BANGKOK — Liverpool fans in Thailand are whooping with joy at the news of the club’s long-awaited English Premier League title.
After a wait of 29 years – enduring ridicule and humiliating memes on the internet along the way – Thai Kops took to social media to congratulate their club for the prestigious title. But Emergency Decree’s ban on gathering during the coronavirus pandemic will likely spoil their glee and prevent them from celebrating in the streets.
“I was so happy last night. I couldn’t sleep till 6 in the morning,” Thai Liverpool fanclub president Keerati Thanajirachai told Khaosod. “We are discussing plans [about celebration] within our fan club. Once we have the conclusion, we’ll announce it soon.”
He said any activities to congratulate “Red Swans” – as the team is fondly called by its Thai fans – will most likely be held on the internet due to the government’s social distancing policy.
“This is in accordance with the team manager Jürgen Klopp, who said, ‘Stay safe, support us from home.’ He wanted the fans to cheer their beloved team from home,” Keerati said.
Police spokesman Kissana Pattanacharoen said supporters may stage a bus parade down the streets, but they must not block the traffic or gather in large groups. In its home city, thousands of Liverpool fans gathered outside the Anfield stadium to celebrate the end of title drought in 30 years despite police warnings of coronavirus threats.
“They may or may not do it, depending on the nature of their activities,” Kissana said. “If they’re going to parade down the streets, they must not block the traffic. If they’re going to use loudspeakers, they must seek permission first. They must also observe sanitary and social distancing measures.”
He also suggested fans should notify local authorities before holding an event since rules may vary from province to province.
The online euphoria was joined by prominent Liverpool supporters like opposition politician Piyabutr Saengkanokkul and TV news anchor Kitti Singhapat.
“Prepare the celebration bus parade,” Kitti said in his tweet.
Liverpool clinched the first EPL title since 1990 following the club’s impressive 4-0 win over Crystal Palace on June 24. Victory was cemented last night when defending champion Manchester City lost to Chelsea in a 1-2 showdown at Stamford Bridge.
English football is immensely popular in Thailand, where major clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool, and Chelsea commanded passionate support.
But no other fan club is perhaps more desperate for a league title than the “Swan Boys,” who were often mocked by internet jokes for the repeated near-misses in the Premier League.
The recurring meme was a viral photo of Liverpool fans “celebrating” their nonexistent championship on a decrepit tricycle.
The cycle of jokes came to an end today, and a group of zealous Liverpool fans marked their victory by taking a jab back at the meme: driving three enormous 18-wheelers painted with the Liverpool logo around Phayao province.
A local Swan Boy and millionnaire businessman reportedly paid for the convoy at the cost of 10 million baht.