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


September 2015

Thursday, April 26, 2012

RBAC F.C.(Thailand)

RBAC FC are a football club based in Bangkok, Thailand. Like many clubs in the country, and particularly the capital, their history is rather complicated.

The club were formed in 1998, but their origins came from Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET FC) who were founder members of the Thai Premier League in 1996. They soon hit financial hardships, despite finishing runners up in the league, and were taken over by Bangkok Metropolitan Administration FC. By the start of the 2001 the club had changed title to become Rattana Bundit FC to give representation to the university of the same name and moving into the RBAC Stadium, while the old club badge was retained.

At the end of the 2001-02 season the club finished bottom of the table, so they were relegated into the newly formed Division One. They remained at that level for several seasons, until in 2010 they retained their status by the skin of their teeth. The league was to be extended and a third regional tier added. RBAC Mittraphrap as they were called won their play off game against Rayong FC to ensure their survival.

However there was to be no escape in 2011 as RBAC were relegated. Premier League club BEC Tero Sasana took over RBAC to use it as a reserve side to produce future stars as the club was renamed RBAC BEC Tero Sasana FC. The club is often referred to as R-BEC to acknowledge the fact. Several under 19 internationals were sent to the RBAC Stadium to learn their trade. Yorkshireman Andrew Ord was originally sent to coach the side, but after he got excellent results he was swapped with BEC Tero Sasana first team coach Payong Khunnaen, who had under achieved with the senior side.

The relationship with Tero Sasana came to an end in 2013, with the club reverting to RBAC FC.

RBAC FC will play in the Thai Regional League Bangkok Region in the 2014 season.

My visit

RBAC BEC Tero Sasana 2 Customs United 0 (Sunday 8th April 2012) Thai Regional League Bangkok Region (att: 175 official)

I had just returned from an outstanding week in Chiang Mai and was on the final day of what had been a superb holiday. I was determined not to waste it.

I was at the game in the same division between Thai Honda and Samut Sakon close to Suvarnabhumi Airport which kicked off at 4pm, and my plan was to leave that before full time to see most of the Bangkok United v Chanthaburi clash kicking off at 6pm in Ding Daeng at the Thai-Japanese Stadium.

However, this game was pretty poor to be honest. I reckoned by leaving that at half time I would be able to catch most of the second half at the RBAC Stadium and then head off missing the first few minutes of the later game. Well that was the plan in theory. Bangkok's traffic and its taxi drivers had other ideas!

I struggled like crazy to get a taxi driver to take me to Lat Phrao, where R-BEC were based. After what seemed like a lifetime I found a willing youth. I asked him to go by toll road, which quickens up journeys in the city considerably. He said he didn't think that was possible, so he set off saying he knew where he was going. Who was I to argue? I sat back and enjoyed the start of the ride but then started getting a little concerned. While I wouldn't pass 'The Knowledge' if it was in operation in Bangkok, neither would the vast majority of cab drivers.

We went down many large roads along with packed traffic. We sat for what seemed ages trying to cross Thanon Ramkhamhaeng and when we eventually did get across we hit an even heavier volume. We eventually reached Lat Phrao Road and passed a huge shopping mall. We then had to do a u turn to reach the right side of the carriageway for the soi (street) we needed. I tried to keep calm as we trudged along, but I had now given up on seeing any football and just hoped the gates would remain open so I could take some photos of the stadium.

After asking advice from locals, my driver took me down a quiet lane. Bangkok is remarkable in that you can be in a packed area of humans and traffic, yet with fifty metres you could be mistaken for thinking you were in a small country town. I think that's one of the reasons I love it so much. I saw road signs for the university and out of nowhere I saw glowing floodlights. My driver dropped me off and pointed me in the right general direction.

The trouble was that there was no entrance at the end of the soi I was in. I made frantic hand signals as best as I could to the youth in charge of the small open shop. He sent me around the corner, and there was the RBAC in all its glory, or at least it was there behind a wire gate which had a few locals watching through it for free. My appearance was met with smiles and much chatter. I don't suppose they got many unfit out of breath ferangs (westerners) in a Scarborough Athletic shirt turning up at the wrong entrance near to the end of a game. I tried to ask as best as I could how I could gain entry inside the stadium. One older bloke used his hands to signify that I'd have to scale the fence to much laughter!

I didn't take his advice. Instead I watched the last five minutes through the fence and took my photographs. The home side looked comfortable for their lead even in the few minutes play I got to saw. I later noted that the win kept them at the top of the table. Although I was later informed of the official attendance figure via Twitter, I had my suspicions which were growing by the match, that figures in Thailand could be shaved. Clubs dodging paying tax? Surely not!?

The RBAC Stadium wasn't all that brilliant for all the effort I'd put in, but it was a new ground none the less. There was a medium sized raised cantilever seated stand down one side with flat standing room in front of it. The other three sides didn't have any spectator facilities and were surrounded by large high wire fences. The far end appeared to have the access road from the university.

I set about trying to find a taxi to take me to my next port of call. Fortunately the first driver was more than willing to take me to Din Daeng, especially when I said 'by highway krap', meaning by toll road please!

 I was glad I made the effort and saw some play. I'm not sure it would have warranted the effort at the time to see a full game there when there were better options in the city on the day. I hoped to return one day, hopefully for a game in a higher division.

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