The district of Muang Thong Thani is even more unusual. This satellite town of Bangkok was - like so many big money schemes in Thailand - conceived by a Chinese immigrant family who founded Bangkok Land. The company implemented the design of the Muang Thong Thani area (which loosely translates to "New Town' in English) at an estimated cost of 1 billion USD.
The plan was to develop a sophisticated shopping and residential satellite suburb of Bangkok that would appeal to the rapidly developing upper-middle class bracket of Bangkokians. To that end a very spacious area was reserved for tower blocks, markets, shopping buildings and an exhibition centre, all accessible by highways. It was probably the intention to build a skytrain link to the area too, since another member of the founding family is a CEO of the BTS.
All this planning and early building started in the nineties, and we know what happened next. When PM Banharn Silipa-Archa (now owner of Suphanburi FC) confessed foreign exchange reserves were lower than the government had stated, speculative attacks on South East Asian currencies - especially the baht - became vicious and the crash kicked in. The result was a domino effect of bankrupt business and unfinished building projects.
The after-effects can still be seen around Bangkok in skeleton, half-built, deserted high-rise buildings scattered around the city that may never be finished or demolished, just left to rot or house squatters, stray dogs and rats. The effect is more pronounced in Muang Thong Thani. Parts of the area are like a modern day ghost town, with trendy office and shopping areas that are often less than half full.
The unique district has another feature: a lot of MTU fans. I've never walked past the complex on any occasion without seeing one - usually a lot more - Quilins shirt coming in or leaving. So yes, MTU do have a lot of local support.
It's even possible that those MTU locals could kick-start the revival of the area. The resurgence of residency combined with the boom of the exhibition centres and perhaps the success of the club has renewed interest in the area. A major hotel chain is currently finishing off a new structure right next to the Thunderdome and the apartment areas are seeing a slow increase in visitors to the local markets and shops.
Just like Thai football as a whole, the future of Muang Thong Thani is unknown and unclear, but my guess would be that rather than the entire 'high-so' district the founding family envisioned, we are more likely to see a divide between the big business exhibition centres and a smaller, lower income, but unique looking district of tower blocks and market shops behind it. At least they'll be able to say they have a good football team on their doorstep.
Much of the information for this article came from this excellent site.