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 “December, 2017”

Premiership Football Is Killing Itself And I Do not Care


In a week when Griffin Park was packed for a superb game also televised live on Sky in which Brentford beat Aston Villa 2-1 the nonsense in the premiership has reached new heights. It is not just me but friends who are premiership season ticket holders are saying the same. IMG_6586

Lets take a look at events over only the last few days.

  1. Liverpool have signed an attitudinal centre back from Southampton for £75 million who is 26 years old on a 5.5 years deal for £180,000/week.
  2. Man City have effectively won the Premiership already in 2017 almost 5 months before the season ends having spent 134£ million in the summer alone and having won 18 straight fixtures. To try and combat this avalanche teams adopt an ultra-defensive mode when playing against them. The Newcastle side gave an incredibly defensive performance to lose 1-0 at home, in which in the first 30 minutes they always had 11 players behind the ball. How can anyone in the 52,000 crowd have been entertained by that? Certainly on Sky it was a tedious, predictable and boring game. Man City have now won 19 of their 20 premiership games and lead the title race by 15 points from Man Utd and are 21 points ahead of the team in 5th position. Is this ultimately good for football?
  3. Yet another football charged with assault. Jon Flanagan of Liverpool. Is this because they are inherently violent and unpleasant people ? Or maybe that footballers generally think themselves far superior to the football fans who pay to watch them?  Either way there has been a litany of never ending ( often alcohol-fuelled) events leading to court appearances and sometimes jail.

 

My team is Brentford and I have watched them for over 50 years. This is real football, played by real players and watched by real fans ( often in the pouring rain as was the case Boxing Evening versus Aston Villa). Things are never boring, there is little certainty in the Championship which side will win or lose, and this makes football a real game. 00001421

Money is ruining Premiership football and I could rant for hours over how the small clubs could benefit from more handouts from TV etc, however it is not going to happen. However if we reach a stage where the top 5 teams are the same every season, Man City always win the league  and the other teams are also-rans, then fans will lose interest. It may be in 5 or 10 or 20 years, in which case things will change. Why is the NFL and AFL so popular in USA? The whole system of player recruitment and wage caps is equitable and makes for a stable set of teams, changing annually . This is actually what football fans want, not to see a game where one side at home has 11 players behind the ball constantly for half the game. IMG_6587

Were Aston Villa that bad? Or were we that good? Thoughts after the night before


A very wet evening heralded an excellent game of football that even torrential rain could not dampen nor actually have much effect. A sell out crowd of 12,000 including 1,600 Villa fans saw an end to end game that at times could have gone in any direction. IMG_6569

The scoresheet will confirm that Brentford won 2-1 but that hides a lot of the game. The few minuscule words that The Times chose to post about the game really were both clueless and gave their readers no feeling of anything about the game. So lets go back to the start. Brentford have a whole series of injuries that have disrupted their starting eleven for around 2 months now, yet even with players out of position and squad players coming in, the results have been quite superb. So looking at some of  the players who were absent from last night: Egan, Henry, Dalsgaard, it is clear that the Bees defence was not first, nor second choice but maybe third choice. Nico Yennaris at right back and Joann Barbet at left back, two players not always first choice this season, playing out of their regular positions. On paper this was a team that Villa managed by the ever increasing frame of Steve Bruce should have been looking to beat comfortably. Certainly thats the view from their hordes of fans on social media. In fact Brentford looked the most comfortable they have all season in defence, with the exception of the Villa goal scored too easily. 00000513

Brentford have turned into a hard working and maybe fitter side than earlier in the season, and are playing as a team. They are also some of the best football I have seen at Griffin Park over the years. The players have a game plan and it works. The return from injury of Sergi Canos has been crucial as has the return to form of Florian.

The pitch is now in excellent condition considering the recent weather and rainfall, and yet this is Brentford, were before the game smiling stewards were trying to sweep away the rain behind the New Road stand but at a slower pace than the rain that was falling!

The return of Alan Judge to the bench was warmly applauded and we might expect to see him starting a game soon.

