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 “brentford new stadium”

A good day in the sunshine. An easy win for Brentford against Bristol City. Some talking points and some photographs. What did we learn for the Leeds game tonight?


The media generally reported this as an easy, almost routine win for Brentford. The Bristol fans were quite negative and some of them frankly abusive towards their team even at 1-0 down. I happen to disagree with both these views. Brentford for me played superbly, and played as a team. What was noticeable ( and dare I mention statistically proven probably) was the high energy and work rate and no shirking tackles. There were no real negatives from this performance other than Brentford might and should have scored 4-5 goals.

Before the game Bristol were in high spirits and came here on the back of some excellent results including a 4-0 demolition of Huddersfield a few weeks ago. From the start Brentofrd were on top and this pattern continued for the next 94 minutes.

As a Brentford fan I find it sometimes frustrating photographing them and wanting to stop, watch and applaude. This is not becoming of a “neutral” photographer.

A few talking and thinking points to take forward for the Leeds game tonight:

  1. Konstantin Kerschbaumer (KK). This was the best game he has had in a Brentford shirt and there is little to support a return for Yennaris. His play was 100% and he constantly rattled the Bristol midfield and defence. 00008597
  2. I cannot recall Bentley really having to make a save of note during the game. Even in the aftermath of the flare at full-time he hardly had to move swiftly. 00008666
  3. In some games I have photographed there are players that crop up in every photo, Jota and Sawyers for examples, but in this game it was Lasse vibe, who was easily for me the MOM. Not only for his superb headed goal ( should be able to head a goal over a keeper signifiantly taller than him?), but his workmate . Again maybe the best game in a Brentford shirt. 0000860100008602
  4. Rico Henry was a constant thorn in the Bristol side and never gave them a moments peace. How can Tom Field force his way back into that position? I do not think he can. 00008674
  5. I often fail to understand decisions from the referee. But how exactly was this not a foul on Vibe? Maybe his eye was on the ball…..hmmm. 00008612.JPG
  6. This Bristol fan was unhappy at half time and expressed his negative views of Lee Johnson as the players left the pitch at half time. 00008625
  7. Should Dean Smith change the team at all for tonight against Leeds? My own views are that Egan should replace Barbet. Otherwise leave the team alone with the exception of the seemingly injured Colin, who yet again improves throughout a season. Josh Clarke will start. 00008646.JPG
  8. Lastly every player was superb and it is unfair to single anyone out, but Dean had Tammy Abraham in his pocket all game. A player seemingly destined for the premiership next season.  1K4A0283a.JPG
  9. Just a great day out for Bees fans. 1K4A03000000858200008591000086000000862700008634000086350000864100008640

It is anyone’s guess which Brentford team will emerge on saturday against Bristol City


On paper this is should be a Bees win and in fact my prediction is a comfortable 3-1 victory. However as many times this season Bees are capable of being brilliant or being dire and rarely in between.img_1308

Bristol city are in fact a decent side and I am surprised that they sit on the edge of the relegation places however the reality is that they are likely to survive as there are some awful teams in our division this season. Wigan and Rotherham have booked their visits to Southend and maybe Fleetwood already. They need the points and will not be easy to beat, with Tammy Abraham a good finished goals are likely.00007680

What might be the Brentford team? If bjelland is fit I would expect him to start ahead of Egan based on Dean Smith’s previous team selections, though personally Egan and Dean are the strongest central pairing we have. I would like to see Tom Field have a few games before the end of the season and for the same reason above expect him to start with Rico Henry on the bench. Upfront Vibe and Jota surely, with a midfield of Woods , possibly McCormack, Canos, Sawyers.00007400

Selection decisions? Should Josefzoon also have a run in the side? Difficult one, as that would be in place of Canos.

Looking ahead to next season, the other area that Bees need to strengthen is the reserve goalkeeper position. Jack Bonham does not seem to have the ability to play at this level and frankly both Bonham and Hoffman would benefit from regular football at a lower level.

In the remaining games this season I would like to see our first team for next year develop and go on a decent run. where we finish is not really important in that 10th or 13th makes zero difference, but carrying forward momentum is important. I have no wish to see fringe players play who have no future at Brentford. Lets hope saturday brings 3 points as a birthday present for the 70 year old Peter Gilham. But lets not put him in goal!

