Saturday, February 12, 2011
Butler Adds Champion Stock
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then two time Thai Premier League champions Muang Thong United should be feeling dead chuffed. Because BEC Tero are looking to recapture past glory and the step is packing their underachieving squad with former Muang Thong players.
But first coach Peter Butler, formerly of SAFFC, Persiba, Kelantan and Yangon United, had a bloody great hole to fill.
Out had gone the prolific striker Anon Sangsanoi, leading scorer three times in the previous four seasons in the TPL though surprisingly overlooked at international level. Ironically enough he moved to the champions but he was most definitely going against the flow.
Probably the biggest name to front up a BEC Tero is Teerathep Winothai. Hugely gifted, massively underperforming, Leesaw's career seems to have stalled after ending a spell in Lierse and he will be hoping to recapture his form of yore with the Fire Dragons. He started last season with Muang Thong United, got sent to BEC Tero and ended 2010 squabbling with a match official after seeing Thailand lose 2-0 to Indonesia at the AFF Cup.
Joining Teerathep up front is Ronnachai Rangsiyo. The 22 year old seems to have been around for ages having won the TPL in 2007 for a team called PEA (message to Buriram PEA, this was in the Time of Darkness or Before Newin) before winning again with Muang Thong. But like Leesaw he has suffered from Muang Thong's strength and was often a periphery figure at the club.
Sam, as he is known, was involved in the 2008 AFF Cup and was taken to Jakarta last year but he has fallen behind the likes of Teersil Dangda and Sarayut Chaimakdee in the national team.
Other players from Muang Thong to have moved to BEC Tero include Thanongsak Panpipat, Nobuyuki Zaizen, Jetsada Jitsawad, Phaitoon Nontadee and Piyachat Tamaphan.
All eyes will be on Ronnachai and Teerathep though in a notoriously low scoring league and you can be sure national coach Bryan Robson will be watching their progress with interest in the coming season.
The TPL kicks off today with BEC Tero hosting Ronnachai's former club Buriram PEA in what is certain to be an early examination of Butler's new charges with PEA widely tipped to lift the title this season.