Lineker to score a hat trick against the sledded Poles and two more against the epithet-free Paraguayans before being cheated out by the Maradona experience – he is now due to become manager/coach of Argentina – let’s be honest, it’s not going to work.

Anyway, earlier today, there were repots that an agreement had been struck with the English FA which meant the England team would come and play a friendly here at some stage. This has subsequently been denied and who knows what the truth is (although I can guess). It would certainly be a big story if the Engerlunders were to come here, including Stevie Me, JT, Wazza and all (dread to think what Wayne Rooney would make of Khun Chuwit’s previous establishments on the Phahonyothin road opposite the hotel where the Liverpool team stayed when they visited). Even if they did, it would probably end up a typical England on tour performance of dire fatigue and indifference. We shall, as ever, see. If we are spared from the looming street violence, that is.

Peter Reid’s 36


Recently appointed manager Peter Reid has named a 36 person (OK man) squad for forthcoming friendly games, prior to the various tournaments that take place towards the end of the year. There are seven players each from the top two teams in the recently concluded Premier League, that is of course the Provincial Electricity Authority (Go PEA, as they no doubt shout) and Chonburi (I am reminded of when the Bangkok Post used to report on the expat league, the WAG-element of one team was described as ‘shrill, slim-hipped pole-huggers’).

There are also a few players from overseas, two playing in Vietnam (Datsakorn Thonglao and Nirut Surasiang at Hong Anh Gia Lai) and another in Singapore (Sutee Suksomsit at Tampines). Two of the three youngsters still contracted at Manchester City are also included – the third is injured. There are also welcome introductions to some other younger players, with representatives coming from Coke-Bangpra, Khon Kaen, Chula United and Muang Thong-Nok Jong United. This willingness to look beyond the top teams and the established players reflects well on Khun Peter. I have written before that he has stressed the need to improve stamina to complement the existing technique and I note he has established a training camp away from Bangkok were players might be ‘distracted.’ Let us see whether he can bring about some improvements in performance at the AT&T Cup and the AFF Suzuki Cup. No matter how well he does, qualification for the World Cup, which is the long-term goal, still seems a long way away.

I’m still not sure which team would be my local team. The league system has improved to some extent but still has a long way to go – I would consider going to watch games if it were more convenient (and possibly air-conditioned) – why for example does the league season end now, coinciding with the end of the rainy season and not extend over what is controversially called winter?

Peter Reid’s 36


Recently appointed manager Peter Reid has named a 36 person (OK man) squad for forthcoming friendly games, prior to the various tournaments that take place towards the end of the year. There are seven players each from the top two teams in the recently concluded Premier League, that is of course the Provincial Electricity Authority (Go PEA, as they no doubt shout) and Chonburi (I am reminded of when the Bangkok Post used to report on the expat league, the WAG-element of one team was described as ‘shrill, slim-hipped pole-huggers’).

There are also a few players from overseas, two playing in Vietnam (Datsakorn Thonglao and Nirut Surasiang at Hong Anh Gia Lai) and another in Singapore (Sutee Suksomsit at Tampines). Two of the three youngsters still contracted at Manchester City are also included – the third is injured. There are also welcome introductions to some other younger players, with representatives coming from Coke-Bangpra, Khon Kaen, Chula United and Muang Thong-Nok Jong United. This willingness to look beyond the top teams and the established players reflects well on Khun Peter. I have written before that he has stressed the need to improve stamina to complement the existing technique and I note he has established a training camp away from Bangkok were players might be ‘distracted.’ Let us see whether he can bring about some improvements in performance at the AT&T Cup and the AFF Suzuki Cup. No matter how well he does, qualification for the World Cup, which is the long-term goal, still seems a long way away.

I’m still not sure which team would be my local team. The league system has improved to some extent but still has a long way to go – I would consider going to watch games if it were more convenient (and possibly air-conditioned) – why for example does the league season end now, coinciding with the end of the rainy season and not extend over what is controversially called winter?

Is the Monkey Head the Man to Lead Thai Football Forward?


The recent results from Wimbledon show that at least some Thai athletes are capable of competing at the very highest level. In the 2004 Olympics in Athens, the boxing team brought back one medal of each denomination and hopes are quite high for a similar level of success. Women boxers have also been successful in world title fights at the lightest weights, while the Olympics also witnessed victories in the women’s weightlifting competition. Not every sport is going to be successful, of course, given the average build of Thai athletes and the level of support available – but the victory of Spain in the Euro 2008 Championship showed that being shorter and slighter than opponents need not be a critical disadvantage.

Which makes it all the more disappointing that the Thai (men’s) football team has seemed to be going backwards in recent years. The just concluded World Cup 2010 Qualifying Campaign ended in five defeats and one meaningless victory, while the Kingdom was defeated in the final of the last Southeast Asian championships by Singapore – while countries such as Vietnam in particular are showing real promise of involvement. Despite the corruption in Vietnamese football (well, Vietnam as a whole to be honest), the domestic league is quite competitive and nationwide and that is making a significant improvement.

In Thailand, meanwhile, the FA of T have vacillated between appointing foreign and Thai managers of the football team and have not given any of them enough time. Since the reign of Peter Withe, when it really looked like the team could make the next step forward, things have stagnated or actually worsened.

The new manager seems set to be former Everton and England midfielder Peter Reid, widely and rather cruelly known among football fans as ‘Monkey Heid,’ owing to an unfortunate physical resemblance. Reid, it is said, has ‘fallen in love’ with Thailand after some gigs here working for satellite TV, although it is also true that he seemed to have little prospect of getting a new managerial job in the UK. Reid’s managerial career has been mixed (his playing career was excellent). Initial success at Manchester City and Sunderland was not matched at Leeds and Coventry. He has a reputation for playing quite a rigid long-ball 4-4-2 game which seems unsuited for Thailand – unless the FA of T can start naturalizing some tall centre-forwards born overseas – while his reputation for falling out with players appears to be an accident waiting to happen in a system such as is found here. Still, he is old enough to have matured and achieved wisdom as a manager and let us hope that he can identify players willing to play for him and a system under which they can flourish.