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Wandering Around In Wolverhampton. A day out at Molineux.What is it like for away fans? And Hoffman was 15/2 to score the first goal. Wolves 3 Brentford 1


Lets start with the game. This was not a classic at all. The first half was low tempo and there were  serious indications that 0-0 might suit this game. The second half revolved around Brentford essentially giving three goals away. The first and most important one was an error by josh McCeachran giving the ball away and Wolves run 65 yards and score. The second one Daniel Bentley will be dissapointed not to have a free kick, and the last one when Brentford were chasing an equaliser was a typical last minute breakaway goal. This was never a 3-1 game and in fact 1-1 might have been a fair reflection of the play. Brentford were not at their best today and the midfield contributed little either creatively nor goal wise. The Brentford goal however was a beauty, a shot from Kalkai that was unstoppable. Wolves were not that great and seemed to be auditioning to be a mid-table side. The crowd of 20,000 contained 631 Bees who made a decent amount of noise.

The referee was abysmal. all 20,000 spectators were agreed on that one. He failed to see a clear Wolves handball in the penalty area that I saw from maybe 75 yards away. The linesman too. I despair about officials these days.

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Molineux is a decent ground and the fans/stewards a friendly bunch. The cost of 30£ though was at the steep end, though not as much as the 43£ being charged today by Sheffield Wednesday. The ground is on the edge of town and essentially in the University campus area, surrounded by university buildings and flats. An ASDA completes the splendour. This is a real city ground. Parking is easy enough and £5 will buy you a parking space in one of the local car wash sites and decent travel advice would be to enter the city via the M54 so taking the long way round. The club strive to keep their young fans happy and there was a small fair ongoing in the car park area of the ground which contained amongst other things the smallest Nando’s in the world. Other unusual sights included a barbers shop as part of the ground. Does any other club have a barbers shop integral in the ground?

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Inside the ground it is clear that this ground has and can accommodate premiership football. Four decent size stands and away fans are unusually given the lower tier of one the stands that run pitchside, so get a decent view. My only quibble is the huge area between the pitch and the stand that allowed a large wide grass strip where stewards sat on chairs, or in one mans case, slept in his chair.

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So a good day out, little pricey but a ground well worth seeing. Lastly 21 Bet might want to have a re-think about both the odds and the plaeys they lay odds against. I almost choked on the prospect that the odds of forst scorer were equal almost for Hogan, who was playing, and Hoffmann who was not even on the bench. Curiouser and curiouser.

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Brentford 2 Ipswich 0.Early thoughts and opinions on Championship


A sunny afternoon greeted the first Brentford home game of the season played against a team that Brentford normally respect however with the bad taste left in the mouth from the encounter at Portman road a few months ago, this was always going to be an interesting occasion. Even the River Thames at Brentford looked acceptable in the absence of any water.

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Griffin Park

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River Thames at Brentford

Thankfully football prevailed and there no side shows provides, Alan Judge did not make a visible appearance, Luke Hyams “injured” and Mick McCarthy played a decent role as the pantomime villain cheekily acknowledging the applause that greeted Dean Smith, as if for him.

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The game was played mostly in good spirit and refereed well. In the first 30 minutes Brentford might well have been behind, the post saving us from an opening Ipswich goal, as the large sized Ipswich team marauded forward and at that stage my massive £1 bet on a Brentford win looked very much in doubt. in fact most Bees fans would have taken a draw if offered. But the Ipswich dominance became less as the half went on and it was no great surprise when Brentford took the lead early in the second half with an excellent attacking header from John Egan and soon after a close range superb finish that Hogan would have been proud of, made it 2-0 and effectively the game ended there. Sam Saunders should have added to the score and 2-0 did not flatter Brentford.

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What did we learn? Firstly Ipswich will struggle this season to be a play-off contender. They were well beaten by Brentford who many take to be a mid-table side. The Ipswich style of play is a long way from the Sir Bobby Robson era and frankly I would not want their style transposed on Griffin Park too often. They may also want to consider signing a goalkeeper with more presence.

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Romaine Sawyers

Brentford in contrast were surprisingly good. The new players all settled quickly. Callum Elder looks a good left back and very much in the Bidwell style. John Egan grew into the game and will be a superb centre back. Harlee Dean had a great game and I dont say that often. It is unclear how Barbet or Bjelland will get into the side apart from injury or suspensions. Romaine Sawyers was simply superb and my man of the match. Looking like a Clayton Donaldson lookalike he ran the midfield and grew into the game increasingly. Lewis Macleod was the only player I have some early reservations over lacking physical presence and missing an excellent opportunity. Dan Bentley had little to do but did suggest that his kicking game had been stoled from David Button. 1K4A4633

A good start to the season and many encouraging signs for Brentford but maybe not for Ipswich. How long will Mick McCarthy remain as their manager? My bet is not for long at this rate.

