Most of the premier league football I have seen indeed should be played live here . Amused me in the local pub.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Alan 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:
Reading the papers, watching TV or simply sitting in one place for long enough, will get you assailed by fakery.
Watching TV. The first question in any documentary or reality programme, is what are your underlying thoughts? Let’s take Strictly. For those outside UK this is an annual fest that runs the three months till Xmas and so called celebrities are paired with professional dancers. The fakery in their smiles, actions and intent are frighteningly transparent. Just one example. This is a competitive game. Yet one might be excused for thinking your competitor is your cheerleader. All nonsense and fake smiles. Mostly designed to move on a career in an unbalanced and unfair contest where a vicar might be paired against an ex ballet dancer. You get the picture. Fakery at its worst. Often terrible Dad dancing applauded in the same manner as an invasion of Pluto might be.
Change the venue. The airport lounge. Folks walking and talking loudly about matters they deem important . Deals worth a million or colleagues whom should be dismembered. Faking the importance . The desire to go and stand next to them and sing Barry Manillow songs or simply assault them is very strong.
Newspapers. Goodness. When was the last time you read a paper and believed the content was accurate with no political slant? In fact many papers hardly are worthy of that title. Dominated by sickly adverts. Columnists clearly have a political slant when what is needed is exactly what it says on the tin. The news.
Fake phone calls. In the last week I have won a holiday in Orlando . Yet oddly no one will send me anything . I must be transferred to their marketing department. The most honest aspect of all these rants really. Manic sounding young callers asking me how my day was. One wants to reply that it got off to a bad start with the colostomy bag exploding at a board meeting. That the bank called regarding bankruptcy proceedings and that my wife was in court on a murder charge . Probably relating to previous telephone callers. In short they want to sell something . It might be good but when fronted by this fakery . No thanks.
Street beggars. In the last weeks I have walked past many who are sitting more comfortably than I might in my office, with better shoes [ I own a single pair right now] and asking , sometimes demanding , for money. Whereas there are some people who sadly do need to beg. Mostly with improperly treated forms of mental illness. These guys need help in the short term. Some good and better still a place to stay. Society is negative towards them mostly because of the fakers.
Football. Where do I start. Feigning injury. Hairstyles. The question to ask is are they not ashamed? Pretending a serious injury usually a head injury . That frankly was little more than a disturbance of their curious hairstyle.
There will be more examples for sure. But for now. That’s enough
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;
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
To do nothing is not an option.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.