Arcticterntalk.org

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

Archive for the month “October, 2016”

UNIKLINIK RWH Aachen


A really quite remarkable hospital situated on the outskirts of Aachen in Germany.

Looking from the outside it might not be clear that this is indeed a hospital. The architecture ventures from normality for a hospital.  

The most striking features are that the hospital is a happy place with patients, doctors and students mingling outside. There are few signs of the flotsam and jetsam litter that adorn many hospitals . The walkways outside are pleasant areas to walk along. There are plentiful buses and taxis. Food is served in a normal environment with even an outdoor burger tent . 

Somehow this place provides much of what goes missing in many hospitals. Put concisely I was impressed. 

Bizarre football stories today 29th October


When your side plays on Friday night it is a good opportunity to watch the football stories as they come in as they do

  1. The Colne FC goalkeeper Matthew Johnson sadly broke his leg and was left waiting an hour in the cold and wet for an ambulance . 
  2. Brackley in National league north took 12 fans to their away match at Halifax. 
  3. The referee in the Holmer Green v Edgware town FC match abandoned the game allegedly because of the constant moaning of a fan! This I cannot easily believe!! 
  4. Jazzi Barnum-bobb is the real name of a real footballer at Newport County and he scored away at Accrington 
  5. The name of the Accrington stadium is the Wham stadium 
  6. In the FA trophy  Brightlingsea Regent away at Metropolitan Police the final score was 2-6 but what was more remarkable was that Brightlingsea Regent scored four of their goals in the 45th minute . In fact there were five goals in the 45th minute! To complete the fun five substitutions took place in the 45th minute with three cautions! All this in front of a crowd of 125 . Worth knowing a bit more about that game. 

What do we think of the whole QPR experience?


Bees fans this morning will wake up buzzing after one of the best performances for a long while. The team were skilful, competitive and persistent throughout the whole 90 minutes hardly giving QPR a real scoring chance. Two superb goals and a well deserved 2-0 victory that in reality should have been 4-0 on chances not taken. We also saw one of the goals of the season in any league from Romaine Sawyers who had an excellent game and thought the goal will get the headlines, the tracking back and workmate was what is needed at this level and either he or Ryan Woods would be my man of the match. Was it my imagination or did the workrate and tempo double from last weeks sorry performance against Barnsley? QPR fans will wake up knowing that there are real clouds over their club and any chances of a rapid return to the premiership are non-existent. img_0005

QPR however were totally a disappointment. They seem to want to set their club up as a major club with ” serious” stewarding, high prices and advocate a match day experience. The reality is that they are seemingly throwing money away that they can surely ill afford to lose. The numbers of stewards were excessive, almost to the point of being irritating, they did not know basics like where to direct people to their seats and sometimes got in the way of visibility in the goalmouth. Walking down South Africa Road past the entrance stewards were exhalting to turn this way or that way to get to the correct turnstile. If in fact I had followed their advice I would be watching the game from Hammersmith. Arriving at the Upper Tier entrance one entered what can only be desribed as a cage where three sets of stewards searched me ( no bag nor in fact anything on me), one steward having to ask his supervisor how to frisk someone.  The searching clearly did not work with a large flare being set off after a Bees goal. A further search at the turnstile and then three more sets of stewards ” directing” fans. Totally unnecessary. The Bees fans were well behaved and despite banter ( that has gone on for 50 years) most fans have little dislike of QPR other than an intense rivalry. Put simply, would we engage in violence with them, other than no doubt the occasional drunken episode, probably not. The stewards then directed me to the wrong seat, wrong direction, but more importantly a disabled couple were made to climb up and down steps a couple of times before being correctly directed. The food offerings were beyond abysmal. Mary Berry and her soggy bottom would have had a field day. The Chicken ( almost absent in fact) balti pie was totally soggy after its microwaving efforts at heating it. The person serving had no idea how to operate the till, nor the price, nor could calculate the change from a £5 note, the pie was £3.50. No alcohol was served to away fans suggesting that QPR still live in the dark ages.

