Seeing red

The Patrik fan club gathered at Ayutthaya.

Thai League 2
Sunday 23 October 2022
Ayutthaya United 2 Chiang Mai FC 1

Chiang Mai FC:
Im Changkyoon
Bo Yong Kim

There are few things that annoy me more on a football pitch than watching a group of grown up men haranguing the referee to try and get him to send off one of the opposition team.

This game did not turn on Suwit’s 65th minute sending off but it did ensure that Chiang Mai could not make up the one goal deficit and effectively ended the game as a meaningful contest.

Suwit had already been booked in the first half – so tugging back Ratthakron on the half way line was unwise. The referee was instantly surrounded by a swarm of red-shirted Ayutthaya players. And the referee fell victim to the pressure.

A stern telling off – a do not do that again or you are off – would have been sufficient. Until that moment it had been a very watchable game without any malice on either side.

An absorbing first half was very easy on the eye – but was surprisingly short of goal scoring opportunities.
Chiang Mai opened the scoring in the tenth minute when Filipovic’s long ball down the side-line found Bo Yong Kim on the right wing. His pass inside was met by Im Chang Kyoon, stretching to get his shot away. His low drive took a huge deflection off the top of the Brazilian defender Thiago’s foot and looped over Prin into the net.

Chiang Mai’s lead was short lived. Ratthakron on the right side seeing Gustavinho inside the penalty area and creating some space between him and his marker, Sarawut. With the ball sent smartly into his feet the Brazilian winger had time to take a couple of touches, turn and send his left footed drive into Fahas’ bottom right corner.

The rest of the half saw both sides moving the ball around but unable to break down well-organised defenses. Pongrawit’s contribution at this stage was eye-catching. Calm and assured as the playmaker. He was to fade in the second half.

Nilson did not emerge for the second half. Can’t live if living is without you wondered the crowd.

Kim Bo Yong shot over from a very narrow angle. Keanun at the other end chipped over the bar.

Four minutes into the second half and the home side thought that they had the lead as Thiago nodded home Jakkapan’s free kick. Offside flagged the linesman. He was right. Thiago had made his run too early.
Presumably all the Ayutthaya players who surrounded the linesman to strongly protest his decision will now be writing long letters to express their contrition.

Phakapon then fed Gustavinho on the right side. He cut inside and drilled the ball at the far post – where Fahas was able to sprawl across goal and make a difficult low save.

Moments later Gustavinho did the same thing cutting inside Sarwaut who finished sprawled on his back. This time his shot deflected off Suwannapat’s chest and looped past the wrong-footed Fahas in goal.
Suwit’s second booking and sending off then ended what has been an even contest.

Thiago headed a corner inches wide of the far post and as the game ran into injury time Chiang Mai threw everyone forward for two successive corners. Ronnayod’s shot over the crossbar being the last action of the game.

Chiang Mai had played some attractive football but Im’s goal was their only on target goal attempt. Amornthep played the second half in place of Suchanon; Gustavsson replaced Kim BoYong with 20 minutes remaining. Neither could change the outcome.

Ayutthaya were good value for their win; and in their trio of Brazilians they have found players that make a genuine offensive and defensive impact. They are top of the table for a reason.


Picture: CMFC Official

Thai League 2

Sunday 16 October 2022
Chiang Mai FC 0 Customs United 0


Chiang Mai FC:

Im Changkyoon
Bo Yong Kim

In front of a home crowd of 1,713, two capable defenses dominated this match; and we could probably still be playing on Monday morning without a goal being scored.

Chiang Mai once again started with a back three with Sarawut returning from suspension to replace Piyachanok.

Im Changkyoon made his first start coming in for Ronnayod, injured last week at Kasetsart.

The weather was kind; a cool (ish) and still evening. But the pitch, recovering from the deluge of recent weeks, was fast and bumpy; control was never easy.

Customs opened the game in a hurry; a terrific cross hit with pace by Kittiwut narrowly evaded the head of Customs’ young star striker, Phodchara.

Adisorn’s right side corner was met by Orahovac at the near post but his deflection also took the ball past the far post.

