EDIT: I've now actually linked to the rubbish article in question (see below)
TTM's Sports College Stadium is a small ground inside an actual college. Home fans quickly filled their own tiny allocation and many actually walked to the upper floors of the college itself, packing the place out and getting a free view. The numbers brought along by MTU were too many, and our stand actually had lots of people standing in the aisles, which would have incurred a huge fine if it had happened in Europe.
But this is Thailand, as evidenced by the fact that not one single joke was made towards the six foot transvestite standing in the front row, the smiles and welcomes between the two sets of fans and the round of applause - rather than a round of thrown beer cans - given to the home team's mascot. All far, far more friendly than back home.
We take a look around the team dressing rooms and the merchandise. With great respect to TTM and their friendly and loyal fans, the difference between them - and indeed most clubs - and MTU is incredible. TTM are a team renting a college, using a stadium with a capacity of about one thousand, and selling merchandise from a living room table. It's clear that a massive financial gulf is opening up.
I resisted the urge to buy a TTM shirt (I'm developing a bizarre fixation with Thai football shirts)and instead walked with fellow farang fan Matt as we went to chat with MTU manager Robert Procurer. Apparently the pitch at the Thunderdome actually shakes at certain times of day. Both Matt and Robert had noticed this and both had said nothing previously for fear of being sent to a mental institution.
The game gets underway and Matt and I both declare TTM's number fourteen to be the worst player in the league. Much to our delight he appears to be replacing their top scorer, who was nowhere to be seen. We go in at half time 1 - 0 up thanks to Pitchipong but TTM are still in the fight. Towards the end of the first and start of the second half, they create several very near misses. As happy as I am with MTU, they do scare me when defending touchline crosses and they also get caught ball watching when the defensive line are back-pedaling. If TTM had their top scorer on the pitch, we probably would have been punished.
Midway through the second half we get a penalty. I would like to see it again, but the decision looked harsh. The penalty is scored by Diaka and it's game over. TTM are forced to push up, and we in turn exploit the extra space. We really should have scored more but as the game ends and news comes in that Chonburi are having a tough time against Chula, the mood is good.
Outside the ground I panic as Matt has gone his own way and I can't find the supporters coach. Many thanks to Rong - an MTU fan who lives outside Nonthaburi and comes to every game by motorbike - who went out of his way to help me and in return only wanted to know if British fans are as friendly as Thai fans. Sadly, the answer is 'no' .
Match and fan photos can be seen here.
I've written a letter to the Bangkok Post pointing out what garbage this article is. If they don't print my letter (they don't seem to like me at the BP, either because of my Nation affiliation or because I once wrote a very controversial letter to them) then I'll copy it in here tomorrow.