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 “griffin park”

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.

Brentford 1 Millwall 0. A home win before halloween . A strange game but huge relief.


Seems a long time since Brentford have been in a relegation battle and have had to wait almost until the end of October before claiming a first home win. At the end of the game there was relief all around, players,staff and fans. 00000218

So what was different and why did we win? Probably the answer is Daniel Bentley who is rapidly looking premiership material. Two world class saves and then in the 81st minute a superb penalty save gave Bees the points. Brentford if the truth is told did not play to anything like the heights of previous games and the game was the scrappiest seen this season. The team however battled all game and work rate could not be faulted.

Millwall were the poorest footballing team Brentford have played this year, with their main tactics seemingly to kick the ball as high and long as possible, and pushing their opponents endlessly, with the referee ( worst this season) allowing so much pushing and shoving to go unpunished it became unbelievable at times. Certainly Millwall are not a team I would pay willingly to watch. vibe

When rating the Brentford players the only ones who maybe had quiet or not their best games were Dalsgaard and Yennaris. Dalsgaard in the first half gave the ball away upfield a number of times and hardly rushed back to correct matters. He needs to remember his position is right back and thats his priority. Bjelland for me does not have the overall ability of Barbet and that could be a straight swop. Yennaris had a quiet game, and although he has had some good games, his overall contribution is not a fraction of players like Woods and Watkins.

Having said all that, Bees won the game and have the three points that overall they deserved ( as in many games this season). But, we are not out of the wood yet. A few more wins are needed in the next six weeks . 00000169

A few questions for Dean Smith include what would be against starting Lasse Vibe in place of Maupay ( who missed an excellent chance in the first half). The defence again needs some attention. Bees got away with it today thanks to Dan Bentley , but it needs to be tighter and at times more physical.

Time tonight to celebrate and hope that now the team can relax and move forwards over the next few weeks. The rest of the season? There are some worse teams than Brentford, including Millwall and Reading, but will we get above the mid-table milieu? I don’t think so. Success with this group of players would be 12th place.

Lastly Romaine Sawyers was superb. His goal was well taken and he almost added a carbon copy minutes later, but his overall work rate must have doubled since last season and his place on the team sheet should be an easy decision. He looks and is playing with a confidence, and I suspect we have not yet seen the best of him.

My beer will taste good tonight.

How Many Brentford Autographs on this programme from 1971?


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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.

 

Brentford 2 Ipswich 0.Early thoughts and opinions on Championship


A sunny afternoon greeted the first Brentford home game of the season played against a team that Brentford normally respect however with the bad taste left in the mouth from the encounter at Portman road a few months ago, this was always going to be an interesting occasion. Even the River Thames at Brentford looked acceptable in the absence of any water.

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Griffin Park

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River Thames at Brentford

Thankfully football prevailed and there no side shows provides, Alan Judge did not make a visible appearance, Luke Hyams “injured” and Mick McCarthy played a decent role as the pantomime villain cheekily acknowledging the applause that greeted Dean Smith, as if for him.

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The game was played mostly in good spirit and refereed well. In the first 30 minutes Brentford might well have been behind, the post saving us from an opening Ipswich goal, as the large sized Ipswich team marauded forward and at that stage my massive £1 bet on a Brentford win looked very much in doubt. in fact most Bees fans would have taken a draw if offered. But the Ipswich dominance became less as the half went on and it was no great surprise when Brentford took the lead early in the second half with an excellent attacking header from John Egan and soon after a close range superb finish that Hogan would have been proud of, made it 2-0 and effectively the game ended there. Sam Saunders should have added to the score and 2-0 did not flatter Brentford.

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What did we learn? Firstly Ipswich will struggle this season to be a play-off contender. They were well beaten by Brentford who many take to be a mid-table side. The Ipswich style of play is a long way from the Sir Bobby Robson era and frankly I would not want their style transposed on Griffin Park too often. They may also want to consider signing a goalkeeper with more presence.

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Romaine Sawyers

Brentford in contrast were surprisingly good. The new players all settled quickly. Callum Elder looks a good left back and very much in the Bidwell style. John Egan grew into the game and will be a superb centre back. Harlee Dean had a great game and I dont say that often. It is unclear how Barbet or Bjelland will get into the side apart from injury or suspensions. Romaine Sawyers was simply superb and my man of the match. Looking like a Clayton Donaldson lookalike he ran the midfield and grew into the game increasingly. Lewis Macleod was the only player I have some early reservations over lacking physical presence and missing an excellent opportunity. Dan Bentley had little to do but did suggest that his kicking game had been stoled from David Button. 1K4A4633

A good start to the season and many encouraging signs for Brentford but maybe not for Ipswich. How long will Mick McCarthy remain as their manager? My bet is not for long at this rate.