And that really was all that Customs offered in the first half. Not that there was much excitement at the other end. Sumethee made a good catch from a Stewart cross before, after 38 minutes, Chiang Mai produced the best football of the half.

Sarawut’s clearance down the left flank was flicked on my Im into the path of Suwit; not breaking stride he advanced into the area; as the angle narrowed his low shot was well saved by Sumethee.

Two minutes later, Suwit in an almost identical position chose to drag the ball across goal but was unable to find Gustavsson at the far post.

And that was the first half. After the first couple of minutes Chiang Mai had dominated possession in a game mainly played in the Customs half; but had only created the one genuine chance.

It says a lot about the game when the first entertainment of the second half came from the diminutive Kittiwut daring to flatten the mountainous Veljko.

At least Adisorn did get a shot on target for Customs; the ball dipping and bouncing in front of Fahas but it was also straight at the Chiang Mai keeper who had a very quiet night.

At the other end Sumethee made a flying catch in front of Gustavsson from Srithai’s cross. But it was a rare break forward with Chiang Mai largely pinned inside their own half and no one taking control when the ball broke to midfield.

Adisorn’s ball across goal from the left side evaded first Veljko and then, fortunately, both the substitute Di Stefano and Siwakorn.

By this time Kim Bo Yong was looking lonely and weary up front. Suchanon had replaced Gustavsson but played in a deeper position behind rather than alongside the Korean forward.

Into three minutes of injury time and the nearest either side came to scoring. Veljko Filipovic stretched to reach David Cuerva’s chip into the penalty area. The ball looping off the defender, beating Fahas and bouncing off the crossbar.

A sigh of relief.

A point.

Chiang Mai have now played four games at home this season; a single win, two scoreless draws and just two goals.

There are two games this week. Away in the Revo Cup on Wednesday at Uttaradit Saksiam F.C from League 3 North.

And next Sunday a big game away at Ayutthaya United who won 2-1 at Ranong on Friday and are currently the league leaders.

Fifteen minutes that could make a season

Thai League 2

Saturday 8 October 2022
Kasetsart FC 2 Chiang Mai FC 3

Chiang Mai FC:

Bo Yong Kim

A goal down at half-time Chiang Mai FC were struggling to find inspiration. The second half started much as the first had ended. Until, that is, the last fifteen minutes of joyful mayhem built upon two inspired substitutions.

For the first time this season Chiang Mai started in a 3-5-2 formation. With Veljo, Suwannaphat and Piyachanok as a back three.

The novelty value was exposed very quickly when Fahas had to make a first minute save as Kritsana headed Rak-Aok’s left wing cross towards the far post.

That early warning simply foretold the home side’s seventh minute goal as Chiang Mai failed to clear Hong Kim’s cross, the ball being shinned by Piyachanok for Piamplai to stab past Fahas from ten yards.

The goal came as Ronnayod was being treated after a nasty fall beyond the goal line; unable to carry on he was seen being taken away in an ambulance. Hopefully it was  just precautionary. Suchanon replaced him.

Natapong’s cross, this time from the right side, was met by Pitbull, his header bounced and was well watched and turned over the crossbar by Fahas. Rak-Aok would shoot wide from the resulting corner.

Chiang Mai’s first real threats on goal came at the end of the first half, Gustavsson turning well but firing into a defender and Kim heading a Suwit cross over the bar.

In injury time at the end of the half Gustavsson’s instinctive volley from eighteen yards was inches over the cross bar.

To be honest the first half was a worry; Chiang Mai looked static up front; and across the pitch there were too many mistakes. It all looked a little lethargic.

The second half started with little change; although it was good to see Pitbull in the dog house when he was booked by the referee.

While the game was largely being played in the Kasetsart half it was far from clear how the visitors would find an equalizer.

With fifteen minutes to go coach Fukuda sent on Im Changkyoon for Pongrawit and Tawan for Patrick Gustavsson.

The game changed. Im’s first two touches almost created chances for the visitors. He was not to be stopped.

