Former football player turned manager and commentator, Sasom Popprasert tells us why he recently left Thai Port for Newin Chidchob’s Buriram and how football is really a business.

I was born in Nakhon Sawan. I moved to Bangkok when I was 8 because my mother was killed in a car accident.

My father couldn’t look after me. He was a long distance truck driver so I had to live with my uncle in Thonburi.

I loved every kind of sport. Playing sports with friends everyday was just the most fun.

My teacher knew someone at Thai Port. He invited them to come and see the kids playing at my high school.

I was picked to play for the youth team even though I was playing volleyball as my main sport. I played for many teams but I played the longest for Kasikorn Thai.

I was never really a success for the national team. It was partly down to me but also because the coach didn’t really appreciate my skills.
There was no financial security back then. You didn’t earn much money playing football.

You can’t play forever so I decided to ask Brian Marcar [owner of BEC Tero Sasana], who then worked at Channel 3, if I could try being a sports reporter.

My first try at being a coach for [BEC Tero] didn’t go well. Then I started coaching the Thailand youth team before getting the job at Thai Port.

Politicians get involved with football so people get to know who they are. If the team does well, everyone is happy and the politician’s reputation improves. They have to be honest with the players.

I sacrificed myself to help the team [Thai Port] with their debts. I could have walked out, but I made it so Buriram had to pay to acquire me. If the club can’t pay the player and they just quit, that’s not fair. I’m sad about leaving but I can handle it.

I get goose bumps every time I see a motorcycle driver wearing the Thai Port shirt. It’s what they love. Every time I come to Thai Port, I am still proud.

No matter where I am, Thai Port will still be in my heart and my thoughts. But I have to go. And once I leave, I put on the Buriram hat.

I prefer being a coach. I want to prove to myself that I can do it. It’s my dream to be the national coach. Once I’ve made it, I’ll see if I can handle it.

When I’ve reached my limit, my instincts tell me what to do next. It’s a strange thing.

It took a hundred years for football in Europe to get where it is. We’ve just started playing football professionally. The footballers must learn, I must learn, the fans must learn, the referees must learn, everyone must learn.

As a professional, you have to be strong in your heart, your mind, your discipline, but you also have to learn to change. It takes time.

We need to spend money on training our young teams. Right now, the Thai national team is really low on good players. So low that the same players are used again and again. This is dangerous.

Soccer and size are related. Size is essential. But, even if you’re 130 cm tall, anyone will want you, if you’re good like Messi.

It doesn’t mean anything if you score a good goal but don’t win the championship.

I am a fighter. I was raised and taught to fight all my life. That’s what I want to teach my players as well, to be serious and smart.

A coach’s career walks a very fine line; without success, who would hire you? Without my record, would Newin Chitchob have chosen me? He could choose anybody else in world.

Football is also a business. You can bring in politics or whatever, you can sell ads, anything to start making profits. You should do anything to make a profit.

Education and sports have always had a problem with each other. People who come to play sports have to miss some education.

Football is a not sport, it’s entertainment. Every fan in the crowd is our customer. If you’re entertaining, you will keep getting customers. If not, they go see another show.

I want my own football team. It won’t be for a long time, but I’ve started to dream of it.

You have to give people chances. One of my players Ekapoom used to be a motorcycle taxi driver. Or Annawin, who used to be a drug dealer. Now he plays football and earns money. This proves that these kids can change.


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