Buriram United Football Club
Buriram United Football Club is a professional football club based in Buriram, Thailand. The club has played at the top level of Thai football for the majority of their existence and is currently competing in the Thai Leagues 1 and ranked first. The club was founded in 1970 and their current home stadium is New I-Mobile Stadium which has a capacity of 32,600.
Buriram United won their first Thai Leagues 1 title in 2008 and the Kor Royal Cup in 1998, as PEA FC (Provincial Electricity Authority Football Club). The club was previously based in Ayutthaya before moving east to Buriram for the 2010 season. In season 2011, Buriram PEA were the triple champions winning the (2011 Thai Premier League, 2011 Thai FA Cup, and 2011 Thai Leagues Cup) in Thailand.
History of Buriram United
The club was founded in 1970. But their first big success came in 1998 by winning the third division of the Kor Royal Cup. The club was then promoted to the Thai Division 1 League. In 2002–03 the club finished third in the second division. In the Thai Leagues T1 Relegation to be lost at the end of the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly FC after round match with 0–1. A year later, they succeeded at the end of season 2003–04 with promotion to the Thai Premier League.PEA surprised everyone by becoming the league runner-up at the end of their first Premier League season. Being the runner-up entitled the club to participate in the AFC Champions League. It was the first participation in an international competition for the club. However the club was excluded from the competition. In the following two seasons, 2006 and 2007, the PEA took place only 10 and 8 at the end of the season.
Buriram United 2008-2009 season
In 2008 Provincial Electricity Authority relocated to Ayutthaya and played at Ayutthaya Province Stadium where they gained a bigger fan base. The club played under the nickname of Faifa Ayutthaya (Electric Ayutthaya) from media and its fans. Under the head coach Prapol Pongpanich, PEA eventually won their first championship in Thai Leagues T1. The club was qualified for 2009 AFC Champions League preliminary round.
In 2009, PEA was eliminated from 2009 AFC Champions League after losing 1–4 to Singapore Armed Forces in the extra-time at Rajamangala Stadium. PEA ran their defending title campaign of Thai Leagues T1 with the poor performance. Prapon Pongpanich was sacked in the middle of the season and replaced by former Thailand national team head coach Thongsuk Sampahungsith. The club finished in 9th place of out of sixteen in the final standings.
2010 season – Buriram United Era
In December 2009 it was announced that a politician based in Buriram, Newin Chidchob was to take over the club. He had already tried unsuccessfully to take over TOT SC and Royal Thai Army FC Newin relocated the club to Buriram in Isan and rebranded it to Buriram PEA Football Club. The Buriram PEA inherited most of the players from the former PEA club included the stars like Rangsan Vivatchaichok, Apichet Puttan and Theerathon Bunmathan. Pongphan Wongsuwan who was a long-time head coach of TOT S.C. was instated as coach. Thailand national team member Suchao Nuchnum of TOT S.C. also followed his coach to the new team.
Buriram PEA finished their first season under the transition as the runner-up of 2010 Thai Premier League. The club reached the final of 2010 Thai Leagues Cup but lost 0–1 to Thai Port at Supachalasai Stadium.
2011 Buriram United Treble season
Buriram PEA under the coaching of Attaphol Buspakom, completed their 2011 season with the domestic Treble by three Thai major trophies. Buriram won 2011 Thai Premier League with 85 points, highest record in the league history. They beat the archrival Muangthong United in the 2011 Thai FA Cup final and clinched their first Thai FA Cup title. Following the success in two other competitions, Buriram avenged their previous year League Cup final opponent, Thai Port and snatched the 2010 Thai Leagues Cup to their name. Buriram PEA became the first Thai club to win a Treble in a season.
Buriram United 2012 season
At the start of the 2012 season, the club was renamed Buriram United Football Club. In the first match of the group stages of the 2012 AFC Champions League, Buriram beat the 2011 J-League champion, Kashiwa Reysol, 3–2 and became “the first Thai and South East Asian club” to earn a victory against a J-League club in ACL since starting the Champions League system in 2003. On the second match, Buriram was the visiting team against the 2011 CSL Champion, Guangzhou Evergrande. Buriram also became “the first Thai and South East Asian club” to earn a victory against a Chinese club “in China” after beating Guangzhou Evergrande 1–2 in Tianhe Stadium from Suchao Nuchnum and Frank Acheampong’s goals. That match was the end of a two-year unbeaten home record for Guangzhou.
2013 Buriram United Quadruple season
Under Spanish head coach Alejandro Menéndez, Buriram United became the first Thai club to achieve the Quadruple by winning 4 trophies in the 2014 calendar year. The campaign included the titles of Kor Royal Cup, Thai Leagues T1, Thai FA Cup and Thai Leagues Cup. The league season was also finished with the first Invincible title for the club, the second Thai team after Muangthong United F.C. in 2012.
Buriram United 2015 Quintuple season
2015 Thai FA Cup Final starting lineup Buriram United 3 – 1 Muangthong United
In 2015, Brazilian coach Alexandre Gama guided Buriram United to create history by winning all five competitions: Kor Royal Cup, Thai Leagues T1, Thai FA Cup, Thai Leagues Cup and Mekong Club Championship. Buriram United became the first club in Asia to win the Quintuple.
Moreover, the 2015 Buriram team is arguably regarded as the strongest in Thai Leagues history after winning the 2015 Thai Premier League with an unbeaten record. The Brazilian forward Diogo Luis Santo broke the top scoring record with 33 goals from 32 games and received Thai Leagues T1 Top Scorer and Player of the Year Awards at the end of the year.
Buriram United Rivalries
Buriram United has Muangthong United as their main rival. The two clubs are the powerhouses of Thai Leagues 1 (T1). The rivalry between two clubs became a highly competitive relationship since they are the only two clubs that have won the Thai Leagues 1 championships between them since the 2009 season.
Buriram United and Muangthong United also represent widely different groups of supporters. Buriram represents the mostly rural people of the Thai countryside, while Muangthong United symbolizes the urban people in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region. Their rivalry also reflects political differences in Football Association of Thailand (FAT) since Muangthong United has the close relationship with FAT under the management of Worawi Makudi, while former politician Newin Chidchob became the polar opposite and frequently questions the transparency of FAT.
The games between the two teams are regarded as the finest match-up in Thai football. Buriram has dominated the rivalry head-to-head and maintained an unbeaten record against Muangthong for a long time after the club relocated to Buriram. It became their famous rivalry quote of “Rather lose to anyone but Muangthong.” (Thai lit. แพ้ใครก็ได้ แต่ไม่แพ้เมืองทอง). Their unbeaten record against Muangthong was broken in 2016 Thai Leagues when they lost 0 – 3 to their rival on their home ground.
Management and Technical Team
The current head coach is Bozidar Bandovic.
Buriram is around 40 minutes away with a flight via Thai AirAsia from Bangkok and on the day of a home match, it is advisable to reserve your flight at least 10 days in advance. Once in Buriram, their are many tour companies that arrange daily tours to Phanom Rung Historical Park, Prasat Muang Tam, Wat Khao Angkhan and Khao Kradong Forest Park .