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”

FA cup First Round. The grounds are hardly crowded. Why ?


The media are full of the glamour of the FA cup. Sadly for many if not most teams that glamour is somewhat tarnished.

Not everyone is aware that the FA cup starts in August and ends in May. The early qualifying rounds are a god given chance for nonleague teams to make a small amount of money from the moderately attractive prize money on offer. By the time the first round rolls round in November the media suddenly awake with their stories of candlestick makers and funeral directors somehow managing to combine a job and a nonleague football career. Curiously they manage that on each of the other 364 days. As overheard at the recent Met Police FA trophy game a player when asked if he was playing on Tuesday simply answered negatively as was working. As Moriarty famously said in Sherlock “ that’s what people do”.

The glamour of the first round however comes with sadness too. The crowds at many grounds , sometimes famous grounds in FA cup parlor, were poor if not pathetic. The reasons may be varied. Clubs that decide not to offer deals and retain normal charges . Clubs that poorly advertise. Clubs that simply do not care as the league club imagines that the prize money more than compensates.

Let’s take a look at the winners and the rogues gallery. Starting with the rogues;

  • Colchester. We all recall Layer Road and the Leeds cup tie. The crowd v Oxford City a pitiful 1775. Oxford won 1-0.
  • Coventry. A crowd of 3370 saw a 2-0 victory over Maidenhead.
  • Charlton. Another ex-premier league side . A crowd of 4494 saw a 3-1 victory over Truro. Around 1000 were Truro fans
  • Blackburn. Premiership winners . A crowd of 3710 saw a 3-1 victory over Barnet
  • Wimbledon. There has been enough miserable moaning from the club over the last few years about MK Dons and Franchise FC. The famous FA cup winners persuaded only 3394 paying spectators to attend their game against Lincoln City who had an incredible run last year. Terrible in my opinion. Need I continue.

So where were the decent crowds? The nonleague sides playing at home. Hereford who are a reincarnated club but with great cup history had 4712 watch them defeat another nonleague side AFC Telford. Almost matching the highest crowd of the round at Luton v Portsmouth. 5333.

What realistically can be done? There are three options

  1. Do nothing and watch the history and glamour of this great competition die
  2. Allow the FA to subsidise prices for the first two rounds such that the maximum ticket price is £10 or less and children are free
  3. In the first round seed all nonleague teams to have home advantage

To do nothing is not an option.

An hour in Newcastle on Tyne


As with many trips there is never enough time to see a city properly . But if you have an hour just walk down to the quayside area . The choice is walk along the Tyne. Walk over a bridge. There are plenty to choose from.

The lower level bridge is my favourite for no good reason. One is undercover and the smell of urine is not far away. But a few curious aspects. The padlocks are interesting. To read the inscriptions . Compare the different types. Wonder how many of the couples who placed them here are still together?

The views are also good of all the other bridges. When you reach the far side you are in Gateshead. And it does seem as though you have left Newcastle.

This is a great city and a friendly one too. Well worth an hour wandering around

Brentford v Leeds. Even the Star of Bethlehem arrived


After two superb away wins and that curious but positive draw against Sunderland , Brentford fans were in optimistic mood with a nicely positive atmosphere prior to kick off.

In fact a beautiful evening to watch football. New Road was even treated to a sunset .

Shame the Leeds fans were unable to maintain a minutes silence for remembrance. Although to be fair many were expecting the referee to whistle to start the minute of silence. We were however treated to far too many renditions of his whistle during the actual game .

The game was superb end to end stuff. Brentford worked hard and in most areas for most of the game were superior to Leeds. But let’s start with the negatives. Too often Leeds were allowed space to attack through the middle and far too much time to shoot from the edge of the box. Bees were also slow to close down players again allowing far too many shots from around 20 yards. The good news was that Brentford were technically superior in every area.

