Welcome to volume two of my blog paying homage to the football clubs I've visited all over the world and the wonderful people responsible for keeping them going and looking after the stadiums, and in some cases basic grounds.

Since I was a little lad I've been fascinated in football and more so where games are played. With my love of travel and curiosity of the game I wanted to visit as many grounds and see games wherever possible. I was lucky that my Dad also loved the game and spent so much of his spare time taking me to matches. As I got older the boundaries widened owing to my location and increased wages to Europe and indeed the world. The sight of a stand or a floodlight pylon in the distance immediately hightens my senses and eagerness for a closer look.

I hope this site gives you the chance to share in my pleasure and experiences and maybe one day set you on the road to adventure. If you get half as much out of the hobby as I've done I can guarantee some great memories, good friends and stories to pass on to future generations.

Give your local club a go today. They'll be pleased to see you!

Everlasting thanks primarily to my late and very much missed and dearly loved parents; my Dad Bob Bernard and my Mum; Ann, who put up with endless years of football chat and my brothers Nick and Paul who gave me the chance and encouragement to do what I have. Thanks to all my friends who offer encouragement and Sally and Stan who inspire and give me great pride. Young Stan is showing a keen interest in my hobby!

Please feel free to post any comments (please use sensible language - I want everyone to be able to enjoy reading) or ask any questions relating to visiting grounds or events. If you want to see any ground reviewed please let me know. It will take quite some time for everywhere to appear, but make sure you keep having a look as the site is continually updated.

If you click on a lot of the pictures you will get a larger version on your screen.

I have also added links to video clips on youtube where appropriate for those of you who are bored of reading or are filling in time at work. I haven't always gone for the most obvious choices, but items that will be in some cases unusual but always historically interesting.

Click to see volume one of HAOTW.

Rob Bernard

London

September 2015

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lamphun Warrior (Thailand)


Lamphun Warrior FC is a football club from the city of Lamphun in northern Thailand, which is located around 25km south of Chiang Mai.


The club were formed in 2011 as the league structure continued to develop in the country. Warrior moved into the municipal Mae Guang Stadium to play their home games. The team ended their inaugural season in second spot of Regional League Division 2 Northern Region as Pat Thongpenkul led the scoring.


Sarawut Wongchai was the top scorer in 2012 as the team finished in a disappointing ninth position. Three consecutive eighth place finishes ensued, with Teerawut Wongtan offering a degree of potency up front.

The goals of Shola Jimmy Omotosho took Warrior to fifth position in 2016, before the league structure was altered for the 2017 campaign, with Lamphun being placed in Thai League 3 Upper Region.


Warrior ended the 2017 season in twelfth position. Goals were scarce, with Panuwat Sripao and Ekachai Pitsanu netting four each to top the charts. Aphirak Sri-arun was in charge of the side for the 2018 campaign; which started out well.


Lamphun Warrior FC will compete in Thai League 3 Upper Region for the 2018 season.


My visits

Monday 2nd April 2012

I was in Chiang Mai for the 25th anniversary of their International Cricket Sixes. Because I was involved in a match with Yarrambat, the Melbourne based side I represented the previous day when Warrior were at home, I decided to visit on our day off.



Over extended Sunday nights my friends and team mates Russell Lamb, Dylan Forster and Simon Bray said that they'd like to go with me rather than just lying around the hotel. The next morning I was waiting in the foyer of the Pornping Hotel at the designated time, when my pals started appearing. They had stayed out a lot later than me!


We hired a sangtheaw for 500 baht (around £10) to take us on our journey. I had to admit that Lamphun did seem a lot further than it appeared on the map. The others were in various states, none of which I would have described as being lively. 


The driver dropped us off at the market, where we had a good look around without ever getting close to purchasing anything. I led the party using my map, which I was sure was taking us the right way. We saw the old city wall and crossed the moat. 


I had the feeling that there wasn't a hundred percent confidence in my orientation and I was praying I was getting it right, with us having a team fines evening to follow that evening. We headed down a quiet road which did have me slightly concerned until I confirmed my route with some youngsters in a school playground.



Sure enough we were soon by the bus station, with the stadium just around the corner. We checked out how often the buses ran before walking round to take a look at Mae Guang Stadium.


In truth it was slightly disappointing, especially after my experience at the 700th Anniversary Stadium in Chiang Mai the previous evening in the same division as which Warrior competed in. There was a Main Stand with a roof and open sections at either side of it at one side of the pitch. A tarmac running track surrounded the very bumpy playing area. On the far side of the pitch was an open stand. Both ends consisted of flat open standing.



We took some photos and had a walk on the pitch before heading back to the bus station. We got some waters and nibbles. Poor Simo fell asleep and once again on the small bus, which cost us just 20 baht each on the return. It was pretty packed, and I'm sure the locals would have been surprised to come across four ferangs on their local bus route!



The good news for everyone was that the bus dropped us by the Gymkhana ground, which was hosting our cricket tournament. We were soon enjoying lunch and I went for a nice foot and leg massage while enjoying watching the action.



Absolute bliss and a good morning out. At least I thought so!


Sunday 30th March 2014

Even extensive planning can sometimes go badly wrong, and this was a perfect example. All looked so perfect. I was in Chiang Mai for the annual international cricket sixes. My team, Yarrambat didn’t have a game until Tuesday as some of the squad were involved in their Grand Final back in Victoria. Instead I’d gone to the ground to do a bit of commentary.


