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Mayor Ma-Ann Samran is the surprise new president of Phuket FC

Beach Battle Mayor Ma-Ann Samran is New President of Phuket FC

Tuesday, December 29, 2015
PHUKET: The surprise appointment as new president of Phuket FC is controversial Cherng Talay Mayor, Ma-Ann Samran.

He told Phuketwan today that he was taking on the job with a different set of aims to previous administrators.

''We will create a Phuket league of 18 clubs and draw on that base for players at Phuket FC,'' he said. ''To build a great club we need a great fan base in a great community first.''

Mayor Ma-Ann is best known in the expat Phuket world for his stance on beach vendors and the illegal beach clubs and restaurants that still dot some Phuket foreshores.

But his love of football is familiar to fans across the holiday island.

''We don't have any vast budget to throw at 'buying' a rise next year from Division Two to Division One, then Premier League,'' he said.

''What I plan to do is build a culture that will work for Phuket in all kinds of ways.''

Mayor Ma-Ann, who recently won a court battle against a litigious illegal beach restaurant ''owner,'' says the results of his club rebuilding plan won't be evident for at least two or three years.

''We will get youngsters involved with the Phuket league and the best players will graduate to play for Phuket FC,'' he said. ''People will come to support thier children. Fans will no longer demand instant success, bought with cash.

''Football is a great game and Phuket is a great home for tourists and for a great game. Other places have developed a sensible method for development of local teams.

''Phuket can do it, too. Sport is also great to keep children off drugs.

''Aiming to be in Division One after the next season won't build a better community or a better future for our kids through sport.''

Mayor Ma-Ann - now entitled to be called President Ma-Ann thanks to his Phuket FC appointment - has been warned by the previous holder of the position that he will need a budget to sustain the holiday island's football club.

''We will see what can be achieved,'' he said. ''But from now on we are aiming to build a culture and a team, not buy a team.''

Phuket FC slipped back to Division Two this year and former club chairman Pamuke Acariyachai announced soon after that he was no longer prepared to financial support the club.

He estimated that supporting Phuket FC had cost his Kata Group 200 million baht over three years.


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