Brentford took the lead after a keeper error allowing a simple finish. The luxury of another missed penalty did not put Bees off and if anything inspired Ollie Watkins to have maybe his best game. Leeds equalised curiously in an identical manner. Dan Bentley dropped the ball again allowing a simple finish. In many regards this was a copy of the Reading game except Bees then upped the tempo and deservedly scored 10 minutes from time . A nice free kick from Barbet who had a good game and finished the game off in injury time with a nice move down the left , the ball pulled back to the edge of the box and Ryan Woods scoring the best goal of the game.

If Brentford fans thought they had defensive issues, Leeds have far more serious issues. Goalkeeper Andy Lonergan looked dubious all game with plentiful handling errors. Defensively there was a lack of talent and skill with the ball going in any random direction often however out of play. When Leeds attacked they showed flashes of good play but so many unforced errors meant that many of their attacks ended as throw ins.

For Brentford this was their best team performance of the season. The side looked quick, skilful, hard working and effective. Chris Mepham looked solid coming on for the injured Bjelland. Yennaris had probably his best game I have witnessed with clever passes combined with a high work rate. Mokojoto was an ideal substitute stretching the Leeds defence with clever runs.

Nine points in a week does not come along very often and we have been shifted acutely from a relegation battle to a potential play off battle. There is a long season ahead but this game showed what Brentford are capable off. And for once Sky was there to capture it all

Cardiff Street Art. The Dragon Roars


One of the best aspects of street art is the surprise to find it where least expected. A quick nighttime walk around Cardiff was enlightened by finding some dragon street art next to the Millenium Stadium. Sadly only I phone photos in the dark but quite amazing still the same.

Weather Variations In A Game Of Football At Met Police V Hendon


In short a sunny start followed by rain, lightning , thunder , dark clouds and a lot more in between .

Some proper football photographs later but these give you a flavour.

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.

 

ADHD and Sport.The Russians Hack into medical records. How many athletes have ADHD and should they receive treatments?


So the result of an almighty hack into the medical records of USA competitors in the Rio Olympics tells us not unsurprisingly that  a few use Oxycodone for pain,  a few use steroids or derivates and Simone Biles the world’s leading gymnast uses Methylphenidate ( which sadly most of the world including The Times, think is synonymous with Ritalin , when a little education would tell folks that there are multiple formulations ).  All these drugs were evaluated by independent doctors and judged to be fit for purpose. Nothing here is new.  In fact Olympic-level athletes must submit a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) form to the Therapeutic Use Exemption Committees detailing the symptoms, diagnosis, and testing criteria utilized in forming the diagnosis of ADHD. So spurious diagnoses are unlikely and uncommon. img_1553

ADHD is likely rife in sport and now that adult ADHD is more often recognised and treated prevalence rates will likely increase. Adult ADHD has a prevalence rate of at least 3-4% of the population.  In fact any football fan will complain weekly about “adhd traits” in their team, without recognising what they are referring to. The key ADHD traits in adults relate to impulsivity and inattention. And often occur together in fact.

Many athletes are already recognised as having ADHD. Louis Smith the UK gymnast and Michael Phelps are two current examples. It is well known that some Premiership footballers are undergoing treatment. Some will decline medication ( regardless of any ruling about medicinal use) , preferring the non-drug treatments ( and yes there are quite a few). Some will also choose to only take medication sporadically for their own reasons.

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Should they be allowed to? Categorically yes. The lack of focus that comes with ADHD is not a good feature in sports where focus is critical. Gymnastics being one such example.

So how many athletes have ADHD? Firstly maybe it needs definition of what exactly is an athlete?  Reported figures suggest that around 8-10% of professional sportsmen have ADHD. It is worth also citing that whereas in childhood forms of ADHD the male-female ratio is around 5-1, in adults the ratio becomes almost 1-1. Some of the more inattentive cases of ADHD in females not getting diagnosed as early as the more over hyperactive males.

