Thai-king Footy

THAI-king Footy

Sawasdee Mister Floreat Picans and Mister Almanackers.

The last place I expected to be talking footy with the locals was in the faraway tropical land known for its sporting pursuits of Soccer, Boxing and a derivation of the game we know as Table Tennis!

But, you could have knocked me down with a Nathan Lonie bump as I experienced a Philippe Miseree* travelling experience that led its way to our great Australian game, on our end of season family trip to Phuket.

It was late in the evening on an uncharacteristically subdued Patong night. It was the King’s Birthday and Phuket was one big Dry Area where no alcohol could be served until the stroke of midnight. It was a largely disappointing day for me as, sadly, unlike the Aussie Queen’s Birthday equivalent, there was no traditional blockbuster clash between the Pies and the Dees either. No beer and no footy, what sort of a celebration is that – it’s hardly fit for a King!!

So, much to the girls’ delight, it was a shopping night. And after a night that dragged out longer than the last quarter of the 2011 GF, the 1000th stall holder of the night asked me the same Groundhog Day like question – “How about some shirts, Boss?”.  With my tongue hanging out like I’d just completed a hot pre-season training session, I responded that I’d much rather it if I could buy a beer.

“You want beer, boss? You want beer? I can get you beer”, exclaimed the salesman as he pointed excitedly to a table out the back that seemed to be a bit raucus and rowdy on an alcohol free day.

“Ok now you’re talking” I said with the cautious optimsim of a footy fan on National Draft Day – hoping for the best but walking into the great unknown.

In my dazed state and with the potential pot of Singha beer at the end of the rainbow, I was talked into a trip into the “upstairs room” for the special stock and a few purchases later we wander back down and he takes us to the back room table. Our salesman and accidental host says “You want beer, you come to our party and have beer” as we come face to face with a table of about ten local traders and handful of blow-ins like us.

He explained with great enthusiasm that as well as the King, it was also the birthday of the local policeman’s daughter and they were celebrating with ‘amnesty’.

We get introduced around the table and we are warmly welcomed. We’re introduced to the Suit Guy, Mr Tony, and he asks, “Where you from? Aussie?” We reply with a yes and as quick as a flash, as if I’m in the front bar of Y&Js, Mr Tony fires back the next question of “who is your team?”.

I give the enthusiastic and proud response of “COLLINGWOOD”, which sparks the usual animated, boisterous and diverse range of responses that you always get when the great name of Collingwood is spoken.

Two of the party blurt out “Eddie McGuire, Eddie McGuire” with great delight to which I responded with, “It’s your king’s birthday today, and Eddie is our King of Collingwood”, which bought much laughter.

Mr Tony then turned to my wife and asked if she barracked for Collingwood too, which she replied with the usual sneering “NO WAY” so he sets off on the guessing game –

Mr Tony: “Carlton?”

The Better Half: “Oooh no”

Mr Tony: “Richmond?”

TBH: “ha ha, no way”

Mr Tony: “Bombers? Cats?”

TBH: “no, no, I barrack for the Saints”.

“Aaaaaaah St Kilda. Aha aha, last year good for you boss, not good for her! This year not good for you boss with the Cats.”, Mr Tony rattles off. This guy was all over it!!!

A few of the other traders pat me on the back and shake my hand say “I go for Collingwood, Collingwood’s the best”. (I bet you say that to all supporters, I mean customers, I’m thinking, good for sales).

Then Mr Tony, who’s clearly had his fill of Singha Beer, when I ask him says he goes for Carlton, to which I immediately tell him not to mention “the C word”. But then he quickly laughs and he confesses he is just stirring me up – he even knows the Collingwood Carlton rivalry.

A few beers later, a number of “Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi” renditions, discussions about how much they love Aussies and dislike the Russians, Germans, Poms, basically all the Europeans, Canadians and New Zealanders (yes, even the Canadians and the Kiwis), discuss the state of the local trading conditions  and then some more footy banter and we decide to call it a night.  In a foreign land thousands of kilometres away from the MCG, I had a warm fuzzy sense of home as we tuk tuk’d back to our hotel.

And yes, the next day, I was back at Mr Tony’s suit shop and bought myself some business shirts and a few days later the DVD guy also got a good sale.  Now that’s how you do business, through the universal appeal of the Great Australian Game and the Mighty Pies!

Advance Austalia Fair, Go Pies and Floreat Pica.

* Refer to the Phaic Tan Jetlag travel guide for the Philippe Miseree travel experience explanation.

About Ramon Dobb

A footy and cricket fanatic. A lifelong passionate one eyed Mighty Magpie fanatic. My writing is unashamedly written with one black & white eye open only - so please don't take offence, it's nothing personal, it's just the black & white way! Also a lifelong player and member of Washington Park Cricket Club, the Mighty Sharks. My 15 minutes of fame includes regular contributions to Hot Pies, the 1999-2004 Fanzine, and regular contributor to the Coodabeen Champions weekly competition from their heady 3RRR days. Go Pies and Floreat Pica.

Comments

  1. Pamela Sherpa says:

    What a classic tale. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

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