During the second half of the recent game versus Bolton, the view over the Ealing Road stand was as good as any I have seen in years watching Brentford. So instead of photographing Neal Maupay rampaging through the Bolton defence , I spent 5 minutes capturing this beautiful moon.
When we move to Lionel road I will miss hugely Griffin Park and moments like this will forever be remembered.
These three photos were taken only a few minutes apart and using different exposures. Don’t let anyone ever say it’s easy to photograph the moon. Sometimes you get lucky and some of the trees behind the Ealing Road stand can be seen in front of the over exposed moon making an interesting image.
Ridiculous fact number one for Xmas eve is that only 3 championship teams are spelled the same way in Serbian…. one of those is Brentford! My favourite is Lids….
Anyone with a spare few hours in North Wales, somewhere near Denbigh or Rhyl, might do worse than visit St Asaph. A city that has an impressive cathedral (with a cafe), a small high street ( with a couple more cafes) and some nice park walks. This makes it sound larger than it really is.
St Asaph is a city and community situated on the River Elwy in Denbighshire, Wales. In the 2011 Census it had a population of 3,355 making it the second-smallest city in Britain in terms of population and urban area. Along with Chelmsford and Perth it is also one of the youngest cities having been granted that status as recently as 2012. It is in the historic county of Flintshire. It is also home to the smallest cathedral in Britain. Trip Advisor lists the top eight attractions in St Asaph, but clearly they were feeling generous that day. It used to have a hospital but that closed in 2012.
My recommendations? Park in the small car park next to the cathedral. Spend maybe 30 minutes in the cathedral and another hour or so walking around before finding a cafe for some lunch or coffee.
A few photos to show what I found in my hour in this curious little city.
I am always curious as to the motives for street art . But in this case who is Daphne? Is she real? A TV character? A quick search through google reveals the answer. Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese journalist who was assassinated October 16th. Daphne Anne Caruana Galizia was a Maltese journalist, writer, and anti-corruption activist, who reported on political events in Malta. This street art was a random scrawl on a wall near the seafront.
Wikipedia and others report her journalism as “In particular, she focused on investigative reporting into government corruption, nepotism, patronage, allegations of money laundering links between Malta’s onlinegambling industry and organised crime”.
On 16 October 2017, Caruana Galizia died in a car bomb attack close to her home, attracting widespread local and international reactions.
In Dec 2017 three men were arrested in connection with her murder and 45 journalists have established The Daphne Project to conclude her investigation.
This story will continue to run. In May 2018 two laptop and three hard drives were handed over to German police by her family. The original belief that her laptop was destroyed by the car bomb was wrong as that laptop had not been used for two years. The family had refused to hand these over previously to the Maltese authorities.
A shrine to her of flowers and candles has been regularly destroyed and replaced.
On a day when 9,400 Brentford fans turned up on a cold evening to watch a game that was live on Sky and with South Western Railways adding to the festivities by striking, with no trains to Brentford, the shame was that the team did not repay the fans. Possibly the best way to get to the game might have been by boat!
Admittedly injuries and suspensions played their role however the manner of the 2-1 defeat was far more disappointing than the perennial failure to beat Middlesbrough. In many ways the worst nightmare came true, the chosen midfield were hopelessly over run and defensive errors again allowed simple goals. So what did go right? Neal Maupay had a superb game, never gave up working and running off the ball, however the midfield of McEachran , Yennaris, McLeod and Canos, frankly offered nothing. Sergio Canos tried hard as always, but looked a little short of some of the quality we know he has. The rest were frankly abysmal. I do not like criticising Brentford players, but sometimes it must be done. McEachran seems to have the occasional good game, and is a good passer of the ball, but he lacks physical ability (important against many Championship teams), and has scored a single goal in his time at Brentford. Yennaris can be good, sometimes, but was anonymous all game. McLeod had the worst game I can recall in a Brentford shirt. It was not that he did things badly, far from it, he did nothing at all. His workmate was exceeded by many fans in the stands. He failed to deliver anything meaningful from midfield, failed to tackle, and in the 20 seconds before he was substituted, was strolling back from an attacking position whilst a Boro forward was rampaging towards our goal. It was like he had given up. As a Brentford fan I totally accept errors and missed goals, but cannot accept a frank lack of effort. So as a group our midfield neither created for the forwards nor gave protection to the defence. The saving grace of the game was the neat goal from Alan Judge and the running and efforts of the substitutes, Marcondes and DaSilva. Both must start tuesday.
