Tired of spending your weekends at malls, markets or the movies? We head to two of Bangkok’s leading Thai Premier League Clubs, Thai Port and Muangthong United, to talk to the mascots, the pretties and the fans and find out why an afternoon cheering at the football might just become your new favorite hobby.

Sirichai Moollek, 36

a driver for a logistics company, is a loyal fan of Sisaket FC, attending almost every one of their matches since they reached the TPL.

How often do you follow them?
Nearly every match. I keep up with them by e-mail or Facebook. Last time I went to Pichit by charter bus after the all fans pitched in. I took the bus with other fans all from Samut Prakan where my company is located.
Why Sisaket?
They’re my home town team. I’m so proud that we’re cheering for a local team, not for foreign teams, like the English premier league. I also like their style of playing.
What’s your cheering style?
I ask my fellow fans to cheer politely. Whether we’re winning, losing or drunk, we have to make sure not to get carried away.
What do you want to say for those who haven’t attended a game yet?
If you want to see Thailand in the World Cup, then we have to support them.

Chanadda Somapa, 24

a saleswoman, fell in love with Muangthong United three months ago and now can’t stop coming.

How did you become interested in football?
I had heard about Muangthong, but really wasn’t that interested. Then when I attended my first game, I saw they play very well, and I haven’t missed a match since. I like the goalkeeper, Gavin Dhamsajjanund, most, because he plays very maturely, with his brain, even though he’s quite young.
Do you follow them around?
Yes, I went to Chonburi with my boyfriend to cheer for them. It was about B2,000 for the whole trip.
Which was your most memorable match?
The one they played against Buriram F.C. The ticket sales were a record B2 million! We didn’t score, but it was still a great match.

Pongpisut Niyomtham, 28

an HR worker at TOT, tells us why he ignored his company’s football team and became a drummer for Ultra Muangthong, allegedly the best cheer group in Thailand.

When did you start cheering for Muangthong United?
Since 2009, about a year after they started playing. The team is near my home so it’s really convenient. I started out as a normal fan but then the Ultras needed a drummer at a match, and I asked to try out. Now we have a couple of drummers who rotate.
How often do you attend?
Last year I went to nearly every away match Muangthong played. But this year I picked only nearby stadiums because I now have a family. I’ve only missed two matches, though—Chonburi and Chiang Rai.
Why do you like them?
The coach and the team members are really accessible, like brothers. We’re really close. If we have any comments, we will tell our head cheer, then he will talk to the team about the problems.
Any memorable matches?
When we played at Rayong against the Navy team. We only had 200 fans with two drums but we roared so loudly, we buried the Navy fans, who had at least 5,000 people.
How do you feel about politics in Thai Football?
Politics and football don’t get along very well. Though we’re against the chairman of the Thai FA, we really need to change the whole system. Last year, the FA performed badly. They got hundreds of millions of baht for their budget, but they managed it very badly. I think there is corruption afoot for sure.
What do you have to say to those who haven’t attended a game yet?
I’d ask them to try. It’s not nearly as dangerous as they might think. Supporting local teams is way better than cheering for foreign leagues. You can see them for real, not just on a screen. We can touch them.

Chanid Wongharm, 32

an engineer at Amata Industrial Estate in Chonburi, tells about how he started as a fan of Chonburi FC before becoming a head cheer for Sisaket FC.

How did you become head cheer?
It may be because l dare to scream and play with the other fans. After getting this title, I do my best. Last year I never missed a match. This year I’ve managed 70% of the home matches and all the away games.
What are Sisaket fans like?
I am very thankful to Chonburi and Muangthong who pioneered the team cheer culture. Sisaket used to have rude cheers like “Get the fuck out of my way!” and other bad words. But now we scream only “Sisaket Su Su” or our cheer songs. We can have as many as 7,000 fans at away game.
How do you get such a loyal following?
Getting people on the internet isn’t enough. I ask existing fans to bring five friends along. They realize it’s really fun and keep doing it and then ask their friends to do the same. I even ran into an old friend who I hadn’t seen in 12 years. It’s amazing.
How do you control the fans?
Friends keep an eye on their friends. If they find someone being rude or throwing things, they will stop them. Thrown bottles and shoes will tarnish the whole Sisaket province.

Akarat Tokaew,

31, a Sisaket municipal official, who never misses a single home game, is at his first away match.

