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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 “david button”

Reflections On An Away Day At Queens Park Rangers


For fans not so familiar with London, Queens Park Rangers play at Loftus Road in West London, which is about 1.5 miles from Hammersmith and near to Shepherds Bush. The area is a curious area  and on the good side with many “expensive” cafes thats serve excellent food and a plethora of oddly named hotels. Take the New Century Inn. Not entirely clear which century it was new in but a good guess might be the 19th century and not much has changed since then. There also seems to be a desire to dig up every piece of ground nearby and the building works and roadworks are numerous.

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The cafes are good though and it may be better to feed in one of these than chance the dubious food on offer in the ground at also very extortionate prices.

Highlight of QPR v Brentford

Highlight of QPR v Brentford

A strong recommendation is to travel by underground as there are many underground stations in the vicinity , Wood Lane, White City, Shepherds Bush Market and Goldhawk road. Parking will be 7 kinds of nightmare and I do not recall seeing anywhere to park like a reasonable car park at all.

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As with all ex-premiership clubs, habits die hard and there is overkill with hundreds of stewards and police horses. The local fans however seemed in general terms pleasant enough. A number of barricades are in place mostly to stop cars but expect a little interest from the stewards at any barrier for any reason. IMG_2324IMG_2326IMG_2327

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IMG_2329Expect to be searched going into the away end and expect confusion as the entry for the Upper Tier stand behind the goal for away fans is on the opposite side of the ground for  that of the Lower Tier Stand. The searches are friendly enough but on the excessive side.

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The walk from the nearest tube stations takes maybe 10 minutes maximum. Almost all the local pubs are home supporters only, so anyone in search of alcohol may need to head a little way away from the ground. If you have time to visit the dentist then the curiously named Batman Dental Surgery is an option opposite the ground. IMG_2325

The away fans are given the stand behind one goal and if you are in the front few rows as I was you are hardly 5 yards away from being on top of the goal. A very tight ground, that generates a good atmosphere.

Entry to away end

Entry to away end

 

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Having said all that the views are excellent for the away fans. However another remnant of premiership football is the high cost of tickets, £32 for mine and the £3.50 programme.

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IMG_2335A few curious signs and pieces of information emerge on the walls of the away end. Not entirely sure what they add to the spectacle but interesting anyway.

IMG_2334This is a good day out for away fans and a trip to be encouraged but it would be good if the club realised that most fans do not create trouble and an excessive degree of policing and stewarding is a negative and expensive and unnecessary phenomenon.

 

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

Are Brentford Fans Turning Their Back on Their Team? Sergi Canos Family was the highlight of Loftus Road Debacle


This was another dire day for Brentford. Lets be clear I am a supporter who was there at Accrington on the terraces when it was minus 6 and if needs be will be there next season. But realism needs a place right now.

IMG_2317Firstly the facts. Brentford are currently the worst club in the championship. Anyone at the game yesterday and last week will know that. The form league table does not lie. The table also shows that we have the worst defence.

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So yesterday when 3000 Bees fans discovered that the team selection included no striker there was little optimism that we would score a plethora of goals.

In the warm up David Button indeed looked like the most likely striker with excellent ball control.

David Button

David Button

We were right. The game has been excellently reported elsewhere but to summarise we were better with Alan McCormack in midfield to give a little bite until we went a goal down and then frankly gave up. The defence was at times torn apart and the QPR strikers rampaged down the middle through our central defence almost at will. I am not a fan of Poulter, who can consider himself lucky not to be sent off for two yellow card offences, but the difference between the chaos he caused compared for example with our Hoffmann ( unfit it seems yesterday) was interesting.  Even strikers with little talent can cause chaos. Brentford never looked like scoring a goal with the potential exception of long range shots, and for me only Sergi Canos  and David Button can come out the game with any great credit. Things were dire and no sign of getting any better. Some fans seemed to want to consider throwing themselves off the upper tier!

IMG_2335The undoubted highlights of the day were the omelette before the game at one the nice street cafes around Shepherds Bush and meeting Sergi Canos family in the upper tier stand. Lovely people who seemed as bemused as we were at the decision to take Sergi off who was without doubt working hard and probably the best player in our team. In fact the substitutions yesterday were frankly ridiculous and it showed. If we are to be treated to a fans forum this season one of my first questions would be to explain how Sam Saunders and KK are the right players to bring on when chasing the game and 2-0 down.