The equalizer came a minute later; Ryhan Stewart, after a difficult first half, fired his firm right wing cross into the six yard area where Kritsana could only help the ball towards the back post where Suchanon was in space to react quickly and nod the ball home.

Four minutes later Im Chang Kyoon’s left side free kick was curled into the area; first to the ball was the Kasetsart defender Thanandorn who could only deflect the ball past his own goalkeeper.

Looking unstoppable, Im’s corner kick was met by a massive leap from Tawan to head the ball home for Chiang Mai’s third and Tawan’s first of the season. It will do him so much good. And I have missed his acrobatic celebrations.

Kasetsart pulled a goal back in injury time when Toto’s shot was deflected off Suwannaphat; Fahas was unable to gather the bouncing ball and Tanpisit slid home the rebound for 2-3. It was a consolation.

Sadly a crowd of just 342 witnessed the second half thrills.

Next up for CMFC – Sunday 16th October at the Municipal Stadium in Chiang Mai at home to Customs United. Kick off  is at 17.30pm.

Moving on

Sisaket Central Stadium

Chang FA Cup 2022-2023

Wednesday 5 October 2022
Sisaket City 1 Chiang Mai FC 4

Chiang Mai FC:

Saharat Phosri
Kim Bo Yong

Long distance FA Cup game against lowly opposition are rather like one of those home-work out videos; you really do not want to do it but when you finish you usually feel better.

These are banana skins. And Sisaket City are one of the more ambitious amateur clubs and will likely to part of the new T4 semi- professional league next season.

The fact that they have use of one of Thailand’s newest multi-purpose stadiums talks to their ambition.

To add to the adventure the 90 minute drive from Ubon Ratchathani became three hours of navigating through impassable roads and deeply flooded fields. So many people are having a difficult time but they still smiled, offered directions, helped and wanted to take pictures.

As for the Central Stadium pitch, although muddy in places it played reasonably well. The access roads to and around the stadium were however flooded which led to the ban on car or scooter access to the stadium.

Kim Bo Yong played left wing with Gustavsson in the centre and Thannayut on the right side. Clues for Saturday?

Kim, who had a lively first half, scored after just two minutes; running behind the full back Weerapong, to meet Thammayut’s cross with a low header; the goalkeeper would probably have done better if his foot had not taken a huge divot out of the goalmouth.

Chiang Mai should have ended the contest early; Sarawin and Phommin were both guilty of poor long range shots when other, maybe better, options were available.

Wittaya, in the Sisaket goal, saved well from Gustavsson and from Kiadtisak.

Thirty four minutes were gone when Suwit, once again showing an assured left foot, first-timed a ball to Gustavsson on the edge of the penalty area. Gustavsson needed one touch to cushion the ball with his right foot and a second touch to volley the ball home with his left foot. It was a terrific, instinctive finish.

Kim left the field to be replaced by Chatchai.

For the last ten minutes of the first half the home side were allowed back into the match. Pasawat stretching at the far post could only help Chatwanwit’s header over the crossbar. Piyachanok then dealt well with a quality cross, again from Chatwanwit.

Entering injury time; Gustavsson’s run on goal was thwarted by a bouncing ball. Wittaya gathered, his long clearance was flicked on by Wuttichai for Chatwanwit. Wuttichai ran into the area and onto the pass by Chatwanwit which he left-footed past Kiadtiphon.

1-2 at half time and Sisaket knew that were still in the game.

Tawan replaced Gustavsson at half time; his impact was almost immediate. He latched onto a ball wide left; cut into the area; drew the goalkeeper and belted the ball against the crossbar.

Phommin released Chatchai in space on the left of the penalty are. Wittaya did very well to leave his line at pace and block the goal attempt.

Minutes late the goalkeeper did even better throwing himself to the left to turn away Kiadtisak’s shot.

Chiang Mai’s third, after 72 minutes, came from Sarawat as he volleyed home Chatchai’s cross from the left side.

Kiatiphon was injured making a routine low save from Chatwanwit. Possibly a damaged ankle. Narawit briefly making his first appearance of the season as darkness started to quickly fall in the stadium.

