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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 “brentford new stadium”

Brentford ease to a 2-0 win over Hapless Sheffield Wednesday . What are the learnings for the Brentford fans?


There are plenty of good websites that will give far better game reports than I am capable of. Sheffield Wednesday came to Griffin Park in some degree of turmoil with a transfer embargo being lifted only two days previously.

Brentford fans were in good voice pre-game and a positive atmosphere pervaded everywhere, with one exception the two poor guys selling the half time lottery tickets were struggling and at the time we entered, one had sold none and the other two tickets. IMG_1654IMG_1648

The sun was shining and the pitch looked perfect. Brentford strolled to a 2-0 win that should have been far more emphatic, with five one on ones with the keeper failing to register a goal. IMG_1649

Dean Smith has a clear vision of his best team and the Bees were unchanged from last saturday. Ryan Woods making it to the bench. Sheffield Wednesday despite bringing 1500 fans were poor. Their whole demeanour pre-game and during the game was heads down and misery. Their style was also poor with mostly route one humping of the ball to their strikers, who looked disinterested . The gangling Atdhe Nuhiu who is a Kosovo Albanian professional footballer who plays  for the Kosovo national team, looked at times almost amateur. Wikipedia gave his salary as 300,000 euros in 2012. Astonishing if true. Their manager looked equally lost and bored in equal measures standing on the touchline often alone with none of his coaching staff visible. Jos Luhukay is a Dutch football manager and former midfielder. In January 2018, Luhukay was appointed as  manager, but it seems likely that on this form he will not see out the season until christmas.

Brentford were superb in their football, confident, skilful and at times cheeky. So what did we learn from today?

  1. The distribution of Dan Bentley has improved hugely and it is hard to think of a better English goalkeeper currently with the exception of Jordan Pickford. This is not hyperbole but fact.
  2. Henrik Dalsgaard needs to be more cautious in his tackling. Following a yellow card today another dubious tackle went unpunished and a different referee would have dismissed him.
  3. The defence is settled. The central defensive pairing of Mepham and Konsa surely is the best we have had in the last 10 years. Both players are light years in ability away from Dean and Egan. Chris Mepham is already premiership class.
  4. Neal Maupay has improved his all round game and looks a fine player. His finishing can and will improve. He can budget for 20-25 goals this season.
  5. Sergi Canos needs to up his game. At times today he was invisible. He may come under pressure for his place in the next few weeks.
  6. A settled squad and an unchanged team pays dividends this early in the season. I do not recall the quality being present so early in a season nor the fitness levels
  7. Brentford can push for promotion.
  8. That Griffin Park is going to be full most weeks, so buy season tickets right now
  9. There is a New Road mystery though. Where do you buy Pizza? We saw a guy return with a slice of pizza. Anyone know?

Rarely have the Brentford fans been so positive about a season and a team. 00003219

Wage Bills In Championship


Just seeing these numbers make one realise two things. It’s not all about money. Some teams with big budgets do badly and little old tinpot Brentford do rather well. One example might be Norwich with a wage bill triple that of Brentford or Middlesbrough which approaches five times that of Brentford

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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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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Brentford 3 Sunderland 3. Another draw, more defensive errors yet this might be the real turning point of the season. The superb Florian Jozefzoon


There have been enough doom and gloom posts in the last 24 hours. It does not take a mathematician to realise that giving away three goals makes winning a match incredibly difficult. Yet in fact Brentford almost did that.

Florian Jozefzoon shoots to create the tap in for Yennaris

Florian Jozefzoon shoots to create the tap in for Yennaris

Lets start with the negatives. In the first half for long periods Sunderland outplayed us with a strong and energetic form of football, skill was not a major component , yet Brentford gifted them three goals. The obligatory goal from the ex-Bees player Lewis Grabban was the prelude to an error from Dan Bentley (keepers make mistakes and also win us games) and an incredibly stupid penalty to concede by Ryan Woods. Our defending yesterday was not good, but it was also not bad. In a purely defensive role Henrik Dalsgaard had maybe his best game for us. Our central defenders were hardly immense but also not error prone. What is the real strong negative and something Brentford must stop doing, is giving away stupid penalties. In three of the last 4 home games, it is the ridiculous penalties that have cost us (almost)  the points. Rico Henry (V Reading), Henrik Dalsgaard ( V Millwall) and Ryan Woods yesterday. Defensive coaching must encompass and limit the desire, need and tendencies to concede pointless penalties, when in fact in all three cases challenges could have been better or not made at all.