 

Brentford 1 FC Kaiserslautern 1. The Bees are back.Photographs and Thoughts.


On a hot sunny afternoon this was a good workout for both teams that played a competitive match in terms of effort without a great deal of end result or indeed physicality.

There was the curious sight of the scoreboard using maybe a bad acronym for FC Kaiserslautern…….1K4A4368

1K4A4547bestAs is the norm a number of substitutions in the second half rendered any interpretation of whether this was a good or bad display meaningless. Overall Brentford played with the same style as last season and looked a decent side. No one stood out today on either side. The work rate however was superb for a pre-season game. 1K4A4468

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FC Kaiserslautern brougt almost 1000 fans it seems and there was a fair amount of cabaret between their fans and the Brentford stewards, mostly all good humoured and in fact well stewarded with no incidents that I saw.  If their fans can be described as having a uniform it would be multiple tattoos and a flag per person, the noise from them was massive. They played an open style of play and it was no surprise that their goal came from quick running down the wing with an accurate cross on the floor that was finished neatly. In contrast Brentford goal came from an own goal scored from a corner.

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Own goal gives Brentford the lead

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Sam Saunders

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A busy Maxime Colin

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Romaine Sawyers

From the new players Romaine Sawyers looked industrious and moved seamlessly at times from central midfield to the wings. Sam Saunders played the game more like it was a league game and looked fit and interested throughout.

There were a number of nice touches in the game, not least the minute silence for the Munich victims, and the general noise and support from the FC Kaiserslautern fans. At times even a little too vociferous and some needed reminding that a minute silence means just that!

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The stewarding was also appropriately relaxed and fans had a great afternoon in the sun.

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Street Art In Ljubljana. An Exciting City


Ljubljana is Slovenia’s capital and largest city. It’s known for its university population and green spaces, including expansive Tivoli Park. The curving Ljubljanica River, lined by outdoor cafes, divides the city’s old town from its commercial hub. Ljubljana also has many museums, including the National Museum of Slovenia.

What however is less well known is the street art that covers walls in many parts of the city.  Here is a selection of some of the variety you can see, all from the city centre. Some are works of art whilst some border almost on the graffiti border. Would you want a half eaten fox on the wall of your restaurant?

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MLK seems to be wondering which bicycle he might use?

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Cannot make up my mind if this half eaten fox is a good thing to see against the wall of a restaurant? 

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An unusual mixture of street art to observe whilst drinking coffee or beer

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Painted door. I think I like this

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A real mixture of street art

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I suppose this is street art but some might say just graffiti

 

A few thoughts on a few hours in Madrid


I have posted a few articles this year on Madrid. A great city but a warm one. Recently I had a few hours to myself to walk around and that goes quickly in Madrid. Who cares where I walked but it was on the edge of Gran Via.

IMG_4299A few things struck me:

  1. This is a seriously hot city. Temperatures that day were a medium 30c at maximum but it felt hotter, what we call dry heat. In the summer I am told 45c is not unusual. Now that is too hot to be walking aroundFullSizeRender-5
  2. Prices for ice creams are a disgrace. In general Spain is not an expensive city at all, in fact relatively cheap, but to be asked for 3.20 euros for an ice cream cone is criminal.
  3. Everyone still seems to smoke here. This is not backed up in the official statistics of course, but just take a walk and take a look. FullSizeRender-6
  4. Spanish food is curious frankly. They never seem to want to heat it up properly and seem to regularly recycle in buffets food that maybe in UK would have been removed. IMG_4322
  5. The people generally are smiling. People are talking to each other. They tried talking to me, as most think I am Spanish, but at a conversation speed that appraoches the speed of re-entry into the Earth atmosphere.
  6. I like the city, the country and mostly the people.
  7. There is no word in the spanish language for Queue. This does not happen. They are not being rude ( well maybe they are) but people do not queue. Not anywhere. Old ladies are the most dangerous species with their bags and coats at strange angles and heading directly towards where they want to get to. If they knock you then so be it ( its your fault of course, not theirs),
  8. Lastly there is a reason why the abbreviation for Madrid Barajas airport is MAD. A really confusing and complex airport. Do allow time there to negotiate your way through.

