Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Two reasons why Thai football continues to improve

Prior to the commencement of the season Muang Thong United were making bold predictions for themselves this season. Their first match in the premier league demonstrated that they may have the formula to surpass these expectations, on and off the field.

1. The standard of football. Last Sunday Muang Thong dominated their experienced opponents with an impressive 3-0 win. The club has some of Thailand's best players and impressive imports. In round 1 their stand out performer was Yaya from the Ivory Coast. They are expected to challenge for the championship.

2. Potentially a huge supporter base. The club is located in northern Bangkok which is home to millions of people. Their first round match attracted approximately 4000 spectators, previously the club has never played in front of more then 1000. Muang Thongs core fan base are as passionate as any in Thailand, it's difficult not get caught up in the excitement.

3. Professional management. The management seem to be customer, (fans) orientated. Outside the stadium several huge promotional banners are facing the passing traffic. At the entrance of the stadium is a merchandise shop, promotion booths and a ticket booth. Half time entertainment and competitions where fans win prizes and a new roof over the stand suggest that the management are responsive to fans needs. Probably what they need next are more seats.

4. Money. Muang Thong have the money needed to invest in the club with some high profile sponsors in Yamaha and Nescafe. Muang Thong Thani are in the business hosting international conventions, concerts and international sporting events. It's hard to imagine that their football club will continue to use a small stadium for much longer as they will almost definitely be a big club.

Taken from Thai Premier League

And Indonesia? Management with no commercial savvy reliant on hand outs from local governments. I was talking to one club official recently and I asked him when the club were going to open their first official store. Not necessary he said, the fans have plenty of places to buy gear. Yes, and the club benefits how exactly? Until they get a grip on these two factors they will continue to trail the rest of the region.

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