My impression of Villa was actually positive. They were a hard working team in the first half and probably shaded the game on points. Always a threat when coming forward but as the game went on they failed to have a plan B and arguably gave up after Lasse Vibe’s 52nd minute winner. The last 10 minutes were the usual panic stations and especially as both Brentford central defenders were off the pitch with bloody head injuries, with goal line saves keeping Villa out. 00000487

Despite negative comments on social media my impression was they are a side that will be in the playoffs. The fans are shouting to maybe have Bruce out but they might look at their alternatives and instead stick with him. Do they really want a Pulis, Warnock or Pardew? Their football was not as good as Brentford and on the night it showed, but on other nights they will beat similar teams because of their speed in attack and physical size. What however surprised Brentford fans was the odd role given to Hogan. We know he is a good player, but we also know he is a confidence player, and a player that needs service in the box. He could slot back in at Brentford in the correct role and start scoring goals again. But a real lesson for not only Villa but also Birmingham and Norwich, do not just buy the best player, but look at the system they have been operating in and why they have been the best player. The simple reason why Canos, Jota and Hogan have not flourished after leaving Brentford. IMG_6583

The football played by Brentford was superb last night, there were no defensive errors ( bar one that we got away with) and we made good substitutions at the right time. The other thing we learned last night was that we do need to give Lasse Vibe a new contract. For me he has vastly improved this last 2 years and has at least another 2 years left of Championship football. He also is a stable influence on the side and is likely to feature in the World Cup in 2018. Nico Yennaris for me had his best game in a Brentford shirt, not only his positional sense but his cajoling and encouraging his team colleagues. Could this be his best position? I would not be alone in thinking that Henrik Dalsgaard would be better in midfield . Chris Mepham was superb and a casual observer would be surprised to learn he has only started a handful of games. Sergi Canos had a superb game despite his Malfoy like hairstyle, and is getting better by the game. Romaine Sawyers also had one of his best games and also looking better each game. Even Keith Stroud had an average game, when our expectations are that he will ruin any spectacle. A question to ask him is his interpretation of the advantage rule though.

Villa do not need to panic and although automatic promotion is beyond them, the playoffs certainly are not. Their hope might be that they do not meet Brentford there. This was one of the great nights under the lights at Griffin Park and when we move to Lionel road this is what we will miss.

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Reasons to Buy books from Waterstones (and other independent booksellers) – And the best book of the year?


This may be my first ever blog on shopping and certainly the first one on xmas shopping.  Frankly I don’t like shopping and never know what to buy at xmas, so my expeditions have a kind of random aura attached to them.

During the last year I am guilty as accused of buying numerous books from Amazon. In my defence my daughter has instigated Amazon Prime and most purchases tend to be very last minute. A visitation to the shopping precincts at xmas however cannot be totally prevented.

Books are a great present, in that so many varieties and authors exist and my norm would be to buy a decent number at xmas. Waterstones have always impressed me. The shop in Sutton is my nearest one and what was striking yesterday was that the shop was busy and had an aura of excitement , with children prowling the aisles between the books, small tables for frazzled mothers to rest ( feet and bags), and a large upstairs cafe that is integrated into the shop with expertise. All in all a happy shop with an aroma of nice coffee. A mixture of young and old sat also at tables with their computers and books. It gave me the impression of being a living shop.

The advantages of physically going into a shop are quite obvious, but what is less obvious is that the choice is massively increased, as for any given genre, there are many options all spread out together in the same section. Sometimes a quick browse of a page or two is enough to either confirm a purchase or decide that one does not like the way an author writes. The first page of a book is often a good place to decide if the writing is what is desired.

Waterstones in Sutton is a large shop over two floors and it did not take too long to buy around 7 books and spend in total with other items there £100. There were a few nice surprises, being offered chocolates at the cash till, helpful staff who answered questions accurately, many half price offers ( buy one book, get another half price). What however less expected was that a stamped card was given to me after paying, with one stamp for each £10 spent, and the completed card was thus worth £10 ( on my next visit). In addition the loyalty card earned me around £3, so in total a 13% discount. Factoring in the half price reduction as above the discount increased to around 18%.

So harbouring happy Waterstones shaped thoughts I disappeared home, to find that in my twitter feed was a sad tale of a young man who had left his Waterstones bag on a train and was appealing to South Western trains to see if it could be recovered. A woman replied saying that she worked for Waterstones and if he could let her know the book ( 6 childrens books), she would get them replaced.

So I am decided and this is where I shall buy all my books in future. Lastly , the best book of the year ( bought in an independent bookseller in Edinburgh). Graeme Macrae Burnet. His Bloody Project.

 

 

 

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Lord Buckethead. Xmas Song to delight you


In the spirit of Xmas I bring you the best festive song.

