Manchester United in Thai Football Culture

Manchester United's arrival in Bangkok for their pre-season tour was a big deal. The team will face Liverpool on Tuesday at the Rajamangala Stadium.

New manager Erik ten Hag's squad was training within hours of touching down at Don Mueang airport. The players relaxed at authors and happy as they got to work on the pitch.

1. The chants

Manchester United arrived in Bangkok Thursday to a rapturous welcome, with manager David Moyes getting his first taste of the club's enormous global popularity. Rio Ferdinand said everyone was keen to impress Moyes during the team's five-match tour of Asia, which includes stops in Thailand, Yokohama, Osaka and Hong Kong.

Manchester fans have always been renowned for their obsession with local identity, with rival fans regularly staking claims to "ownership" of the club in chants such as "Do you come from Manchester?"

The cultish nature of the club has become even more pronounced since the infamous tragedy chants during the Hillsborough disaster led to a re-evaluation of the relationship between football and national identities. Such chants have also prompted new measures to combat racism and other forms of discriminatory chanting at football matches. However, a recent controversy over the design of the trophy presented to Manchester United after their win in Bangkok has raised new questions about the culture of fandom and the role that clubs should play in the wider society.

2. The games

The Manchester United players were ผลกระทบของแบรนด์ระดับโลกของแมนเชสเตอร์ ยูไนเต็ด ต่อวัฒนธรรมฟุตบอลไทย greeted with a huge fanfare at Don Mueang Airport and their five-star downtown hotel. Hundreds of diehard fans waited for them outside both, with banners and scarves in hand. At the team’s hotel, a large bus was emblazoned with the club name. After a quick rest, the players were off to training.

New manager Erik ten Hag led a 31-man team that included several young players. He had hoped to lure Christiano Ronaldo back to the fold but it seems that the star will remain at Real Madrid for now.

The team capped off their stay in Thailand with a 4-0 win over Liverpool at Rajamangala Stadium. Netizens were critical of the design of the trophy presented to the English club, with its base resembling a modified computer case (computer hardware store Advice is a sponsor). The match also featured an appearance by Jackson Wang of GOT7. His performance is likely to draw even more attention from football and K-pop fans alike.

3. The food

Manchester United were greeted by hordes of fans as they touched down in Bangkok ahead of their Asian tour. New manager Erik ten Hag led his squad through the airport as they began their trip.

The opposition to Glazer’s takeover among Manchester United supporters, reflected in the existence of independent fanzines like Red Issue and United We Stand, has forced many fans to undertake unprecedented soul-searching and question fundamental elements of their club's culture. In this context, commodification of football clubs has raised serious concerns about the ability to maintain a supportive culture that is not bound by commercial and corporate interests.

One example of this is the recent visit by the 12 boys from Thailand who spent more than two weeks trapped in a cave. The group was welcomed by Manchester United, who invited them to attend their match with Everton at Old Trafford. They also took part in soccer clinics with young Thai players.

4. The culture

Football is an incredibly popular sport in Thailand and it's no surprise that Manchester United would tour the country. Many of the big Premier League clubs tour Thailand during pre-season and there is always a huge buzz around the games.

Increasingly, football is being viewed as a global and commercialised business with structures and interests that are explicitly dependent on and even a driver of the ebbs and flows of capital (Gaddis, 1994). The acquisition of Manchester United in 2005 by the American businessman Malcolm Glazer has raised questions among supporters about the role of their clubs within these commodified social spaces.

The "love the club, hate the owners" rhetoric that emerged in response has triggered soul-searching and new dynamics within supporter culture. In particular, the questioning of notions of community and locality has resurfaced - in songs, banter, fanzines and articles - at a time when these ideas are under threat. The arrival of Manchester United in Bangkok on Saturday will further heighten the profile of these issues.