Skip to main content


Chiang Rai United and the lure of Sport at Cardiff

20 Gorffennaf 2017

Here we are, three or so years ago and we’re moving to Chiang Rai for seven months. my family and I attempting a gap year together, what would we find?

I’ll cut right to the chase because this penultimate post is about sports. We found Chiang Rai united or the Oranage Knight as it is lovingly referred to as. It’s neither intimidating nor a powerhouse (just yet) in the Thai ‘soccer’ first division but since its creation in 2009 it certainly has the locals beguiled enough as you can see for yourself in the video. Except for monsoon season which is fair enough and evident somewhat in the video.

What’s the link Lovell? Well, here’s the cut, Chiang Rai loves its football; it prides itself on affordable tickets, outright support after win or loss, and thank fully there is no ‘fan tv’ of any kind (as of yet anyway).

How does this apply to Cardiff? Well, I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to mention to potential Cardiff applicants that you wouldn’t be applying to a University that doesn’t take a real interest in sports… That’s not to say that most universities across the board don’t but at Cardiff I would say that its in the surrounding area – your Bute Park / Roath / Pontcanna fields – that opportunities for making the most of your surroundings is a grade above. There is greenery in abundance and so if you don’t go as far as signing up or trialing for one of the many many sporting teams and societies, there’s a patch of grass waiting for you to use, there are gorgeous parks waiting to suit your jogging addiction and there very accessible facilities at the university too.

If you come to Cardiff, and you are keen on sports then all I have to say is that it’s a good fit already. You might have gotten use – as I did – to poor to shambolic support from your  high schools when it came to genuine success with your sporting teams. Not at Cardiff. I’ll use Varsity as the big example. The day is euphoric from start to finish and it’s not just the day time drinking or the rivalry with the Swans. There is real pride in the heart of Wales and you can feel it coursing through the crowd at just about every fixture on the day.

You might now now be thinking, Lovell you’re getting ahead of yourself. Fair. You may not be the star of Varsity but my point stands. Whether it’s the park run, or the widely nominated best half marathon in Britain, a five aside competition at the university or hiking with the ‘give it ago team’ (see previous blog), there’s a university and a city that is passionate about getting up and getting active.

It’s worth mentioning that it can cost a pretty penny to invest in the equipment for specific sports teams and involves a genuine investment and drive. However, cut a few nights out and it is quite affordable and to be quite honest, you will often find that it would cost the same or even more if you were to suddenly take up American football outside of University. Price is something to bear in mind but that is part and parcel of university life (ahem). Your dedication is also something that you should be prepared to determine. Rowing for example is a hefty commitment but having lived with one of their society members for two years, she will be quick to tell you that if you are passionate about it, you are rewarded for that in opportunity.

So, enjoy the video, I just wanted to capture the unity and togetherness of a club, all the way on the other side of the world that champions itself on humble origins and real passion. I hope that you might find something similar in Cardiff.

Or if not, wellying a ball around on Bute in those glorious sun filled post exam weeks, is just as good.


#theorangeknightrises – haha.