Sunday, 2 May 2010

Next up - PEA Buriram

I've had one offer of an interview from a PEA Buriram fan but while we wait, here's the lowdown on the controversial newcomers.....

The club:
PEA Buriram are the 'replacement' of PEA Ayutthaya of last season. As PEA Ayutthaya, the team won the TPL in the 2008 season. The club was purchased in the close season of 2009 by highly controversial but equally influential politician Newin Chidchob. Chidchob acquired the club and ordered the construction of a new stadium ('Thunder Castle') in Buriram. PEA Ayutthaya fans responded by burning their shirts and turning to the League 2 side, Ayutthaya FC.

While the move of a team is never nice to see, it was somewhat understandable in this case since PEA is one of the old 'corporate' teams that is always for sale to the highest bidder and bears no local loyalty. What is harder to take is the highly dubious activities of Newin Chidchob since the move, including payments for supporters and to other teams in the football league. The obvious conflict of interests is magnified by the reality that the body responsible for monitoring and punishing any misconduct in Thai football - the TFA - is effectively under the command of Newin in his role as a de-facto leader of a faction in the Democrat Party.

Yet, the financial investment has reaped little reward so far. Buriram PEA have won one game and drawn three at this stage of the season.

The actions of Newin in connection with the club can be read about here.

The Province:
Buriram Province could be considered the first Isaan province you can reach by driving north east from Bangkok. Fans will face a round journey of about eight hundred kilometers. A long trip, but they are likely to receive some financial compensation for their 'support' anyway.

Who to watch:
The side has some Brazilian players in its ranks, though their profiles are missing from the club website. According to Wikipedia, numbers 14, 28, 29 and 17 are from the mighty football nation of Brazil.

I call:
With due respect to fans of the team, I strongly dislike the whole taste of the setup at PEA Buriram and I hope the team win nothing. I also hope we give them a hiding. 3 - 0 Muangthong.

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