Boro were a typical Pulis/Warnock side, a slightly poor type of Cardiff. Players all 6ft and above, pushing, fouling and producing generally unattractive football. At this level this type of play can be successful, although a Brentford side on form would have beaten them yesterday. Their second goal was gifted from defensive error. We have some of the most talented central defenders I have seen at Griffin Park, but as a unit they are the opposite of cohesive. Defensive coaching must be a priority for the rest of the season.
Any other positives from the game? Maybe. Alan Judge scoring was a great moment, lets hope his improvement continues . Marcondes looked sharp and interested. DaSilva looked strong and direct.
Many Bees fans have been rightly positive up until now, but social media suggests that the tide is turning. Thomas Frank needs to improve results urgently before we become embroiled in a relegation battle. We need some battling from the players and that means team selection needs changing. For me Yennaris, McEachran and McLeod have had their chances and it is time for them to move on. Maybe Frank needs to assemble a team of his own choosing? The worrying thing sitting a month away on the horizon is the transfer window. Brentford are not going up this season and we might fear player sales.
Heidelberg is a town around an hour from Frankfurt. A pleasant town it seems although an hour to see it is not extensive. A few photographs to give a flavour of what you might see.
The large Police sign amused me a little in comparison with the minute street sign. The deckchairs in the NH hotel reception were fairly unusual. Simply changing a photo to black and white takes you back 50 years or more. The low clouds over the river give an aura of spookiness.
Whichever way you looked at this, Met Police were never favourites to win this game. They sit three divisions below Newport County and have crowds that are usually around the 100-120 mark. Contrary to popular belief they have had no serving police officers playing for them since 2015 and many players are youth team players who have come through the junior clubs that Met Police run. Any league side wanting to learn how to run their academies and compete against the larger clubs might look no further than Met Police. Their your teams have had enormous success in recent seasons.
There are far better match reports out there than I can write, but watching the game close-up whilst photographing gave an excellent position to compare the two teams. The result Met Police 0 Newport County 2 was probably a fair result overall, the strength and physicality of the league professionals won out in the end. Some of the photographs emphasise the youth of the Met Police players compared to seasoned professionals such as David Pipe who is 35years and still playing well. However having said that neutrals might not disagree that Met Police were the more skilful side to watch and certainly the more entertaining . The best player on the pitch was 25 year old Jack Mazzone, who having watched a number of times this season, makes me wonder why he is not playing at a higher level. A strong intelligent and hard working number nine who has good skill. I would go as far as saying that if he was playing for Newport yesterday the scoreline might have been even greater.
Joe Day the Newport keeper was a real conundrum. Prior to the game the away fans were telling me he had saved them many points this season and a world class save, I don’t exaggerate, in the first half to deny Jack Mazzone, may have tipped the game. The second half though was a different affair and although he came and commanded his area by viciously punching balls away, he also dropped balls and was lucky not to concede a couple of goals simply through errors.
The real story of the game though was the torrential rain that swept in just before kick off that gave fans ( except Newport fans who were under cover) and photographers a tough time. The rain was a real deluge and i have tried to capture some of the wetness in photographs on my photographic site.
In the end this was a game that on a different day could have had a different result, but Newport County worked hard and although their goals were maybe a little fortuitous, they might have had a couple more in the end.
Lastly lets not forget the Newport County fans who were great. Chatting before the game they were a nice group of supporters and all will wish them well in the next round.
