The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Brentford go Bottom Of Championship after Lame 2-0 defeat at Ipswich

When all is said and done the reality is that four games into the season Bees have a single point and are bottom. The litany of excuses ( some reasonable and some not) have been pervading social media this last few hours. The simple reality is that Ipswich did not have to work terribly hard to win this game with the workmanlike Martyn Waghorn and Freddie Sears having an easy day.  What were probably defensive errors gave Ipswich a goal in the first half and a second soon after the restart. After that Brentford were frankly anonymous. At the final whistle maybe only Barbet came over to thank the fans and I am not sure what his hands gesture meant. Maybe “its our fault?”. 1K4A4435

All this came after a promising start and for the first 20 minutes Brentford were clearly the better side, however their inability to stop conceding goals and not scoring any one of their multiple chances meant that a 2-0 scoreline did not flatter Ipswich. Yet some of Brentford’s football was good, some long passes to the wing were sublime, yet there was no end result. Florian was busy but never seemed like scoring. 1K4A4405

Brentford do miss Woods, Canos and Henry for sure, and the underlying uncertainty over Jota, Dean and Woods, with regard to offers from other teams, also cannot be underestimated. But again the reality is that Dean Smith has created his own squad and even without the players mentioned above there should be enough quality to at least get 4-6 points from these opening four games.


I do not have a magic answer but as an n=1 these are my suggestions:

  1. We need clarity over who the captain and leader in the team. I am not sure who it should be but am positive it should not be Yennaris. They should be a visible leader and should Dean stay with us ( rumours about Leeds are strong) then this becomes a rhetorical question.
  2. We need a defensive coach to come in and coach what is firstly our first choice centre back combination and secondly our whole defence. This includes the defensive midfielder playing in front of them. We all recall how good Toumani was in that role after he had been specifically coached to play there.
  3. We need a consistent pair of strikers who will be given 4-5 games. Watkins and Maupay are the clear candidates. Vibe is a good player but out of confidence right now ( and injured ).
  4. We need to continue blooding young players like Theo Archibald, who really gave the Ipswich defence something to think about in that last 20 minutes.
  5. We also need some luck. Maybe its true you make your own luck.
  6. Lastly we need to subtly change our style. Statistics on possession and shots, make interesting reading but do not provide any league points. We need more tough tackling and high-tempo workrate. I think also Brentford fans, though they love good football, also love the type of hard tackling and aggressive football played by players like Alan McCormack and Jonathan Douglas ( seems no one knows what has happened to him)

The fixture list does not look kind to us this next 6 weeks. Games against Wolves, Villa and Sheffield Wednesday are going to be tough to get significant points from. I would right now take three draws and maybe a couple of clean sheets.  By definition we are in a relegation battle and need to do just that, battle. It is frankly difficult to see that we will be out of the relegation places until end of September at least.



Applying For a Zip Oyster Card Online For Teenagers . A Little Complex Maybe. A few tips.

Around this time of year there are exam results, A levels today and GCSE on 24th august. Parents also will be checking that their children’s Oyster card is working. Many will need to renew in secondary education and update to a 16+ card.  The Zip Oyster cards are such a good deal for children and those in education that it is difficult to be critical, however when applying a few things you need to be aware of:

  1. Firstly you can only apply now online. There are certain situations where you will need to take an application that has been already submitted to a post-office though.
  2. The TFL site is actually very helpful  Link to the Zip Oyster site
  3. Many of us have Mac computers and for whatever reason the site is not compatible with Safari as a browser. This was not immediately clear as I got some jumbled message after submitting muttering about computer stacks not available. So Google Chrome was my default browser, and worked fine.
  4. The adult needs to create a web account through which you then apply on behalf of the child.
  5. The application requires you enter details from your child’s passport for age verification purposes. So you need that handy, as some details asked you might not be aware of even if remembering the passport number.
  6. There is a £20 cost, which seems reasonable considering the savings on travel, especially in the London area.


The process is hardly onerous but being aware that Safari is not a compatible browser and that you need the child’s passport is worth knowing.


Brentford 2 Bristol City 2. Learnings and Thoughts

For a neutral this was an exciting game that was never sorted until literally the last kick of the game. Brentford fans will point to the statistics that show on paper their marked superiority  and Bristol fans will simply point to the score, and suggest that they might actually have won the game in the eight minutes of added time. Indeed bar an incredible clearance from Barbet that may have happened. Nevertheless Brentford have points tally of one point from three games, and with an away fixture at Ipswich ( who have 9 points), this may soon become one point from four games.

