The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Alan McCormack of Brentford Suspended 5 Games for aggravated abuse of officials 

This story suddenly emerged this morning without warning. Following an FA hearing relating to Brentford fixture versus Cardiff in April 2016. He was found guilty of abusing officials and this was judged an aggravated breach due to reference to gender. On the EFL website the officials are all listed as male. Stuart Attwell, David Rock, Andrew Turner and Kevin Johnson. Why this has taken 5 months to be resolved seems an indictment of the FA processes. 

He has been suspended for 5 games indicating the severity of the offence in the view of the FA. In addition fined  £6000 and ordered to go on an unspecified education course. 

Alan McCormack is a popular player amongst the Brentford fans however a quick look on social media comments just now has around 80% of Brentford fans critical of him. This may be harsh as the facts around the case are not known and neither club nor player are making further comment. So at the current time it is also unknown what the clubs view of this incident is and if an appeal is being considered. Put simply we are in the dark. 

What we do know is that aggravated abuse suggests that more was said than might be usual in such cases . It is also interesting that the club has not made a quick statement of intent to appeal. As reference was made to gender and the officials it seems were all male there is only a limited number of potential abuse options. 

Either way McCormack has done himself or the club no favours in being suspended at a critical part of the season. As a player I like his attitude on the pitch and his physicality undoubtedly is important in certain games to Brentford. No one would call him a skilful player but most agree he is an effective and well liked player. 

At this stage it would be salient to await further facts before being too judgemental but the signs and scenarios do not look great. If the club does not sanction an appeal then this by itself is interesting . The further punishment of 6000£ is complex to interpret as presumably relates to the players wage. The attendance at an educational course further implies significant wrongdoing as to the nature and content of the abuse. 

What is of no doubt is that the fans of Brentford and the team will lose out with the non-availability of McCormack for critical games likely to be physical including QPR and Fulham. 

Lastly without knowing the precise details it may be wrong to comment on the length of the ban but put in context of bans for biting and physical assault this ban looks lengthy. 

Molesey 1 Romford 3. FA Trophy Preliminary Round

Molesey are one of the nonleague teams I watch where one is guaranteed a combative and feisty game, and thats a good thing. Crowds are never massive and not often more than 150 when I attend. This was a good game and overall a draw would have been a fair result.

A few things of note:

  • Shirt pulling is endemic and rarely seen by the officials and often seen by the camera. Any clamping down on this at a nonleague level has not happened00006510
  • Arguing with the refereee is endemic even when the player in question is clearly in the wrong
  • Teams are getting more colourful. Not sure how many different colours were evident at this game, but hair, boots and shirts were all fascinating.00006553
  • Players do not need to be in perfect physical shape to play football well at this level. 00006561



Test Cricket in Bangladesh Confuses and Concerns. A letter from Chittagong

The first day of a much heralded test match is greeted by an empty stadium. The camera has to work hard to find any spectators to focus on. Even as Moeen  Ali reaches his hard worked and somewhat fortunate 50 he raises his bat for maybe 2 seconds looking around to even find a distant spectator to observe. SKY give us live coverage and the commentators describe the game as intriguing . Camera angles frequently almost deliberately give us views that seemingly demonstrate confirmation that the stadium is indeed  empty. There are a handful of spectators mostly at the rear of a single stand and oddly a few more standing at the front behind the kind of fences one might envisage at the Pentagon. Peering through this safety related obstruction. 

Yet this series was welcomed in by Bangladesh with huge amounts of money spent on security that also would not go remiss at a Trump rally at the White House. 

The match is truly fascinating. England have reached 173-5 having been perilously at 21-3. Some of the Bangladesh bowling changes and choices seem curious at least and crazy possibly. England were on the ropes and have partially escaped to at least post a score of some sorts it seems. The cricket is certainly interesting as Michael Atherton concurs. 

The end result though is that we have turned test cricket here into a global televised event without a spectating audience. Why? Are the prices too high? Are the locals not interested in test cricket? The interest in cricket in Bangladesh is high to say the least. Something is very wrong. Sport needs to be played in front of a crowd to generate an atmosphere . A superb innings from Moeen Ali should not be played in front of an empty stadium with no applause on his half century .  As the day went on a few more locals entered the ground but mostly groups of schoolchildren. There is no doubt an effective security cordon but whether this really would delay or significantly entrance to the ground is dubious. 

There also has to be some comment about the pitch which Atherton described at lunch on the first day as looking like a Day 3 wicket. A surface very much designed for spinners. 

When sport is played in empty stadia no one wins and certainly not SKY . 

Waking up with Cairns. A photographic memory. Reasons to Walk in the morning at sunrise.

Cairns looked at its most beautiful in the early morning light. A long esplanade gave beautiful sea views. The light gave fascinating patterns as the early morning sun rose. A variety of folks in size,shape and fitness were all happily exercising. To see the clouds drift apart in the early morning was gorgeous. This was the time to capture the images, by mid-morning all the mystique had vanished.