 

An interesting acronym for FC Kaiserslautern


Does look suspiciously rude……

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Brentford 1 FC Kaiserslautern 1. The Bees are back.Photographs and Thoughts.


On a hot sunny afternoon this was a good workout for both teams that played a competitive match in terms of effort without a great deal of end result or indeed physicality.

There was the curious sight of the scoreboard using maybe a bad acronym for FC Kaiserslautern…….1K4A4368

1K4A4547bestAs is the norm a number of substitutions in the second half rendered any interpretation of whether this was a good or bad display meaningless. Overall Brentford played with the same style as last season and looked a decent side. No one stood out today on either side. The work rate however was superb for a pre-season game. 1K4A4468

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FC Kaiserslautern brougt almost 1000 fans it seems and there was a fair amount of cabaret between their fans and the Brentford stewards, mostly all good humoured and in fact well stewarded with no incidents that I saw.  If their fans can be described as having a uniform it would be multiple tattoos and a flag per person, the noise from them was massive. They played an open style of play and it was no surprise that their goal came from quick running down the wing with an accurate cross on the floor that was finished neatly. In contrast Brentford goal came from an own goal scored from a corner.

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Own goal gives Brentford the lead

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Sam Saunders

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A busy Maxime Colin

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Romaine Sawyers

From the new players Romaine Sawyers looked industrious and moved seamlessly at times from central midfield to the wings. Sam Saunders played the game more like it was a league game and looked fit and interested throughout.

There were a number of nice touches in the game, not least the minute silence for the Munich victims, and the general noise and support from the FC Kaiserslautern fans. At times even a little too vociferous and some needed reminding that a minute silence means just that!

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The stewarding was also appropriately relaxed and fans had a great afternoon in the sun.

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Ipswich 1 Brentford 3. Photos to Show that The Old Brentford Are Back


The result was important here as this seals the impossibility of relegation and takes Brentford up to 13th in the table and a maximum of 9 points in a week. The game was marred by the terrible injury to Alan Judge who after a reckless challenge from the seemingly unrepentant Luke Hyam suffered a double fracture of his leg.  After the tackle and when the players became aware of the seriousness of the injury it was clear that tackles on Hyam were strong and Jake Bidwell had words for Hyam as he left the pitch.

00002703 I cannot recall such anger from a  Brentford team over a challenge such as this. At a minimum it was reckless and the conspiracy theorists argue that Hyam picked his man. The only person who truly knows is Luke Hyam. What I will comment is that having seen the tackle in real time and watched it on TV many times, that there was no necessity for this tackle. It was dangerous, reckless and is the type of tackle that can end careers. there seemed little sympathy in the ground even from Ipswich fans at his eventual sending off. Good management might have dictated that he was replaced as he became a peripheral figure after that unpleasant challenge. And as of 24 hours after the incident he has posted nothing on his Twitter account to offer anything resembling repentance or even good wishes to Alan Judge. He will be a marked man at Brentford for many years to come.

What was both refreshing and encouraging for next season was to see that the workrate and tackling so much missing this last few months was clearly back. The midfield were both skilful and combative and Sam Saunders for me had one of his best ever games in a Brentford shirt. Lass Vibe scored two superb goals that maybe he might not have scored even 2 weeks ago.

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Sergi Canos gave the kind of display that should make Brentford want to sign him on a permanent contract and the 18,845 crowd included  559 Bees fans who made more noise than the 18,000 Ipswich players. Canos ran, tackled and fought for every ball. He was magical.00002822

The introduction of Jonathon Douglas in the second half did galvanise Ipswich a little and Douglas was involved in most of the decent passages of play that Ipswich had. My own view is that I would have him back at Brentford any time.

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Ipswich Town are a friendly football club and to some extent one wonders if that hampers their desire to return to the top tier. Certainly there was nothing in evidence to show that Mick McCarthy has great tactical or even motivational tactics to produce. Talking to the local fans it was clear that they feel his time has come and he should move on. The fans and the stewards are some of the most friendly football fans in our division.

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Sam Saunders epitomised the spirit shown by the Brentford players as in the photograph below.

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Even the fringe Brentford players when they came on,  and will surely feature more in this injury melee that surrounds Brentford , did their part. Gogia looked interesting and created trouble for Ipswich and Kerchbaumer also had his best game in a Brentford shirt. The photo below of a snarling Jonathon Douglas is a classic.

