We have great pleasure in introducing you to Duke Bhornlerts of LFC Thailand with whom we enjoyed the company over the Masters 2011 weekend.
Q1) Hello Duke !! Thank you so very much for agreeing to take part in our Online Interview segment. Firstly, could you please describe how you started supporting Liverpool FC.. and how eventually you came to lead Liverpool Thailand ?
I started following English Football in the early 80’s. At that time, there was no live telecast, only highlight reels on every weekend. I played goalkeeper during my school days, so I always keep my eyes out for great saves. I keep seeing good saves from Southall and Grobbelaar but the football from Liverpool was better. They seem to be great at keeping the ball and the movement of the ball was fantastic and that’s what really got me to start following them.
It wasn’t just Grobbelaar after I started following Liverpool FC, other talented players like Rush & Dalglish were so brilliant to watch! Once Barnes and Beardsley were on board it was like a Red Machine and that’s the main reason why I became a Liverpool supporter.
It wasn’t about all the trophies we’ve won. We didn’t win the league every year but the way we played was incredible! If anyone doesn’t get what I’m saying, go and take a look at how we destroyed Nottingham Forrest 5 – 0 in 1998!
It had always been a dream to go to Anfield and after my first trip, many more followed. My friend in Liverpool told me that if I traveled to Liverpool often with my fellow Thai supporters, I should apply to become the Official Liverpool Supporters Club of Thailand.
I took his advice and it took quite a while but the club did accept my application and we became the Official Supporters Club of Thailand in 2001.
Q2) You were here over the Masters weekend.. How do you find the Liverpool Masters Players that came.. plus also the LFC.TV crew led by Mark Platt ? Have you met these players before or even Mark Platt in events elsewhere ?
It was great to see all the Liverpool Masters in action again! Nevertheless, it was even greater to have a chance to spend precious time with Vladimir Smicer, Patrik Berger and Stephane Henchoz at Funky Villa with fellow Malaysian Supporters! Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Official Liverpool Supporters Club Malaysia (LSCM) for organizing this event and providing me with the opportunity to meet 3 important Liverpool Masters.
I’ve met Vladimir Smicer and Patrik Berger before in 2001 at a time when Liverpool FC was on Tour in Thailand after they had won the Treble. I’d asked both of them if they’d remember the event that we met and they said how could they forget the event where Danny Murphy put on a Thai Boxing Shorts for the crowd!
As for LFC TV, it’s the first time I’d met this crew and I think they’re hard working bunch! It seems like they’re everywhere, Funky Villa, Masters Tournament, Football Clinic, Gala Dinner, etc. They’d interviewed me and all of them are very nice blokes.
Q3) Speaking of events.. there is another big one coming up this July 2011, the Liverpool Asian Tour.. Coming from you, who have seen the arrival of Liverpool FC three times to Bangkok (2001, 2003 & 2009).. what do you hope for in this coming tour for Liverpool Fans in this region ?
Well, I hope some of the format will change or developed in a better way for both the supporters and the team. I didn’t really see much of a difference in the team’s three visits to Thailand. There were a couple of training sessions, sponsors’ event and a match against the Thai National Team, which in my opinion didn’t help the team’s preparation for the upcoming season.
On the team’s last visit in 2009, El Zhar and Agger got injured on tour in Thailand and we got quite a slow start to the season which we eventually finished seventh.
I don’t how much of an effect the Asian Tour pre season had on our team’s preparation, but ironically, the following season after each of the team’s visit to Thailand, we’d never won a trophy! Not only that, the team finished fourth after 2003 Tour and saw Houllier’s era comes to an end as well as seventh after 2009 tour where we bid farewell to Rafa.
I do hope that the team will have enough time once they’re on tour to make training sessions worth while so once opening day comes, we’ll be good and ready.
I do also hope that the local supporters will have more opportunity to see the players or meet the players in different events, activities or training sessions.
Q4) Many fans will be making this trips whether from far or from near.. what will be ideal ways to appeal to the fans, especially those from the Official Branches of the Liverpool Supporters Clubs.. so that it will be a memorable trip to remember ?
I think it would be ideal if a session is provided and allocated to Official Branches of Liverpool Supporters Club within the region to meet up with team.
I think it’s ideal enough that I don’t need to say more on this matter!
Q5) Finally, in all your years of supporting Liverpool FC.. do you see us finally taking the right steps towards reestablishing our position as a top club challenging for honours in the coming seasons ?
I hope they are!
It’s very difficult to say because I think taking the right step means making series of right decisions.
There are many decisions that need to be made such as manager’s appointment, acquiring new and proper players, new stadium, and most important of all is what to keep and what to change?
There’s a great tradition at this club and all of us identify it as “The Liverpool Way” Well, a lot has changed it the past decade, some is still the Liverpool Way and some isn’t. Some changes are better, some changes are worse but we’re still no where near where we were back in 1989.
A lot of key decisions will be made this summer and this upcoming season, therefore, a series of right decision need to be made in order for us to move in the right direction but it will take sometime for us to become the Mighty Red Machine again
THANK YOU Duke for taking time to answer these questions. :)