Ryan Woods meets Lee Cattermole

Ryan Woods meets Lee Cattermole

Now onto the positives. Brentford dominated the second half and we saw a team in bad form ( Sunderland) lose their confidence entirely after an excellent Florian goal. A sublime free kick. Brentford came close to winning the game and if the referee had added on 10 minutes instead of the obligatory 5 minutes, Bees would have won this game. Our football was good, tackling was strong and we did have our chances. And before we talk about lack of luck, lets remember the good fortune of the Neal Maupay goal from a deflection. In short  Brentford looked good. Why? in my view it was down to Henrik Dalsgaard and Florian combining superbly on the right. The work load was high, the running fast and they never gave up. So why have these two players suddenly produced such a superb performance? Before yesterday both had performances that might be termed “patchy”. Maybe it is the coaching behind the scenes?

Florian Jozefzoon

Florian Jozefzoon had a superb game. His best in a Brentford shirt

Henrik Dalsgaard

Henrik Dalsgaard had his best game attacking and defending and looked the Danish international that he is

Florian Jozefzoon

Florian Jozefzoon yet again stretching the Sunderland defence

Henrik Dalsgaard

Henrik Dalsgaard

Although we should have won this game, importantly we did not lose it. We are in a relegation battle right now and on any given weekend might end up in the bottom three. So it was crucial not to hand three points to Sunderland.  There are games coming up we must win, Burton for example and QPR, and there are games me must get a point from (Cardiff and Leeds).

Yesterday we looked a coherent attacking side in the second half. There are some unanswered questions ( such as why the Sergi Canos hair style and colour) and can Neal Maupay regain a run of form. Overall however I feel positive that we can scrap our way out of this relegation battle and may potentially be a lower mid-table side. Where we go from there is another question.

Neal Maupay

Neal Maupay unlucky not to score

Jason Steele

Jason Steele had an uncomfortable afternoon in goal.

Henrik Dalsgaard

Henrik Dalsgaard makes another tackle

Ryan Woods

How did Ryan woods get up there?

Ollie Watkins

Ollie Watkins

Lasse vibe

Lasse Vibe

Florian Jozefzoon

Florian Jozefzoon

Neal Maupay

Neal Maupay

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Brentford 1 Millwall 0. A home win before halloween . A strange game but huge relief.


Seems a long time since Brentford have been in a relegation battle and have had to wait almost until the end of October before claiming a first home win. At the end of the game there was relief all around, players,staff and fans. 00000218

So what was different and why did we win? Probably the answer is Daniel Bentley who is rapidly looking premiership material. Two world class saves and then in the 81st minute a superb penalty save gave Bees the points. Brentford if the truth is told did not play to anything like the heights of previous games and the game was the scrappiest seen this season. The team however battled all game and work rate could not be faulted.

Millwall were the poorest footballing team Brentford have played this year, with their main tactics seemingly to kick the ball as high and long as possible, and pushing their opponents endlessly, with the referee ( worst this season) allowing so much pushing and shoving to go unpunished it became unbelievable at times. Certainly Millwall are not a team I would pay willingly to watch. vibe

When rating the Brentford players the only ones who maybe had quiet or not their best games were Dalsgaard and Yennaris. Dalsgaard in the first half gave the ball away upfield a number of times and hardly rushed back to correct matters. He needs to remember his position is right back and thats his priority. Bjelland for me does not have the overall ability of Barbet and that could be a straight swop. Yennaris had a quiet game, and although he has had some good games, his overall contribution is not a fraction of players like Woods and Watkins.

Having said all that, Bees won the game and have the three points that overall they deserved ( as in many games this season). But, we are not out of the wood yet. A few more wins are needed in the next six weeks . 00000169

A few questions for Dean Smith include what would be against starting Lasse Vibe in place of Maupay ( who missed an excellent chance in the first half). The defence again needs some attention. Bees got away with it today thanks to Dan Bentley , but it needs to be tighter and at times more physical.

Time tonight to celebrate and hope that now the team can relax and move forwards over the next few weeks. The rest of the season? There are some worse teams than Brentford, including Millwall and Reading, but will we get above the mid-table milieu? I don’t think so. Success with this group of players would be 12th place.

Lastly Romaine Sawyers was superb. His goal was well taken and he almost added a carbon copy minutes later, but his overall work rate must have doubled since last season and his place on the team sheet should be an easy decision. He looks and is playing with a confidence, and I suspect we have not yet seen the best of him.

My beer will taste good tonight.

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.

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 .

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

Nostalgia with Brentford programmes over the last 70 years. Football really does change. Part 1. 1971-2011


With around 4000 programmes to go through you may be viewing a number of posts from me over the next few months. I pulled a random bundle out that were mostly Brentford programmes and a few surprises too.