Sergi Canos Family. CF Nunes was Sergi's old team in Spain

Sergi Canos Family. CF Nunes was Sergi’s old team in Spain

Highlight of QPR v Brentford

Highlight of QPR v Brentford

A separate article is needed to describe the QPR day out in fans terms however I am unsure that the plethora of stewards and police on horses were really needed.

IMG_2337Having said that there were reports of fighting amongst Bees fans apparently on the basis of ” you are not loyal enough”. We do not need any Brentford fans who fight for any reason if this allegation is true, though I did witness homophobic abuse from a single middle aged male in the front row of the Upper Tier.

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So as we now enter a relegation battle and many fans have correctly identified that we have been in one for 4 weeks already, the question we might ask is will we be here at Loftus Road next season? And reviewing the fixture list makes interesting reading, our final two games of the season against Fulham and Huddersfield may be in fact be huge relegation battles. Frightening.

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Brentford Team Formation

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.

Brentford 0 Middlesbrough 1. An unlucky evening for Bees


On the face of it Brentford a mid-table side were beaten by the league leaders and in my opinion, Champions elect. There however was a lot more to this game that on balance should be very encouraging for Brentford.

The most important thing is that this group of players are playing hard for their manager and to their potential. The second most important thing is that the fans back the team even in unfortunate defeats such as this. So what was the story of the game? We learned that David Button is an excellent goalkeeper but made one error that cost us the goal and the points. But long before Brentford should have been 2-0 up at least with chances missed and decent saves by the Middlesbrough keeper. Despite all the transfer speculation, and that is all that it is, Diadouraga and Tarkowski started and played decent games. The man of the match who improves with each performance is Maxime Colin, and for once our defence looked more solid than of late. Sam Saunders got a rare start in midfield and did not disappoint . What was apparent though was that Bees have no strikers. Lasse Vibe tries hard but he is not a lone striker and realistically would slot in to midfield in place of Saunders. Hoffman when he came on was invisible. A pair of strikers would make the world of difference to this side. The other fact that cannot be hidden is that Brentford must be the smallest side in the Championship and maybe the league. A midfield of Judge, Saunders, Woods is not a physically threatening vision. Does this matter? Maybe and maybe not.

I am encouraged by the excellent performance tonight but still wondrous at why we have not signed not it seems threatened to sign some strikers. To raid the lower leagues possibly.

But even though the rain came down again and this was the second 1-0 home defeat in 4 days there is plenty of reason for optimism. IMG_1230IMG_1232IMG_1233IMG_1234

 

Reflections on Birmingham 2 V Brentford 1 Away Day. Jan 2nd 2016


Trips to Birmingham have never been without incident and this one is no exception. The nonsense of buying tickets began on tuesday night with the announcement that sales of tickets from Brentford, having reasonably been on sale for four weeks, would cease lunchtime wednesday, but Birmingham in their wisdom decreed no match day sales. Can anyone explain to me why? Why do clubs not want bigger crowds, especially in the holiday season when often plans are not cemented till the last minute. This ridiculous decision was then reversed maybe 48 hours later. Thankfully Twitter and Mark Devlin kept us updated. A number of tickets were sold at the last minute and these needed collection at the ground.

The nonsense continued on match day with no-one in the Birmingham ticket office seemingly aware that these tickets were somehow being escorted to the ground. A random vision of the sign ” Collections” on a gate at the away end gave at last a clue where tickets might be collected. Two unhappy looking souls distributed tickets after checking for names on an envelope. And giving the impression they were auditioning for a role in a prison behind bars.

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A number of positives need to be stated. Firstly all the staff at the ground, the stewards and in fact the fans are super friendly, and it was a pleasure to listen in to a conversation on how awful a referee Keith Stroud is. Parking is also easy. Travelling through the suburbs of Birmingham is frankly non unlike the opening of a horror movie. But ground parking is easy and anyone prepared to walk 10-15 minutes can find free easy street parking. Lower Dartmouth street is my recommendation.

And there are a few sights in Birmingham, somewhat unexpected within yards of the ground. And a good few sights totally expected. The ground is in a sort of area that is an admixture of urban housing and small industrial estates. With a few curious bars and shops thrown in for good measure.

