The French forward hoping to lead Hua Hin City to promotion
Images: Vika Timokhina
Anyone who follows Hua Hin City will know that it has been a turbulent few years for the football team. Coaches and owners have come and gone, funds promised have failed to materialize and the squad seems to get a total revamp at the end of every season.
Despite the turmoil results of late have been very encouraging. The team sits second in T4 (Western Region) and only slipped from the top of the table after a disappointing defeat last weekend. Spearheading the charge, quite literally, has been French frontman Remy Platel.
The 29 year old has had a nomadic career that started out with Auxerre and has included stints in Belgium and Brunei. But he is hoping to guide Hua Hin City to T3 of the Thai league and get his own football journey back on track in the process,
“I fractured my foot and that's why I came to a small club like this to recover. I signed in February but didn't play because I was injured. Now I have been playing for nearly two months and have played eight or nine games,” he said.
Hua Hin City need to finish in the top two to earn a spot in the promotional playoffs. They are currently just two points off top team Assumption United but with Chainat United sitting two points behind the position is somewhat precarious.
Next up is a fixture with Chainat Hornbill B on Sunday and Platel believes the next four games will be crucial,
“We have to take three points this weekend because we lost two of our last three. Our next four games are at home and it's good to have support, when you have fans it is better for sure.”
Platel has been leading the line for Hua Hin City this season and has had to adjust to a slightly unfamiliar role,
“I have scored four goals now but have more assists. I am tall so they send long balls but football is not about only doing long balls, they use me as a 'wall player' and I'm not really a wall player but we are near the top so I think it's working.”
Communication is also an issue for the Frenchman who speaks only a smattering of Thai,
“The coach is good, he was a Thai League player before, he knows football. I speak some words of Thai but not much, there's no translator.”
There is a common misconception that footballers who have played at a good level in Europe will find it easy in Thailand. Platel says the adjustment can actually be far more difficult than people realize,
“It's totally different from Europe. They don't really have any notion of tactics and I know some players who played division one or two in Europe and they come here and they can't play. They need good players around them, also it's hot. You need to adjust and adapt. It's hard.”
The squad’s schedule is packed because they are obliged to play friendly games against sponsors, as well as competing twice a week in the league. Several of the players live in portable buildings set up next to the training field in Samor Prong and have to cross the pitch just to use the public toilet.
Platel has his own place in town and after several injury hit years he’s just happy to be playing regular football,
“The conditions for the players are not really professional but I'm not here for the money I'm here to play football. In this game you need to play to exist when you don't play you don't exist and last year I didn't play at all.”
“I like this city, I like the mountains and the beach. I knew there were French residents and I heard good things about the city and the club.”
It is unlikely Platel will spend more than a season with Hua Hin City. He’s hoping to earn a contract with a team in one of Thailand’s upper tiers but the Frenchman feels that earning his current earn a place in T3 would be the ideal goodbye gift.
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