Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Big Chilli article.

Paul's article in this month's 'Big Chilli'. Be sure to grab a copy from your local seller of English language publications. The more they sell, the more coverage they'll give Thai footy. Thanks to Paul for mentioning my two blogs.

Hello, Guten Tag, ¡Hola, 今日は: Thai football websites go global

The article in the May issue looked at some of the problems afflicting the Thai Premier League. This month it’s refreshing to be able to highlight a positive aspect of the game in Thailand, and one that is invaluable to foreign fans. Surely no country in Southeast Asia – not even English-speaking Singapore – can boast the wealth of independent English-language websites dedicated to the domestic game that Thailand can. Around a dozen websites, blogs and forums are run for the love of it by enthusiastic and passionate foreign fans of Thai football. And it’s not just the English-speaking community which is catered for as we shall see (Avid fans of Thai football may spot one or two notable absentees; that’s because the webmaster or blogger didn’t wish to be included in the article).

Thai League Football

This general news site was launched a few years ago but was relaunched in early March. It’s now by far and away the most popular of the websites featured here. Here’s what TLF columnist Matt Riley had to say: “Thai League Football is run by six people. Joseph and Lillian are our photographers. Malky is our reporter, Kevin runs our Twitter feed, Nigel is out content manager and I’m a writer.
Our Twitter feed has 1,900 followers, which includes a high number of English speaking players and coaches.

We have full press accreditation for matches so can produce exclusive images and videos. There is a TV show called Total Thai Football in production presented by Bangkok FC's Mika Chunuonsee and me, and a daily podcast summarizes the latest news and gossip.

Since our relaunch on March 4th the site has attracted 20,000 visits a week. We tackle the lighter side of Thai football but also, in the Football 500 articles, some of the more serious issues facing the game in the Kingdom.”  

Thai Football Forum

A very well-presented forum with sections for every TPL club and separate boards for League 1, the Regional League, the cup competitions and the national teams (men’s women’s and youth). Nearly 9,000 posts since it was launched in early 2011. 

The Thunderdome – A Muangthong United Fan Blog

A blog for the 2009 and 2010 TPL champions run by British expat Greg (also the brains behind the Thai Football Forum). Updated on nearly a daily basis since its launch in mid-2009, the blog courted controversy recently when a ‘Fowler Out’ campaign was launched. Vocal criticism of a head coach by his own fans is a rarity in Thailand. However, ‘God’ officially parted company with Muangthong just a couple of days after the campaign was launched. The blog also has a twitter feed. 

Muangthong United F.C. / Replay

You know you’re a big club in Thailand when you have two independent blogs in a foreign language! The ‘Replay’ part of the name refers to the fact that the blog is mainly devoted to match reports and video highlights of MTU games. 

Chonburi FC

Long-standing fan of Thai football Dale Farrington launched his website dedicated to The Sharks on 11th August 2009 and is now hurtling towards a staggering 900,000 hits. Says Oldham fan Dale: “Thanks to everyone who has contributed, especially those people in the game who have made themselves available for interviews. I enjoy running the site and it's been great to get to know people from all over the world via the site. I always enjoy trying out new ideas and different things and I often get a good response from people I meet who read the site.”Despite being 100% unofficial, such is the influence and reach of the site that the official Chonburi FC website recently removed its own English section as Dale’s so comprehensively covers all things Chonburi for English-speaking fans. He too has a Twitter feed and currently boasts over 1,800 followers.

Chiang Mai FC Fanzine

A website for the Lanna Tigers run by Brits Richard and Lee from Rotherham. Unlike all the other featured websites, this one is most popular on Facebook where they have nearly 2,500 Likes. There is also a Twitter feed whilst the website itself mainly deals in previews and match reports. 

BKK Football Blog

A blog run by one of the Thai League Football contributors, Malky. As the name suggests, it mainly covers Bangkok-based clubs. The appeal of the blog lies in the fact that Malky doesn’t pledge allegiance to any one specific club in the capital. As such, he visits and blogs about clubs throughout the TPL, League 1 and the Regional League. There is also a Twitter feed and all of the blog posts also appear on Thai League Football. 

Nakhon Ratchasima FC

The editor insisted I include my own modest efforts! I launched the website in November 2008 having run a very crude website for six months before that. I try and add a news story everyday and recently passed 300,000 hits. I also have a very active Twitter feed and a Facebook page and a forum. You can find the links for those on the website.

Other Languages

Not a native English reader? Can’t penetrate the mysteries and intricacies of the Thai language? What about German, then? Or Spanish? Or Japanese? As more and more foreigners are launching their own Thai football websites so the number of languages catered for continues to grow.

A dual-language (German and English) website launched in October 2009, it’s a run by a team based in both Germany and Thailand. Their well-connected contributor in Thailand has interviewed the likes of national team coach Winnie Schaefer and Army United midfielder Bjorn Lindemann. The website also includes the latest news, fixtures and results and club information down to League 1, and they have a big Facebook presence (1,600 Likes) and Twitter feed (550 followers). Almost everything they post on the website appears in both languages. (add /en for the English version)

Samurai TPL

A general Thai football website in Japanese. Match reports, tables, fixtures and results courtesy of a Japanese fan based in Thailand. The site was created as a response to the increasing number of Japanese players plying their trade in Thailand: 23 at the last count in the TPL and League 1. Also on Facebook and Twitter. 

Futbol en Thai

The latest entry to the list of foreign language blogs and websites. This Spanish blog is run by Lucas Cotes from Murcia, a regular visitor to the Land of Smiles. Lucas explains “I decided to start the blog as there’s not too much information about Asian football in Spanish, and none about Thai football. Also this season we have the first ever Spanish player in Thai football, Jose Pedrosa Galan at Chainat, so I thought this was the right moment to start the blog and to try and let Spanish people know about Thai football.” 

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