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Mention has to be made however of the defence who have been heavily critiscised this season, by many including myself. They were imperious. Maxim Colin was both skilful, creative and tough tackling and is the kind of player we need in the summer to boost our chances of promotion next season. Harley Dean shows the dominance to contain Freddie Sears and make him look almost anonymous. 00002828

00002830The only negatives apart from the dreadful injury to Alan Judge, were the cost to get in that Bees fans had to pay £32.50. This is too much for Championship football. Even for the home fans excluding travel, this takes the cost of a game over £100 for a couple.

But this week and maybe the day belonged to Lasse Vibe who looked every inch a Danish International striker. We should applaud him. 00002817

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Darkness Descends Over Bolton


No Bees fan will object to 6 points in a week even though the opposition was truthfully dire. For the first time in many weeks or even months, Bees fans came to the game with an expectation of winning. A healthy 3-0 victory a few days previously at Nottingham Forest provided the belief that winning against the bottom side in the Championship would be a likely outcome.

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Griffin Park looking good under floodlights

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Brentford seem to be praying for victory

The evening was perfect for football and even the River Thames at Brentford looked pleasant enough doused in muddy water. A few strange items, like an old toilet residing beside the water filled with what I hope was old leaves.

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River Thames at Brentford

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Outdoor toilets

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New Road

The game was far from a classic but as much as Brentford ever do, they won this game easily at a canter. The Bolton defending was dreadful and frankly a decent Ryman South team might also have beaten them last night. The evening was perfect for football and the result turned out also to be perfect, a 3-1 victory, marred ever so slightly by Alan McCormack giving away a penalty. Brentford played decently enough and a few sparks of what we saw earlier in the season began to emerge. Oddly Nico Yennaris was the man of the match, although Lasse Vibe took the plaudits for his two goals, but Yennaris in central midfield looked comfortable and is learning how to tackle, though was outmuscled a few times . This was an encouraging performance that meant the game was over before half time with Brentford leading 3-0.  It was surprising that as many as 350 Bolton fans made the trip on a tuesday evening to watch their appalling side.

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Lets focus on Bolton. They were without doubt the worst side to visit Griffin Park this season and were as awful as Blackpool last season. Their likely trajectory will be similar too as this team looks poor even by League 1 standards, and I could back Colchester bottom in league 1 to beat this current Bolton team. They seemed generally poor footballers, but also dispirited and at times totally disinterested. There were no redeeming features. The defending was non league. Emile Heskey was an unused substitute but his body shape looked more likely to succeed in WWF than in professional football. Time to call it a day. Even he when warming up in front of the cheerful New Road crowd failed to acknowledge the generous applause he got. Darren Pratley committed enough fouls to have got a lifetime ban and seemed slow in pace and thought. A shadow of the former footballer he was.

So two wins in a few days essentially means that we will not get relegated and talk is of aiming for a top ten finish. But we should not get too carried away. Some of our defending was again dire last night. David Button almost gave a goal away by giving the ball away a few yards from goal and Harley Dean made numerous errors that somehow went unpunished. This was however an improved performance with the team looking more balanced than for a long while. Saunders and Woods out wide and Yennaris and McCormack more centrally gave the midfield a formation that seemed to work. Vibe scored two goals and the second one a very neat header. So we are in a lower mid-table position and thats probably right, maybe even slightly flattering. But it is a building block and we are staying up and Brentford fans will have woken up happy this morning.

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River Thames at Brentford

The Worst Brentford Performance I can Recall. Who is taking responsibility?


On Feb 24th I wrote an article after the Wolves game essentially saying that the clouds had lifted over Griffin Park .I was in retrospect very wrong to suggest that the dire spiral that Brentford had descended into over the last 2 months was over.

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The reality is that is has got a whole lot worse and Brentford now must be potentially fearing relegation if not this year then next unless a whole load of changes are made.

Today we lost a home game 1-2 to an appalling Charlton side who had the benefit of the worst goalkeeper in the Championship, Nick Pope. And frankly we deserved to lose.

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The game was of a standard that frankly under the trade descriptions act should not belong in the “football” league. Better skill and certainly better commitment can be seen weekly free of charge on many park football pitches.

I will not deal with Charlton other than to say that they were poor and relegation certainties and one wonder why Sanogo the tall striker on loan from Arsenal needs to handle the ball almost every time it comes near him.

Brentford lacked desire, application, effort, skill, height, speed, accuracy of passing, and ability to get players in the box. Other than that they did well. Dean Smith seemed unable to turn the tide and his substitutions apart from being poor and not leading to any improvement were utterly incomprehensible. Taking off their most creative player, Sergi Canos, was not the best option, and bringing on Sam Saunders, who contributed zero, Phillip Hoffmann ( did he touch the ball in the 20 minutes he graced the pitch?) and Lasse Vibe, were frankly absurd changes.

