It was back in 2007 when Thaksin Shinawatra targeted ‘world domination’ after buying Manchester City.
The former prime minister of Thailand hired Sven-Goran Eriksson as manager and signed a string of players including Geovanni, Elano and Rolando Bianchi to bolster the squad.
“My goals for the football team are ambitious - to secure Manchester City a position as one of the world’s biggest football brands,” Shinawatra said.
But Shinawatra spent just one year at the club before selling it to Sheikh Mansour.
Shinawatra simply didn’t have the knowledge to lead City to the Premier League title.
“He didn't understand football - he hadn't a clue,” the Swede, who also lasted one year at the club, said, per the Telegraph.
“He thought beating Manchester United twice in one year was normal.”
In 2007, more than £40 million was spent on new players. Among them were three Thai players who, to this day, some City fans won’t even recall arriving.
They were Teerasil Dangda, Kiatprawut Saiwaeo and Suree Sukha. Neither appeared in a competitive match for City - or even qualified for a work permit in England.
The trio played in a post-season friendly against a Thai League All-Stars XI, and that was it for their memorable City careers.
What happened to them next?
Dangda has enjoyed the most success out of the three.
City sent him out on loan to Grasshoppers but he failed to crack the first team and returned to his homeland with Raj Pracha.
The forward then joined Muangthong United in 2009, where he become a serial trophy winner.
Dangda won four Thai League 1 titles, three Thai FA Cups and a handful of other trophies across two spells with the club.
It was at Muangthong United where Dangda played alongside former Premier League duo Robbie Fowler and Jay Bothroyd.
A partnership with Atletico Madrid saw the striker spend two weeks with the La Liga outfit in 2013.
Dangda, 32, currently plays for Shimizu S-Pulse in the Japanese J1 League and also captains the Thailand national team, netting 45 goals in 104 appearances.
Saiwaeo was unfortunately forced to retire aged just 32 due to consistent knee problems.
A centre-back, Saiwaeo was loaned out to Club Brugge in 2008 but couldn’t cut it in Belgium.
City released him that same year and he returned to Thailand, playing for Chonburi across two spells, Chiangrai United and Police Tero.
Saiwaeo also made 36 appearances for his country.
Sukha joined Dangda in signing for Grasshoppers on loan shortly after his arrival at City.
But, like the forward, Sukha didn’t make a single first-team appearance for the Swiss club.
The full-back followed Saiwaeo to Chonburi, making 115 appearances for the Thai side, and then signed for Buriram United.
Sukha helped Buriram win the Thai Premier League title three seasons in a row. He also won the Thai FA Cup, Thai League Cup, Toyota Premier Cup, Kor Royal Cup and Mekong Club Championship with Buriram.
Sukha, 38, signed for Muangkan United in 2020.
He denied accusations that the three had signed for City for political reasons.
“I believe in myself, I believe I can make it, this doesn’t have anything to do with politics,” Sukha said.
However, it’s doubtful that City ever had serious plans for them.
Inspiration for this article comes from Planet Football.
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