What’s it like being an away fan?
I’m really impressed by the huge number of Sisaket fans here. I never thought there would be this many.
How did you get here?
I came by car with five of my friends, and we split everything from gas to hotels. After the game, we will sleep overnight before driving home. I also took the day off after the game, so we can travel a bit before going home.
How long have you been coming to watch Sisaket?
About three years, when they were still in Division 1. Back then the tickets were free, or about B20. I also bought every shirt. At games, I do everything—cheering, singing, blowing the horn.
How do you feel about Thai football getting so popular?
I’m really happy. I have followed the English Premier League for so long. I am a fan of Liverpool, but now we have our own team. I want Sisaket to have a good stadium like the one Buriram has. I want more people come to support Thai football. I don’t expect that we will go to World Cup soon but we should try to become a leading team in Asia, like Japan.

Yongyut Gonggaew, 35

an animal carer at the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Science, photographs memorable moments from Sisaket games around town.

When did you start showing up to Sisaket games?
Just last year, after they got into the Premier League. I am from Sisaket province so I cheer for them. I only follow them in Bangkok or close by.
Who do you come with?
At first I would come alone, but then my wife and my 7-year-old son wanted to come too, so I bring them to watch the games with me. They’re also here today. My son knows all the team songs.
Why do you take photos?
I love taking photos. I started taking photos when I was 19. I upload them to the Sisaket webboard. My username is Bor Bui.
What is the charm of cheering at the stadium?
I meet people who love the same thing as me—football and photography. I met a lot of people who come from Sisaket, too, and it feels like I’m in my hometown. The culture of fans coming to cheer makes Thai football more interesting.

Katedithee Chalermwan, 24

aka Funwan, tells us about her first time as a pretty for the Sisaket team.

What do you do normally?
I’m a professional pretty, and I have an internet shop at Victory Monument. This is my first time working for Sisaket, and it’s their first time enlisting pretties. They told us that we have to go wherever the team is playing.
What is your experience at the stadium like?
It’s pretty good. I met a lot of fans and everybody enjoys the game. They’re really devoted to the team. I want to invite those who haven’t attended yet to please come support local teams, so we can make it to the World Cup some day.

Pornchai Yuenyung, 39

sells dried squid and noodles outside the Thai Port ground.

How often do you come?
All the time. It’s good for my business and I get to watch my favorite team play. Sometimes I even go see Thai Port at other stadiums as long as it’s in Bangkok. They are like my brothers.
How does the football affect your life and your business?
It relaxes me and gives me something to do. Before this, I watched the English league. I wasn’t into it that much because I could only watch it on TV. But being able to see the real thing live is a superb experience. Not to mention I can sell a lot more, so it makes coming to work a lot more fun.

Kiatpong Meesiri, 40

co-owner of a print house, is a regular at the Thai Port home games.
How often do you come?
A lot because it’s close to my office and I have a lot of friends here. Actually my favorite team is Bangkok United but Thai Port is more accessible, so I come watch almost every home match. Sometimes I even go to their away matches, too.
What keeps you coming?
I like the feeling when I hear the cheering even when the team is losing. The power that the crowd sends to the players is very intense. You see sweaty faces and shirts and everyone has faith in what they love. You cannot find this power in a lot of places.

Porntep Cheaynim, 27

works in the secretariat of a tobacco factory and is one of the drummers for Thai Port.

What’s your relationship with the team?
I play the drums for them. Sometimes if they don’t have the drums for me, I’ll just sing for them. Though I only watch home matches, I’ve been coming since I was a kid. I drum for Thai Port because the drum team I joined belongs to the Thai Port Authority.
What impresses you about the team?
I like how harmonious they are. Every time I cheer for them, I never feel tired or disappointed, even when they lose. Their style of playing inspires me.
How do you feel about the Thai League?
I like it better than other foreign leagues because it represents Thai-ness and I get to be involved fully. It’s something tangible. I feel I can touch it.
What do you want to say to others who haven’t been to a game?
It is one thing you should do at least once in your life. I’m sure that even if you’re not into football, you will still enjoy the crowd and the atmosphere. Don’t think of it as a dangerous place to be. People here aren’t aggressive like most people think.

Charoen Pandee, 32

normally works as a goods assorter at the Thai Port Authority, but come match day, he becomes the Thai Port lion mascot.

