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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 “football fans”

If John Stead Had Been Playing For Brentford Would The Score Have Been different? Thoughts After A Dismal Day


Although no-one likes losing a game, frankly this was a game that Dean Smith clearly thought little of. Despite his post-match protestations, this was a  truly abysmal ineffective Brentford performance. Few would disagree with that and most might go further and ask why this might have happened. 00001572 copy

A very different Brentford team with 8 changes found it hard to get going and a half time score of 0-0 was about right against a physical Notts County.  The difference between the sides was a well taken goal from John Stead who is having a superb second half of his career at Notts County. 00001545 copy

With so many new faces it was maybe harsh to expect the kind of football and passing we are used to simply because the players have not played before together.  Individually a couple of the players had nightmare games for different reasons. Josh McCeachran was not only ineffective but gave the ball away numerous times and had his weakest game in a Brentford shirt. For all his skill, it is difficult to see what he gives to the team and his absence of physicality makes things even harder. Neal Maupay worked 100% but it seems does not have either the talent to succeed or the confidence, either way he again did not score and in the second half with multiple balls coming from the right from Florian Josefzoon one might have expected a goal or two. It is difficult to see how he can turn this around frankly. Alan Judge came on and had a decent 20 minutes and Marcondes also seemed a little unsure of his positioning but did show some promise. 0000152100001571

The reality of the game was that it should have been 0-0. Notts County worked hard but did not inspire, and although they will undoubtedly gain promotion, my guess is they will have a short stay in League 1 unless they sign a few more creative souls. I was not pleased to see their brand of physicality  ( which translates to fouls).

If Dean Smith wanted to win this game then he could and should have made perhaps only 4 changes. What he probably learnt was that his ” reserve” players are not perhaps quite up to Championship standard currently.

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The body language at the end showed it all, disappointment  , but simply the side was not good enough to score against a team two divisions below.  John Stead looked a decent player and with the number of balls that got into the box in the game, my suspicion is that if he were the Brentford forward, he might have had a hat-trick.

JM00001542000015271K4A7847000015230000151500001538Alan Judge will most likely be eased back over the next few months and realistically will look to be 100% by the start of next season. On positive notes yet again Chris Mepham played well and Florian worked hard but his final balls could be better. As we enter the transfer window yet again we are all thinking we need to sign 1-2 strikers. The argument that we already score lots of goals is not a good one, as with a pair of different styled strikers we might score a lot more. Some unanswered questions might be:

  1. Why has Justin Shaibu not featured more this season?
  2. What is the plan with Theo Archibald? Has his off-field antics caused behind the scenes problems?
  3. What to do with Neal Maupay?
  4. How could Brentford possibly consider selling Lasse Vibe?
  5. With our midfield and defensive players often getting balls into the box, is there not a solid argument for having a large centre-forward as either Plan B option or as yesterday, Plan A?

Brentford v Barnsley. What did we learn from this festival of football? Talking points


  1. Never knowingly watch Barnsley ever again. Another club in the lower reaches of the championship  who seem to think that mathematically drawing each game 0-0 will preserve their league status. The time wasting tactics we saw yesterday ranging from their goalkeeper wasting time two minutes into the game, and  added to by curious injury delays towards the end, were very much old league four behaviours. Simply dire.  As a footballing side they were adequate when trying to come forward but little better than that. In 2017 this kind of gamesmanship has no place and one wonders of the mentality of manager Paul Heckingbottom or his assistant Jamie Clapham.
  2. Never undertake the role of Barnsley performance analyst (Alex Bailey, what exactly do you analyse? Minutes of time wasted when score 0-0?)
  3. Brentford are not improving at knowing how to unlock defensive minded teams. We are a far better side in terms of skin levels yet seemingly not any better than teams like Sunderland, Burton and Barnsley, with disappointing home draws in recent weeks. The team seems not set up to do this and importantly no sign of a Plan B either.
  4. Josh McCeahran had a poor game and is not suited to playing in front of the defensive unit. He did not tackle and gave the ball away in highly dangerous situations. This was a curious decision by Dean Smith. It is difficult to argue that he should be starting games as he also offered little in attacking options either.
  5. Team selection and tactics. To put Kamo and Nico on the bench was perhaps an odd selection. Players need to be played who are in form and both are in the best performing 11 players at present. Ryan Woods is out of form and this worries me as is reminiscent of the form of players like Tarkowski and Toumani shortly before their departures. Why is Florian not playing? A player in good form and a set ball expert. There is plenty of room for both Sergio and Florian in the same team. 00000198
  6. Route one football at Brentford? We have never been known for this style of football. Our current squad are also not suited not frankly capable of playing this way, yet against Barnsley and Burton, for periods of the game this was our style. Justin Shaibu is the only squad member capable potentially of playing in this style ( and why has he not been on the bench recently?).
  7. Neal Maupay. Enigma or unlucky? The season has not gone well for him and some fans are starting to turn on him. He should have scored more goals but yesterday his level of service was zero. He is not a midfielder yet was having to win the ball to be able to do anything with it. For me he has the potential but needs the team set up to provide far more crosses into the box. He also I suspect is a confidence player.
  8. Is Dean Smith getting the best from his squad? Putting aside the few folks with persistent negative views, others are questioning his team selection, tactics and ability to out manoeuvre the opposition, especially when changes need to be made during the game. His choice of central defenders have come under scrutiny  and I am a critic here too. Our central defence is the weakest for many seasons regardless of international players we have playing there. As an ex-central defender he must see that too and I would like to see changes in the transfer window.
  9. Are we going anywhere this season? My opinion is not. We are a mid-table side. We will not make the top six, and unlikely to be in the bottom six either. We should take this opportunity to blood the youngsters or move them on. Chris Mepham should be starting and Ilias should be given a run of 4-6 games to assess potential.
  10. Why do the half-time draw sellers stand both outside the gents toilet ( for their sake, the smells are not lovely) and blocking the entrance to the steps up into the stand in New Road?  I do not much like this way of making a minuscule amount of money and £2 a ticket is a lot of money frankly for a small prize. The simplest way to make a sensible amount of money would be to make catering available to supporters in their seats in the stands. Trays of hot drinks and burgers etc. All priced sensibly maybe with pre-paid vouchers. To sell 300 extra hot drinks and 300 extra burgers would make a decent amount of money and provide a service.
Neal Maupay

