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”

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 Thankyou to Chris Kamara


All Bees fans of an age will recall the hard working and hard tackling midfielder that Chris Kamara was.

It was nice to see him yesterday back at Griffin Park. As he walked along the New Road pitchside pre game he took the time to pose with fans for selfies, sign autographs and generally engage with everyone who wanted to say hello. No airs and graces just nice normal behaviours. He should be really respected for this as clearly also was heading off to work for the media up in the gantry.

Sometimes we just need to report the good stuff in football and not only the negative things. Chris Kamara you are a gentleman

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.

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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.

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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.

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 chrisbushephotography.com

 

 

 

 

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/
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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….

The Jota Situation. Very complex to interpret this right now


All Brentford fans would have seen the upturn in results and performances after the New Year with the return of Jota, and this was evident from his very first game in the FA cup against Eastleigh. Not only were his performances excellent but it was also the impact he had on the rest of the team, the work ethic was better, the smiles returned to faces and in many games he made the goals that Lasse Vibe scored. The Spanish contingent with Sergi Canos cannot also be underestimated. That relationship is a good one both on and off the pitch.

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Jota smiling on his Brentford return

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Jota on the wing

We know very little right now other than that the Brentford hierarchy are not agitated by these rumours of an imminent bid. This means one of two things. They are confident he will stay, possibly with an increased contract offer. Alternatively they are resigned to him going, expect an overinflated fee and have replacements lined up.

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On social media the fans views are broadly those who feel that selling him

sends a message that Brentford are not really aiming at promotion, and feel let down, or those who take a more realistic view that at the moment Brentford simply cannot refuse to sell a player if the price is right.

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For what it is worth I will give my view. I think Jota should stay. Two reasons. Firstly from his own viewpoint he has had a shaky couple of years until January. We cannot ignore that he returned to Spain to Eibar and whatever the reason for his return ( some unspecified issues) they clearly impacted his performances and his psyche. He mostly did not get into the Eibar first team. Jota would benefit from a season of stability to demonstrate consistency . Secondly, even in this era, loyalty should be rewarded and for him to stay and then in a year (if he wishes) to leave at a higher price, would be the best solution for all concerned. What is required though is a contract extension. Brentford cannot and should not be in a position to allow him to leave for zero money in a year. Another year playing at the top of the championship would not be such a bad thing as for me if I were a premiership club I would be cogniscent of the above but also would wonder if he really is ready to claim a first team place?

At the current time he is with the squad for their pre-season European trip and the musings are that he is not disturbed by the rumours of an imminent bid. Let us see what happens. West Ham,Burnley, Newcastle and Everton , need to make their own decisions based on the above.

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Jack Bonham signs 1 year contract extension . And heads out on loan. Does this make sense? 


The Jack Bonham story is a curious one from start to finish. Clearly had or has good potential but a series of gaffes has condemned him to B team football for two years at Brentford. The usual sighting of Bonham is carrying out coats or warming up. Always with a positive happy smile and attitude. Did fans assume wrongly he was content to be sitting on the bench?00007309

I can only comment on what I have seen and other than his first team league debut away at Barnsley he has looked frankly modest and at times nonleague standard. His B team performances have been uninspiring and most fans expected him to be released at the end of last season.

The other side to the story is that he has had little opportunity to play and develop the focus and concentration skills that keepers need. The league cup game against Oxford showed that he was prone to errors but playing in a makeshift defence did not help him. B team games lack the intensity of competitive football and especially for a keeper are not helpful in career development .

So we move forward to the end season away game at Barnsley where although the pressure was off on the team it was massive on Bonham. In simple terms a last chance saloon. A proper game in a hostile stadium . Jack was man of the match. A bad game here and I have no doubt he would have been released.

The club clearly feel as most fans do that he needs regular competitive football and I would go further and say that this should have happened a year ago. The next 6 months at Carlisle will help him enormously. The one year extension with the first 6 months on loan is a bit like an each way bet.  Brentford have two quality keepers now and up and coming young keepers too. Ellery Balcombe. So I suspect Bonham will not be a Brentford player this time next year. Possibly in 6 months even if Carlisle sign him in the transfer window. The longer odds are on Dan Bentley leaving and Bonham again being a second string keeper.

Although this all seems sensible and gives all concerned options, I do have a worry that with 3 keepers in a small squad we are potentially giving up a squad place for an outfield player.

Carlisle are a good side and can be expecting to challenge for promotion this season. That kind of good pressure will be good for Bonham and Brentford. I think this is a good move for the club on balance.

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The Queens Crown Travelled to Houses of Parliament in its own car. Is this correct in 2017? 


For once I am speechless. This is 2017. What springs to mind is the senseless waste of public money. The pure daftness of the idea. Just why? 

The crown travelled in a car with its own security escort. 

As imagined many folks had things to say on Twitter. Including myself. To summarise views. Medieval nonsense and grotesque display of wealth that might be regarded as highly insensitive in current times. 

The tweet that wins the prize though is this 

”Queen’s Speech: where you hear about prioritisation of mental health services, then watch as a crown gets taken away in its own car”

But why was she not wearing her crown fir the first time in 43 years for the Queens Speech? The event came too close to the Trooping of the colour to allow sufficient practice and rehearsal. But not to worry. The crown was within eyesight of the queen to her right. 

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

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