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 “keith stroud”

Were Aston Villa that bad? Or were we that good? Thoughts after the night before


A very wet evening heralded an excellent game of football that even torrential rain could not dampen nor actually have much effect. A sell out crowd of 12,000 including 1,600 Villa fans saw an end to end game that at times could have gone in any direction. IMG_6569

The scoresheet will confirm that Brentford won 2-1 but that hides a lot of the game. The few minuscule words that The Times chose to post about the game really were both clueless and gave their readers no feeling of anything about the game. So lets go back to the start. Brentford have a whole series of injuries that have disrupted their starting eleven for around 2 months now, yet even with players out of position and squad players coming in, the results have been quite superb. So looking at some of  the players who were absent from last night: Egan, Henry, Dalsgaard, it is clear that the Bees defence was not first, nor second choice but maybe third choice. Nico Yennaris at right back and Joann Barbet at left back, two players not always first choice this season, playing out of their regular positions. On paper this was a team that Villa managed by the ever increasing frame of Steve Bruce should have been looking to beat comfortably. Certainly thats the view from their hordes of fans on social media. In fact Brentford looked the most comfortable they have all season in defence, with the exception of the Villa goal scored too easily. 00000513

Brentford have turned into a hard working and maybe fitter side than earlier in the season, and are playing as a team. They are also some of the best football I have seen at Griffin Park over the years. The players have a game plan and it works. The return from injury of Sergi Canos has been crucial as has the return to form of Florian.

The pitch is now in excellent condition considering the recent weather and rainfall, and yet this is Brentford, were before the game smiling stewards were trying to sweep away the rain behind the New Road stand but at a slower pace than the rain that was falling!

The return of Alan Judge to the bench was warmly applauded and we might expect to see him starting a game soon.

My impression of Villa was actually positive. They were a hard working team in the first half and probably shaded the game on points. Always a threat when coming forward but as the game went on they failed to have a plan B and arguably gave up after Lasse Vibe’s 52nd minute winner. The last 10 minutes were the usual panic stations and especially as both Brentford central defenders were off the pitch with bloody head injuries, with goal line saves keeping Villa out. 00000487

Despite negative comments on social media my impression was they are a side that will be in the playoffs. The fans are shouting to maybe have Bruce out but they might look at their alternatives and instead stick with him. Do they really want a Pulis, Warnock or Pardew? Their football was not as good as Brentford and on the night it showed, but on other nights they will beat similar teams because of their speed in attack and physical size. What however surprised Brentford fans was the odd role given to Hogan. We know he is a good player, but we also know he is a confidence player, and a player that needs service in the box. He could slot back in at Brentford in the correct role and start scoring goals again. But a real lesson for not only Villa but also Birmingham and Norwich, do not just buy the best player, but look at the system they have been operating in and why they have been the best player. The simple reason why Canos, Jota and Hogan have not flourished after leaving Brentford. IMG_6583

The football played by Brentford was superb last night, there were no defensive errors ( bar one that we got away with) and we made good substitutions at the right time. The other thing we learned last night was that we do need to give Lasse Vibe a new contract. For me he has vastly improved this last 2 years and has at least another 2 years left of Championship football. He also is a stable influence on the side and is likely to feature in the World Cup in 2018. Nico Yennaris for me had his best game in a Brentford shirt, not only his positional sense but his cajoling and encouraging his team colleagues. Could this be his best position? I would not be alone in thinking that Henrik Dalsgaard would be better in midfield . Chris Mepham was superb and a casual observer would be surprised to learn he has only started a handful of games. Sergi Canos had a superb game despite his Malfoy like hairstyle, and is getting better by the game. Romaine Sawyers also had one of his best games and also looking better each game. Even Keith Stroud had an average game, when our expectations are that he will ruin any spectacle. A question to ask him is his interpretation of the advantage rule though.

Villa do not need to panic and although automatic promotion is beyond them, the playoffs certainly are not. Their hope might be that they do not meet Brentford there. This was one of the great nights under the lights at Griffin Park and when we move to Lionel road this is what we will miss.

