Fan-spiration: “I chose Thomas Müller because he is the craziest”
When FC Bayern won the DFB-Pokal in early July and the team celebrated the victory together, videos surfaced of a happily dancing Thomas Müller. However, it wasn’t his dance moves that attracted attention, but rather his outfit: both teammates and fans watching the video couldn’t help but be amused when they noticed that he was sporting a pair of Muay Thai boxing shorts with his name on it.
But nobody was more surprised than Rattanun Kompeevong, or Paris, as she is usually referred to – because it was her who had presented the shorts to Thomas Müller three years ago in Singapore, when FC Bayern visited the Lion City to take part in the International Champions Cup.
“I was so shocked when I first saw Thomas Müller wearing the Thai boxing shorts we gave to him during the DFB-Pokal celebration in Berlin,” she recalls. “Back then, we wanted to give the team a souvenir from their Thai fans, and I went for the Muay Thai boxing pants because it represents our country.”
Paris had the shorts custom-made with Müller’s name on it.
“Of course, I chose Thomas Müller because he’s the craziest person and I was sure that he’s going to like it,” she says. “It suits him best. I knew that he was going to keep this gift and take good care of it, as he always does with gifts from his fans, but I never expected to see him wearing the pants. Only Müller can do that. I was over the moon.”
In Paris’ eyes, the gift doesn’t only represent Thai fans, but Bayern supporters worldwide.
“In this situation, when the team unfortunately did not have the chance to celebrate their victory with the fans [due to COVID-19], it did feel like we were invited to the party with them anyway,” Paris explains.
Preparing the gift was one thing, but making sure that Thomas Müller actually received it was another. Paris and her friends attended a meet and greet event in Singapore with Müller, David Alaba and James Rodriguez. Anticipating a large crowd, Paris reached out to FC Bayern beforehand.
“They were kind enough to send my photo of the boxing shorts to Thomas Müller before the event,” Paris recalls. “When he was on stage, he seemed to recognize me and my friends and greeted us. In the moment of truth, when the players actually came to meet the fans, I was afraid he might not make it because it was so crowded and I couldn’t see which direction he was going.”
In the end, however, Müller made his way to Paris and her friends and happily accepted the gift they had brought for him all the way from Thailand.
“It was really worth the effort,” Paris says, adding that she greatly appreciates FC Bayern’s efforts to bring fans and players closer together.
One might easily assume that Müller is Paris’ favourite Bayern player, but according to the 32-year-old, it was because of Oliver Kahn that she first took note of the club.
“The first football game I ever watched was Germany vs. Cameroon at the 2002 World Cup,” she says. “It was tense and exciting. I had goosebumps because of Oliver Kahn’s superb performance and have been his fan ever since – that’s how I came from the World Cup and the German national team to FC Bayern.”
She greatly admires Kahn’s winning mentality: “He has such an outstanding character. He lives by his motto ‘never give up’. I once had the chance to meet him in person, off the pitch, and he’s such an inspiring person.”
Apart from Bayern’s glorious history, Paris says that as a fan, she feels like part of the team, a member of a big family. As the chairperson of Thailand’s official FC Bayern fan club, Paris tries to instill this same feeling among the members, be it through friendly football matches, watching the games together or joint activities with other fan clubs.
“Whenever one of our members has an important event coming up, like a wedding, the FC Bayern family will be part of it as well. Recently, we co-organized an event with BVB Thailand, because we are now working on creating a greater Bundesliga fan community,” she explains.
It is perhaps no wonder that the fan club in Thailand is thriving, as its first official meeting was held prior to the Champions League final in 2013.
“So many people from different cities in Thailand joined at the time,” Paris says. “We shared this amazing moment together, and there were even tears of joy. It was a lifetime memory.”
Even though she fondly remembers seeing FC Bayern in Singapore three years ago – thanks to one Thomas Müller and a pair of Muay Thai boxing shorts in particular – Paris wants to travel to Germany in the near future to experience the “real deal”.
“It was great to watch them play in Singapore, but it can’t compare to the real atmosphere at Allianz Arena with real competition,” she says. “Sooner or later, I will definitely go there.”
Paris’ Twitter account: @Paris_Rattanun