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

Oaks Park in Banstead


As the snow and ice descends, dogs were having a great time running in the snow. A husky seemed to be teaching some other dogs how to eat snow.

An icy car park that had not seen the benefits of salting .

In weather like this walking dogs is not easy and there is no certainty that the weather will allow access to Oaks Park in forthcoming days.

All looking picturesque but certainly needing care with walking and driving .

Carshalton 2 Thamesmead Town 1


An entertaining game played mostly in chilly bright sunshine which did not always make photography easy.  Carshalton were the better side but the result was in doubt until the end.

A lot impressed me about this match. The referee let the game flow and tried not to become the focus but for some inexplicable reason did not award a penalty.  The Thamesmead keeper brought down the Carshalton striker when the ball was heading away from danger. From my vantage point only yards away it was a clear penalty, and the linesman on this side had the same view albeit a few more yards away.

No Penalty

No  Penalty

Then for a similar strange reason the referee did award a very soft penalty later in the first half.  Crowds are increasing at Colston avenue for very good reasons. The football is good, played in the right manner and a good clubhouse means that folks can watch with their beer ( from inside or outside).

 

Penalty

Carshalton were always the more threatening side however Thamesmead equalised early in the second half fortuitously before Carshalton scored the winning goal midway through the second half.

The star of the game was Christie Pattison recently signed from Phoenix Sports and before that Welling United and Brentford. On the evidence of this game he will go far and Brentford may have released him too early. He constantly troubled the Thamesmead defence.

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Art 4 Grenfell. A charity art auction conducted by Bonhams.


On Wednesday 21st Feb hosted by NatWest at The Atrium 250 Bishopsgate. All the proceeds going to the survivors.

Tickets can be obtained from

Www. Art4grenfell.org/tickets

Brentford 2 Bolton Wanderers 0. A Comfortable Victory Against A Poor Bolton Side.


The reality was that Brentford were clearly the vastly superior side in skill, technique and work rate and thoroughly deserved the victory which could have been more comprehensive. 00001530

Without doubt to give perspective Bolton were the second worst side to visit Griffin Park this season with Burton being the worst. Both sides also make me wonder why does anyone pay to watch their brand of prehistoric football?  Bolton lacked any skill or style, and their version of football consisted of not having any player under 6ft and many over that, and just kicking the ball in the general direction of the sky. Curiously about their only player who was not gigantic was a full back called Little. Not everyone on social media would however agree with my sentiments. But frankly the few chances that came their way derived from long throw ins or errors in gifting the ball to Bolton in dangerous situations.

There was also cabaret to be had with the antics of Phil Parkinson in his touchline boudoir seemingly disagreeing with each and every decision made by the referee, to the extent of clear fouls ( shirts being pulled, players being pulled down) seemingly being within the spectrum of normal play in his not so humble opinion.

Neal Maupay

Brentford were not at their best today but that did not matter. The impressive Florian Josefzoon caused problems all afternoon and although Vibe did not have his best game, he caused enough mischief to have had a reasonable game.

There were some real positives though today. The distribution of Dan Bentley was superb. His throwing the ball out makes a real difference. Chris Mepham again had a great game and John Egan is not going to get back into the side easily, if at all. Nico Yennaris had a decent game too and right back may be his best position, however he gave the ball away far too many times and often in dangerous positions. It was also good to see Neal Maupay score a back heel goal in the final minutes. Although this may have looked easy, he actually finished it very well and hopefully his confidence will return.

To return to Bolton, my prediction is relegation. They will fail to trouble sides who play football although undoubtedly will get a few points against the Burton and Sheff Wednesday style sides that rely on kick and run ( both the ball and the player) and sit perilously near the relegation zone. Bolton and Burton will go down, and the third place is open for auditions from Sunderland, Birmingham and Hull.

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Is Liverpool A Nice Place To Photograph?


On my travels I sometimes have ventured to Liverpool but have never felt completely at home there. Possibly as have not had the time nor maybe the guide to show me the best places.

Driving around the city is complex and invariably one ends up in traffic with more than a fair quota of impatient drivers. In Prescot street outside the Royal Liverpool Hospital it is a sad sight to see so many homeless folks on the streets.

So as I await an offer to show me and my camera around the city a few photographs where I have tried to display Liverpool in a good light .

If John Stead Had Been Playing For Brentford Would The Score Have Been different? Thoughts After A Dismal Day


Although no-one likes losing a game, frankly this was a game that Dean Smith clearly thought little of. Despite his post-match protestations, this was a  truly abysmal ineffective Brentford performance. Few would disagree with that and most might go further and ask why this might have happened. 00001572 copy

A very different Brentford team with 8 changes found it hard to get going and a half time score of 0-0 was about right against a physical Notts County.  The difference between the sides was a well taken goal from John Stead who is having a superb second half of his career at Notts County. 00001545 copy

With so many new faces it was maybe harsh to expect the kind of football and passing we are used to simply because the players have not played before together.  Individually a couple of the players had nightmare games for different reasons. Josh McCeachran was not only ineffective but gave the ball away numerous times and had his weakest game in a Brentford shirt. For all his skill, it is difficult to see what he gives to the team and his absence of physicality makes things even harder. Neal Maupay worked 100% but it seems does not have either the talent to succeed or the confidence, either way he again did not score and in the second half with multiple balls coming from the right from Florian Josefzoon one might have expected a goal or two. It is difficult to see how he can turn this around frankly. Alan Judge came on and had a decent 20 minutes and Marcondes also seemed a little unsure of his positioning but did show some promise. 0000152100001571

The reality of the game was that it should have been 0-0. Notts County worked hard but did not inspire, and although they will undoubtedly gain promotion, my guess is they will have a short stay in League 1 unless they sign a few more creative souls. I was not pleased to see their brand of physicality  ( which translates to fouls).

If Dean Smith wanted to win this game then he could and should have made perhaps only 4 changes. What he probably learnt was that his ” reserve” players are not perhaps quite up to Championship standard currently.

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The body language at the end showed it all, disappointment  , but simply the side was not good enough to score against a team two divisions below.  John Stead looked a decent player and with the number of balls that got into the box in the game, my suspicion is that if he were the Brentford forward, he might have had a hat-trick.

JM00001542000015271K4A7847000015230000151500001538Alan Judge will most likely be eased back over the next few months and realistically will look to be 100% by the start of next season. On positive notes yet again Chris Mepham played well and Florian worked hard but his final balls could be better. As we enter the transfer window yet again we are all thinking we need to sign 1-2 strikers. The argument that we already score lots of goals is not a good one, as with a pair of different styled strikers we might score a lot more. Some unanswered questions might be:

  1. Why has Justin Shaibu not featured more this season?
  2. What is the plan with Theo Archibald? Has his off-field antics caused behind the scenes problems?
  3. What to do with Neal Maupay?
  4. How could Brentford possibly consider selling Lasse Vibe?
  5. With our midfield and defensive players often getting balls into the box, is there not a solid argument for having a large centre-forward as either Plan B option or as yesterday, Plan A?

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.

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