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Monsanto Protest in Berlin 16th October 2016

Whilst walking back from a congress on a grey Berlin October day I heard a protest group protesting against Monsanto. It seems October 16th worldwide was the day when protests were organised against the perceived injustices of Monsanto. I have never in my life been part of a protest and it was curious to watch this particular one. A few photographs from the events this afternoon. The speeches were in German so I cannot comment on their content.


Blogging and a New Photo Blog site. Please share

Seems I have now posted over 1000 blogs on this blog which started off as a blog to keep in contact with my wandering daughter. I have been trying to streamline a little what goes on here and have decided that I would like to showcase some of my best photography on a separate photo blog where there are no words just pictures .


Please feel free to take a look, comment and share. The last few months I have been fortunate enough to be able to photograph amongst other things wolves in the wild,  food and some fascinating places.

Here on this blog I will continue to show some photos but the main purpose will be the words not the photos.

Thanks for listening.



Have no idea who to credit for this wonderful carving. Some serious talent 

There is a danger to all chefs in Paris and potentially France. A concerning menu for Chefs

Should I be a chef and that would be unfortunate to the whole population, I might not work in Paris. I am aware of food items eaten with regularity here that do not venture onto my shopping list . I am also aware of a few chefs who perhaps do deserve some sort of criticism. However are the French taking this too far?  I leave that to your judgement 

My Breakfast Is Finished Said The Cat. What else do you have for me?


Alcohol Intake at Edinburgh Airport and Scotland Generally

Before anyone gets the wrong idea I enjoy alcohol and drink probably my 14 units most weeks. But I was shocked to arrive at Edinburgh airport at 9.30 am on a normal friday to find all the bars full and people of all ages consuming huge volumes of alcohol. The bars were packed. The best sight was a man eating a fairly large Scottish Cooked breakfast and sipping an equally large brandy. Is this normal and is this healthy? Should anyone care?

The Scottish government certainly do. On their own website they make the stark observation that “It is becoming increasingly evident that as a nation our relationship with alcohol has become unbalanced”.  Further observations are that a fifth more alcohol per adult is drunk in Scotland compared with England and Wales, that 40% of prisoners were drunk at the time of their offence, and that although alcohol consumption may have declined since 2009, it had previously increased hugely over the previous 30 years. Alcohol related deaths had increased by a factor of 1.5 times since 1980. Sales in 2015 were 20% higher in Scotland than they were in England and Wales, with each adult consuming the equivalent of 477 pints of beer. Currently although there had been some reduction in drinking, sales of alcohol have now increased for the second year in succession. In 2015 total sales were the equivalent to 41 bottles of vodka or 116 bottles of wine for each adult. There was some evidence this morning that most of that quantity might be consumed in Edinburgh airport.

Should this be a matter of concern to anyone? People are free to do what they like mostly, however the societal cost is massive in terms of poor health and alcohol related criminal damage. There are probably a hundred views and opinions on that observation. The point of this article is simply to point out the huge amount of early morning drinking going on before flights. The statistics about cost to society and the person also make salient reading. There were 35,059 alcohol-related hospital stays in 2014/15, 91% resulted from an emergency admission and  71% of alcohol-related stays were men. Alcohol harm costs Scotland £3.6 billion a year in health, social care, crime, productive capacity and wider costs. 

The government of course will take a view, do an enquiry and probably little else but in July 2016 the way alcohol is sold in airports is to be examined after a number of recent incidents involving drunk passengers, the new aviation minister has said.
Lord Ahmad said he did not want to “kill merriment”, but that he would “look at” the times alcohol was on sale, and passenger screening. This seems a measured response but an unsurprising one. Aside from the health issues and general societal ones there are other reasons to be concerned over airport drinking. The number of passenger disturbances on UK flights has tripled over the past three years.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says the “majority” of cases were down to alcohol.
There were 114 incidents in 2014 compared to 39 in 2011. Little surprise here when one looks at the disinhibitive properties of alcohol and the potential amount consumed in a relatively short period of time.

What should airports do? Frankly they should do something instead of encouraging for their own purposes passengers to spend huge amounts of money in the duty-free areas ( that are now obligatory to walk through after security) and the bars that widely decorate airports. I would not especially single out Edinburgh airport of course but this is where I am writing this missive, but bars are often appearing at an exponential rate. I see no equivalent rise in quiet spaces to sit not in fact anywhere to sit. An All-Bar-One has opened here since I last visited. But they should do something, or at least discuss the situation and their relevance to the problem.

The chief executive of the British Air Transport Association, Nathan Stower, said “airlines set tough rules around the consumption of alcohol. Pubs, bars and restaurants in airports in the UK and overseas must play their part”.
In November a flight to Cuba from Manchester had to divert to Bermuda after Mohammed Khelya drank a bottle of vodka and threatened to kill everyone onboard. An isolated event of course but an increasingly seen one.

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