Thunder Castle beat Army 3-1 to claim maiden title with four games to go (18/12/2011)

Buriram PEA beat Army United 3-1 last night to win the Thai Premier League title for the first time _ which could be their only crown under their current name.

Goals from Anderson dos Santos (30), Ekwalla Herman (37) and Franck Ohandza (42) gave Buriram an easy win at Army stadium. Leandro dos Santos scored for the hosts after 33 minutes.

Buriram have 75 points with four games to spare as closest rivals Chonburi FC and Muang Thong United cannot overtake them.

The Thunder Castle could win a treble as they will meet Thai Port in the League Cup final and are in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

Winning the league is a huge success for the Thunder Castle who won the title in only their second season in the top flight as Buriram PEA.

It is also a dream come true for club chairman Newin Chidchob who took over the team _ then Provincial Electricity Authority _ last year. He moved the club, who won the league crown in 2008, from their base in Ayutthaya to his home province of Buri Ram.

After the takeover, Newin made it clear that his aim was to help the team win the top prize in Thai football.

"Our ultimate goal is for the team to win the Thai league title," Newin said at the time.

Newin has brought in several fine players including Brazilian Anderson dos Santos and forwards Ohandza of Cameroon and Frank Acheampong who is dubbed "Ghana's Messi."

He also built a 24,000 seat stadium in the province called New I-Mobile which is the country's biggest privately owned stadium. The stadium officially opened earlier this year.

However, the takeover infuriated PEA fans in Ayutthaya who burned Newin's effigy in protest, and it was reported that the move might be linked to a wider political scenario.

The electricity agency is under the Interior Ministry which was then under Minister Chavarat Charnvirakul. Chavarat is Bhumjaithai Party leader of which Newin is widely known as the de facto chief and Newin is being suspended from politics.

Now that his men are not in the coalition government, it has been reported that the Provincial Electricity Authority wants to regain ownership of the club and move them to another province.

It is believed that Buriram PEA will merge with their sister club Buriram FC, run by Newin's wife Karuna, and become Buriram United.

Buriram FC have gained promotion to next season's top league and if both Buriram PEA and Buriram FC are both in the TPL at the same time, there could be legal problems.

In yesterday's other matches, Sri Racha drew 2-2 with Bangkok Glass, Pattaya United defeated Chiang Rai United 3-0 and TOT lost 3-2 to TTM Phichit.

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