 

When can I go back please? But dont mention the football. Euro 2016.

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Painting Of Corpus Christi Festival Benalmadena Pueblo By Vincent Van B


Corpus Christi is the Catholic holiday in honour of the presence of the body of Christ in the holy water. It is celebrated throughout Spain and is held in either May or June depending on when Easter occurs. To calculate the next Corpus Christi date, look for the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday (the eighth Sunday after Easter) and you’ll know when the fiesta is set to begin in towns and villages throughout Andalucia.

This is a painting from Benalmadena Pueblo by Vincent Van B from Corpus Christi 2016. Today it is still typical to carpet the streets of towns and villages with greenery for the solemn Corpus Christi processions. This adds a special ambiance to the processions. The Corpus Christi parades also tend to attract all the local authorities, and in some cases, military personnel as well.

What can be seen here is not the petals that adorn the smaller streets but the greenery that is essentially decorative only.

Painting of Corpus Christi

Ipswich 1 Brentford 3. Photos to Show that The Old Brentford Are Back


The result was important here as this seals the impossibility of relegation and takes Brentford up to 13th in the table and a maximum of 9 points in a week. The game was marred by the terrible injury to Alan Judge who after a reckless challenge from the seemingly unrepentant Luke Hyam suffered a double fracture of his leg.  After the tackle and when the players became aware of the seriousness of the injury it was clear that tackles on Hyam were strong and Jake Bidwell had words for Hyam as he left the pitch.

00002703 I cannot recall such anger from a  Brentford team over a challenge such as this. At a minimum it was reckless and the conspiracy theorists argue that Hyam picked his man. The only person who truly knows is Luke Hyam. What I will comment is that having seen the tackle in real time and watched it on TV many times, that there was no necessity for this tackle. It was dangerous, reckless and is the type of tackle that can end careers. there seemed little sympathy in the ground even from Ipswich fans at his eventual sending off. Good management might have dictated that he was replaced as he became a peripheral figure after that unpleasant challenge. And as of 24 hours after the incident he has posted nothing on his Twitter account to offer anything resembling repentance or even good wishes to Alan Judge. He will be a marked man at Brentford for many years to come.

What was both refreshing and encouraging for next season was to see that the workrate and tackling so much missing this last few months was clearly back. The midfield were both skilful and combative and Sam Saunders for me had one of his best ever games in a Brentford shirt. Lass Vibe scored two superb goals that maybe he might not have scored even 2 weeks ago.

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Sergi Canos gave the kind of display that should make Brentford want to sign him on a permanent contract and the 18,845 crowd included  559 Bees fans who made more noise than the 18,000 Ipswich players. Canos ran, tackled and fought for every ball. He was magical.00002822

The introduction of Jonathon Douglas in the second half did galvanise Ipswich a little and Douglas was involved in most of the decent passages of play that Ipswich had. My own view is that I would have him back at Brentford any time.

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Ipswich Town are a friendly football club and to some extent one wonders if that hampers their desire to return to the top tier. Certainly there was nothing in evidence to show that Mick McCarthy has great tactical or even motivational tactics to produce. Talking to the local fans it was clear that they feel his time has come and he should move on. The fans and the stewards are some of the most friendly football fans in our division.

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Sam Saunders epitomised the spirit shown by the Brentford players as in the photograph below.

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Even the fringe Brentford players when they came on,  and will surely feature more in this injury melee that surrounds Brentford , did their part. Gogia looked interesting and created trouble for Ipswich and Kerchbaumer also had his best game in a Brentford shirt. The photo below of a snarling Jonathon Douglas is a classic.

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Mention has to be made however of the defence who have been heavily critiscised this season, by many including myself. They were imperious. Maxim Colin was both skilful, creative and tough tackling and is the kind of player we need in the summer to boost our chances of promotion next season. Harley Dean shows the dominance to contain Freddie Sears and make him look almost anonymous. 00002828

00002830The only negatives apart from the dreadful injury to Alan Judge, were the cost to get in that Bees fans had to pay £32.50. This is too much for Championship football. Even for the home fans excluding travel, this takes the cost of a game over £100 for a couple.

But this week and maybe the day belonged to Lasse Vibe who looked every inch a Danish International striker. We should applaud him. 00002817

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