Soccer fans in Bangkok are enjoying the ultimate treat this month with English Premier League League giants Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea visiting Thailand's capital city to play against local teams.
Chelsea’s Bangkok tour will run from July 12-18, culminating in a match against a Thailand All Star team on the 17th when the two sides will compete for the Singha Cup.
The squad’s Bangkok itinerary also includes a soccer clinic at Bangkok’ Super Kick stadium, charity appearances and a sightseeing cruise along the Chaopraya River. Some of the training sessions will also be open to the public, according to Jaturon Himathongkom, Singha Corporation’s marketing director.
“This will be the first time two English Premier League teams visit Bangkok at the same time,” Jaturon told the Thai press earlier this year, before Liverpool’s tour was confirmed, making it a hat-trick of top UK teams.
Manchester United are also Asia's City of Angels from July 11th to 13th, undoubtedly still riding high from their recent success in last season’s Premier League championship. The world's most popular team will also visit Australia, Japan and Hong Kong as part of their tour of the Asia-Pacific region.
Liverpool FC, who last visited Thailand in 2009, are playing at Bangkok's Rajamangala National Stadium on 28 July. The Thai Kingdom is currently home to an estimated 14 million Liverpool supporters, and the lucky few that get to see their idols play will be thrilled to see the return of the reds.
“Our last visit to Thailand was during the pre-season tour in 2009, when we received such a warm welcome from our fans. Since our last visit, we have created strategic partnerships to maintain the club’s presence in the region,” Ian Ayre, managing director of Liverpool FC told The Nation newspaper, and Brendan Rodgers, the club's manager.
added that players who went on the last tour to Thailand were really excited about back. "I’ve heard a lot about the passion and dedication of the fans in Thailand," he said. "We plan to bring them some great football.”
Thailand's Singha All-Star team have been training hard before competing in the friendly fixtures. The Thai side features a number of Thai international players, selected by coach Piyapong Pue-on from seven Thai Premier League clubs. Muang Thong’s Teerasil Dangda, Datsakorn Thongalao, Kim Yoo Jin and Ri Kwang Chon are among the players set to take to the pitch Also in the line-up are Teerathep Winothai, Chartree Chimtalay, Tosaporn Srimuang and Sompong Soleb.
Singha's sponsorship deals with big Premier League clubs has definitely brought the players closer to their Thai fan base. The company recently announced an alliance Carlsberg, which now sponsors the EPL, adding further links with Thailand. Liverpool's Bangkok visit was hailed as a result of connections with the Danish brewery and reports suggest the partnership will also see the EPL's other leading teams, Arsenal and Tottenham visit the Thai capital.
Meanwhile, back in January, Manchester United extended its partnership with the Singha, which will now last until 2016, while Chelsea followed suit, with the club recently announcing it has signed a new five-year deal until 2017.