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 tag “bees”

FA cup First Round. The grounds are hardly crowded. Why ?


The media are full of the glamour of the FA cup. Sadly for many if not most teams that glamour is somewhat tarnished.

Not everyone is aware that the FA cup starts in August and ends in May. The early qualifying rounds are a god given chance for nonleague teams to make a small amount of money from the moderately attractive prize money on offer. By the time the first round rolls round in November the media suddenly awake with their stories of candlestick makers and funeral directors somehow managing to combine a job and a nonleague football career. Curiously they manage that on each of the other 364 days. As overheard at the recent Met Police FA trophy game a player when asked if he was playing on Tuesday simply answered negatively as was working. As Moriarty famously said in Sherlock “ that’s what people do”.

The glamour of the first round however comes with sadness too. The crowds at many grounds , sometimes famous grounds in FA cup parlor, were poor if not pathetic. The reasons may be varied. Clubs that decide not to offer deals and retain normal charges . Clubs that poorly advertise. Clubs that simply do not care as the league club imagines that the prize money more than compensates.

Let’s take a look at the winners and the rogues gallery. Starting with the rogues;

  • Colchester. We all recall Layer Road and the Leeds cup tie. The crowd v Oxford City a pitiful 1775. Oxford won 1-0.
  • Coventry. A crowd of 3370 saw a 2-0 victory over Maidenhead.
  • Charlton. Another ex-premier league side . A crowd of 4494 saw a 3-1 victory over Truro. Around 1000 were Truro fans
  • Blackburn. Premiership winners . A crowd of 3710 saw a 3-1 victory over Barnet
  • Wimbledon. There has been enough miserable moaning from the club over the last few years about MK Dons and Franchise FC. The famous FA cup winners persuaded only 3394 paying spectators to attend their game against Lincoln City who had an incredible run last year. Terrible in my opinion. Need I continue.

So where were the decent crowds? The nonleague sides playing at home. Hereford who are a reincarnated club but with great cup history had 4712 watch them defeat another nonleague side AFC Telford. Almost matching the highest crowd of the round at Luton v Portsmouth. 5333.

What realistically can be done? There are three options

  1. Do nothing and watch the history and glamour of this great competition die
  2. Allow the FA to subsidise prices for the first two rounds such that the maximum ticket price is £10 or less and children are free
  3. In the first round seed all nonleague teams to have home advantage

To do nothing is not an option.

Brentford v Leeds. Even the Star of Bethlehem arrived


After two superb away wins and that curious but positive draw against Sunderland , Brentford fans were in optimistic mood with a nicely positive atmosphere prior to kick off.

In fact a beautiful evening to watch football. New Road was even treated to a sunset .

Shame the Leeds fans were unable to maintain a minutes silence for remembrance. Although to be fair many were expecting the referee to whistle to start the minute of silence. We were however treated to far too many renditions of his whistle during the actual game .

The game was superb end to end stuff. Brentford worked hard and in most areas for most of the game were superior to Leeds. But let’s start with the negatives. Too often Leeds were allowed space to attack through the middle and far too much time to shoot from the edge of the box. Bees were also slow to close down players again allowing far too many shots from around 20 yards. The good news was that Brentford were technically superior in every area.

Brentford took the lead after a keeper error allowing a simple finish. The luxury of another missed penalty did not put Bees off and if anything inspired Ollie Watkins to have maybe his best game. Leeds equalised curiously in an identical manner. Dan Bentley dropped the ball again allowing a simple finish. In many regards this was a copy of the Reading game except Bees then upped the tempo and deservedly scored 10 minutes from time . A nice free kick from Barbet who had a good game and finished the game off in injury time with a nice move down the left , the ball pulled back to the edge of the box and Ryan Woods scoring the best goal of the game.

If Brentford fans thought they had defensive issues, Leeds have far more serious issues. Goalkeeper Andy Lonergan looked dubious all game with plentiful handling errors. Defensively there was a lack of talent and skill with the ball going in any random direction often however out of play. When Leeds attacked they showed flashes of good play but so many unforced errors meant that many of their attacks ended as throw ins.