Neal Maupay

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.

 

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.

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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Nonleague Football Folks. A Photographic Medley


Watching non-league football sometimes allows one to watch some of the other spectators. The football action at Met Police V Bury Town was at times so one sided that one gentleman spent the whole half facing in one direction. Boys being boys behind the goal, eating and climbing and being boy like. Girls all walking together around the ground. Bury Town away fans taking their banner down as their team went 3-1 down in the first half. All good cabaret if the football was not good enough, and actually the football was excellent yesterday.

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Football Stewards make you feel safe

Football Stewards make you feel safe

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Football folks- A unique breed really. Carpe Diem or should I say YOLO? Photographic treatise.


If I published these photos with no captions, most of us could guess that these characters have something to do with football. Why is it that football folks have to look like football folks? enjoy

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Rachel Rees. Physio at Bognor

Rachel Rees. Physio at Bognor

Kingsley Aikhionbare

Kingsley Aikhionbare

IMG_8686Paul vines2Shellshocked Lincoln ChairmanBandageLinesmanRichard Lee

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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Brentford Football Club Charity Song for Phillipines. Come on You Brentford


Football fans are not usually associated with melodic tunes nor inspirational lyrics. A group of Brentford fans associated with a local group, According To you, have got together to produce a single entitled ” Come on you Brentford”. This is neither a number one nor does it pretend to be. What it is , is a humble tune sold for a humble price 99p in iTunes. All proceeds going to the Phillipines disaster fund. The music collective “Soundhive” also should take a lot of credit. Korea Foods have paid all the production costs.

Perhaps if everyone who read this could share this information ( and my blog if they like), a few souls will indeed purchase this great little tune. I paid up my 99p this morning and the tune is driving my wife mad but quite liked by my children! A decent result.

Why my passion here? Well having been to the Phillipines a number of times and seen the poverty yet resilience of the folks there, they deserve to be helped. On my main photographic web site my front page is a photo taken of the seafront in Manila. This is no average seafront. This is a family living by rescuing empty bottles from the sea and what is eupemistically termed the beach.  These are real people. Do they types of folks deserve to lose the little that they have through a natural disaster? I do not think so. 99p. What else does that buy? Please do spread this story widely to the media in your area and country and buy the record. And by the way, Brentford are a great little football club in league 1 in England and would love to hear how you all are doing. The link to purchase is below, but iTunes is easy for most

http://bit.ly/18lIfm6

 

The complete history behind this project can be found on this great website

http://fb.me/2xqV8XHAf

 

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Walton and Hersham 1 Ramsgate 1


By chance the second time in a few weeks that I have seen  Ramsgate play. A decent enough game played in a low atmosphere ground with a crowd of 100 in attendance. The ground is essentially one sided now with the condemning of the main terrace stand. Walton have had a mixed start to the season under their new manager Steve Baker and on the evidence of yesterday they are a work in progress but going in the right direction. They played good football and generally were entertaining. Ramsgate played a lot more of the physical stuff and a little less of the football, but nevertheless a decent team.  The game got off to a bizarre start as firstly kick off was delayed by 45 minutes due to a major M25 accident. In the second minute Ramsgate had their full-back carried off with what looked like ligament issues. In the fith minute Ramsgate had their number 11 sent off, maybe harshly. Not long after Ramsgate scored and although Walton chased the game it was not until the 80th minute that Walton equalised with a new header from their impressive number 9, Will  Turl. He also had the opportunity to score again in the final minutes with an identical move and header but fell just short.  Interesting aspects of the game? The referee made any number of errors, do not blame him for that, but why not at least consult with the linesman?  The Ramsgate goalkeeper, although competent certainly had eaten some if not all of the pies.  All in all end to end stuff and at this level a highly entertaining game.

Something for real football fans to read and mull over the implications for many non-league clubs

Something for real football fans to read and mull over the implications for many non-league clubs

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Disallowed Walton goal.Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Disallowed Walton goal.Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe. Will Turl

Walton V Ramsgate. Copyright Chris Bushe. Will Turl

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