Social media gives a wide spread of opinions why Brentford did not win last night, focusing mostly on awful defending (again) through to the referee. Lets try and take a closer look. For me these were the key learnings and thoughts from last night:

  1. Brentford have uncovered the next premier league star in Ollie Watkins. He works hard and has great pace, can shoot and as he did last night score with headers too. He will now be the first name on the team sheet. Romaine Sawyers was also impressive, not only with his midfield play but also his ability to track back and defend. His partnership with Watkins was excellent and this can only improve.
  2. Yennaris had an unmemorable game both as captain and midfield player. He did so little and we have far better options on the bench and also in the B team. The sad news about Ryan Woods family also gives real perspective to all this.
  3. During pre-season one imagines that the manager would try out various defensive combinations and formations and decide upon a first choice. That seems far from the truth as the central defenders last night were the two whom were on the bench for the Forest debacle. Dean did give leadership and is our best central defender. Barbet however is not. He is prone to errors and made a critical one early on when the Bees confidence was high, and arguably derailed the Brentford side for the first half. There is no doubt he is a skilful player and he does the long pass better than anyone in the squad, there is much to build on, but as a central defender he would need to reduce massively the number of errors. For me the partnership of Egan ( who also has not impressed this season) and Dean is the one to use moving forward. Bjelland was shall we say not missed.
  4. Maxime Colin had a very decent game at the unfamiliar left back position but a fit Rico Henry will be a bonus when he returns. Henrik Dalsgaard also had a decent game but does need to be aware that he is a right back not right sided midfield player. Am I the only one who worries that his throw ins are illegal?
  5. Jota had a better game, not his best game, but the signs were there of improvement. His lack of form and unpredictability this season is a two-edged sword. Will it discourage suitors from making an offer? Will he regain his form of old if he stays at Brentford and signs a new deal?

On balance this was an encouraging game, but Dean Smith will be well aware that this is little margin between the best and worst teams in the division. If Bees continue to ship goals like this then make no mistake we will be in a relegation battle. This is a team in development but to allow the development defence must be solid.

Thoughts on Team for Bristol City. What are the Brentford fans saying on social media?

As much as it ever can be possible , Bees fans on social media seem united that some changes need to be made for tuesday but there is no need for panic. To summarise what has been posted and discussed since the weekend:

  1. Although Bees will always score goals there was concern over the lack of involvement of Vibe on saturday. Mostly fans agree that Watkins should start and possibly Maupay as well. I feel this criticism of Vibe is a little harsh and although have no objections with polls being posted of the best Bees player in a game, I am against highlighting the worst performing player as was done at the weekend in an online local newspaper poll. Vibe got little or no service and that is down to midfield. My hunch is that Vibe will start upfront but that Watkins will also start behind him in midfield.
  2. Midfield came in for the most criticism , and much of it fair and factual. The return of Woods will be much welcomed and there would be little surprise if the enigma that is Josh McCeahran is on the bench replaced by Watkins. Yennaris did not exactly propel himself towards a starting role tomorrow and Sawyers may take his place.
  3. The defence certainly needs a shake up. The individuals and the system need careful looking at. Concerns are growing over the need for Harlee Dean to be both marshalling the defence and also providing the leadership the team need. Egan did not have a good game on saturday and seemingly has not progressed as one might have hoped. How Dean Smith will call this is difficult to predict, however if Dean and Barbet start it would not be a huge surprise. Bjelland looked slow and predictable on saturday and most fans agree that he is not a first choice centre back at present. Rico Henry did not have a good game at all, but escaped most of the more vehement criticism. One big and interesting question is the right back position. Maxine Colin can be considered unlucky to have lost his place, however Henrik Dalsgaard is a very good and exciting player. The problem is that he was rarely seen in the right back position. For me and others he should play in the team but in a midfield role. Will he get another chance at right back tomorrow? I suspect he will. 1K4A2916
  4. Dean Smith quite rightly has come under scrutiny after two unexpected defeats and the manner of those defeats. Defensive frailty has been the keynote finding in both league games. Another bad result tomorrow will certainly put some pressure on him to turn things around soon. He continues to have both supporters and detractors.
  5. Jota. Without doubt he is an incredible player, but he certainly was not that on saturday. Difficult to speculate why, but transfer rumours cannot ever help matters. I expect to see him back to his best tomorrow .


My prediction tomorrow is a close Brentford win, maybe 2-1 or even 1-0.

Brentford Get A Warning. But how serious is this?

Whatever way Dean Smith tries to explain his way out of the debacle that was a 3-4 home defeat against one of the leagues weaker sides, one needs to put that aside and look realistically at what the fans saw today.

  1. The fans have every right to feel let down by the way that the club has marketed a club that has invested in new players, yet the whole contract  situation has been allowed to plummet to unknown depths. Last seasons captain has essentially been dropped and the captaincy handed ( unsuccessfully it seems) to John Egan who looks increasingly error prone with each game. Our best player, Jota, is potentially at risk of leaving the club. Our best midfielder Ryan woods did not play today with rumours abounding about a bid from Sunderland.
  2. The defence was shambolic. The fans have been saying for many months that the defence needs sorting out. Our best centre back pairing needs determining and generally the feeling is that a defensive coach might be the best signing the club has made. Each and every goal was preventable.
  3. Team selection was frankly wrong. There was no coincidence that Josh McCeachran and Yennaris were removed. They were beyond abysmal. If someone can honestly tell me what either did in the game I would listen avidly.
  4. Dean Smith has a large talented squad at his disposal and his job is to put together a team. Today they were not a team. There was no leader out there and little cohesion. I dare not look at the league table but fear we are bottom, for a reason.