For Brentford this was their best team performance of the season. The side looked quick, skilful, hard working and effective. Chris Mepham looked solid coming on for the injured Bjelland. Yennaris had probably his best game I have witnessed with clever passes combined with a high work rate. Mokojoto was an ideal substitute stretching the Leeds defence with clever runs.

Nine points in a week does not come along very often and we have been shifted acutely from a relegation battle to a potential play off battle. There is a long season ahead but this game showed what Brentford are capable off. And for once Sky was there to capture it all

A Week At Brentford. Whats next? Will there be changes soon? Bolton V Brentford predictions.


After the disappointing 1-1 result against an average Reading side, that frankly at the end could have been a defeat, there have been the usual comments this week with little substantial of note.  The result was a fair one frankly. Brentford won the first half and Reading the second. The obligatory defensive error was even more ludicrous than normal, and why Rico Henry felt the need to commit any foul in the area is beyond me. 1K4A4967x

During the game Dean Smith had plenty of opportunities to change things, however he chose not to other than some ineffective substitutions. Bringing on relatively lightweight midfield players was probably not what was needed. The strikers got average service but missed chances again. So we arrive 22nd September with a very real chance that we will be winless entering October, possibly bottom and certainly getting further away from safety with each game. Although Bees fans support their team well and do not consider that we are the second worst team, the reality is that we are. Brentford play good though currently ineffective football and have been beaten by some very mediocre teams. We are not scoring and seem unable to contemplate a Plan B.00000262

Despite these assertions the team have had a high work rate and probably do deserve a few more points. What is for certain is that our aim this season now must be to avoid relegation. Sounds harsh but I believe it to be true. Are there three worse teams than us? Maybe. On paper Bolton , Barnsley and Burton look relegation candidates. I cannot conceive that Sunderland nor Birmingham will get relegated. 00000180

So what is to be done? The Bolton game is a must win game. A draw is simply not good enough as it is difficult to see anything other than a point at best versus a good Derby side on tuesday . Brentford need to be physical and positive, and for once avoid needless errors. I would have no issues with the same starting 11 as last week. I don’t think Yennaris nor McCeachran are the players to do this. Should we lose the knives will be out for Dean Smith, and in my view he should be doing better with the players he has, they should be gelling more and scoring more goals. He should be looking for positive early substitutions if needed or none if not. Players like Shaibu and Archibald should be given 45 minutes to play. Often the fans can determine after 15 minutes how good or bad the system is and they can also guarantee that it will be the 60th minute before changes. The captain also needs to captain and be visible and vocal. The fans need (as they will) to stay behind the team. 00000224

Let us hope that we get three points tomorrow against a team bottom and out of form. An early goal might be what we need and preferably 4-5 so we can relax. I have a feeling we might indeed win tomorrow however that by itself will not magically solve all our problems.

A Personal Bees Prediction after 0-0 Wolves


This season is not going well. Let’s be realistic . We have two points from 5 games and no striking chance of a win until possibly the end of September. Far from chasing promotion we look a potential relegation side.

We have scored goals in only 2 of the 5 games and although the football has looked good at times in terms of end results it has not been.

Will we improve? Sure. We are not on paper a relegation side but we need to find our best permutations in midfield and defence.

Will we get into the play offs? Personally I think no chance.

My main concerns are that personally I am unconvinced by Dean Smith. I am also convinced that Yennaris is neither captaincy material nor even worth a place in the side.

Maupay will come very good with better service and Woods will help us a lot.

My prediction is Bees will finish in 15th place .

Did we do ok yesterday against Wolves? It was pleasing to keep a clean sheet. The defence was better. Midfield was average and we need Jota to commit to stay or go. But we cannot be happy with a statistic of zero wins in 5 games including 3 at home.

Brentford are Consistent. Consistently inconsistent. What will happen at Burton? 


Too many times this season Bees have been lauded as one of the best teams other sides have played. A great performance is then followed by incredibly dire ones. How many times have we had this during the season? Games lost against Wolves, Fulham, Wigan, Blackburn amongst others. Why does this happen? Why does Dan Bentley openly admit that ‘ wolves wanted it more’? Why should Bees not be as motivated ? Is this down to the players or the manager? 


