Mr Thammawat called on local football fans to get behind the team as they play their first home game of the season this coming Sunday against Krabi FC at Surakul Stadium in Wichit.
“Phuket used to have a football team that was renowned in the country,” Mr Thammawat told an eager audience. “Now the city has no fully professional team and with my position as President of the Phuket Sports Association and the Sports Commission of Thailand, I want to push Phuket City FC back into the professional league where it belongs.
“So I called on Therdsak Chaiman to join the club as the new manager. Therdsak had a great career as a player and manager at Chonburi FC and also played for the national team for many years," he said.
“I am very confident about the team this season. We have foreign players, and a great manager and I am confident we will move up to Thai League 2,” Mr Thammawat said proudly.
“This Sunday (Feb 17) we will play our first home game at Surakul Stadium, Phuket and we invite everyone to come and watch the game for free, which will be broadcast live on Channel 8.”
The team’s new manager, Therdsak Chaiman was also at the launch. He explained that when he was asked to manage the club he decided to accept the offer as Phuket has not had a professional team for a long time.
“I want the people of Phuket to enjoy football in their city just like other major cities,” he said. “I want the people of Phuket to come out and support the players and cheer for us as we fight for promotion to Thai League 2.”
Phuket City FC announced its termination in November 2017 after the club was unable to pay FIFA-issued fines totalling B83 million. (See story here.)
Subsequently, Chonburi FC took over the island’s football representation by replacing Banbueng FC in Thai League 3 with a newly formed ‘Phuket City FC’.
As the original Phuket City players dispersed, heaps of players were brought in from Chonburi FC on loan and although the ‘new’ club was branded as ‘Phuket City FC’, it was, and still is recognised as Banbueng FC by the Football Association of Thailand (FAT).
In essence, the club is formed of Chonburi FC players playing out of Surakul Stadium in Phuket.
At yesterday’s launch, the club’s president was joined by the players who were sporting the new team kit which, just as it did in the first season last year, has the Banbueng FC logo printed on it alongside the Phuket City FC logo.
When the club announced its termination in 2017, they released a statement that read, “Dear our beloved fans, since we have been questioned about our logo, we would like to clarify that at this time we cannot change our club’s name or even the logo in this year 2018 due to the regulations of the FAT, so our logo will remain the same.”
The club now enters its second season with new signings, a new manager and a new president, giving fans fresh hope that the island will soon have a premier league club.
All they need now is the island’s support...and a new name.