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TPL Division 1 2010 - Chiang Rai takes the train to TPL

Thai League 2

Chiang Rai celebrates
(c) thaileagueonline.com

2010 Thai Premier League Division 1 Season is history. All promotion and relegation battles are fought. Today, on the very last round of the season, two final spots remained to be hand out. One for promotion and one for relegation.

However the new Thai Premier League season will be enriched by marlins, beetles and dinosaur. At least those are heraldic animals of the respective clubs which gained promotion. Siracha FC (Blue Marlins), saved their place in the country's primary football competition already a few weeks ago and have been crowned Division 1 champion. Khon Kaen FC (T-Rex) followed them last week secures the second place behind the club from the east coast. Today, Chiang Rai United have been in the better position, ranked 3rd, over Songkhla and Nakhon Pathom. Just one point out of the last game would secure the promotion. But they had to travel away to take on Customs FC.

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A side which was heavily involved in promotion battle until last week. Chiang Rai didn't show any weakness and edged their opponent by three goals to nil just to make the astonishment perfect. An unbelievable 2nd leg of the season was the cornerstone for the promotion. Chiang Rai United got 34 points out of the last 15 games, loosing only one time to Songkhla 0-2. Right at the end of the 1st leg, Chiang Rai found themselves in relegation battle but made some changes during the small season break. With the transfer window open, they signed former Thai Port FC striker Edvaldo as well as Wasan Natasan from Osotspa-Saraburi FC. Edvaldo scored seven times and Wasan scored even 12 times since then. With the likes of Stefano Cugurra, the team also got a new coach. Seems like all those changes paid off in the end.

Chiang Rai playing in the TPL next season adds a nice dash of colour to the league. The beetles are the first club from the very northern part of Thailand ever in the highest tier. The clubs walk through isn't the first one in recent years of the Division 1. In 2008 Muang Thong United marched his way to through the league, just to become Thai Champion a year later. Last year it was on Sisaket FC to do so and became the first  club ever coming from Isaan and playing the Thai Premier League. Being relegated just after one year, however they found their successor in Khon Kaen now. Last year, they missed promotion, just coming up short to Sisaket on the very last day of the season. It will mark a premiere season for Chiang Rai as well as for Khon Kaen in the Thai Premier League.

Many other clubs where going into the season with big ambitions. Air Force United, still reigning record Thai champion, looked like a promotion side after the 1st leg, just to break down totally in the 2nd and ending in 6th place. In terms of draw and losses, relegated side Nakhon Pathom FC set the mark. They lost only on three occasions but drew 15 times. In the end they came up short by just two points finishing in 5fth place. Songkhla the club from the south, running in 4th which is their best result since they played Division 1.

Prachinburi, Rattana Bundit, Narathiwat and Suphanburi are the relegated sides. Prachinburi, surprisingly 5fth last season, went down just today. They had everything in their own hands but lost 1-2 to Nakhon Pathom on the road. A win would had them stay up, while Chanthaburi would had to go down. Since early stage of the season, there was no chance for Narathiwat sitting in the last place for most of the time. Maybe it was a mistake to release the successful manager who led the club to promotion last year. Yeah....and than we have Suphanburi. Unfortunately their downfall goes on and on. Together with Chonburi FC the club marked a new era for the Thai Premier League in 2006, being the first clubs coming from other provinces than Bangkok.

However, we really had a thrilling 2010 Division 1 season with two big upsets at the end. Chainarong Tathong from Chula United was crowned as top scorer of the season with 19 goals scored.
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