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 category “championship”

Are Brentford Fans Turning Their Back on Their Team? Sergi Canos Family was the highlight of Loftus Road Debacle


This was another dire day for Brentford. Lets be clear I am a supporter who was there at Accrington on the terraces when it was minus 6 and if needs be will be there next season. But realism needs a place right now.

IMG_2317Firstly the facts. Brentford are currently the worst club in the championship. Anyone at the game yesterday and last week will know that. The form league table does not lie. The table also shows that we have the worst defence.

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So yesterday when 3000 Bees fans discovered that the team selection included no striker there was little optimism that we would score a plethora of goals.

In the warm up David Button indeed looked like the most likely striker with excellent ball control.

David Button

David Button

We were right. The game has been excellently reported elsewhere but to summarise we were better with Alan McCormack in midfield to give a little bite until we went a goal down and then frankly gave up. The defence was at times torn apart and the QPR strikers rampaged down the middle through our central defence almost at will. I am not a fan of Poulter, who can consider himself lucky not to be sent off for two yellow card offences, but the difference between the chaos he caused compared for example with our Hoffmann ( unfit it seems yesterday) was interesting.  Even strikers with little talent can cause chaos. Brentford never looked like scoring a goal with the potential exception of long range shots, and for me only Sergi Canos  and David Button can come out the game with any great credit. Things were dire and no sign of getting any better. Some fans seemed to want to consider throwing themselves off the upper tier!

IMG_2335The undoubted highlights of the day were the omelette before the game at one the nice street cafes around Shepherds Bush and meeting Sergi Canos family in the upper tier stand. Lovely people who seemed as bemused as we were at the decision to take Sergi off who was without doubt working hard and probably the best player in our team. In fact the substitutions yesterday were frankly ridiculous and it showed. If we are to be treated to a fans forum this season one of my first questions would be to explain how Sam Saunders and KK are the right players to bring on when chasing the game and 2-0 down.

Sergi Canos Family. CF Nunes was Sergi's old team in Spain

Sergi Canos Family. CF Nunes was Sergi’s old team in Spain

Highlight of QPR v Brentford

Highlight of QPR v Brentford

A separate article is needed to describe the QPR day out in fans terms however I am unsure that the plethora of stewards and police on horses were really needed.

IMG_2337Having said that there were reports of fighting amongst Bees fans apparently on the basis of ” you are not loyal enough”. We do not need any Brentford fans who fight for any reason if this allegation is true, though I did witness homophobic abuse from a single middle aged male in the front row of the Upper Tier.

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So as we now enter a relegation battle and many fans have correctly identified that we have been in one for 4 weeks already, the question we might ask is will we be here at Loftus Road next season? And reviewing the fixture list makes interesting reading, our final two games of the season against Fulham and Huddersfield may be in fact be huge relegation battles. Frightening.

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Brentford Team Formation

The Worst Brentford Performance I can Recall. Who is taking responsibility?


On Feb 24th I wrote an article after the Wolves game essentially saying that the clouds had lifted over Griffin Park .I was in retrospect very wrong to suggest that the dire spiral that Brentford had descended into over the last 2 months was over.

https://arcticterntalk.org/2016/02/24/the-clouds-lift-over-griffin-park-brentford-3-wolves-0/

The reality is that is has got a whole lot worse and Brentford now must be potentially fearing relegation if not this year then next unless a whole load of changes are made.

Today we lost a home game 1-2 to an appalling Charlton side who had the benefit of the worst goalkeeper in the Championship, Nick Pope. And frankly we deserved to lose.

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The game was of a standard that frankly under the trade descriptions act should not belong in the “football” league. Better skill and certainly better commitment can be seen weekly free of charge on many park football pitches.

I will not deal with Charlton other than to say that they were poor and relegation certainties and one wonder why Sanogo the tall striker on loan from Arsenal needs to handle the ball almost every time it comes near him.

Brentford lacked desire, application, effort, skill, height, speed, accuracy of passing, and ability to get players in the box. Other than that they did well. Dean Smith seemed unable to turn the tide and his substitutions apart from being poor and not leading to any improvement were utterly incomprehensible. Taking off their most creative player, Sergi Canos, was not the best option, and bringing on Sam Saunders, who contributed zero, Phillip Hoffmann ( did he touch the ball in the 20 minutes he graced the pitch?) and Lasse Vibe, were frankly absurd changes.

Some will blame the sale of Tarkowski and Diadouraga. I don’t. They would not have made much difference today. Something was very wrong in the state of Denmark. Brentford did not compete, although I would abstain from including Bidwell and Swift, who did put in the work and were the best players on the pitch.

