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 “football catering”

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.

 

Reindeer Hotdogs and Football Catering


Maybe they could be the way in for football clubs to enhance their culinary range? Many have tried such delicacies as Chilli and balti pies, but where in UK have any reindeer hotdogs been seen?

Seems Reindeer oddly may be the alternative to fish. Reindeer meat is one of the leanest meats. It compares favourably with fish when it comes to omega-3 and essential fatty acids. If you want your diet to be low in fat and high in B-12, omega-3, omega-6 and essential fatty acids, you might think your only choice is a trip to the fish market but perhaps a few Reindeer hotdogs might be the answer. The Arctic University of Norway has also done its research and reindeer meat may have more than twice as much vitamin B12 than veal or lamb.

So come on football clubs, be adventurous and keep your fans healthy.

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Could Reindeer hotdogs catch on at football?

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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.

Another respite from The Football League. Molesey 2 Whitstable 0


For anyone not familiar with this non league territory, a Ryman South game between a team on the edge of the play offs and a team bottom of the table. Whitstable sit bottom of the table with 14 points and a negative goal difference of 53 having conceded 89 goals in 33 games of which they have won a mere 4. Maybe the result then was predictable with a 2-0 win for molasses but for large portions of the game the result could have been in favour of Whitstable.

The Whitstable away support was in fact more noisy than the Molesey support most of the games with some curious chants, the most perplexing for me was the chant ” We know who we are”. However it takes a lot of effort not to mention money to come and support your team when they are expected to lose , and lose badly. I have no doubt that the pints of alcohol helped enormously dull the pain of this new loss.

The game though was end to end, and both goals were scored by the strong Stafforde Palmer, the first a powerful header from a corner minutes after half-time and the second a solo run where he kept composure and slotted home nicely. Before this game the player statistics in the programme informed us that in 27 games he had scored 22 goals this season, and in his complete Molesey career 62 goals came from 66 games. At this level impressive. The other player to observe was Craig Lewington the son of Ray Lewington. A tough tackling midfielder previously with Walton Casuals.

Having watched a dire performance from Brentford on the previous evening it was refreshing that in front of a crowd of 63 both teams were able to show 90 minutes of hard work and commitment in blustery conditions. The food is also somewhat better and cheaper than that served at league grounds, and served too with a friendly face. the cost of getting in is only £8 and for me thats too cheap even at this level.

I dont know much of the real history of molesey but the ground looks in need of a makeover and if I understand things is due for some sort of redevelopment, however it is surrounded by new looking houses, some of which overlook the pitch alongside the terracing.

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A visit to Craven Cottage. Reflections on Fulham Football Club and Brentford


The West London Derby between Fulham and Brentford is always a feisty affair . Two local tesm, one very much on the way up and the other on the way down and currently without a manager. There is no need to go over the events of the game. An entertaining 2-2 draw where both the score and the result were a fair reflection of events on the field.

A visit to Craven Cottage though is always a pleasant affair. A few verbals but no fighting among fans and Fulham fans generally, though deluded about their place in the football hierarchy are not such a bad lot.

There is no reason other than insanity to drive to Fulham as parking places are delusional and do not exist in reality, so arrival by train and then walking along the river gives an interesting perspective to the ground. The ground is set essentially at the end of a park and within curiously 300 yards of Fulham Palace. Which raises the first question. Why not the name Fulham Palace? Crystal Palace versus Fulham Palace has a nice ring to it. The Palace is actually quite a beautiful building.

Because of the local derby and a failure often in reality by the police and the club to establish a need for stewarding and policing it is a fair comment to say that things were overdone. This game did not not need police horses, who provided free manure for all fans walking back through the park after the game, and conveniently if one has no time to pick it up one can merely collect it on ones shoes. A fair question was raised as to why if fines are given to dog owners for failing to pick up their mess, why does not the same criterion apply to horses and in this case the police and their horses? The stewards were pleasant enough but this is the first time to my recollection that I have ever been asked to open my coat on entry to a football ground. Overkill might be the simplest way to describe things,and seemingly an ineffective overkill too as pyrotechnics were let off in the Brentford end on at least two occasions. For me this is stupidity and potentially dangerous but mostly unnecessary.

In the ground the views are good and the food a major improvement on years gone. I did vow many years ago never to eat Fulham burgers again however despite their extortionate price they were relatively harmless. The sausages however could have benefitted from cooking and there was no way raw sausage was going anywhere near my digestion.

The whole football experience though was a good one and one that any neutral might have enjoyed. Fulham football club is really though not a cheap place but harmless enough and can be enjoyed. And as an additional benefit the Fulham Burger never killed me nor injured me in any way.

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Peterborough Football Ground. What away fans need to know.


All the folks I met today were friendly decent folks however that will not stop me from making a few observations

  1. Entrance price of £28 for a league 1 game is extortionate. I cannot recall a higher price for a game. Admittedly buying before the game reduced the price to the miserly sum of £25.
  2. Wooden seats in an end of old main stand giving a less than perfect view.
  3. Three sided grounds lack atmosphere. This is not the fault of the club but maybe accounts partially for their team’s miserable performance.
  4. There is a direct tunnel from the car park to the ground. An excellent state of affairs. Some interesting clothing items and graffiti were there to entertain us.
  5. Why does Bob the Builder need to wear a hard hat to collect footballs?
  6. Why do the catering staff in what can only be described as the smallest cafe/catering outlet in the football league, need to be told that the tap from which they dispense hot water does not actually dispense sauce?

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Peterborough- Is this Narnia?


I have nothing against Peterborough and indeed the people I met today at the football ground were pleasant and normal.  However it was a little like arriving in a parallel universe.  This is more easily explained using photographic evidence to support my case.

  1. In a short under the road tunnel connecting the car park to the football ground there was quite interesting graffiti but also what seemed like a perfectly good duvet, a suitcase and other bags. Almost like someone had left these items for collection. The presumption is a tramp but the quality of the items are better than some of my possessions at home
  2. The advert for Vista homes makes an interesting point but is sited very close to the underground tunnel and suggests that the tunnel is the place to live. In fact it states ” A brand new way of living that sets the benchmark for future housing”. In tunnels maybe?
  3. In the small catering outlet in the football ground two gentlemen serving food and drinks were pouring their hot water from a tap. Clearly they could be absent minded as there was a piece of paper attached stating ” Hot water not sauce”……..
  4. Wooden seats to sit on that reminded me of outside toilets at my grandparents house around 50 years ago.
  5. Bob the builder standing on the mud pile where the old terracing was sited complete with builders hat. His role to collect the stray footballs that were ventured over.

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