Some estimates of ADHD prevalence are even higher. Recent statistics put out by Major League Baseball show the incidence of ADHD  is twice as high as in the general adult population, at about 9 percent versus 4.4 percent in the 14-44 age range (National Institute of Mental Health study, 2006. ). Many also remain undiagnosed and some fear to have a diagnosis made, so prevalence estimates could well be as high as 15%.

I can find no clinical research on prevalence rates in these populations however watching any football game there is usually a few players who are more impulsive and have more inattention than others. Impulsivity may lead to yellow and red cards and unwise passing. Most fans can point to a couple of their players that meet these criteria.

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ADHD paradoxically can also potentially be an advantage in athletes where periods of focus for racing or playing are often short, some times less than 10 seconds. In some cases treatment may have negative effects and not the potentially ” improved” effects that some might believe from usage of stimulants or non-stimulant medications.

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Some of these strengths linked to ADHD which, managed properly , can lead to success in multiple areas of life, and  include: an ability to multitask, deal with chaos, creativity, non-linear thinking, an adventurous spirit, resilience, high energy, risk taking, calm under pressure, and the capacity for hyper focus . Talking to many ADHD experts they report that in many adult ADHD cases hyper focus is prevalent and in certain situations ADHD patients can focus better than the general population.

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Should ADHD be treated then in athletes? Generally it should as most athletes have lives outside of their sport and other facets of their lives including relationships may suffer.

ADHD can manifest in many ways, including lack of focus and concentration, oppositional behavior in team sports, argumentative attitude, frustration, poor self-esteem, and mood lability. In addition, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, each of which directly affects team sports and participant interaction. For these reasons, athletes with ADHD often perform better with medical treatment in life and in their sport.

Some disagree with this and a few papers discuss the ethics of using stimulants based on performance enhancement. My view is different. The medication elevates underperformance where this is found, not in all cases,  and brings it to normal levels. Athletes also deserve a life and relationships and employment. Medication has an important role to play.

 

 

Carshalton 2 Guernsey 1. Photographs


A combative and interesting game where Carshalton might have won by a greater margin against a spitited but somewhat limited Guernsey side. The reality was that other than an excellent long range goal from Ross Allen, Guernsey hardly threatened at all and their cause was not helped by the sending off of Tom Martin for a reckless challenge.

Carshalton are an interesting team to watch at the moment playing football in a real way with skill and passing and kept calm mostly by the experienced player/manager Peter Adeniyi playing the ball calmly out and around in defence. They are definitiely in the mix for promotion and maybe need 1-2 more players in select areas to make that happen.

 

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Carshalton goal

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Tommy Bradford free kick

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Sean O’Toole goal

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Ross Allen goal

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Photographing NonLeague Football Makes You Smile. Some Quite Curious Photos. Carshalton v Farnham Town FA Cup 2016


Sometimes when you photograph a game you get lucky. The game is exciting, or there are spectacular goals. Sometimes though you just get a series of quite unintentional photos. Here are a few photos from a Preliminary Round game in the FA Cup 2016 Carshalton Athletic v Farnham Town.

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The keeper is punching the ball at the precise moment the shot is taken

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Trail left on a 3G pitch

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Two things I like about this shot. The sign saying “no ball games allowed” and the photographer here imagining nothing interesting will happen.

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Tommy Bradford, a Carshalton forward seems to have become a dwarf

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The guy in the background leaning onto the pitch and gesticulating gives the impression of being not only Voldemort but also a pony tail for this Farnham Town player

Sri Lanka V Australia at Galle 2016


During a recent trip to Sri Lanka we were fortunate enough to have a spare hour at the end of the day to watch the cricket from the Galle Fort that sits high above the ground.

00005440 Many choose to watch from here as it is free and the views are not too bad. Some locals and some tourists. A great experience to see English folks avidly supporting the Sri Lankans. Maybe the most interesting use of a coconut I have seen as a pillow for this slumbering gentleman.

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