Reds of the World will be a series of interviews with supporters from around the globe. If you’d like to participate, get in touch with me via Twitter, @kframpton.
I’m so excited for ROTW this time as we journey to Southeast Asia and the Kingdom of Thailand! Specifically, we’re off to Bangkok – home to more than 14 million Thais.
Our gracious host is Pimparat Ganthadhagur, or simply Beckkaew to her mates. She has answered our famous questionnaire and her Red Army Fan club have provided some terrific photos of their get-togethers.
They’ve been busy watching MUFC Masters football, but give them a follow here:
@beckkaew | @rafc1994 | www.redarmyfc.com
Who are you and where are you from?
Sawasdee ka! I’m “BECKKAEW”. I’m 32 and the secretary of Manchester United Supporters Club in Thailand “Red Army Fanclub”. I’m from Bangkok.
How did you come to support Manchester United?
When I was a little girl I loved playing and watching football.
World Cup 1990 was the year I came to know about English Football because I was an England supporter.
My first experience with United was in the 97/98 season. My classmates in high school were almost all fans of Liverpool. I have no idea why.
And when I followed the English Premier League, I found that the best team actually is Manchester United. I began to study the history of the team. The history very much impresses me. That is why I became a Manchester United supporter.
Who is your favourite current player and why?
Wayne Rooney. I like to follow the development of young players in England – and Rooney was a fantastic young player.
I saw him for the first time when he was 16 years old and still playing for Everton. The first player in a rival team I admired very much.
When United signed him it made me very happy and I still support him now. I am proud to see that he’s the current team captain. I want to see him lift trophies with United.
Who is your favourite past player and why?
David Beckham. At first, I didn’t like him much. I thought he was not good enough just because many girls were crazy about his looks.
But I changed my mind after World Cup 1998. He proved himself after his foolish actions which brought the ‘boos’ of many people. Became a hero for club and country. He was a highly committed player and always worked hard.
What is your favourite MUFC moment?
UEFA Champions League Final, 1999. Greatest comeback in football history. As we say, “United Never Die!”
When the game was live, it was midnight in Thailand. When the end of the match came during early morning I was crying a lot at that moment, tears of happiness.
Have you ever been to Old Trafford or seen the club live on tour?
Both. Three times seeing the club live on tour and two trips to Old Trafford.
As for tours, the first time was in my country, Thailand, in 2001. The second time in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2009 and the third in Bangkok again in 2013.
My first trip to Old Trafford was in October 2013. I watched three matches in the ‘Theatre of dreams’ – two Premier League and one UEFA Champions League.
My second trip was this year in April 2015 to see the Manchester Derby Match. United beat City 4-2. Great atmosphere!
How do you typically watch MUFC matches? And if United kick off at 15.00 in Manchester, what time is it in your country?
I never miss watching a United match. Sometimes I watch it at home and sometimes I watch it with our supporter’s club members at the pub called “Champions Bar” – this is our regular place. Kick off time here is 21.00 in summer time and 22.00 in winter time.
Is football the most popular sport in your country? What others do people watch?
Yes, football is the most popular sport in my country. Thailand fans all have a team in the Premier League that they support.
For other sports, we watch volleyball, boxing, sepak takraw, badminton and tennis.
[Editor’s note – Sepak Takraw is basically foot volleyball, played with a rattan ball. It’s very popular in many southeast Asian nations and has a dedicated cult following here in Canada, too!]
Where will MUFC finish in the Premier League this season?
I still have hope that we’ll get the trophy though it might look harder than during Sir Alex Ferguson’s time. The team’s style of play is not comfortable for the fans yet. But who knows, anything can happen.
Will MUFC win a trophy this season? If yes, which one[s]?
Premier League or FA Cup, any one of them will make United’s fans happy because UCL may be hard to get this season.