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On the way to the ground one walks past canals that look pleasant although here there seemed either a small gravestone or a miniature ” angel of the north”. Street cleaning also seems an optional extra, though maybe a little cruel to say that on Jan 2nd.

IMG_1079The ground itself is a great ground now. Three sides have been re-built and this is one of the better Championship grounds. The whole area smells  that gorgeous football smell of onions and cooking burgers.

IMG_1084Views are excellent all around the ground and access is quite uncomplicated. With one notable exception, the tannoy system is so quiet that I did not realise there was one. The game however was dire and will be covered in a different blog. Overall this was a good match day experience. And lastly I should mention that £20 for a ticket is really a very reasonable  price in 2016.

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What have Weekend Offenders and Foot Long Hot Dogs got to do with Birmingham 2 Brentford 1 . Jan 2nd 2016


Sadly an awful football game. The first half was maybe the worst football, if one can describe it as that, all season. Neither team able to pass to another player and nothing to note other than an awful looking tackle in the 45th minute by ex-bee John Toral on Jake Bidwell. Half time arrived with the Brentford crowd baying for a red card and possible execution.

The second half was better though not by much. Brentford leaked their usual two goals with the second resulting from another error from Harlee Dean. Brentford in between scored a goal, a tap in after a goalkeeping error. Frankly this was the sort of game that neither side deserved any points. The referee was also abysmal, Graham Scott. He was finicky to the extreme. Booking an excessive number of players and stoping the game on any any pretext at any time. He ran Keith Stroud a close second in the worst referee of the week awards.

A strange Brentford team performance after recent very strong ones. Raised questions about possible tiredness? Issues behind the scenes relating to transfers?

The team was also a little unusual in that Jota was neither in the side nor on the bench, for which there may be multiple reasons but is he being transferred was the one being discussed? Alan Judge had his quietest game for months. Maybe tired, maybe took a few heavy tackles , maybe again is a transfer allegedly to Middlesbrough for 12 million on his mind? James Tarkowski had his worst game I have seen him have, but still looked good! Again, transfer issues? Tiredness? Who knows.

On the positive side Gogia looked interested when he came on with 20 minutes to go. Neither Hoffmann nor Vibe are strikers we want playing upfront alone.

So, a strange game. St Andrews is a decent ground but we always seem to lose there every time i go……so maybe all my fault.

Weekend offenders was a great piece of graffiti on a wall and foot long hot dogs smelled great. They were maybe the highlights today.

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Was Brentford 2-1 Rotherham one of our most important games ever? A few thoughts and photos


This might sound ridiculous to the casual football observer and critic but this game rates up there with play off finals in order of its importance. The increasing turbulence and mutterings of discontent against the owner, manager,players and no doubt the programme sellers has been assuming absurd proportions. Last season was a one off. A group of committed players, playing well beyond their potential at times, a few good slices of luck  and importantly a relatively injury free season allowed the stars to align and Brentford to achieve an outcome almost undreamt of.

This season has been a disaster so far this is true. Some of the more worrying elements come in almost forgotten metrics such as a significantly reduced number of travelling fans, less vocal support from the home crowds and most worryingly for me, the reduced tempo and work rate that has been the norm this season. Of course the results are important but the manner of the performances are what dictates the pleasure or displeasure levels of the Brentford faithful.

What we saw yesterday was a spirited performance that maybe deserved the 3 points despite being at times the weaker side. The work rate was high and the effort cannot be faulted. The performance of Jake Bidwell was one of his best in a Brentford shirt.

There can be no doubt we were lucky to win and the neutral observer would have scored this as a draw. An exciting game played by two teams who found it difficult to defend well.

The three points are like gold dust. They give us some breathing space, introduce a winning mentality confidence and importantly consign Rotherham to at least another week below us in the relegation zone. That we are beating the weaker sides is actually very important. All the three sides we have beaten represent sides that will be in bottom 8 places come the end of the season. Relegation for Brentford would herald another difficult mountain to climb to escape League 1 and we can see how difficult that is for large clubs such as Sheffield United. However this season ends we need to end it in the Championship and one can argue that the re-building process can now resume. I personally think some of the new signings will be successful at Brentford and some will not. I also think based on yesterday that Lee Carsley is moulding a unit in his style of play, more rugged and physical than maybe we have been used to. Let us see how that works out.

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