Most fans have their views but will all agree on a few things. We need more physical midfielders. We need a Plan B. We need more strikers. But the fans are not all convinced that the players are to blame for these disparate resukts. Some feel the manager is at fault. It is his job to motivate the players and select a team that is ‘up for it’. 


It might be even more complex. Certainly no managers are faultless and all players can have an off day. But my view is that Dean Smith is not good at selecting the right team for the right game. There are some games where one knows physicality wil be important . The dire 0-0 home draw with Wigan is one example. He needs to have and to select more physical players. The only exception to this is Jota who must start every game. He also needs to make changes to a system earlier in a game.  Changes could and should have been made early against Wolves. 

So what’s the prediction versus Burton? I suspect a tough game and maybe a draw would be a decent result. Bees are a mid table side and it would be good to now push on to a good run of form building for next season. 

Brentford v Newcastle . A curious afternoon and maybe an indicator of the rest of the season? 


On paper a mid table side sets out to topple a promotion certainty side . However a lot more is at stake. Brentford performances recently have been dubious and inconsistent and the superb performance last week was not predicted. 

There are two ways the season might go. A decent run of league results seeing us sit maybe in 10th place. A horrid run of results that see us in a relegation battle. Very difficult to call the direction on this . 

Our squad needs to lose the fringe players. The squad should only contain players good enough for the championship . Sadly that means Bonham, KK, Saunders, Hoffman all need to move on. The jury is out on Barbet and Yennaris. My own view is that they are not good enough . 

We all know what we need but importantly we also need options. Sometimes Plan A does not work and we need a different approach during a game. A further thing needed in my view is far more engagement with the fans than Dean Smith currently exhibits. Fan forums would be a good start. Maybe also acknowledging in his press conferences mistakes . Certainly a little bit of warmth too. Martin Allen was a revelation last week . Fans need to engage with the manager as they did with Warburton. 

Lastly players need to start a game at high tempo . I can see no reason why not. Players need to play to their potential . Ryan Woods has ranged from brilliant to inept . And similarly most players. 

Smith might also consider blooding more young players. Exactly what Holldack and others will learn from B games is unclear. Either play them or send them on loan to a league club or let them go. They need to play football. Week in week out. 

Tomorrow against Newcastle will be a challenge. For me a good result is a draw. But a spirited draw. 

A Brentford Revival? Maybe or maybe not 


At the end of the day Bees hung on to beat a fairly poor Burton side 2-1. Certainly compared with late this was a better performance but emphasised yet again the critical importance of Scott Hogan to the team. Without him would Brentford have lost 1-0? Who knows. 

The early tempo was much better from Bees against a Burton side that was well organised but lacked a fair bit of basic skill. Their wide players produced some crosses that better teams would have scored from. 

Bees scored following a good pass from Sawyers who had a decent game but in general the midfield fails to protect the defence and win many of the second balls. Yennaris was unconvincing and Bees cry out for a physically dominant midfield player and a few crunching tackles. Hogan was superb and in reality should have had a hat trick and possibly four. 

The failings however came back to haunt Brentford giving away a very soft goal that possibly Bentley might have done better. Barbet looked uncomfortable at left back and it will be no surprise to see Tom Field starting there soon. 

Without pondering on the negatives this was an important 3 points against a Burton team that I expect to be in or near the bottom 3 come end of season. 

Bees need to improve more. To stop giving the ball away cheaply and for the midfield to do a whole lot more including score some goals. But three points are ours and hopefully now we can push on and get something from the next two difficult away games. 

Credit to the small but supportive bunch of Burton fans. They know that their championship road may get closed come end of season 

Differing perceptions of the River Thames at Brentford 


While arriving for a football match at Brentford I was struck by how the views of the excellent street artist saw The Thames at Brentford contrasted with the photos I just took. 

What is Sri Lanka really like now in 2016?


The last 2 decades have seen troubling times in Sri Lanka with civil wars, bombings and generally consistent periods of unrest. Around 2000 this was enough to put many tourists off the idea of travelling there especially those from Scandinavia. This is now all long gone and Sri Lanka is a perfectly safe country to visit.

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On Dec 26th 2004 a Tsunami wrecked havoc on the southern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka with around 40,000 people dead and missing, however the recovery period since then has allowed a huge improvement in the basic infrastructure of the country that was essential.

