United ready and prepared for 2011 kick-off

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Home games switched to Chonburi for first half of season

With the start of the 2011 Thai Premier League season looming large, Pattaya United held a press conference last Friday at the Central Beach shopping mall to introduce the team’s new players to the fans and outline the club’s plans and ambitions for the upcoming campaign.

With new main sponsor True Corp. on board, the club has allocated a budget of 50 million baht to be spent on strengthening the first team squad and also retaining the services of players who performed well last season.

The club board of directors and sponsors join hands as a show of unity for the upcoming Thai Premier League season. The club board of directors and sponsors join hands as a show of unity for the upcoming Thai Premier League season.

The first new faces to be introduced to the fans are three Japanese players, two of whom already have experience of playing football in Thailand.

Defender Hiroyuki Yamamoto has been signed from fellow Thai Premier League outfit TTM Pichit for whom he made 19 appearances last season.  The 31-year old stopper spent most of his earlier career playing in either his homeland or for S-League team Albirex Niigata in Singapore.  He is expected to bring some much needed experience to the Pattaya back line.

Yamamoto’s compatriot Keisuke Ogawa played at Chiang Rai FC last season before being snatched up by United after his contract expired.  Ogawa will add some pace on the flanks as an attacking full back and he has already begun to show his worth with a fine display in the 6-0 pre-season victory over Ubon recently.

The third Japanese import brought in during the close season is midfielder Kazuya Myodo, the 24 year old having been signed from Albirex Niigata on a free transfer.

Players from the Pattaya United squad pose for a photo at a press conference held at Central Beach shopping mall on Friday, Feb. 4.Players from the Pattaya United squad pose for a photo at a press conference held at Central Beach shopping mall on Friday, Feb. 4.

To complete the list of new foreign faces for the new season, United have also strengthened their attacking options with the signing of Nigerian forward Ojimi Garbriel Obatola.  Known simply as “O.J.” to his fans, the African striker was voted young player of the year in 2009 while playing for Gombok United in the Singapore S-League.  He then went on to play for Portland Timbers in the United States, where he enjoyed mixed fortunes, before being enticed to join Pattaya for the 2011 Thai Premier League season.

On the domestic front four new Thai players have joined the squad; Chompu Sengpo and Pairoj Anantanarong come in from Sisaket FC and PTT Rayong FC respectively, while goalkeeper Wichan Preedaboon and midfielder Anuwat Inyin have both been recruited from newly promoted Air Force United FC.

Pattaya’s new Head Coach, Jatuporn Pramuanban, said that most of the first team squad had been in full training since December and the players are as ready as they can be for the new challenge.  Jatuporn said the club had high hopes this year of bettering last year’s sixth placed finish and would be looking to put in a sustained tilt at the league title.

In his address to the supporters gathered at Central Beach, Pattaya Mayor Ittiphol Khumplome, in his role as Pattaya United club Chairman of Advisor, said that despite great efforts, the remedial work on the Nongprue Stadium to bring it up to Thai Premier League standards was still some way off completion.  As a result, the club has been forced to seek out temporary new accommodation and will consequently play all its ‘home’ games for the first half of the season at the Stadium of the Institute of Physical Education in Chonburi, opposite the Sripatum University on Sukhumvit Road.

The Mayor apologized for the inconvenience this will cause supporters but the club have said that they will do all they can to lay on sufficient transportation for fans looking to go to the home matches, and supporters wishing to attend the game against Bangkok Glass this coming Saturday should contact the club office on Pattaya 3rd Road by calling 038 414 453 or 038 425 077 for all the latest transport and travel information.

It is hoped that the renovations to the Nongprue Stadium will be completed in time for the second half of the season.

Don’t forget to check the sports pages of the Pattaya Mail each week for all the updated news on the Thai Premier League.