Mine being in Thailand… is +6 hours now, but in the depth of winter its +7 and those night games are often the ones that get dropped if one has a pressing work schedule the next day. So at this important time I expect to see every game live.
The first objective is finding a satellite service provider and out here we have choice, the country is football crazy, all the major European leagues are covered so in theory you could watch all the games live if that was the objective.
Before Christmas Thailand won the ASIA Cup, beating Malaysia over 2 legs, the coverage was on local tv, and as you went past little street cafes and bars they would be all tuned in, the same with peoples homes, a good 60% were also watching. If this country ever made a World Cup Finals it would be awesome.
Anyway back to Chelsea, CTH are the provider of all the EPL games…. sorry yes its EPL out here English Premier League, Thailand has its own Premier League, but the quality is not much better than our League 3. CTH are owned by a man called Taksin… yes the very same as the Ex Man City owner, who ravaged his country to gain his wealth ( I will skip the Thai politics ) but the product quality is good. Saturday gives us 7 live channels so really watch every game, lots of build up and extra shows, its by far the best package I have known, so really you will never miss anything if you don’t want to.
Support….. In the city of Angles … Bangkok, but most call it the Big Mango, you can watch in countless big city bars in all the Expat and tourist areas, its good for atmosphere like you get at home, but with imported beers at around a fiver, and the local brews on the 3 quid mark a night out won’t come cheap.
I live just a stones throw from the old International airport, and it is the original Thai suburb, a mix of all classes from very rich to very poor, I’ve lived in expat places and others where is a high percentage of foreigners, but in reality where I am now is much better. You could say I’m the only foreigner in the village!
Even out here and I’m a good 30 minutes at best from the city centre and just 2 minutes from rice fields, there is no shortage in options when it comes to games even though I have the package at home. There are a couple of bars 10 minutes away which offer a air con room to see the games, one is run by a Korean and the crowd for the game is very cosmopolitan, (Thai, English, Irish, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Dutch, South African, Kiwi, Chinese,and Philippine ) Aussie’s are banned, they are the Liverpool supporters types of Asia!
Racism a dirty word at home, has a firm grip in society, but maybe with out the real nasty aspect of NF or modern extreme groups. All take some pot shots at each other stereo types and all have a dig at some ethnic minority… its just life and it not seen as racism at all. The skin is tough out here as is real life, people just get on with it. The worst you can be called is a Buffalo ( means stupid) and FO is just an instruction a more forceful way of saying go away. I’d not recommend using it as it indicated a low cast comment, but jog on and and no thanks are the standard leave the scene acceptance.
So settled down to watch in a local bar…. the atmosphere is mostly silent, except on goals when a mild for of applause is encountered, so when a old school type like me is shouting at the tv with every wrong deed against Chelsea its noted with much amusement, goal celebrations are welcomed and often means a bit of banter from the locals ( who all support English teams anyway) and another exchange of drinks…. I might add that Thais do like a drink and its encouraged at any opportunity….. it can become a very very heavy night out.
Supporting your choice of club is very visual, you will see many scooters and bikes in various team colours and a persons choice is respected, no vandalism or damage is partaken, you could leave you Chelsea colour bike in a car park and return to it as you left it, its just not in the culture (thankfully). You see team shirts worn by everyone, from kids to grandparents, its part of everyday clothing…. the main 4 are, Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea. and Man City as you would expect…. has joined the main stay….. Arsenal. Tottenham, are infrequent and your see almost anything once in a while…. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayen Munich are the other noted shirts, but still not in the same volume as the top 4.
Life is different in so many ways…. a Saturday 9pm game in 35C takes some doing, but its worth it, the air con rooms are best, and if your eating and drinking, with in reason (if the local police don’t turn up) you can stay forever.
Curfews, martial law, military rule, rule 44…… as long as you keep your nose clean you can do almost anything as long as your paying….. It won’t last forever, there is a very dark cloud on the horizon in the shape of the Crown Prince, who will take over after the current King departs……. then we shall have emergency plans in place.
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