【冬蔭波】武里南之 Evolution

冬蔭波 於 17/03/2014 發表 收藏文章
Shandong Luneng have heritage, so are Buriram United ("Buriram"). Buriram have everything a football club need : stadium, training center, youth development, huge fan base, a B team, supporting team, trophies, glory, to name a few. Everything started from nothing. Everything has been great. It took Newin only 5 years to build such a solid base. As mentioned before Buriram are more than just a football club, they are the spearhead of the whole development project of Buriram province. Buriram are the image of the province, the reason for people to come visit. Therefore Buriram must keep their momentum sustainable, and to be sustainable, you need a solid base. The video below showcases that if Guangzhou Evergrande is king, then Buriram could be kong.
※ Video (↓) link : http://youtu.be/ouS7_GV9LNs
http://youtu.be/ouS7_GV9LNs
The i-mobile Stadium aka Thunder Castle is the best football stadium in Thailand and even ASEAN. There ain't no annoying running tracks. It is state-of-the-art, in English Premier League style. The stadium is a name card to the world. During the past two ACL seasons, the Thunder Castle had impressed multiple teams from Japan, Korea, Australia and China. Their fans watching live on TV or highlights on internet may wondered how come a place sharing border with Cambodia could have a Premier stadium like that:

"This stadium is impressive."
"It's even better than those in Bangkok."
"So what kind of place Buriram is?"
※ The design of Thunder Castle drew inspiration from Chelsea's Stamford Bridge (below).
Although the Rajamangala Stadium and the National Stadium in Bangkok are both bigger than Thunder Castle in size, Thunder Castle beat them in quality and facilities, not to mention the "track-less" advantage. The SCG Stadium of Muangthong United is also track-less, with good quality as well even Marcelo Lippi the coach of Guangzhou Evergrande once praised it. However, with less-than 15000 seats and low-height stands, it can't be compared to Thunder Castle's massiveness. The Thunder Castle had increased its size into over 30000 this season, making it more beyond compare in Thailand.
※ Height always does matter.

The Buriram fans "GU12" is another name card.

To foreigners Buriram fans may not be very impressive in terms of number and craziness, as we got Indonesia and others here in ASEAN. Actually with a population less than 2 millions in Buriram Province, it's not easy to fill up a 30000+ seats stadium. (Therefore an average attendances of nearly 20000 last season was already a great achievement, and was enough to be the No.1 in Thailand.) But with the boss's wife as the fans leader? That's something impressive. GU12, the core fans of Buriram, love to sing as a form of cheering. There is a pre-match song, a post-match song, and a playlist of match-going songs. Karuna surely loves singing. The fans are travelling everywhere with the team in huge number. Considering most of the Thai Premier League (TPL) clubs are located within or around the Bangkok region, and it took 7 hours on vehicle from Buriram to get there, GU12 are surely hardcore and loyal. The way to the north like Chiangrai, or to the south like Phuket are even longer and fans may even need to fly there. However this kind of away journey would only take place a few times a season, so we take 7 hours as the average one-way time, making it 14 hours for each away journey. Moreover, fans usually return home at the same night. Let's say the match finishes at 9 pm, then they will get home at 3 or 4 am, and perhaps need to work in the coming morning. And we're not talking about 10 to 20 fans, we're talking about 10 to 20 coaches of fans. Indeed it is something impressive is it not? There was a traffic accident on a Buriram fan bus a couple of weeks ago, getting many Buriram fans on the bus injured, probably because the fan bus had to be travelling back to Buriram at very late night. Poor good fans.
※ With less-than 2 millions of population, filling up the Thunder Castle especially on weekdays is not easy.

※ Video (↓) link : http://youtu.be/GVE1CFC1Oyg
http://youtu.be/GVE1CFC1Oyg※ This song can give people goose bumps.

※ Buriram fans always have to travel at night. Sadly loyalty couldn't avoid bad luck.

And of course the team itself is another name card.

Foreign players always catch people's eyes first when one first watch an ASEAN team play. Buriram went for African players at first. And it was the "Ghanaian Messi" Frank Acheampong first stole the spotlight. Frank once shocked the Asia with Buriram by demolishing the massive Guangzhou Evergrande with his unstoppable speed in an ACL match in Guangzhou China. He was later acquired by Belgium side Anderlecht with a transfer fee of 1 million euros which is still the record of TPL. It was a great deal for Buriram but they didn't repeat the formula by signing more Africans, instead they started setting their eyes on the Spanish market, as the Spanish were, and are still playing the best football on earth.
※ The African came first, with "Super Frank" Frank Acheampong leading the way.

