Buriram right to sack Gama

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Updated: May 24, 2016
Alexandre Gama Buriram

Sacking season is upon us, with seven Premier League of Thailand (PLT) managers gone already, but it’s not that much of a surprise Alexandre Gama (pictured above, at his last game as manager) was fired by Buriram. Let’s look at his side’s record this season. They only got one point from six games in the Asian Champions League, they lost at home to their biggest rivals Muangthong for the first time ever, and then shortly after lost at home to Army. Their big star Theerathon also felt the need to move to Muangthong, which came out of nowhere. Sometimes you just need to freshen things up. That sometimes happens; Gama had the best part of two years at the Thunder Castle. They obviously had someone lined up, and it’s a good job for new boss Afshin Ghotbi to go into. I still fancy Buriram to go on a long unbeaten run in the second half of the season.

But a lot of sackings come too soon. In my opinion, you can’t build a successful club if you keep firing your coach. If the manager keeps changing, you have to ask yourself about the people appointing the coach: they have obviously been getting it wrong! You need time to evolve your squad of players. A new coach does not always want the players already in the squad, and you end up starting again. There is no continuity. Sticking by a manager can bring success. Both Mano Polking at Bangkok United and Joe (Teerasak Po-on) at Chiang Rai are having successful seasons, and they have been given time to build something.

As a manager you have to maintain good relationships with the chairman/director of football at the club, even after you get the sack, which is eventually inevitable. Never burn bridges. I still maintain a very good relationship with Madam Pang (pictured below) and her husband, even though she sacked me at Port. In fact, I recently went over to her house for a bite to eat to discuss the then vacant position of coach for the Thailand women’s national team. Madam Pang is general manager of the women’s team. She wanted to get my advice, and asked if I was interested in the position. I said I wasn’t, but was happy to help her out. I think they’ve made a very good appointment in Spencer Prior. He’s been in Asia for a while and has good experience in women’s football.

Madam Pang Port

A couple of teams (Pattaya United and Sisaket) were on the end of some real hammerings in last weekend’s Premier League games. It’s true, defences aren’t the best in Thailand, with attacking players to the fore. But that’s the same the world over. Teams want their full-backs pushing on, and neglect defending. When I’m manager, I want my full-back to defend first, not be an attacker. Some may say that’s negative, but to me it’s common sense. Teams should not be conceding four, five, six goals.

Emile Heskey was recently over in Thailand doing a sponsors event, and it reminded me of the time I nearly signed him over here. When I was manager at Army in 2014, Emile was over here helping out King Power, owners of Leicester City, in scouting out young Thai footballers to join their academy scheme in England. We asked Emile: Are you interested in playing? He had just finished playing in Australia, he ended up going back to England and signing for Bolton. We’ll never know how he would have fared. But look at other big names who have come over here. Robbie Fowler. Jay Boothroyd. Look at how that turned out. Sometimes you have got to be careful signing the so-called big names at the end of their careers. Often they are just there for the big payday.

I’m still very hopeful of getting back into the PLT as a manager, and have had some recent inquiries from clubs in both the Premier League and Division One. In the meantime, I’m going back over to Malaysia next month to do some punditry work for Astro TV during the European Championships. Of course, I hope England will do well; they’ll definitely get out of the group. In the knockout stages, you need people who score goals, and Vardy and Kane can certainly do that for England. As for who will win, you can’t look past the usual suspects: Spain, Germany and of course France, who are the hosts.

 

Gary Stevens is a former England international and two-time manager in the Premier League of Thailand. He currently lives in Bangkok.

Images: Facebook Buriram United/Madam Pang

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Thai Regional League, Thai FA Cup, Thai League Cup, AFC Champions League, AFC

ThaiGoals, Thailand Soccer, Thai Football, Premier League of Thailand, Thai Fixtures

Thailand National Team, Thai Grounds, Thai Division One, Thai Regional League, Thai FA Cup, Thai League Cup

ThaiGoals, Thailand Soccer, Thai Football, Premier League of Thailand, Thai Fixtures
Thai Regional League, Thai FA Cup, Thai League Cup, AFC Champions League, AFC
Thai Goals, Thailand National Team, Thai Grounds, Thai Division One, Thai Regional League, Thai FA Cup, Thai League Cup< ThaiGoals, Thailand Soccer, Thai Football, Premier League of Thailand, Thai Fixtures ThaiGoals, Thailand Soccer, Thai Football, Premier League of Thailand, Thai Fixtures
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