Usually when I post musings and photographs after a game I go through and find my best 20 action photos and write a few words around these. Here I want to do something a little different.
Things have not been good recently at Brentford. Not many good results, some social media distractions amongst fans and generally the mood of optimism that was with us a month ago had partially evaporated. There was ill-advised talk that Thomas Frank had only a few games to save his job ( ridiculous I know) and many ideas regarding team selection (myself included). This was an important game in the context of where the season might go from here.
We all know Brentford won 2-0 and although there were a few scares along the way, Brentford were the better footballing side and generally had the higher work rate. Something very different struck me strongly yesterday, perhaps I miss this sometimes, but Brentford are a real team. They worked hard for each other and have a true bond with the fans. The bond is important. We learned this week how strong that bond can be and the results of a good bond with the sad news emanating from Leicester city. No doubt I will post more comments and photos during the week, but these are the ones that captivated me . They are not my best action shots, these will follow, but these show the real emotion and bond between players, fans and the manager.
In the context of the season the result and the performance was critical and the obvious bonding between fans and team will be important in the months ahead. Brentford are a good team, a young team, mistakes will be made (by players, manager and fans) but lets keep this tight bond going.
Reethi Beach is one of the newer resorts in Maldives. For those not familiar with Maldives, they are essentially a series of islands, some of which have been transformed into resorts.
Reethi Beach is a good resort although the complexity of travel in the Maldives means that getting there might take a bit longer than some other resorts. Flights arrive in Male and for some resorts a speedboat transfer is relatively quick – for example one could be in Kuda Huraa in less than 30 minutes. Most, however, require either a seaplane or an internal flight. Seaplanes look incredibly cool but do not come cheap and can add almost £1000 onto a holiday cost.
Getting to Reethi Beach requires an internal flight, then a short bus ride and finally a 20 minutes boat transfer each with its obligatory delay. So upfront I will say that the only negative about Reethi Beach is having arrived in Male at 8.30 am it was near enough 13.00 before arriving at the resort. The rest is entirely positive. If your bank account allows it seaplane is recommended but also remember a 20 kg luggage maximum and 5kg for hand luggage.
Reethi Beach is one hour ahead of Male time so it operates +5 compared to UK. The island takes maybe 30 minutes to walk around on the beaches.
Accommodation is chalets. A few water bungalows. Chalets are comfortable and clean but this is the Maldives so the occasional insect and cockroach cannot be discounted nor frankly prevented. Meals are buffet style for those on all inclusive. The food is superb beyond belief. Plenty of vegetarian options. The weather depends partially on the seasons, but you can reasonably expect 28-30 C sunshine most days, the occasional full cloudy day but rain showers also most days. These usually come and go in an hour. Beaches are idyllic. You can pay for a whole variety more of course including various dining options and range of water-sports. Snorkelling is not so good as some of the other islands but not too bad. Stingrays come right to the sea edge to get fed at 18.00 but also some with either bigger stomachs or cheaper watches come any time to say hi. Three herons patrol their beach territory and allow you within about 5 metres. Maybe less.
Prices in other locations vary enormously but essentially paying more gets you relatively less. I would personally recommend Reethi Beach for most people unless you expect the luxury that you get from other resorts paying perhaps 3-4 times more.
Things to recommend though. Pay for coffee in the Moodhu bar that sits on stilts over the sea. Views are great and the coffee is sublime . Expect to pay maybe 5$ for a superb hazelnut latte .Around the edges of the island you will find huge man-made sandbags that probably contain more rock than sand, to prevent erosion of the beaches and create some quiet little inlets. As with all Maldivian islands probably a week is enough or ten days maximum. After that maybe most have had enough sun, food and relaxing. I would personally recommend Reethi Beach. All the photos you see here were taken by myself in October 2018. Lastly there is free WiFi in public areas and also if you position yourself on the beaches near the bars and restaurants you can access it there too.
The resort also make more effort with night entertainment than many others. Live music, DJs and Quiz evenings are actually not a bad effort considering the geography.