Closing the books on the 2019 Thaileague (1/4)

An interesting year of Thai club football has come to an end, cups and all, and the time has come to, belatedly, summarize the performances of the teams and revisit my own predictions (displayed within parenthesis) from before the season started. Working my way up from the bottom of the table, many performed as, or just about, what was foreseen, some much better or worse. I give you, the bottom four:

16.Chiangmai FC (16)

As expected, Chiangmai finished at the very bottom of the table. It wasn’t an uncontroversial, or even dignified, season as the team, practically made up only of players on loan from fellow Boon Rawd Brewery-run clubs Chiangrai United and BG Pathum United, suddenly stopped trying to stay in the top flite as soon as BG’s promotion from T2 was confirmed. The top players weren’t even used, apart from in the very last round, as Chiangmai snatched a late point at home to Buriram United to help Chiangrai squeeze past the reigning champions at the top and bag an unlikely league title. To add to the bizarreness, manager Surapong was named manager of the month in the final month of the season, seemingly for heling another club win the league, while his own only got one win out of the three needed to have any chance of avoiding relegation.

15.Chainat Hornbill FC(15)

So far so good with my own predictions as Chainat failed to repeat the feat of avoiding the relegation they so thoroughly deserved already in 2018. Made it look closer than it actually was by beating Chonburi in the final round but the 3 points from the 5 opening winless games set the tone for the entire uninspired, final season in T1 for an outfit that won’t be missed by too many.

14.Suphanburi FC(5)

As right as I may have been about the bottom, it is safe to say I called Suphanburi completely wrong. Cleiton Silva did do alright, producing 11 goals over the course of the season but Jonatan Reis was a massive disappointment, and was shipped off to T2 and BG Pathum United, having scored 5 goals in 16. A promising start, with 6p from an unbeaten 4 games at the start was followed by an implosion that only saw a return of 5p from the following 11 rounds. In the end, the club was handed a wildcard to stay in the top flite despite ending up in the relegation zone, as PTT Rayong terminated their senior team operations and left a spot vacant for 2020.

13.Nakhon Ratchasima FC(9)

The first half of the season indicated I may have underestimated Korat’s quality, as 21 points had them on course to battle for a finish in the tip third of the table. However, fortunes changed and the wins stopped coming, resulting in a meagre 13 points from the final 16 games. It all came down to the foreign attackers producing just enough goals to keep the club, quickly becoming the epiphany of unfulfilled potential in Thai football, in the top tier for the coming season.

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