Into injury time and Chatchai, who had replaced Kim Bo Yong, in the first half, cut into the penalty area from the left; drew the goalkeeper and a simple pass for Thannayut was met by an assured finish.

The final action saw Wittaya sent off after he ran some 15 yards beyond his penalty area to stop Chanathip. In this case Chanathip was first to the ball and Wittaya’s bodycheck earned him a red card; at which point the referee also blew the final whistle.

4-1 Chiang Mai. It had been a useful workout against a capable, hard-working, opponent.

The first round proper of the FA Cup is on 2 November.

Stenio’s left foot sinks Krabi

Picture: Official CMFC

Thai League 2

Saturday 1 October 2022
Chiang Mai FC 2 Krabi FC 1

Chiang Mai FC:

Stenio Jnr
Bo Yong Kim

A dominant second half performance earned a first home win of the season for Chiang Mai FC in abysmal conditions on a pitch that so wet that fishing would have been more appropriate than football.

But the game must go on – and it did. The conditions were better suited to Krabi FC whose home games have been played in similar weather this season.  

Playing at home should give a team an advantage; Chiang Mai’s loud support does that; but the pitch and the drainage are just not good enough.

How different the game might have been when in the first minute Ronnayod collected the ball in midfield and let fly from fully thirty yards; Wuttichai’s save, throwing himself to his left, was just as impressive. What a start. Most people were still getting seated.

Fahas dealt very capably with two long range free kicks taken by Narong; concentration was needed as both bounced near to the Chiang Mai ‘keeper.

At the other end Stenio’s stooping header from a Pongrawit cross passed narrowly wide. Victor Oliveira was booked for a challenge on Stenio. It was not his first offence.

Then, from nowhere, Krabi took the lead. Babar Al’s pass down the right side released Techin. His cross reached Chigozie at the far post who swept home a falling volley. In the conditions it was a well-worked and well-taken goal.

Controversy followed in the 34th minute. A Chiang Mai attack had continued while a Krabi player was in a heap on the ground. Wuttichai took exception, ran from his goal to confront anyone in a blue shirt; and then as the inevitable pushing started up the Krabi keeper threw himself to the ground felled like a Canadian pine.

The referee, who had no clue what was going on, appeared to send Veljko off much to the defender’s bemusement and the confusion of the crowd around me. Suwannapat led the protest; the fourth official was consulted; the red card rescinded and a yellow card administered to Stenio. Wuttichai, who started the whole mess, should hang his head in shame.

In the Chiang Mai half, while tempers still simmered, Pongrawit was lucky that the officials ignored his hack at Chigozie. It did not look good.

Half time on a wet miserable night in Chiang Mai when you are losing 0-1 is when a coach earns his salary. Suwit replaced Pongrawit and played almost as a left winger through the second half.. Patrick Gustavsson replaced Suchanon; also pushing forward alongside Stenio and Bo Yong Kim.

After being too narrow in the first half and easily managed by the two Krabi centre backs Chiang Mai were now taking the game to the visitors.

Suwit was excellent in his advanced role. On 51 minutes his chip to the back post found Stenio at the far post – his header saved by Wuttichai at point blank range.

But Stenio would not be denied; Another first time cross from Suwit. Gustavsson jumped with the lumbering Watcharakorn at the far post – the ball fell to Stenio. With his back to goal he had a lot of work to do. He pirouetted through 180 degrees and rifled his left foot shot low past Wuttichai.

Wuttichai was busy; he punched clear Ronnayod’s free kick; then punched his own rebound only as far as Stenio finally saving, with his feet, Stenio’s goalbound shot.

Stenio was on a mission; his second goal was almost a carbon copy of the first; a cross from Suwit found the Brazilian forward, no pirouette was needed just enough space to move the ball onto his left foot and score from twelve yards.

Chigozie would clear the crossbar by some distance as Krabi ran out of ideas and time. Stenio might have added another as his header from a Tawan cross passed the face of the goal.

Suwit had given the home side width and quality on the left; preoccupied with Gustavsson and Bo Yong Kim the Krabi defense left Stenio with the space in which he thrives.