My seat in Row C in the upper tier and labelled a gold seat, presumably gold relates to the money QPR made from me £34 for this seat with restricted visibility . The restriction was being unable to view the goalline and much of the goalmouth. On the positive side an excellent sound system, playing real music. Pete Doherty as an example. img_2726

The area around the ground is a residential area and one wonders about the joys of living there on match days. The local roads were strewn with rubbish, broken glass bottles and other discarded football materials. The roads were gridlocked before the game and generally having a football ground in this area seems now a poor choice.

In terms of the experience it was a poor one and QPR should look at the reality and effectiveness of their ” customer experience”. I would rate it at maybe 3/10.

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Motherwell – the latest Supporter owned club. The first in the SPL


Good to see more supporter owned clubs emerging. I don’t fully understand all the maths here but seems a decent deal . Motherwell are now fan owned.

With clubs all over the UK having dubious owners and occasionally seemingly incompetent ones this is a good step forward.

Well Society Statement – A New Era

Reflections On An Away Day At Queens Park Rangers


For fans not so familiar with London, Queens Park Rangers play at Loftus Road in West London, which is about 1.5 miles from Hammersmith and near to Shepherds Bush. The area is a curious area  and on the good side with many “expensive” cafes thats serve excellent food and a plethora of oddly named hotels. Take the New Century Inn. Not entirely clear which century it was new in but a good guess might be the 19th century and not much has changed since then. There also seems to be a desire to dig up every piece of ground nearby and the building works and roadworks are numerous.

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The cafes are good though and it may be better to feed in one of these than chance the dubious food on offer in the ground at also very extortionate prices.

Highlight of QPR v Brentford

Highlight of QPR v Brentford

A strong recommendation is to travel by underground as there are many underground stations in the vicinity , Wood Lane, White City, Shepherds Bush Market and Goldhawk road. Parking will be 7 kinds of nightmare and I do not recall seeing anywhere to park like a reasonable car park at all.

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As with all ex-premiership clubs, habits die hard and there is overkill with hundreds of stewards and police horses. The local fans however seemed in general terms pleasant enough. A number of barricades are in place mostly to stop cars but expect a little interest from the stewards at any barrier for any reason. IMG_2324IMG_2326IMG_2327

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IMG_2329Expect to be searched going into the away end and expect confusion as the entry for the Upper Tier stand behind the goal for away fans is on the opposite side of the ground for  that of the Lower Tier Stand. The searches are friendly enough but on the excessive side.

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The walk from the nearest tube stations takes maybe 10 minutes maximum. Almost all the local pubs are home supporters only, so anyone in search of alcohol may need to head a little way away from the ground. If you have time to visit the dentist then the curiously named Batman Dental Surgery is an option opposite the ground. IMG_2325

The away fans are given the stand behind one goal and if you are in the front few rows as I was you are hardly 5 yards away from being on top of the goal. A very tight ground, that generates a good atmosphere.

Entry to away end

Entry to away end

 

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Having said all that the views are excellent for the away fans. However another remnant of premiership football is the high cost of tickets, £32 for mine and the £3.50 programme.

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IMG_2335A few curious signs and pieces of information emerge on the walls of the away end. Not entirely sure what they add to the spectacle but interesting anyway.

IMG_2334This is a good day out for away fans and a trip to be encouraged but it would be good if the club realised that most fans do not create trouble and an excessive degree of policing and stewarding is a negative and expensive and unnecessary phenomenon.

 

Reading Half-Marathon 2016. Fifteen Photographs To show Why this Is an Important Event


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Around 15,000 participants took part in the 2016 Reading Half-Marathon of 13.1 miles. Here are a selection of my favourite participants for many various reasons. Such an event is maybe easy for the professional athlete and there were some who seemed to fulfil that category, however for others, elderly, disabled in some way or simply ” not an athlete”, things are harder and the effort they must make is substantially greater.

  1. For all participants and spectators there is substantial effort to get there on time. Roads are closed. Car parks are full and queueing is mandatory.

00002473 For all participants and spectators there is substantial effort in even getting to the event on time

2. The race was open to all-comers, including elderly and physically disabled. They each found their own way to overcome the difficulties associated with a 13 mile run.

00002561 Gary Donald

00002628 Rachel and David

3. Thirteen miles is…

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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

 

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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.


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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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