Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Too Many Mergers Spoil The Club
Second tier Thai side BBCU recently withdrew from the competition for reasons yet to be fully articulated. I can't say they will be missed much. We see too often clubs being bought, merged, relocated it is difficult to know what they are, what they were and what they will be in the future. BBCU is a classic example.
Once upon a time there was a team called Sinthana. I recall them from my time living in Bangkok primarily because their name stood out among a sea of letters; PEA, PAT, TFB, SET, BBC et all. They were quite successful at the time winning the odd trophy along the way but this was a time when Thai domestic football hadn't caught on among the local.
In 2004 Sinthana merged with Chulalongkorn University and the new entity became known as Chula Sinthana and four years later found themselves in what was then known as the Thai Premier League. In 2008 they changed their name to Chula United and played their home at a stadium in Chulalongkorn University.
Thai football was changing around that time but despite being located in the heart of Bangkok Chula United were struggling for supporters. I saw them play Pattaya United in 2009 and there were more fans from the beach resort, mostly beer swilling foreigners, than home supporters. Chula United lost 2-0 and the biggest cheer I heard from their small following came when the PA announced it was one of the fans was celebrating his birthday.
I decided there and than I didn't want to see Chula United again. It was like being in a large anime with their garish pink shirts and speech bubble quotes. Even though they played close to where I usually stay when I'm in town I would prefer to visit the dentist than watch this non ffotball club again. They got relegated that season and my apathy knew no bounds.
In 2011 the club announced a name change to fit in line with new sponsors. BBCU. Big Bang Chula United and they moved their base to the Army Stadium. BBCU christened their new name with promotion and decided they would play their games in the top flight at the Rajamangala Stadium. Yep, the venue used by the national team and capable of holding 65,000. This optimistic flight of fancy didn't pay off as the team promptly got relegated after a season where they arrived 939 spectators at their home games.
They relocated to Nonthaburi, far from their academic roots in Chula and managed to get promoted in 2015 but finished bottom of the aborted 2016 season and found themselves back in the second tier.
When BBCU announced their decision to remove themselves from the league they had played 12 games, winning just three. They were 15th in the table with 12 points and averaging less than 800 per home game.
I wonder if birthday boy is aware the club in its latest incarnation have withdrawn from the league. I wonder how he feels? Or did he give up when the club started its nomadic jaunt around Bangkok? Or perhaps he moved on to support another team or just got married, settled down to have a family and visit malls at the weekends?
I often wonder at people's motivation for getting involved in football. It can't be the money. Perhaps there are precious egos that need stroking but if that is the case surely a badly run football club would have the opposite effect. Wouldn't that damage the 'face' of the owner? Seriously, I have no idea. All I can see is the debris of a once proud football club consigned to the pages of Wikipedia and RSSSF thanks to the whims and fancies of a management team who lost interest.