Brentford fans do not mind losing to a better side, but to lose in this appalling manner to an equally dreadful side needs some explaining and responsibility needs to be taken and changes need to be made.

FullSizeRenderIMG_2222Who is at fault here? Should Dean Smith be sacked already? There is a case for the defence that he only has the players he has. There is a better case for the prosecution that he is neither trying to change things with the players he has, for example bring in youngsters like Jan Halldack, or change the system if his players cannot perform in this system. He also appears unable to motivate his side to perform the kind of work rate that all successful sides do and which we were doing under Lee Carsley. And this is the man in indictment against him. Many of these players were involved in Brentford wins last autumn. The role of the co-directors needs also some discussion. What we can say with certainty is that they are not visible. That is not always a crime and in many cases a cloak of invisibility is a good thing, however when things are going horrifically wrong then some explanation is needed. At the very least a Fans Forum seems a sensible option to at least explain the direction of the club in the next 6 months. Most of the players brought in last summer are not good enough and lack basic technique. My own view is that even given time and opportunity , Hoffmann, Vibe, Djuricin, Kerschbaumer and Gogia, will not become championship standard. The jury is also out on Ryan Woods who increasingly is muscled off the ball and needs a strategy to become more involved in the game. Increasingly Marco Djuricin is looking out of his depth and I remain underwhelmed by his goal scoring rate and his work rate.

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What should and will worry the club are falling attendances and no doubt lower season ticket sales than this year. Empty seats help no one.

At this stage of the season we need to ensure enough points to avoid relegation and make a decision then over Dean Smith. We also need to stop making excuses over players who have been with the club almost a year and chronically under perform. The main value of a striker is calculated by goals scored and it is clear Brentford do not have a striker meeting that definition. Most fans would like to see the back of Phillip Hoffmann.

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Lets hope the way forward is not now down.

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All Football Fans Should Consider supporting The Charlton Petition


Many football clubs go through lean patches for various reasons, sometimes chance, sometimes bad management, sometimes overpayment of players. But there has been a plethora of clubs just so badly managed for reasons that often defy reality that deserve the support of all football fans.

As a Brentford fan we have had our share of problems with owners such as David W£bb in the past and have come through to be a much stronger club. Clubs like Exeter City are essentially fan owned. So my sympathies are with Charlton who have always been a decent a friendly club that can be epitomised by their own fans clearing The Valley of rubbish such that they move back in not so many years ago.

Charlton are going through tough times and the fans view is that there is serious mismanagement .They have started a site where most information can be found.

http://ourcharlton.org.uk

This is the essence of what they are saying, but I urge you to visit their website for the full information and to sign the petition. The photograph below is of Brentford who are lucky enough to have Matthew Benham as an owner, but without him who really knows where we would have been.

We want our Charlton back
We demand that the current owner of Charlton Athletic, Roland Duchatelet, takes every step to find a successor (or successors) who understands how to run a football club, is willing to invest sensibly in the team and appreciates the critical role of fans in building success. We want Roland out – before it’s too late.

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Brentford 0 Middlesbrough 1. An unlucky evening for Bees


On the face of it Brentford a mid-table side were beaten by the league leaders and in my opinion, Champions elect. There however was a lot more to this game that on balance should be very encouraging for Brentford.

The most important thing is that this group of players are playing hard for their manager and to their potential. The second most important thing is that the fans back the team even in unfortunate defeats such as this. So what was the story of the game? We learned that David Button is an excellent goalkeeper but made one error that cost us the goal and the points. But long before Brentford should have been 2-0 up at least with chances missed and decent saves by the Middlesbrough keeper. Despite all the transfer speculation, and that is all that it is, Diadouraga and Tarkowski started and played decent games. The man of the match who improves with each performance is Maxime Colin, and for once our defence looked more solid than of late. Sam Saunders got a rare start in midfield and did not disappoint . What was apparent though was that Bees have no strikers. Lasse Vibe tries hard but he is not a lone striker and realistically would slot in to midfield in place of Saunders. Hoffman when he came on was invisible. A pair of strikers would make the world of difference to this side. The other fact that cannot be hidden is that Brentford must be the smallest side in the Championship and maybe the league. A midfield of Judge, Saunders, Woods is not a physically threatening vision. Does this matter? Maybe and maybe not.

I am encouraged by the excellent performance tonight but still wondrous at why we have not signed not it seems threatened to sign some strikers. To raid the lower leagues possibly.

But even though the rain came down again and this was the second 1-0 home defeat in 4 days there is plenty of reason for optimism. IMG_1230IMG_1232IMG_1233IMG_1234

 

Lets Remind Ourselves of the highlights of Burnley before Tarkowski and Judge decide.


