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 “December, 2016”

Missing Cat in Cardiff

Not mine but maybe please share. 

Brentford tie players down to long term contracts

A tongue in cheek selection of photos. Muscle stretching exercises . Not noticed these before on the pitch. Maybe a good tactic to use with Hogan? 

Cliveden. A great place for a walk with or without Dog 

There are many places for good dog walks but Cliveden in Buckinghamshire has to be amongst the best. Walks though forests , by lakes and through fields. Almost perfect for a dog walk. 

One of the National Trust properties in UK

The main walk that allows dog owners to walk their dogs is around 7-8 km. Allow the best part of two hours. 

Surely the real failures in football are those that select the managers? 

Time and time again there are rounds of managerial sackings. Usually focused on certain times in the season when relegation becomes possible or likely.  New managers are employed and sometimes as with Neil Warnock at Rotherham last season with surprising success. Rotherham were doomed and adrift yet somehow survived. Warnock chose to then leave at the end of his short term contract with little opportunity to build a platform for any longer term growth. Now 6 months later Rotherham lie adrift at the bottom of the championship with their best hope of success being the Pope and a miracle. 

Leyton Orient as they will always be named in my universe have had six managers since September 2014 under the curious ownership of Francesco Becchetti. Working in their HR department must be an enlightening and busy role. Try and imagine the cost of paying up a minimum of six annual salaries to those sacked encumbents and one arrives at a figure that surely must be around a million pounds if not substantially greater. An average crowd at Orient might be 4000 being generous. Let’s guess the gate revenue for each game as an average of £18. Again a generous assertion. £72000 per game. Needing around 14 home games to simply cover the costs of the managerial sackings. I will emphasise these are all estimates and guesswork and I have less secret intelligence in these matters than even the German police. But the figures are unlikely to be widely wrong. Put concisely the cost of managerial sackings is high even if we discount the lack of any longer term plan being administered for a team or club by the manager. Success never comes overnight hence this cost is likely significantly greater. 

Alan Pardew looks like he gets a payoff after being sacked for failure of around 5 million pounds. Assuming an average of 30£ per ticket Crystal Palace would need to sell 167,000 tickets to fund this large donation to the Pardew household. 

Currently 22 of the 92 league managers have been sacked since the start of the 2016 season. That’s in under five months.  Of these 22 only ten have had a year in charge with many having only 1-4 months. 

So who chooses these managers? Has anyone audited how bad they are at personnel selection? Do the same characters get to select again? This is one area shroudedin mist and mystery and no wonder why. Their choosing is clearly fatally flawed. What might they look for in a manager? What are their own criteria for success at instigation of the contract? How can they possibly get things so ridiculously and chaotically wrong after 52 days for Alberto Cavasin at Orient? Or 87 days for WALTER Zenga at Wolves? One accepts that sometimes faces do not fit but surely some due diligence is needed and done? Many of these managers are on the managerial roundabout and one suspects reasons for failure are similar at different clubs. I do not buy into the argument that a failed manager at premiership level suddenly becomes a good choice for a lower league side. In fact logic and facts dictate I am correct in this assertion. 

Let’s return to Rotherham who sacked Alan Stubbs after 140 days. Stubbs had a decent track record at Hibernian and arguably should have stayed there. Needless to say he is one of the favourite options for other managerial roles including Barnet andScotland. 

Supporters of clubs should demand that the board is more accountable for their selection of managers and when it goes wrong they should be sacked from choosing managers. 

Preventing Sudden Death in Young Sportsmen . Craig Cunningham

A 26 year old athlete and professional ice hockey player, Craig Cunningham, collapsed and almost died before a recent game in Canada. The cause of the collapse was a cardiac arrest.  The BBC report this in their headline as a heart attack which it was not it seems. He was lucky to be resuscitated after maybe efforts lasting 90 minutes. The exact cause is unknown but may well be HOCM , hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy. An illness that can often lead to fatal cardiac arrests and yet in many cases is easily diagnosed with correct screening. 