Job done. A difficult night and a very welcome three points. At the end it was easy to see how much the win meant to the players and their coach.

The joy of six – Thai League 2 review

The joy of six. Just six games have been played in a 34 game season but after two years of footballing misery the crowds are back; there are even a handful at Rajpracha. The drums are back. Cheering is back. Masks are a personal choice. It may not be 100% normal but this season has already felt like a giant leap forward.

With the FIFA international break last weekend now is a good time to take a quick look at the news from our less than predictable league. Indeed the only thing that appears predictable is how quickly a club’s head coach can become unemployed.

Since the season started Chainat Hornbill, Udon Thani FC, Nakhon Si United, Chiang Mai United and most recently Ranong United have all changed their head coach. No doubt more heads will roll over the next six months.

Before going any further it is worth noting that just one win separates 17th place from 7th place. This is a league where quality and consistency can be hard to find but where every match is competitive. There are no outstanding teams; there are a handful of weaker teams. Teams that were looking for a quick return to T1 have started slowly.

Unlikely though it sounds, after finishing 9th and 11th the last two seasons, Ayutthaya United are top of the table and are there in style. Seventeen goals in six games with ten shared by their new Brazilian strikers, Nilson and Gustavinho. Samba football is back in Thailand’s ancient capital and the crowds have returned; there were 1,700 for their last home game; an earlier 4-1 win at Chiang Mai United was very impressive.

It would be unwise, as some have done, to write Ayutthaya off; if they keep their Brazilian strikers well fed and happy then more goals will come.

Of the promoted teams Nakhon Si United have been the stand out. An opening day defeat at Chiang Mai United was a setback; but four wins and a draw (at Trat) see the club in second place. They are a solid blend of experienced players who are now coached by the Brazilian Wanderley Junior. Wanderley led Lamphun Warriors to promotion from this league last season. Excellent home support with crowds in excess of 2,000 in their small stadium have seen them win all three of their home matches.

Customs, after an opening day defeat at Suphanburi, won four in a row before a surprise home defeat to Nakhon Pathom on matchday six. 21 year old Phodchara Chainarong, on loan from Port FC, has six goals to his name including a hat-trick at Chainat.

Arguably Customs have played and beaten weaker opposition and they will have tougher games ahead, with three of their next five games away at Phrae United, Chiang Mai FC and Trat FC.

Also on 12 points, tied in third with Customs, are Rayong FC; quietly and effectively going about their business including winning their only two away games at Udon Thani FC and Chiang Mai FC.

Rayong, Ayutthaya and Nakhon Pathom are the three, as yet, unbeaten sides.

Nakhon Pathom seem to have hit on a novel formula for success – boring the opposition into submission. Six games (four of which were away from home), scored four, conceded two. Their win at Customs came from Athit Berg’s 92nd minute strike.

There are, of course, clubs that are misfiring. Chiang Mai United retained many of last season’s T1 squad. A change of coach saw the arrival of Somchai Chuayboonchum. Yet the last two games have seen away defeats at Rajpracha and Samut Prakan City; who both recorded their only wins so far this season.

Chiang Mai United failed to score in either game and maybe paid the price for leaving Bill on the substitutes’ bench at Samut Prakan.

Udon Thani came into the season with talk of new money and of past problems put behind them. But six successive defeats, seventeen goals conceded, two different coaches, a new team manager and changes in club management have made for a difficult start and falling attendances. It is hard to see how the club is turned around before mid-season.

A few oddities to finish off this review of the opening weeks.

Two bizarre goals have been matchwinners. Ayutthaya goalkeeper, Prin Goonchorn, hoofing a free kick from 75 yards over the head of his opposite number in a 2-0 win at home to Kasetsart; Ranong’s full back, Yusaku Yamadera, scored from a similar distance for an unlikely away win at Phrae. Both will no doubt say their optimistic efforts were intentional.

The weekend of 26-28 August saw six away wins and three draws. How often is there a full weekend of fixtures without even a single home win?

