Fans of the Hangover films will remember the moment in Part 2, when having just about given up all hope, the protagonists solve the mystery of their missing friend, Teddy.

Sitting in a riverside restaurant in Bangkok, a power outage triggers the memory and leads them to their hotel lift, where Teddy was trapped after a power cut the previous day.

The rather lazy scriptwriting led the audience to believe that such problems with electrical supply were an everyday occurrence in Thailand’s capital city. The truth is, they are not, though recent events at the PAT Stadium might lead many to believe that the writers of the second of the Hangover films had a point.

For the second time in three weeks, Port FC saw the lights go out on matchday as they prepared to host Muang Thong United in a keenly anticipated clash. Fans were already milling outside and some were in the stadium when it became apparent that all was not well.

Rather than respond with transparency to the emerging problem that appeared to have been caused by the generator – loud bangs had been heard and smoke had been seen – the club decided to pretend that nothing was going on and hoped that some desperate repair work could solve the problem and save face. 

News blackout

The media who were already in place were not allowed to leave, while no one else was allowed in as security goons patrolled the area behind the main stand, near the alleged offending generator. 

The goons were also checking the phones of journalists and telling them not to take and share photos of the developing drama. This was shameful treatment of the people there to do a job and did anyone really think that with fans already in the stadium, word would not get out?

At one point the security team could be seen forming a human chain in front of the generator as if they were protecting a high value target from a mob of protestors. 

As tension built and nerves frayed, hope gave way to resignation as it became clear the match would not go ahead. After club owner Nualphan Lamsuan departed the scene in her Rolls Royce, the tension evaporated and the crowds trooped home. 

A series of unfortunate events

Three weeks ago, the power had failed with just a couple of minutes remaining in Port’s home match with Police Tero with the score tied at 1-1. The hosts were forced to forfeit the match and Tero were awarded a 2-0 victory.

There were no problems off the pitch the following week, though the 1-0 home defeat to BG Pathum United did lead to the dismissal of head coach Jadet Meelarp.

On Sunday, Port were hoping for a fifth win in seven league matches against Muang Thong United when the electrics scuppered hopes of lifting fan spirits after a difficult period.

Port started the year with big dreams and were considered very much as major title contenders when the season restarted last month. Since then, the club has had more attention than any other for all the wrong reasons.

In the midst of a pandemic when most clubs were tightening their belts, Port were splashing the cash to try and bring that coveted T1 title within their grasp.

But the club with apparently the most to spend cannot keep the electricity in its stadium in working order. Once could be out down to bad luck, but twice in such a short space of time is bringing the game into disrepute. 

In a country where losing face is something to avoid at all costs, Port have embarrassed themselves and all of Thai football with recent bungling.

It remains to be seen if the Thai League will take a hard line and award the three points to Muang Thong, or if Port can use Force Majeure as an explanation and have the match rescheduled.

Paul Murphy

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