This was unacceptable today. The only bright note was Ollie Watkins who looked a real footballer in development when we came on. I am not a fan of Dean Smith to be frank but hope he can pull this around. To concede 4 goals at home is dreadful. Changes need to be made, and the club needs to decide ( as they do) if they will or will not sell certain players. The uncertainty is a factor in todays result but the main reason for this result is that the team that Smith chose, and built, is at present the worst in the division.

What would I do? 

  1. Decide this week if the club will or will not accept offers for Dean, Woods and Jota. Personally I believe this is the biggest negative dynamic at present. The team hardly played like a real team today.
  2. Decide that Yennaris and McCeachran are not good enough at present and do not select  them on tuesday.
  3. Start Ollie Watkins
  4. Decide on a different centre back pairing. Dean and Barbet possibly.

Bristol City is a big game on tuesday.

Spider-Man visits Brentford urinals

First home game of the season at Brentford. Pitch looking good. Interesting visitor in the New Road Gents urinal. Clearly watching different action in there.

Does This Constitute A Potential Theft? Should I Inform The Police? Advice Please

In itself this is a relatively minor and trivial matter and I have no desire to waste police time. On the other hand this is not a precedent I am happy to set with my neighbour if I do nothing . I am also making one large presumption here.

While away on holiday the neighbour chose to replace his old fence. Although we knew it would happen some time, it might have been a day , week or year. He did not tell us when he was doing this.
We know the old fence was pulled down and due we think to a disagreement he had with his fencing builders , the fence was down leaving our two gardens connected openly at the back for around 5-7 days . A new fence was then erected and this was complete before we returned home.
While checking the garden today I noticed that all my gardening tools have vanished. These were left in the garden in a small alleyway. A broom, spade and fork. All fairly new and decent quality. Probably worth £60 in total.

That the neighbour will not take responsibility and replace these tools as it is his actions that can only have expedited their loss. With an erected fence there is no entry realistically into the garden.

What should be done?
Firstly I have checked that there is no other explanation for their disappearance. No one for example who was looking after the house has borrowed them.
I seem to have three options

  1. Do nothing and buy new ones.
  2. Ask the neighbour to replace the missing tools as for me it is his responsibility having created the scenario whereby they could have been misappropriated . This I will do of course however my presumption is that this will not be a happy request and be declined
  3. Report this to the local police and take their advice. However I am keen to not waste their time .

The Giraffe Tree

Here in the Maldives one is unlikely to find any giraffes floating around. The vegetation though suggests otherwise with a number of trees clearly resembling giraffes. Maybe one needs a little creativity regarding the tail and the number of legs but the resemblance is really not at all bad.

Brentford 2 Southampton 2. A competitive entertaining pre-season game. What did we learn?

A decent crowd turned up to watch a surprisingly competitive pre-season game that saw Bees use their new signings. A draw was a fair result with each side donating a goal. Brentford looked the sharper side early on and scored with a nicely worked goal from Vibe.  Two Charlie Austin goals put the visitors in front before a howler from the fierce looking Fraser Forster gifted Brentford a late but deserved equaliser. goal

So what were the main learnings? Here are my thoughts:

  1. Fans will turn up in decent numbers for a pre-season game especially if the new players are on show
  2. Despite all the rumours Jota looked fit, interested and made a few Southampton defenders look quite silly at times, being allowed to run around them and then across the penalty area. 1K4A2935
  3. I am no expert in physical fitness but for me these players looked far fitter than in previous seasons. The game was played by both teams sensibly, with a few good challenges but nothing rash nor dangerous.
  4. Daniel Bentley looked a class goalkeeper making a couple of excellent saves, whereas Forster looked distinctly rusty.1K4A2921
  5. The Brentford style this year will be an attacking style using the wing and the concern will be not whether we score goals, which we will, but how to concede less. It is complex to read anything into a single game but to me the body language of Harlee Dean was not positive. Is he on his way out? Will it be Barbet and Egan in central defence? Dalsgaard looked solid at full back and Colin had his usual good game. Difficult to predict the right back starter. Good to see Mokotjo defending also as last line of defence. 1K4A2986
  6. Kamo Mokotjo looked good, scary and solid. He reminded me of  Toumani speeded up. He did make a few mistakes but rapidly corrected them. It is hard to see Yennaris getting many games. 1K4A2979
  7. Lasse Vibe is a class player. His hairstyle this year will be curious. Probably still our first choice striker. Neal Maupay and  Ollie Watkins both looked good and created mischief in the Southampton defence. vibe1K4A29331K4A3036watkinsshot2
  8. Florian J looked good too, maybe fitter, quicker and more stylish than last year. florun


Brentford fans will be looking forward to the season knowing that the size and strength of the squad means there will be healthy competition for places, and allows for injuries and suspensions. Why will we not be a top 6 side?

A full set of photos can be found on





Acoustic Bliss at The Greyhound Carshalton. Royal Marsden Charity Weekend

The Greyhound in Carshalton is hosting a weekend of bands July 21-23 ( and even if it rains there will be large umbrellas for cover!). Tonight friday it was the turn of Acoustic Bliss to play. A few photographs of the band. They did well in the inclement weather.


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