A horrifying high number of sportsmen have had cardiac arrests at a young age. Two things bother me. Firstly the media report this as heart attacks which almost always they are not. A heart attack has a distinct pathology of a blocked artery . A cardiac arrest has many causes but in young sportsmen is mostly a sudden serious abnormal heart rhythm.  It is feasible of course for a young sportsman to have a heart attack and these are not unknown in people in their twenties. However it is very uncommon and causes might be cocaine abuse , chest trauma or familial hyperlipidaemias. These are highly unlikely in this and most cases. 

In many cases forms of cardiomyopathy are the underlying cause. Hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy is the most well known . Sometimes this can be easily detected by various forms of heart screening such as ECG or Echocardiogram. Greater awareness of this potentially fatal abnormality needs to be observed in sports clubs and routine screening is not unreasonable. Lastly the presence of defibrillators at all sports clubs should now be mandatory. If these currently exist in the departure lounges of airports like Arlanda and in small cafes in New York then this seems totally justifiable. 

Should children sometimes be allowed out of school during term time? The Jon Platt case continues 

The case of Jon Platt who was fined £120 due to taking his daughter out of school and then appealed the fine and magistrates ruled in his favour is well known. The Isle of Wight council then appealed to the high court and lost. They are now taking the case to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land. 

Most parents are reasonable people and only take their children out of school when it is really essential or beneficial to the child. A holiday when otherwise they might not have had one is an important family matter. But there is another often not discussed aspect to this case. When schools make it impossible for children to attend when they could and should. Often with ramifications relating to childcare that neither benefit child nor family. Ad hoc childcare is rarely possible and cheap. 

This is a ridiculous case of course and the end result of this intransigence on the part of education authorities undoubtedly leads to creative reasons for children missing school. 

However on the other side of the fence schools choose their inset days with no reference nor regard to the families. What exactly is the reason that these must take place intern time? Why not holiday time? What actually happens on an inset day? Who audits the need , quantity and outcomes of having them? Teachers strike it seems too regularly. Schools close to accommodate numerous other activities . Entrance tests etc. So there are plenty of days when in fact children cannot go to school when they want to. 

Surely reason must emerge as the victor here. For most children a few days a year off school for reasonable reasons is fair. Parents are best placed to make this kind of decision. 

A Brentford Revival? Maybe or maybe not 

At the end of the day Bees hung on to beat a fairly poor Burton side 2-1. Certainly compared with late this was a better performance but emphasised yet again the critical importance of Scott Hogan to the team. Without him would Brentford have lost 1-0? Who knows. 

The early tempo was much better from Bees against a Burton side that was well organised but lacked a fair bit of basic skill. Their wide players produced some crosses that better teams would have scored from. 

Bees scored following a good pass from Sawyers who had a decent game but in general the midfield fails to protect the defence and win many of the second balls. Yennaris was unconvincing and Bees cry out for a physically dominant midfield player and a few crunching tackles. Hogan was superb and in reality should have had a hat trick and possibly four. 

The failings however came back to haunt Brentford giving away a very soft goal that possibly Bentley might have done better. Barbet looked uncomfortable at left back and it will be no surprise to see Tom Field starting there soon. 

Without pondering on the negatives this was an important 3 points against a Burton team that I expect to be in or near the bottom 3 come end of season. 

Bees need to improve more. To stop giving the ball away cheaply and for the midfield to do a whole lot more including score some goals. But three points are ours and hopefully now we can push on and get something from the next two difficult away games. 

Credit to the small but supportive bunch of Burton fans. They know that their championship road may get closed come end of season 

Differing perceptions of the River Thames at Brentford 

While arriving for a football match at Brentford I was struck by how the views of the excellent street artist saw The Thames at Brentford contrasted with the photos I just took. 

Ciabbata Bread Loaf Ready To Hang on the Wall from Panetteria Italiana Merton

Food sometimes comes in unpredicatable shapes and even an experienced baker was surprised his routine ciabbata came with a picture frame hook ready for hanging on the wall. The best baker in the UK is found at Panetteria Italiana in Merton 6 Merton Hall Rd, Merton, London SW19 3NT0000676200006765

Lunch Menu At The Funeral Directors? 

Not yet convinced about this one 

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