Lamphun junior cricket coach Chris Dodd had given me travel advice for mini buses to Lamphun from outside the Gymkhana Ground and my mates had given me their blessing to miss dinner and meet up later. What could possibly go wrong?


A bus arrived and even though I had to stand for a while, I was in good form. The journey had taken a bit longer than I’d hoped for, but for just 20 Baht (40p) I could hardly complain. We pulled into the bus station at 6.05. If I rushed I’d just miss the first ten minutes, which was no problem.


I jogged round to the stadium to find no football match in progress. Several residents were using the track around the pitch, and several youngsters were playing football in the middle, but it was definitely not the derby between Lamphun Warrior and Lampang.

I’d no idea why it wasn’t taking place and I could spy no westerner to ask. Instead I took a few photos of the stadium from a different angle to my previous visit. Two additional roofs had been added to the solitary stand, making it quite an impressive arena. This though was of scant consolation.


I grabbed a bottle of water and jumped aboard a large coach heading back to Chiang Mai. This took me along motorways past the Warrior training ground along the way and to the main bus station. As I’d previously never been there, this was at least useful for future reference.

I arrived back in town and went to my room for a quick change of clothes and to check the internet to see what had happened? The previous day many bars were shut after 4pm as Sunday saw the local Senate Elections take place. 


The authorities wanted to make sure locals voted. As a consequence the match had been moved forward twenty four hours. The excellent www.thai-fussball.com/en Twitter account had posted the news earlier in the week, but I’d missed it during my Bangkok frivolities. It transpires I missed a 0-0 draw.


I headed round to the White Lotus to meet with my pals to lots of laughter. I deserved nothing less!

Lamphun Warrior 2 Muangkhan 0 (Sunday 1st April 2018) Thai League 3 Upper Region (att: 794)


 Finally, I managed to get to a match at Mae Guang Stadium! I’d been commentating at the opening day of the 2018 Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes before getting away around 4pm in my quest to head south.


It was a hot day and as I waited on the main road near the Gymkhana Ground a songthaew pulled up. I was quoted 500 Baht to the bus station in Lamphun just behind the stadium. This worked out at over £10, but the convenience suited me.


My driver and his missus had an unexpected windfall, but it was nice to spread out in the back and to travel alone. It allowed me to take a video as we went through the busy market area around Pa Sao.

Crowds were gathering on my arrival, with hundreds walking around the paths on the outside of the complex. I bought my admission ticket for 60 Baht (around £1.30) and some questionable snacks; which I initially thought to be chicken nuggets and fries.


There was no restriction on any seat, so I tried to get somewhere with a bit of leg room. It was good to see many of the junior players from the academy along with parents attending the match and supporting their home club.

The ground also had two or three separate sections playing drums and trying to get behind the team, but I wondered why they didn’t all join together and make a noise in unison? It was a phenomenon mirrored at several other Thai stadiums.


It was soon apparent that the playing surface was not going to assist free flowing football on the deck. It was hard and bobbly and obviously used far too much as a community facility. Passing and control of the ball was extremely difficult.

The visitors came closest in the early stages, when a free kick from wide went narrowly over the angle of post and bar with Warrior keeper Sakdawich Sert-lert flapping. A fine passing movement from the hosts, with the ball bouncing all over the place, put pressure on the visitor’s goal.


Lamphun’s Panuwat Sripao looked decent enough as he tried to pull the strings, before his side went 1-0 up on thirty nine minutes as Apichai Ku-or scored with a sliding finish from a cross to the near post.

At the interval I decided to explore to see if there was a short cut back to the bus station, before settling for a place on the open side for a different perspective, and to hopefully see a different match!


The Muangkan team came out the better side after the break and were full of attacking intent. Unfortunately, their lack of pace, skill and the awful pitch allowed Warrior to defend their goal without too many worries.

Sert-lert made a regulatory save at his near post, before a couple of efforts flew just over the bar without calling the custodian into action. Saran Sridet went on a fine run for the home side, but his forward colleague fluffed his chance of a shot on goal.


Anusorn Promprasit saw a deflected free kick go just wide for Muangkan before I decided to make my way around to behind the goal, where some punters were peering over the fence for free. It could be argued that they should have demanded compensation.

In the fourth minute of stoppage time, the lead was doubled. A neat pass put in Sridet wide on the right. It was an opportunity to run on goal, but his task was made easier by some kamikaze goalkeeping.


The visiting keeper came flying out and past the ball as Srident rounded him, bore down on goal and slipped the ball into the empty net from the edge of the area. The home fans were euphoric and celebrated in style. The referee blew for full time shortly after.

I was now tasked with finding a way home, with absolutely no idea of bus times. The man on the counter wrote down 8.15 and told me where to stand. This meant just a twenty minute wait, which was fine.


A coach pulled in at the appointed time. It had set off from the town of Tak and was complete with welcoming air conditioning and reclining seats. I was ushered on board by an increasingly frustrated man on the desk who wasn’t interested in issuing a ticket.


The journey back to Chiang Mai took less than thirty minutes. Both the driver and the lady assistant smiled and made a signal that no fare was required despite me offering. I certainly didn’t argue and soon jumped into a tuk tuk to catch up with my pals for a few beers before bed.











2 comments:

  1. Good job. We invite you to go on 5 of may.Lpwr will play home match with nakornsawan fc . Thank so much

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is truth! even just crossing the border line. The different infrastructure comparing to bigger city, Lamphun has less. But, here we have the greatest supporters and once you should come to see it with our home game.

    ReplyDelete