After Death Is Water Cremation (Liquefaction) An option to cremation or burial? Would you like to be flushed down the drain instead of cremated ? A serious option. Take the Survey


The views on death and after death are plentiful both amongst and between those with varying religious beliefs. Sandwell Council in the West Midlands has given planning permission to a crematorium ( Rowley Regis) to fit a £300,000 machine called a Resomator. The Resomator in three hours will turn corpses into liquid and softened bone. Essentially liquefaction replaces cremation. The bone ashes will be given to relatives and the liquid is flushed away. Apparently 330 gallons per dead body. The website of the company Resomation reports that their technique can be described as a “basic process that borrows from the hydrolysis chemistry used by nature after burial but dramatically speeds it up”. In other words they recreate what happens in the soil. The focus of the company is on the environment even such their choice of name “The actual term Resomation was thoughtfully chosen using “Resoma” which is a Greek/Latin derivation for “rebirth of the human body”

Resomation on their website use a lot of what be termed kindly ” marketing speak” which hardly helps their cause. For example

“Instead of burial in earth or burning by fire we now have a true third water based option that allows us to express our environmental awareness and concerns in a positive manner”

This practice is not new and is being used in USA in Florida, Minnesota, California and Chicago, being described as a new flameless cremation option. The machines are built in West Yorkshire by a company called Resomation. So how will UK deal with this? Sandwell council consider this a more environmentally friendly option and a third choice behind burial and cremation. The arguments and debate have already started. Severn Water have refused  a “trade effluent” permit to the council under the premise that dissolved bodies are not covered, a reasonable fact. Water UK which represents the Water supplying companies quite reasonably have reservations over public acceptance of dead people in the water system.

 

Despite initial reservations and even horror when looking at what is planned there is some logic in this suggestion, but as Severn Water have found, a lot more thought and information needs to go into how this proposition is made to the general public.  I am unsure that using the green option and reduction of environmental damage is the correct way forward. However the debate has started.

Brentford v Barnsley. What did we learn from this festival of football? Talking points


  1. Never knowingly watch Barnsley ever again. Another club in the lower reaches of the championship  who seem to think that mathematically drawing each game 0-0 will preserve their league status. The time wasting tactics we saw yesterday ranging from their goalkeeper wasting time two minutes into the game, and  added to by curious injury delays towards the end, were very much old league four behaviours. Simply dire.  As a footballing side they were adequate when trying to come forward but little better than that. In 2017 this kind of gamesmanship has no place and one wonders of the mentality of manager Paul Heckingbottom or his assistant Jamie Clapham.
  2. Never undertake the role of Barnsley performance analyst (Alex Bailey, what exactly do you analyse? Minutes of time wasted when score 0-0?)
  3. Brentford are not improving at knowing how to unlock defensive minded teams. We are a far better side in terms of skin levels yet seemingly not any better than teams like Sunderland, Burton and Barnsley, with disappointing home draws in recent weeks. The team seems not set up to do this and importantly no sign of a Plan B either.
  4. Josh McCeahran had a poor game and is not suited to playing in front of the defensive unit. He did not tackle and gave the ball away in highly dangerous situations. This was a curious decision by Dean Smith. It is difficult to argue that he should be starting games as he also offered little in attacking options either.
  5. Team selection and tactics. To put Kamo and Nico on the bench was perhaps an odd selection. Players need to be played who are in form and both are in the best performing 11 players at present. Ryan Woods is out of form and this worries me as is reminiscent of the form of players like Tarkowski and Toumani shortly before their departures. Why is Florian not playing? A player in good form and a set ball expert. There is plenty of room for both Sergio and Florian in the same team. 00000198
  6. Route one football at Brentford? We have never been known for this style of football. Our current squad are also not suited not frankly capable of playing this way, yet against Barnsley and Burton, for periods of the game this was our style. Justin Shaibu is the only squad member capable potentially of playing in this style ( and why has he not been on the bench recently?).
  7. Neal Maupay. Enigma or unlucky? The season has not gone well for him and some fans are starting to turn on him. He should have scored more goals but yesterday his level of service was zero. He is not a midfielder yet was having to win the ball to be able to do anything with it. For me he has the potential but needs the team set up to provide far more crosses into the box. He also I suspect is a confidence player.
  8. Is Dean Smith getting the best from his squad? Putting aside the few folks with persistent negative views, others are questioning his team selection, tactics and ability to out manoeuvre the opposition, especially when changes need to be made during the game. His choice of central defenders have come under scrutiny  and I am a critic here too. Our central defence is the weakest for many seasons regardless of international players we have playing there. As an ex-central defender he must see that too and I would like to see changes in the transfer window.
  9. Are we going anywhere this season? My opinion is not. We are a mid-table side. We will not make the top six, and unlikely to be in the bottom six either. We should take this opportunity to blood the youngsters or move them on. Chris Mepham should be starting and Ilias should be given a run of 4-6 games to assess potential.
  10. Why do the half-time draw sellers stand both outside the gents toilet ( for their sake, the smells are not lovely) and blocking the entrance to the steps up into the stand in New Road?  I do not much like this way of making a minuscule amount of money and £2 a ticket is a lot of money frankly for a small prize. The simplest way to make a sensible amount of money would be to make catering available to supporters in their seats in the stands. Trays of hot drinks and burgers etc. All priced sensibly maybe with pre-paid vouchers. To sell 300 extra hot drinks and 300 extra burgers would make a decent amount of money and provide a service.
Neal Maupay

Neal Maupay

For the homeless. List of shelters . London.