IMG_1373ClockFor example the first motorway was built connecting Colombo with Galle, meaning that this journey might take 2-3 hours as opposed to over 5 hours previously with a high likelihood of meeting a few cattle on the roads.

The south-western coast is the area most often visited by tourists extending from Negombo down to Galle with various small beachside towns hosting hotels along the way.

There is no point hiding it but chaos still reigns in Sri Lanka and the check-in queues at Colombo are testimony to this chaos. Although English is spoken it is an error to presume it is spoken well and understood, even in hotels.

A typical Sri Lankan scenario might go like this:

A group of four people enter the restaurant and wait. A waiter approaches

“Table for three?”

“No, we are a group of four”

“OK follow me”

The group is taken to a round table with four chairs and prepares to sit down. The waiter then takes one chair away……..

Having said all that hotels are good but nowehere near the luxury level. Most are built next to the beach. One noticeable change in the last 20 years is the weight of the average Sri Lankan population, obesity is now very common in working Sri Lankans. In the past one could almost predict the size of the person from their job. Whereas those with simpler jobs were very thin, the managers of hotels and restaurants were larger. This is not the case today and one wonders about the epidemic of Diabetes that can be expected to arise in the next 10 years.

Many people still remember vividly the Tsunami and talk openly about it and some small Tsunami museums have opened in the south near Hikkaduwa where the Tsunami struck. To spend an hour looking at the photos and the words spoken make one feel very emotional. This event was only 12 years ago.

Sri Lankans have a lot to say and a lot of it seems to take place in the middle of the railway lines, where busy trains with people literally hanging out pass by regularly. Many other curious things happen in Sri Lanka. People use coconuts as pillows at cricket! If you head to Galle Fort, a nice place to spend a few hours walking, test cricket can be seen for free from the hilltop there.

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Better than a Teleconference I suppose

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Coconut Pillow

There remain things that need to be improved including poverty. Still too many children live in poverty but this again has improved a lot over 20 years but their smiling faces hide any worries they may have.

Sri Lanka is a great country to visit. Aside from the beach and the pools, there is a plethora of culture throughout the country and the greatest challenge facing any tourist is choosing what to see and where to stay. There however are quite well defined seasons in Sri Lanka essentially two dry and two rainy seasons a year. In the rainy season in August do not expect to be able to enter the sea or indeed want to spend much beach time. The beaches also can be a little littered with debris.

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Kalutara Beach With Rubbish

Sri Lanka is also a superb place to visit for animals and wildlife. Elephants and birds abound in Udawalawe Safari Park. Various turtle sanctuaries also exist.

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The people are also both gentle and genuine even in the more inland areas where poverty is more commonly still seen.

0000573200005731There are many towns and places to visit but Galle should be one of those to walk along the headland and the fort and see the superb old lighthouse.

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A worrying Brentford performance. Brentford 1 Sheff Wed 1


Although the result shows a draw this game should go down in the annals as a game that could start a season of struggle.  Many fans struggled to get to the game on time due to roadworks in the area  and to avoid the dangers of Knotweed. 


In short Brentford with the exception of Daniel Bentley and Ryan Woods were poor. Off the pace all afternoon. Abysmal tactics. Disjointed substitutions.  I am struggling to recall a single tackle Brentford won and if they won a single header then I missed it. 


Sheff Wed should have been even 4-0 up at half time . An astonishing miss from under the crossbar will go viral on Twitter later. Brentford were second to every ball.  The Brentford goal from Vibe was a comedy of errors from the keeper Westwood who having kicked the ball against Vibe then watched it trickle into his net. 

The referee managed later to send off two players when really he should have had better options. The game hardly contained a meaningful foul. 

The Sheff Wed equaliser had been coming and when it did arrive in injury time the Brentford players played the remaining minutes seemingly hanging on to the point. 


Why were Bees so poor? Certainly the physical presence of their opponents was one factor yet that does not explain the abysmal work rate.  The whole midfield were anonymous and with the exception of the tenacious Ryan Woods one might have been excused not knowing that Yennaris and McCleod were even playing. 

In contrast Daniel Bentley was superb making world class saves. So simply there is no real explanation for this poor performance. But a worrying sign of what might lie ahead. 

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