Samut Prakan City have the youngest goalscorer in the League this season with 17 year old Yotsakorn Burapha scoring the second at home (actually at Chonburi) to Chiang Mai United. The club may also have played the oldest player in the League, and almost certainly the oldest to be booked, with the veteran Phichitphong Choeichiu coming on as a late substitute against Customs.

The League restarts on Friday, weather permitting, with a full set of fixtures over the weekend, including a meeting of the two meanest defenses as Nakhon Pathom host Rayong, and a good test for Customs as they visit Trat.

Enjoy the game.

Here we Bo

Picture – CMFC Official

Thai League 2 Match Report

Saturday 17 September 2022
Phrae United 1 Chiang Mai FC 2
Chiang Mai FC:
Stenio Jnr
Bo Yong Kim

This was a terrific game of football to watch and a fine advertisement for Thai League 2.

Of course, an away win helps; but both teams gave everything in front of 1.020 fans, Phrae’s biggest home crowd of the season in large part thanks to around 200 loud and happy traveling fans.

Coach Fukuda made three changes; Sarawut, back from suspension, replaced Suwit. Rhyan Stewart, back from injury, replaced Piyachanok, and as predicted Bo Yong Kim made his first start for CMFC; with Stenio moving to left wing and Pongrawit starting on the right side.

This was a different world from the woeful 0-3 defeat at Phrae back in March 2022, in the middle of Covid and in front of a handful of traveling fans.

The feisty start reflected the referee’s intention to let the game flow as much as possible; and also ended any doubts about Rhyan Stewart’s fitness as he went toe to toe with Maranhao. Thai referees do not get much credit. The referee, Wathanyu Morin, did well tonight.

The first real threat of the game came, predictably from Taku Ito, cutting inside from the left and curling his shot wide of the far post.

Veljko’s strong interception then released Stewart galloping, like a young gazelle, down the right wing. His left footed cross to the far post was met by the stretching Stenio who headed narrowly over.

The opening goal came from Chiang Mai, again down the right side. Full back Kandanai tried, and failed, to cut out Saharat’s pass from midfield for Bo Yong Kim, now in space on the right; he advanced into the penalty area, strongly held off two defenders and slid a low pass to Stenio; the Brazilian cleverly let the ball run across his body to finish low with his left foot past the veteran Nantapol.

Three Chiang Mai bookings in 5 minutes reflected Phrae’s pressure for an equalizer. Veljko, Sarawut and Suwannaphat were all booked in quick succession.

Then Decha, 12 yards out and in front of goal, scuffed his left foot shot allowing Fahas an easy save; Fahas did better to ensure Arsan’s header went wide of the far post.

But, as the two minutes of injury time mysteriously turned into at least three, Phrae equalized. Chiang Mai could only clear a corner as far as Kandanai; Teerayut, perhaps the smallest forward on the pitch, stepped in front of Veljko to head home his cross from six yards inside Fahas’ right post.

1-1 at half time; and that was probably a fair reflection of a well contested 45 (plus!) minutes.

The second half quickly continued with chances at both ends; a rebound off Stenio going narrowly wide for Chiang Mai and Fahas making a good catch from Marlon Silva’s well struck volley.

A long ball out of defense from Veljko found Pongrawit wide right; his hard low cross narrowly evading the lively Stenio at the far post.

Stenio was not to be denied; right place and right time. Bo Yong Kim got to the goal line in the penalty area; his cross lobbed up, possibly off a Marlon Silva. Goalkeeper Nantapol was left clutching at thin air and behind him Stenio stooped to nod home his second of the night.

In reply Fahas dived to his left to push away substitute Elivelton’s header. The same forward then volleyed over from a narrow angle.

Stenio came close to a hattrick when his low shot from eighteen yards was pushed wide by Nantapol.
Some late substitutions brought fresh legs and a five-man back line to ensure that Chiang Mai played out the remaining time without any unwelcome scares.

There was much to like about this performance; strong from back to front. Bo Yong Kim and Stenio look like a partnership that should get stronger; Fahas was assured in goal; the back line was strong and Saharat Phosri, who rarely gets a mention, covered every blade of grass. Stenio led once again by example and finished in style.