Some of the Brentford fans had the pleasure of a day out at Turf Moor earlier this season. The stewards and fans were friendly enough and maybe we were unfortunate to lose 1-0 to a sloppy goal from defensive error. But would I want to live there?

Judging by the news Burnley are after signing the whole Brentford squad, the fans, the badge and most likely the urban architecture that is Brentford! Today allegedly having a 2.3 million offer rejected for James Tarkowski. A ridiculous bid.

Lets take a look at what Burnley the town and the football ground was like and maybe Tarkowski and Judge may form a different view of where they want to play their football.

  1. A Night out in Burnley. If these were the new ideas from the new owners, what exactly were the old ones like?
A night out in Burnley

A night out in Burnley

2. Maybe not much different to many Northern towns but this is what the streets looked like around the ground

Burnley Streets

Burnley Streets

3. Uninspiring architecture here at the away fans entrance

Away Fans entrance

Away Fans entrance

4.The ground itself

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Lovely Wooden Seats

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Reflections on Birmingham 2 V Brentford 1 Away Day. Jan 2nd 2016


Trips to Birmingham have never been without incident and this one is no exception. The nonsense of buying tickets began on tuesday night with the announcement that sales of tickets from Brentford, having reasonably been on sale for four weeks, would cease lunchtime wednesday, but Birmingham in their wisdom decreed no match day sales. Can anyone explain to me why? Why do clubs not want bigger crowds, especially in the holiday season when often plans are not cemented till the last minute. This ridiculous decision was then reversed maybe 48 hours later. Thankfully Twitter and Mark Devlin kept us updated. A number of tickets were sold at the last minute and these needed collection at the ground.

The nonsense continued on match day with no-one in the Birmingham ticket office seemingly aware that these tickets were somehow being escorted to the ground. A random vision of the sign ” Collections” on a gate at the away end gave at last a clue where tickets might be collected. Two unhappy looking souls distributed tickets after checking for names on an envelope. And giving the impression they were auditioning for a role in a prison behind bars.

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A number of positives need to be stated. Firstly all the staff at the ground, the stewards and in fact the fans are super friendly, and it was a pleasure to listen in to a conversation on how awful a referee Keith Stroud is. Parking is also easy. Travelling through the suburbs of Birmingham is frankly non unlike the opening of a horror movie. But ground parking is easy and anyone prepared to walk 10-15 minutes can find free easy street parking. Lower Dartmouth street is my recommendation.

And there are a few sights in Birmingham, somewhat unexpected within yards of the ground. And a good few sights totally expected. The ground is in a sort of area that is an admixture of urban housing and small industrial estates. With a few curious bars and shops thrown in for good measure.

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On the way to the ground one walks past canals that look pleasant although here there seemed either a small gravestone or a miniature ” angel of the north”. Street cleaning also seems an optional extra, though maybe a little cruel to say that on Jan 2nd.

IMG_1079The ground itself is a great ground now. Three sides have been re-built and this is one of the better Championship grounds. The whole area smells  that gorgeous football smell of onions and cooking burgers.

IMG_1084Views are excellent all around the ground and access is quite uncomplicated. With one notable exception, the tannoy system is so quiet that I did not realise there was one. The game however was dire and will be covered in a different blog. Overall this was a good match day experience. And lastly I should mention that £20 for a ticket is really a very reasonable  price in 2016.

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What have Weekend Offenders and Foot Long Hot Dogs got to do with Birmingham 2 Brentford 1 . Jan 2nd 2016


Sadly an awful football game. The first half was maybe the worst football, if one can describe it as that, all season. Neither team able to pass to another player and nothing to note other than an awful looking tackle in the 45th minute by ex-bee John Toral on Jake Bidwell. Half time arrived with the Brentford crowd baying for a red card and possible execution.

The second half was better though not by much. Brentford leaked their usual two goals with the second resulting from another error from Harlee Dean. Brentford in between scored a goal, a tap in after a goalkeeping error. Frankly this was the sort of game that neither side deserved any points. The referee was also abysmal, Graham Scott. He was finicky to the extreme. Booking an excessive number of players and stoping the game on any any pretext at any time. He ran Keith Stroud a close second in the worst referee of the week awards.

A strange Brentford team performance after recent very strong ones. Raised questions about possible tiredness? Issues behind the scenes relating to transfers?

The team was also a little unusual in that Jota was neither in the side nor on the bench, for which there may be multiple reasons but is he being transferred was the one being discussed? Alan Judge had his quietest game for months. Maybe tired, maybe took a few heavy tackles , maybe again is a transfer allegedly to Middlesbrough for 12 million on his mind? James Tarkowski had his worst game I have seen him have, but still looked good! Again, transfer issues? Tiredness? Who knows.