It is an appalling indictment of society that anyone is homeless. Surely reflective of mental illness of some degree or nature or extreme circumstances. No one should be sleeping on the streets in 2017. Fact.

This is not the place to suggest solutions but merely to say that there are shelters and here is a list of shelters . Some in Kingston and Merton . Spread the word please

http://www.homeless.org.uk/connect/blogs/2017/nov/06/london-winter-shelters-2017-18-list-published

Fakery is now endemic. One person has had enough


Reading the papers, watching TV or simply sitting in one place for long enough, will get you assailed by fakery.

Watching TV. The first question in any documentary or reality programme, is what are your underlying thoughts? Let’s take Strictly. For those outside UK this is an annual fest that runs the three months till Xmas and so called celebrities are paired with professional dancers. The fakery in their smiles, actions and intent are frighteningly transparent. Just one example. This is a competitive game. Yet one might be excused for thinking your competitor is your cheerleader. All nonsense and fake smiles. Mostly designed to move on a career in an unbalanced and unfair contest where a vicar might be paired against an ex ballet dancer. You get the picture. Fakery at its worst. Often terrible Dad dancing applauded in the same manner as an invasion of Pluto might be.

Change the venue. The airport lounge. Folks walking and talking loudly about matters they deem important . Deals worth a million or colleagues whom should be dismembered. Faking the importance . The desire to go and stand next to them and sing Barry Manillow songs or simply assault them is very strong.

Newspapers. Goodness. When was the last time you read a paper and believed the content was accurate with no political slant? In fact many papers hardly are worthy of that title. Dominated by sickly adverts. Columnists clearly have a political slant when what is needed is exactly what it says on the tin. The news.

Fake phone calls. In the last week I have won a holiday in Orlando . Yet oddly no one will send me anything . I must be transferred to their marketing department. The most honest aspect of all these rants really. Manic sounding young callers asking me how my day was. One wants to reply that it got off to a bad start with the colostomy bag exploding at a board meeting. That the bank called regarding bankruptcy proceedings and that my wife was in court on a murder charge . Probably relating to previous telephone callers. In short they want to sell something . It might be good but when fronted by this fakery . No thanks.

Street beggars. In the last weeks I have walked past many who are sitting more comfortably than I might in my office, with better shoes [ I own a single pair right now] and asking , sometimes demanding , for money. Whereas there are some people who sadly do need to beg. Mostly with improperly treated forms of mental illness. These guys need help in the short term. Some good and better still a place to stay. Society is negative towards them mostly because of the fakers.

Football. Where do I start. Feigning injury. Hairstyles. The question to ask is are they not ashamed? Pretending a serious injury usually a head injury . That frankly was little more than a disturbance of their curious hairstyle.

There will be more examples for sure. But for now. That’s enough

Early morning drinking at airports and the waste of alcohol


Airport lounges are never dull places. In general if you seek rudeness you can expect to find it. Folks pushing in to grab the food and generally taking up seven chairs. Some of the fashion sense is also dubious . Anything free is pounced upon in a hawk like manner.

If you have followed my blog you will recall articles on early morning drinking at Scottish airports. So I will not repeat my thoughts here. Today however a totally new rant. Waste. Anyone travelling to USA will be highly familiar with the waste of food there purely by being served gigantic portions. What is less common is waste of alcohol, after all it is relatively expensive there . Today however it is the waste of alcohol here in Uk. Terminal 5 lounge where for fortunate passengers food and alcohol is free. I had no intention of writing a blog at 9 am but was struck by two men essentially having poured and wasted numerous drinks. Five to seven glasses at various times. At a guess mostly different types of champagnes. Why? Society is not in a good place if this is a behaviour that is common. End of rant . Except to comment on the lady next to me who either has an unfortunate ring tone on her phone announcing texts or emails, the sound of a steam train[ I think] or alternatively an unpleasant gastric situation . Needless to say the ring tone is set to extra loud. Good morning

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