Sometimes I hear moaning about the cost of programmes but did you realise that back in 2011 Brentford fans were already paying £3 for their programme? A few names in the Charlton line up one recognises, Ben Hamer ( what a wasted career he has had to date, languishing in premiership reserve teams last few years), Yann Kermogant ( who in contrast has been immense) and Jason Euell. A few names in the Bees squad that I really do not recall, Blair Adams, Dale Bennett and Kirk Hudson for example. Pim Balkestein, who to me deteriorated rapidly during his time with Brentford, Mike Grella ( one of the worst Bees forwards of all time) and the wasted talents of Myles Weston and Sam Wood, who had the talent to progress far higher than they ever did. A young Sam Saunders adorns the front cover. IMG_2755The next programme was from 1978 and forms a series of programmes from games against teams that have sadly become non-league along the way. Brentford v Workington programme cost 10p and reflected that Paul Bence was the Bees captain of the time. Anyone who ever went to Borough Park, Workington, might be surprised to know that the record attendance there was 21,500 v Man Utd, back in 1957-58. A lesser surprise is that Workington never had a player capped. A few interesting hairstyles of that time were viewed in the programme. FullSizeRenderIMG_2754A few names in the Brentford team that I recall well, Gordon Sweetzer, Roger Cross and Jackie Graham. For those that never saw Jackie Graham he can best be compared to a latter day Ryan Woods. Small, bustling, energetic and always 100% energy player. The programme notes make “sombre” reading with talk of hooliganism amongst Bees fans. In fact this was almost entirely the topic of the first page. Some context though is that this relates to the theft of a Brentford scarf from a fan (by another Bees fan) and warnings of no fireworks please! The game was played on November 3rd.

The final programme in this sequence comes from Brentford v Scunthorpe in 1971. This is a signed programme and seems to have maybe 8 autographs on the front cover. I cannot recall how I managed to get this! Maybe others can untangle some of the names on the programme. I can find Peter Gelson, Gordon Phillips, Bobby Ross . IMG_2749

Brentford V Hartlepool. 27th October 2012. A look back.


In football a lot can happen in 5 minutes, as for example at the end of last season which saw Hartlepool relegated to the National Conference and Torquay survive. In 5 years a lot more can happen, so it was interesting when sorting through old football programmes ( I have maybe over 5000, more possibly, some dating back to 1923) to find three programmes in the same pile together. All from 2012.

  1. Brentford v Hartlepool. League 1. From the 25 player names in the Bees team 8 to my knowledge are no longer playing football, although KOC of course remains coaching. FullSizeRenderNone are playing in the premiership ( although Foresaw was last year), 7 play in the championship and the ten remaining  are scattered in the lower leagues and non-league. Brentford can be regarded as to top 10 championship side, whereas Hartlepool have the please of their first season in non-league to contemplate, three divisions below Brentford. Looking through the programme none of that current Brentford U-18 team playing that week seem to have made careers in football. However a quick glimpse through the U-21 team that week shows Alfie Mawson, Jake Reeves, Josh Clarke who have all had excellent league careers. We had a sporting director called Mark Warburton who made some salient points in his programme notes. He talked a lot not only about the quality of a player and what is needed for the club, but also knowledge of their off-field character. Mark Devlin writes an eloquent piece about what needs to be done in the years leading up to Lionel road in 2016. IMG_2728
  2. Mansfield V Darlington. This was a game played in the Blue Square Premier, the National Conference. Mansfield were a team beginning their upward surge that took them back to the league, whereas Darlington as we know were on a downwards spiral, that has only just ended essentially this season with them moving to a ground of their own. Two names stood  out in the Darlington side. Marc Bridge-Wilkinson, as I had breakfast by chance with his grandparents in a small cardiff hotel before the Brentford v Port Vale 2001 Football League Trophy Final, and guess who scored one of the Port Vale goals that day in our 2-1 defeat. By this time he had 350 league appearances and could be termed a veteran. The other name that stands out is the England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. He was playing for Darlington in a side that frankly was getting hammered each game. He was signed on loan from Sunderland and even at that stage had earned schoolboy honours for England. I recall he had an outstanding game and looked a real talent even then.
  3. Carshalton v Lincoln City. FA Carlsberg Trophy Second Round replay. Lincoln were a club in real decline then. Playing in the conference with no indications of desire to regain league status. Carshalton were playing in the Ryman League with a number of decent players. Carshalton dominated the game and won convincingly against a Lincoln side looking totally disinterested. The Lincoln manager was a certain David Holdsworth. I wrote a blog back then about the game https://arcticterntalk.org/2012/01/18/carshalton-athletic-3-lincoln-city-1/
  4. IMG_2730

paul-vines

shellshocked-lincoln-chairman

shellshocked-lincoln-chairman

So how times have changed. Hartlepool are now the non-league side. Lincoln City had a superb season last year and would be potentially a favourite for promotion again this year.  Brentford have moved on impressively to have ambitions of the premiership. Darlington are on the move up and can be expected to regain league status in the next 4-5 years. And Lionel Road should be built by 2019. Maybe the 2016 was a mere typo….

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