Thai Leagues One and Two take a break next week while the Kings Cup takes place. CMFC’s next game is at home to Krabi on 1 October.

We hate eachother – let’s get together

Dubai AirShow

So after years of angry bickering and huge spending on lawyers and lobbyists United Airlines and Emirates Airline have kissed and made up. So sweet.

This would not be about competing with the alliance between American and Qatar?

The deal brings a reconciliation between United and Emirates, which had defended opposing positions during a subsidy-related spat last decade.

Tim Clark for Emirates said the new deal will “terrify our competitors.”

“Putting two great brands together is… what this is all about,” United’s Kirby adds. “It’s going to open up a lot of cities in India and Africa that we just don’t have access to today.”

The deal encompasses United, Emirates and Flydubai, which shares the same ownership as Emirates, and was necessary to compete on lower capacity routes. The agreement will involve code-sharing, with the airlines selling each others’ flight as their own.

The new partnership will start in November, when customers travelling on Emirates to Chicago, San Francisco and Houston will be able to transfer to United flights to some 200 US cities, the airlines say.

The partnership will expand in March 2023 with United’s planned launch of a flight from Newark to Dubai. There, United’s customers will be able to connect to some 100 cities on Emirates and Flydubai.

The carriers will also offer connections in Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York-JFK, Orlando, Seattle and Washington-Dulles. They say they will offer reciprocal benefits to members of their frequent flier programmes.

As a part of this new deal Emirates has terminated a codeshare deal with JetBlue Airways.

The codeshares still require regulatory approval and the deal has been meet with concern by unions with many of the same arguments as were raised before.

It was seven years ago that the CEOs of American, Delta and United complained to senior US officials that three Gulf-region carriers – Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways – had received unfair government subsidies to the tune of $50 billion.

The US carriers said the subsidies let those airlines sell tickets at below-cost fares.

They asked the administration of President Barack Obama to prohibit the Gulf airlines from further US expansion, and to rescind their “fifth freedom” rights.

The Gulf carriers denied the subsidy allegations and noted US carriers received hefty aid following the terrorist attacks of 2001. (More recently, US airlines landed $58 billion in pandemic-related government aid.)

In 2016, amid the spat, United and Delta ended flights to Dubai.

Now the airlines are rushing to head down the aisle together. Delta may be feeling left out..

Veni, Vidi, Vici, Boggy. (They came; they saw; they conquered; they played in a bog.)

Thai League 2

Picture: cmfc official

Saturday 10 September 2022
Chiang Mai FC 0 Rayong FC 2

Chiang Mai FC:

Stenio Jnr

Attendance: 1,639

I owe Rayong FC an apology. My expectations were low and I believed that Chiang Mai would have enough firepower to take the three points.

But on a pitch that, after incessant rain, resembled a lowland bog, Rayong played with energy and determination to take all three points and remain unbeaten after five games of the season.

As predicted (a rare insight) Fahas made his first appearance of the season replacing Kiadtiphon. Suwit replaced the suspended Sarawut at left back. And Suwannaphat moved to right back due to an injury to Rhyan Stewart.

Veljko Filipovic returned to partner Piyachanok at center-back.

The pitch was truly horrible; standing water and mud; not just down the centre of the pitch but down the wings as well. Rayong’s style proved better suited. This was not a pitch on which to try and play neat, incisive, passing football

The early threats came from the home side. Stenio, who was busy throughout the game, broke down the left and chipped the ball into the penalty areas where Tawan was unable to control the ball and was driven wide.

Pongrawit’s free-kick from wide right was handled by GiSung Yeon just outside his own penalty area. Tawan disappointingly drove the free-kick into the defensive wall.

Rayong then opened the scoring. A right side corner came low towards the front post; The Rayong centre-half, Wasusiwakit, reacted quickest in front of Piyachanok and the ball rather awkwardly diverted from the top of his head; over Fahas, and crept inside the far post.

Chiang Mai pushed for an equalizer; Piyachanok headed a corner straight at Noppakun; Suchanon swung and missed while unmarked in the penalty area.