On the positive side Gogia looked interested when he came on with 20 minutes to go. Neither Hoffmann nor Vibe are strikers we want playing upfront alone.

So, a strange game. St Andrews is a decent ground but we always seem to lose there every time i go……so maybe all my fault.

Weekend offenders was a great piece of graffiti on a wall and foot long hot dogs smelled great. They were maybe the highlights today.

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Football Joy to end 2015. This cheating has to stop. Why should Fraser Fyvie not be banned from football for 3 years? What is wrong with players and supporters of our great game?


A few pieces of football news just floated by on various media sources. All highly depressing.

  1. Sheffield United are investigating allegations of racism by their fans at their home game with Bradford City last monday.
  2. Coins were allegedly thrown by Bradford City fans towards Sheffield United striker Billy Sharpe in the same game.
  3. Stuart Milleker, an alleged ” Notts Forest fan” has been banned from attending football matches for three years after entering the field in the game versus Derby County and attempting to grapple a Derby player.
  4. Fraser Fyvie, a Hibernian player, has been banned for two games for feigning a face injury in a successful attempt to get a Rangers player sent off. 

The most depressing part of this story above is the cheating by Fraser Fyvie and the even more depressing part is that few saturdays go by where I do not visualise cheating in this guise in a game that I see. Sometimes total simulation and more commonly gross exaggeration of an injury, usually timed to help the team in a difficult or final moments of a game.

What occurs to me is that often the punishment does not fit the crime. Players, managers and fans all are quick to point out the failings of referees. Myself included. Keith Stroud in his performance in the Reading v Brentford game two days ago was exceptionally poor. However what chance do they have with the ” clever” feigning of injury by players like Fraser Fyvie? One also presumes this is the not first time he has attempted this party trick and presumably been successful before. His behaviour also means that if becomes more difficult for referees to stop a game for injury if in the back of their minds is a ” cry wolf” scenario. Why has he not been banned for three years? Why only two games?

Football is a game and is played both on and off the pitch with volatile emotions. But it is a game. Players should not cheat, fans should not try to harm players and racism in 2015 is simply moronic. IMG_0998

 

Reflections on Away Day at Reading FC Madejski Stadium


Away fans have a few minimum expectations when travelling. Mostly that they will get there, be able to park and be able to find the ground. Reading football club make a great effort to ensure that these are met.

Their website gives good parking information and in fact on the presumption that unless one arrives at 2 am that the official car parks will be full, the two big car parks around the ground on a derelict piece of wasteland and on the greyhound stadium site together hold 1500 car parking spaces for 7£ each. Each well signposted from the motorway. The expected downside was an approximate 45 minute wait to escape after the final whistle.

The ground is situated just off Junction 11 of M4 and is surrounded by food outlets including KFC where I had the worst chips ever, and that includes school food. But in terms of availability there is a decent selection of fast food. The stewards were just normal stewards, if that term applies. The ground is maybe 10 minutes walk from the Reading Gate food outlets and shops.

The ground gives great views. There is not a bad view in the ground including from the penultimate row JJ in the away end. Maybe the only surprise was that the front seats in the lower tier of the away end were not available for use. Not everyone wants to sit perched in the sky.

Altogether a good away day for an away fan.

 

Brentford 0 Brighton 0 . What does Lager have to do with it?


An excellent fast paced championship game on Boxing day 2015 surprisingly resulted in no goals. There are enough match reports to mean little point me adding to the details. It is the bigger picture though which is interesting , simply is this a prequel to the play off game with these two sides involved again?

Brighton were either average or Brentford made them look average. Nico Yennaris proved again that he is not a full-back but could be a decent midfielder. David Button had a day off. Philip Hoffman should have won the game for Brentford in the final minutes.

The game was played in good spirit with few fouls and none of note. Darren Deadman as referee was better than usual and actually not too terrible, but would either side clamour to have him back again, unlikely. A capacity 12,200 crowd gave an excellent atmosphere for a 1 pm kick off, which traditionally seem unable to provide the same atmosphere and noise as 3 pm kick offs.

The game was end to end and what was clear is that neither side had a potent striker who could have provided the goals that the game deserved. A 2-2 draw would have been a good pre-match bet and probably a reasonable score. Both sides are clearly good but maybe with Brentford improving and Brighton on the decline?

For me the best teams in the championship are Middlesborough and Hull City and these teams may get the automatic places. Perennial play off contenders Derby, Burnley, Ipswich may again make the play offs. Brentford and Brighton are also contenders with Sheffield Wednesday an outsider too.

The big surprise of the day however was being able to get an easy parking space in the Watermans Centre car park  where the graffiti on a window of an office either suggested folks trapped inside demanding Xmas supplies or a prequel to a Lager advert. Great graffiti.

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