Some will blame the sale of Tarkowski and Diadouraga. I don’t. They would not have made much difference today. Something was very wrong in the state of Denmark. Brentford did not compete, although I would abstain from including Bidwell and Swift, who did put in the work and were the best players on the pitch.

Brentford fans do not mind losing to a better side, but to lose in this appalling manner to an equally dreadful side needs some explaining and responsibility needs to be taken and changes need to be made.

FullSizeRenderIMG_2222Who is at fault here? Should Dean Smith be sacked already? There is a case for the defence that he only has the players he has. There is a better case for the prosecution that he is neither trying to change things with the players he has, for example bring in youngsters like Jan Halldack, or change the system if his players cannot perform in this system. He also appears unable to motivate his side to perform the kind of work rate that all successful sides do and which we were doing under Lee Carsley. And this is the man in indictment against him. Many of these players were involved in Brentford wins last autumn. The role of the co-directors needs also some discussion. What we can say with certainty is that they are not visible. That is not always a crime and in many cases a cloak of invisibility is a good thing, however when things are going horrifically wrong then some explanation is needed. At the very least a Fans Forum seems a sensible option to at least explain the direction of the club in the next 6 months. Most of the players brought in last summer are not good enough and lack basic technique. My own view is that even given time and opportunity , Hoffmann, Vibe, Djuricin, Kerschbaumer and Gogia, will not become championship standard. The jury is also out on Ryan Woods who increasingly is muscled off the ball and needs a strategy to become more involved in the game. Increasingly Marco Djuricin is looking out of his depth and I remain underwhelmed by his goal scoring rate and his work rate.

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What should and will worry the club are falling attendances and no doubt lower season ticket sales than this year. Empty seats help no one.

At this stage of the season we need to ensure enough points to avoid relegation and make a decision then over Dean Smith. We also need to stop making excuses over players who have been with the club almost a year and chronically under perform. The main value of a striker is calculated by goals scored and it is clear Brentford do not have a striker meeting that definition. Most fans would like to see the back of Phillip Hoffmann.

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Lets hope the way forward is not now down.

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The Clouds Lift Over Griffin Park. Brentford 3 Wolves 0


There is no doubt that Brentford have been a spiral of disaster the last 2 months, and this is reflected in the win ratio of 1 win in the previous 9 games, and in the plethora of negativity that followed the Derby debacle on saturday. Something had to change.

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Clouds over Brentford seen while flying in for the game

Fans arrived late as often they do for an evening fixture giving the impression till almost the last minute that there would be no crowd. In fact almost 9000 hardy souls braved a bitter and literally freezing evening to watch an entertaining game.

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Griffin Park By Night

There was little agreement before the game on what the outcome might be and even less agreement on the team selection other than something had to change to bring back the fighting spirit and work rate that we saw earlier in the season. In reality the summoning of two of the best players in the club, John Swift and Sergi Canos gave the side width and skill, and Nico Yennaris recovered from a hideous performance in central midfield on saturday to have an excellent game at right back. The work rate in midfield was probably double that of saturday and from the start the elevated work rate and the chances created got the crowd going. In the end a 3-0 victory did not flatter Brentford and it should have been greater. We must not however lose site of how abject Wolves were. Watching the game it was difficult to believe that they had 40 points this season and sitting seemingly in mid-table security. They were poor, very poor. Never the less a good performance that should keep the crowds interested for the remainder of the season. Yet margins are thin in this league, with Brentford comfortably winning 1-0 in the second half, only a superb save from David Button kept the Bees ahead. Conceding a goal then might have led to one of the many Brentford collapses we have seen this season.

Were there any downsides to the game? Only one for me. No cornish pasties. What kind of football catering does not have cornish pasties, forcing me to sample a Chicken Balti pie, which I can sum up as saying could be a vegetarian option lacking anything I could find that resembled chicken. Edible none the less.

Lastly a strange emerging feature of watching Brentford lately. As the crowd streams out of the New Road stand, a group of 2-3 steward looking characters in cheerful fashion thank the crowd for coming and have a safe trip home. Brentford are emerging into the customer service era and will achieve that for me when cornish pasties return.

So the gleaming clouds were an omen and indeed the sun was truly shining on Brentford and their fans at 10 pm last night.

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The Skies above Brentford before kick off

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Clouds Gleaming over Brentford

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Floodlights over Brentford

A final thought. I will miss this old ground when it goes. We know it has to and understand why but the character and atmosphere is what sums up real football , even in the absence of cornish pasties.

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