Half time and Chiang Mai coach Fukuda brought on Amornthep for Tawan and Kiadtisak for Saharat Phosri.

Amornthep found the space to shoot from an angle. It was a comfortable save.

The best move of the game gave Rayong their second goal. Siwakorn spotted the run of Kirati into the penalty area. KIrati ran in behind Veljko and held the ball long enough for support to arrive before his short low pass gave Lwin Moe Aung a straightforward tap in.

Chiang Mai responded with Bo Yong Kim’s low shot producing a comfortable save; Piyachanok then directed his header invitingly across goal, but the big boot of substitute Obama was well-positioned to clear the threat.

Stenio, looking increasingly frustrated, was coming ever deeper to fetch the ball; filling the gaps that were all too visible in midfield. His cross from the left side was met by Bo Yong Kim and his header would have crept inside the far post without the sprawling intervention of Noppakun in goal.

One last chance came for Chiang Mai as Stenio chipped the ball onto the six-yard line where Amornthep’s header cannoned off the crossbar. Amornthep went down in pain – it looked like an ankle injury.

Rayong played out the game with little new threat. It was a classic away win built around a solid defense, a midfield that harried and harassed and an offense that took its chances.

Five games played, two successive defeats, goal-less at home, and a growing injury list. It is not yet a crisis, but it is unclear where goals, and wins, will come from.

Death of a Queen

There is only one story today; Queen Elizabeth II – Queen of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth – died peacefully at Balmoral Castle yesterday afternoon.

She became Queen in early 1952 on the death of her father. She is succeeded by King Charles III. Elizabeth R. was not only the oldest sovereign in the UK’s history but also its longest serving. Most of her people have never known another monarch.

She has departed at a time of great uncertainty in the UK; a new Prime Minister just two days into her new job; a massive cost of living crisis; a post-Brexit identity crisis; a nation emerging from two years of pandemic deaths, lockdowns and sickness. It is the saddest of days for her family, for the nation and for many people across the wider Commonwealth that she did so much to create and nurture.

One of the most articulate tributes came from former PM, Boris Johnson. He was a dire PM but his words spoke for so many.

She was served by 15 prime ministers, from Winston Churchill to Liz Truss. She was served by 12 Canadian Prime Ministers with Justin Trudeau describing her as “one of my favorite people in the world.”

She met 12 American presidents. There was a lovely tribute yesterday from President Obama. She also met five popes, hundreds of national leaders, thousands of celebrities and – it is calculated – more than 2 million more “ordinary” people.

She was easily the most travelled monarch in British, indeed world, history: criss-crossing the globe regularly to visit the Commonwealth and just about every other significant country in the world, into her 90th year.

I never met her; I do remember the celebrations and street parties held for her silver jubilee in 1977. By 1988 I had left the UK and the daily feed of royal news became more distant; except in times of major events; from Royal Weddings to the death of Diana Spencer.

International tributes will talk about her sense of duty, her service and loyalty and of the respect that she had earned globally.

But she was also a mother, grandmother and a great-grandmother. Indeed, her only real mis-steps were in her unwavering support and protection of her own family. Her delayed response to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales was a real crisis for the monarchy; her protection, and indulgence, of her second son, Andrew, was misjudged but was the reaction of a mother.

But she managed through those crises and perhaps her greatest achievement was to maintain the popularity of the British monarchy despite decades of seismic political, social and cultural change.

There will be 24/7 television coverage up to and including the funeral in ten days time. There will be pages of news and magazine print.

King Charles III become the new monarch. It is 25 years from Diana’s death and Charles has done a lot of rehabilitation since then.

The Monarchy will carry on – though its international influence has been eroding throughout her reign and will continue to do so.

Charles may not have his mother’s popularity but he inherits her goodwill and will continue very much with her legacy.

Some links to news reports and commentaries:

The Queen’s death will shake this country deeply – she was a steady centre amid constant flux
Why do we mourn people we don’t know?
Queen Elizabeth II: a royal life in pictures
Charles III, Britain’s conflicted new monarch
David Olusuga on the Queen, the Commonwealth and the monarchy’s future