How did you become the mascot?
I’ve been working at the port my entire life. I’ve been through everything with them since the very beginning. At first there was no one who wanted to wear the lion outfit. So, I thought that’s something I can do for the people here and the team that I love. You don’t have to know how to play football to play a part.
Do you enjoy it?
Of course I love it. The kids like me, the fans like me, everybody likes me. I feel honored to be the symbol of this team. I go with them everywhere, even when they have a match out of town.
What’s the charm of cheering live at the stadium?
It is more intense, your adrenaline really gets pumping. You also get to know more people and make some new friends who share the same interest. You get to be a part of something that is bigger than just you.

Peter Hockley, 60

teaches at an international school, and has been coming to watch Thai Port for two years now.

How did you get interested in Thai football?
I started coming with a group of friends. To be honest I was pretty disrespectful, I’d seen it on TV and I thought the football was a bit of a joke. But as soon as I came and felt the atmosphere and saw the fans, I was sold. Plus the standard has really improved this season.
Why do you enjoy coming so much?
It’s become a bit of a ritual. We come down early, have a few beers and soak up the atmosphere. I even bring meat pies for everyone, so it’s like going to the football back in England. I love seeing new teams and different players every week. I really care about the results now. If they lose, it really does spoil my weekend.
Why do you follow Thai Port?
It’s a ten minute motorbike ride from my house. The atmosphere is superb. Thai Port fans are a bit special: it’s really a family orientated club. We’ve also been made so welcome. We feel like we’re now part of the club.
What would you say to people thinking of coming to a game?
Come, give it a try. It’s really a great experience and great value for money. Anybody with any interest in football will find it a lot of fun.

Lek Soda, 29

a hotel membership salesman, he leads the Thai Port fans in their cheering.

What brings you here?
I have always been involved with football and been around Thai Port for more than 10 years. I go with them to every match. Watching football has become my hobby. It’s fun and it’s a nice place to expand your network of friends.
How did you start leading the cheers?
I think it started because I’ve been here all the time. People in the club recognize me. I’m like the senior member. Maybe my friendly personality makes me well knowwith these people.
Is there ever any trouble?
About three months ago, Thai Port and Muangthong had a fight during the match. The players started to jump on each other, then the crowd were throwing Leo beer bottles. It was a kind of legendary event.
What’s your best memory about following Thai Port?
It was actually the same match against Muangthong. Even though we lost, Thai Port still won my heart with their tactics and their spirit. Even when the referee is a little crooked, the spirit of everyone, the players and the fans, is unwavering.

Where to watch Bangkok’s Premier League teams

Army United

Stadium: Army Stadium, Din Daeng
Website: www.rtafan.com
Nickname: Green Army / Soldiers
How to get there: The stadium is situated on Vibhavadi Road across from Surasakmontri School close to Din Daeng Expressway. Or just catch any bus that says ‘Anusawaree or ‘Din Daeng’ to get there. Call 02-616-8893.
Ticket price: B100 for regular seating, B200 for superior seating, and B300 for VIP. Members get 50% discount.

Bangkok Glass

Stadium: Leo Stadium, Pathum Thani
Website: www.bangkokglassfc.com
Nickname: Glass Rabbits
How to get there: This one takes quite an effort as it’s located in Rangsit, Klong 4, Pathum Thani. If you live in the city, take the BTS to either Victory Monument or Mo Chit, then grab a cab. Call 02-648-6100 ext. 6148.
Ticket price: B200 for VIP zone. The Leo Stand and Singha Stand for families are B120 each, and regular seating is B100.

BEC Tero

Stadium: Thephasadin Stadium, Pathumwan
Website: www.becterosasana.in.th
Nickname: Fire Dragons
How to get there: This season, BEC have moved to the centrally located Thephasadin Stadium, which means they are just a short walk from National Stadium BTS. Just take exit 2 and the ground is on your left hand side. Call 02-262-3919.
Ticket price: For Dragon fans, the ticket is B80 per game, B100 for away fans. Students get in for B30.

Insee Police United,

Stadium: Thammasat Stadium, Rangsit, Pathum Thani
Website: www.pufc.co.th
Nickname: The Policemen
How to get there: This stadium is also one of the uptown venues. The cheapest way is to take the BTS all the way to Mo Chit and then get a public van from the BTS parking space, which will take you to Thammasat University, Rangsit Campus. Call 02-986-8808.
Ticket price: B50 and B100 for Insee fans, B100 and B200 for away fans. Students in uniform get in for B20.

