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 their maintenance.

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 fortunate 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 heightens 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 try today. They'll be delighted 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. Stan is showing a keen interest in my hobby as he grows into a young man!

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


November 2018

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Hua Hin City (Thailand)

Hua Hin City FC is a football club which was formed in 2007 as Hua Hin Municipality F.C, who are based in the seaside city of the same name located on the west side of the Gulf of Thailand.

In 2011 the club changed their name to their current title and entered the Khǒr Royal Cup, a competition for non-league teams in Thailand, finishing as runners-up in 2012 to take up a place in the third tier for the 2013 season in Division 2 Central & West Region.

Playing at the out of town Thanaratchata Camp Football Field, the team achieved a ninth placed debut season, Hua Hin won the regional title in 2014 going on to the Champions League Round in the quest for promotion.

A fourth place finish in Group A meant that City remained in Division 2 Central & West Region, where they finished in fifth place. 2016 saw the club in the rebranded Division 2 Western Region.

2016 also saw Hua Hin City move into their new Khao Takiap Stadium to the south of the city as the team ended the campaign in eighth place, leading to a place in the fourth tier Thai League 4 Western Region following league re-organisation.

City finished the 2017 season in seventh place in the league under French head coach, Sébastien Roques, with Arnon Kaimook ending up as top scorer. This was followed up with third place in 2018 as Kaimook continued his fine form.

This took 'The Sailors' to the Champions League promotion play-offs where BGC were defeated to reach the group stage where Hua Hin's hopes of going up were extinguished. 

Hua Hin City will play in Thai League 4 (T4) Western Region in the 2019 season.

My visit

Hua Hin City 5 IPE Samut Sakhon United 3 (Sunday 26th March 2017) Thai League 4 Western Region (att: 200)

Having visited Hua Hin on many happy occasions over the years I wanted to see a match at Khao Takiap Stadium. My pals Steve Walker and Mark Dumnall had seen the team in action at Thanaratchata Camp and enjoyed the hospitality.

It was time for me to head to the Land of Smiles for a week of rest and socialising before the Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes, arriving on the Saturday evening. This was the chance I had been waiting for.

It was the international break weekend in Thailand so lower division football was the order of the day. My friend Dale Farrington, who runs the Chonburi FC English website deciphered the Thai language fixtures and confirmed that I was in luck.

Steve and his girlfriend Fah were accompanying me for a couple of nights in Hua Hin as we headed south in one of the smart luxury coaches from Suvarnabhumi Airport on Sunday morning before we headed out us lads for lunch and a couple of beers.

We decided to head to Soi 80 for a few more bottles before it was time to try and find a way to the ground. I was a little surprised with Steve’s choice of destination. I was pretty sure of the way to the stadium, but I left it with him.

A local pulled up in his large car and offered us a lift for 100 Baht, so in we got with him and his infant. He seemed sure he knew where we wanted, so it was a bit of a shock to him when he pulled up at a small sided complex and we shook our heads and said “Mai”.

Off we went again. I thought I saw some floodlights across from us. We were in an undeveloped part of the city with poor roads and no English signage. Our chauffer seemed confident once again.

This time we ended up at Hua Hin Centennial Club; a lovely sports facility, but once again wrong. There was nothing left for it as I made the ultimate sacrifice and turned on the mobile data on my phone. Hey presto, we were pretty close and exactly where I’d initially thought the stadium was located.

The poor little lad in the back of the car must have been thoroughly fed up. We gave his Dad double money, which he appreciated as he dropped us off in the car park behind the main entrance on Nong Kae-Takiap just before the 5.30pm kick off.

Entry cost us 50 Baht, which was around £1.10. There were no programmes but I picked up a fixture list. I thought that Steve had last learned to read Thai as he confidently told me the schedule, only for him to burst out in laughter. He hadn’t the foggiest.

Khao Takiap Stadium was pretty basic, with an open semi permanent stand down our side, and a small covered stand opposite with two small sections of open stands either side. There was nothing behind either goal. Indeed, the south end only had a wire net separating it from the alley.

It only took Hua Hin a couple of minutes to take the lead through midfielder Ratchapark Duangfa before doubling their lead just before the half hour mark as Ghanaian striker Gimba Ali fired home.

The home fans were most happy. A Scottish ex-pat behind us offered his observations to the referee, who’d already booked two United players, who would have absolutely no idea what he was going on about? I mean Steve and I were struggling with him!

IPE Samut Sakhon United, were the second team from the same town below Samut Sakhon FC who I’d seen play away from home in the past. The extension of the Thai League’s to four divisions was welcome in many ways, but it made deciphering teams a bit tricky at times.

Kovit deservedly reduced the arrears just before the break to the joy to the twenty or so away fans on the far side. By this stage manager Somboon Chiwprecha had already made two substitutions to try and change the game. His side were decent enough going forward, but woeful at the back.

At the break Steve got the beers in while I went behind the goal and took some photos as the beautiful red sky formed a stunning backdrop to what was becoming a fantastic evening out.

After the interval United pressed for an equaliser and looked the better team in parts. We both predicted that the next goal would be decisive, but little did we know just how many goals would be coming. It blitzed both our score predictions.

Hua Hin extended their led after an hour as Arnon Kaimook scored. Gimba Ali netted his second to make it 4-1 on seventy three minutes before United pulled back what looked like being a consolation.

Three minutes before full time it was 5-2 as Hua Hin forward Panthakant Tiengnae scored. There was still time for the visitors to grab another goal and force some late pressure before full time. It was fair to say that we’d received value for money.

We headed back up the main road and stopped for a beer at a neat bar showing Scunthorpe United v Bradford City on a big screen TV, before catching a sangtheaw back into town where we had a terrific bar crawl; ending with watching England v Lithuania in the Sand Inn Hotel & Bar as the Thai owner blasted out rock anthems.

It had been a fantastic start to my three weeks holiday, and an experience that I would repeat at any time if visiting Hua Hin.

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