Spanish defender Osmar Barba Ibáñez and forward Carmelo Gonzalez leaded the way, both with La Liga experiences, and are still at their prime age. Last season, after the departure of local coach Atthaphol Puspakom and Englishman Scott Cooper, Spanish coach Alejandro Menéndez were appointed to bring the team to a new level. Menéndez is a former Real Madrid B team coach with La Liga coaching experience as well. As Spanish became the style and the second language of the team, the new foreign players coming in are mainly Spanish and Argentinian. Japanese winger Kai Hirano from a J2 side filled the Asian player spot. And this season Buriram begin to have English striker Jay Simpson, a former Arsenal and Hull City striker signed last year after the transfer window, to be of full service on the front line. Jay is reportedly earning a weekly salary of 40000 pounds. Even though this figure is still not matched with those big names in the Chinese Super League, it is still big and is among the top-level in Asia. Perhaps it's not fair to compare Jay's salary to those in China, because the bosses of the top Chinese clubs are either from state-owned enterprises or real estate developers. And Chinese teams cannot survive without their massive foreign players.
※ Center back Osmar joined Korean side FC Seoul after winning every domestic trophies for Buriram during his one and a half seasons spell with the team.

※ Last season's top-scorer Carmelo remains with the team to challenge the ACL once again.

※ The Spanish head coach Menéndez with his Spanish coaching team, with Newin as the boss.

※ The signing of Jay Simpson suggests a more serious challenge to the ACL this season.

Buriram count on foreign players too, (if they're not good enough to be counted on then why signing them?) however, unlike Evergrande, Buriram have more local players who could share the goal-scoring job in ACL, and have local striker who is actually reliable. Let's say the now Chinese-famous Adisak Kraisorn. Adisak helped his country to humiliate China last year by scoring 2 goals in that famous 5-1 victory. He further upset the Chinese fans by hitting a stoppage time equalizer against the big spending Shandong Luneng in the ACL opener. And he ironically sent China through to the Asian Cup 2015 by pulling back a goal for Thailand in the 2-5 defeat against Lebanon, helping the Chinese, who were beaten by Iraq 1-3 at the same time, to merely surpass Lebanon by only a goal difference. Yet Adisak is still not a regular starter. The core local players of Buriram are all Thai international. However, the best Thai Internationals are shared by Muangthoung United as well, unlike Evergrande who have almost dominated the best. Therefore it is a bit misleading for media to refer Buriam as "Thai's Evergrande".
※ The transformation of Adisak : from "Chinese's nemesis" to "Chinese's savior". Headline (above): Thank you! The savior from Thailand helped kicking Camacho out (former China's head coach) and sending China through. Headline (below): Buriram's young gun saved China. 2 goals in Thai 5-1 China + Equalizer against Luneng in ACL.

※ Buriram United for season 2014.

These three name cards put together presented the image, the vision, the manpower, the financial power and the vast resources of Buriram. As for sustainability : Buriram boasted an impressive training center and one of the best youth squads in Thailand. The Buriram U-19 is the reigning Thai champion. They've huge potential but may not be ready for the first team now, therefore Newin acquired "Surin City FC" as Buriram's new "B" team this season for their U-19 or reserve players to further develop themselves before they're ready. The new Surin City will start from Division 2. The team have Africans. Yes, Buriram United repeat the formula not on the first team but here. We can now expect another Frank Acheampong coming up. Surin City's jersey is in green with a huge Buriram logo on the chest. To be frank I prefer the Buriram International Circuit's logo on the jersey. What if Surin City win the promotion to TPL in 2 years? No answer received yet. But it won't be happened until 2016 at least, so why not just wait and see.
※ The U-19 championship added icing on the cake of Buriram's dominance. The newly acquired Surin City FC will serve as a B team and a platform for Buriram's young talents.

※ A unique jersey. A must-have for jersey collectors.

So, with all the aforementioned efforts, the "Buriram United football system" has been completed. The system has been running smoothly and successfully. This system will be continuously running and fueling the big Buriram development plan. What if Chelsea come to Buriram for a match in summer? What if Buriram host an international youth soccer tournament, with youth players and their parents coming from all around the world who will help spreading the Buriram messages globally? Buriram may have bigger plans. Media had also referred Buriram United as "Thai's Manchester City". But Manchester City share much less responsibility in developing Manchester, as the city is already well developed. So even though Buriram is still behind Guangzhou Evergrande in ACL, and Manchester City is surely in another world, none of them can match Buriram's uniqueness. "Road to Asia's top 5" is the slogan and target of Buriram for this year. However, by watching their first two games in the ACL this season, it seems that the team still have a lot of work to do. Therefore I myself have made the decision to visit Buriram as one of the GU12, and to travel around Buriram for more intensive, more first hand, and more interesting stories. Please feel free to sponsor me. Thank you very much and sorry for my poor English.
※ The road to Asia's Top 5 begins at Asia's Top 10.

※ Newin Chidchob discusses the future of Buriram with its people.

※ What's in the mind of the mastermind? Keep calm and believe the unbelievable.

( With pictures and information from Buriram United's official facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/BuriramUTD )

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