Football: Sunderland to face Bury as League Cup gets Thai makeover

The EFL Carabao Cup is seen during the first draw for the upcoming season's EFL Cup football tournament at Tawandaeng brewery in Bangkok on June 16, 2017.
The EFL Carabao Cup is seen during the first draw for the upcoming season's EFL Cup football tournament at Tawandaeng brewery in Bangkok on June 16, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

Bangkok (AFP) - A cavernous faux German beer hall on the outskirts of Bangkok was the unlikely setting for the first-round draw of the English League Cup on Friday, with newly relegated Sunderland handed a fairly comfortable trip to Bury.

The Black Cats crashed out of the English Premier League in May, ending the season 16 points adrift of safety at the foot of the table after a decade in the top flight.

The League Cup has undergone another rebrand to become the Carabao Cup after the Thai energy drinks maker secured a three-year sponsorship deal with the English Football League in April.

It is only the second time in the knockout tournament's 57-year history that the draw has been held overseas, according to the organisers.

In a politically timely quirk, the previous foreign draw was back in 1991 when a flamboyant tycoon by the name of Donald Trump was given the honour of picking the fifth round away teams from his boardroom in Trump Towers.

A video of the somewhat baffled looking Trump went viral among football fans during his presidential campaign last year.

In Bangkok, it was former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder Emmanuel Petit - still sporting his lavish trademark ponytail and looking much more at ease on the subject - who picked the seeded teams in the blind draw.

Carabao owner Sathien Setthasit, who Forbes estimates is worth a cool US$830 million (S$1.15 billion), picked the non-seeds while Britain's ambassador to Thailand Brian Davidson picked the home and away balls.

A total of 70 teams found out their first-round draws on Friday night with the cup kicking off the week commencing Aug 7.

The Premier League clubs get byes to the second round alongside also relegated Hull and Middlesbrough.

Those with Champions League commitments like Chelsea will not have to enter the cup until the third round.

Sathien, who founded his energy drinks brand with a famous Thai folk singer in 2002, has poured millions into English football in recent years - his logo appears on the training kit of Chelsea and Reading's match kit.

The Thai name of his drink - Carabao Daeng - means "red buffalo" and is a fierce rival of fellow Thai energy drinks giant Red Bull.

He also owns a string of German breweries in Bangkok which explained Friday night's unusual venue.

League Cup 1st round draw Southern group: Birmingham City vs Crawley Town, Exeter City vs Charlton Athletic, Queens Park Rangers vs Northampton Town, Newport County vs Southend United, Bristol City vs Plymouth Argyle, Cardiff City vs Portsmouth, Millwall vs Stevenage, Oxford United vs Cheltenham Town, AFC Wimbledon vs Brentford, Norwich City vs Swindon Town, Bristol Rovers vs Cambridge United, Peterborough United vs Barnet, Wycombe Wanderers vs Fulham, Colchester United vs Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Yeovil Town, Reading vs Gillingham, Forest Greens Rovers vs Milton Keynes Dons, Luton Town vs Ipswich Town .

Northern group: Coventry City vs Blackburn Rovers, Nottingham Forest vs Shrewsbury Town, Bradford City vs Doncaster Rovers , Mansfield Town vs Rochdale, Grimsby Town vs Derby County, Barnsley vs Morecambe, Crewe Alexandra vs Bolton Wanderers, Oldham Athletic vs Burton Albion, Wigan Athletic vs Blackpool, Bury vs Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday vs Chesterfield, Accrington Stanley vs Preston North End, Fleetwood Town vs Carlisle United, Sheffield United vs Walsall, Scunthorpe United vs Notts County, Rotherham United vs Lincoln City, Leeds United vs Port Vale