Muangthong United

Stadium: Yamaha Stadium, Nonthaburi
Website: www.mtutd.tv
Nickname: Twin Qilins
How to get there: The club is at Muangthong Thani behind the Impact Hall. The stadium is next to the Thunder Dome concert venue. Call 02-503-4050-1.
Ticket price: Starts from B80-B200 for premier league game. The price can rise for other competitions.

Thai Port

Stadium: PAT Stadium.
Website: www.thaiportfc.com
Nickname: Port Lions / Khlong Toey Army
How to get there: PAT Stadium, is situated on Suntornkosa Road close to the Port Expressway ramp and near to Rama IV. There is plenty of parking in the streets nearby. Otherwise get a taxi from Klong Toei MRT or get the number 74 bus that goes past the club shop. Call 02-671-9250.
Ticket price: Season ticket is B1,500 (including a free home shirt) or B80 per home game.

TOT-CAT F.C.

Stadium: Chaeng Wattana Stadium, Lak Si
Website: www.tot-catfc.com
Nickname: The Phoenixes
How to get there: The club is located at TOT headquarter on Chaeng Wattana Road. Call 02-589-5051.
Ticket price: One price at B80 but members can get discounts of up to 50%.
Keep up to date with all the latest TPL fixtures, news and results at http://tinyurl.com/3hdw6ng

Pitch Fights

Get in touch with your inner Beckham at these top footy pitches. By Ubonwan Kerdtongtawee

S-One

This is an indoor arena with seven-a-side, 35x50-meter pitches. Each pitch is made of soft artificial grass with a video recorder and a wide LCD screen. Other facilities are air-conditioned locker rooms, free Wi-Fi, an internet cafe and restaurants. You can get a referee for B200, and a DVD of the match for B300 (subsequent copies are B50 each). The fee is B1,300 for Mon-Fri 9am-3pm. 3pm-1am and it’s B1,500 on weekends.
1706 Bangna-Trad Rd. km. 4, 02-746-7430-3. http://www.s-one.in.th.

Arena 10

This luxe indoor pitch is surrounded by various bars and restaurants and has world-class pitches covered in 6cm-tall artificial grass imported from Italy. The five-a-side pitch is 19x27 meters, B1,200 on Mon-Fri from 9am-4pm. After that and on weekends, it’s B1,500. For the seven-a-side pitch (27x45 meters) count B2,000 on Mon-Fri from 9am-4pm. 4pm-midnight and B2,500 Sat-Sun. The price includes electricity, top quality balls, and goalkeepers’ gloves.
225/11 Thong Lor Soi 10, Sukhumvit 55, 02-711-6644, 086-326-2133. http://www.arena10.com.

The PAC Sport Center

This might be quite far from the city but its high-standard full-function sports club makes it worth the drive. The pitch is officially approved by FIFA and granted FIFA 2 Star standard. The seven-a-side pitch is B700 from 8am-6pm, B900 afterwards. Yoga classes, martial arts, and fitness facilities are also on site.
488/1 Rama2 Rd., 086-321-7132, 083-920-2000. http://www.thepacsportscenter.com.

Crystal

Three pitches: the Crystal Ground is a 95x55-meter, 11-a-side, outdoor with real, soft “Paspalum” grass. The other two, Crystal North and South, are seven-a-side, indoor, 20x40 meters, with 5cm-high artificial grass. For the Crystal Ground, you can play with officials for B6,000 on Wed-Fri or, on weekends and public holidays, for B7,000. For Crystal North and Crystal South, it’s B1,300 from 8am-5pm, B1,500 afterwards until 1am. Referee upon request for B150 per hour.
64 Ekkamai-Ramintra Rd., 02-515 0755, 082-085 0755. http://www.crystalfc.co.th.

Premiere Football Club

Consisting of two real-grass football fields, a standard 65x100-meter one for 11-a-side and another for seven-a-side, with enough locker rooms and showers for both teams. The fee is B4,300 per two-hour session on the bigger field. B2,500 for a two-hour session on the smaller pitch.
918 La Salle Rd., Bangna, 089-783-8798.