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Brentford 5 Preston 0 . How far can this side go? Even the stewards are relaxed 


As games go this was not a 5-0’drubbing. The first half was fairly low tempo and fairly even. Preston managed to miss the chances they had whilst Hogan scored his chance clinically . 

The second half was a different affair and Preston were well on top and creating chances for the first 15 minutes. When Harlee Dean scored our second Preston capitulated and 5-0 fairly reflected the last 25 minutes play.  Even the stewards took things easy . 


Hogan scored a decent hat trick with clinical finishing. The defence was solid. Colin played maybe his best game for Bees. Any concerns? None at all other than Bjelland hobbling off 10 minutes after a heavy challenge though Barbet slotted into left back perfectly. 

All the substitutions today played a part in the game and the signs were also encouraging from Kalkai. 


The main positive though has to be the team performance. Dean Smith has a settled side and it shows. Everyone knows their roles. 

Bees fans will be happy with this win and the quality of the football just keeps getting better. 

It is going to be an interesting year in the division. Newcastle managed to contrive a 2-0 home defeat against Wolves whilst Barnsley went down at home 1-2 versus Resding. This is a wide open league this season. How far can Bees go? 

My only concern today is the awful gridlock traffic around Kew Bridge. That does need to improve.  Lastly what a poor referee Keith Stroud is. I say this annually  but today he looked like he had shrunk in the wash and resembled a small hobbit. Does he have the most irritating smile in the world? Probably …. 

Reflections on Birmingham 2 V Brentford 1 Away Day. Jan 2nd 2016


Trips to Birmingham have never been without incident and this one is no exception. The nonsense of buying tickets began on tuesday night with the announcement that sales of tickets from Brentford, having reasonably been on sale for four weeks, would cease lunchtime wednesday, but Birmingham in their wisdom decreed no match day sales. Can anyone explain to me why? Why do clubs not want bigger crowds, especially in the holiday season when often plans are not cemented till the last minute. This ridiculous decision was then reversed maybe 48 hours later. Thankfully Twitter and Mark Devlin kept us updated. A number of tickets were sold at the last minute and these needed collection at the ground.

The nonsense continued on match day with no-one in the Birmingham ticket office seemingly aware that these tickets were somehow being escorted to the ground. A random vision of the sign ” Collections” on a gate at the away end gave at last a clue where tickets might be collected. Two unhappy looking souls distributed tickets after checking for names on an envelope. And giving the impression they were auditioning for a role in a prison behind bars.

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A number of positives need to be stated. Firstly all the staff at the ground, the stewards and in fact the fans are super friendly, and it was a pleasure to listen in to a conversation on how awful a referee Keith Stroud is. Parking is also easy. Travelling through the suburbs of Birmingham is frankly non unlike the opening of a horror movie. But ground parking is easy and anyone prepared to walk 10-15 minutes can find free easy street parking. Lower Dartmouth street is my recommendation.

And there are a few sights in Birmingham, somewhat unexpected within yards of the ground. And a good few sights totally expected. The ground is in a sort of area that is an admixture of urban housing and small industrial estates. With a few curious bars and shops thrown in for good measure.

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On the way to the ground one walks past canals that look pleasant although here there seemed either a small gravestone or a miniature ” angel of the north”. Street cleaning also seems an optional extra, though maybe a little cruel to say that on Jan 2nd.

IMG_1079The ground itself is a great ground now. Three sides have been re-built and this is one of the better Championship grounds. The whole area smells  that gorgeous football smell of onions and cooking burgers.

IMG_1084Views are excellent all around the ground and access is quite uncomplicated. With one notable exception, the tannoy system is so quiet that I did not realise there was one. The game however was dire and will be covered in a different blog. Overall this was a good match day experience. And lastly I should mention that £20 for a ticket is really a very reasonable  price in 2016.

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What have Weekend Offenders and Foot Long Hot Dogs got to do with Birmingham 2 Brentford 1 . Jan 2nd 2016


Sadly an awful football game. The first half was maybe the worst football, if one can describe it as that, all season. Neither team able to pass to another player and nothing to note other than an awful looking tackle in the 45th minute by ex-bee John Toral on Jake Bidwell. Half time arrived with the Brentford crowd baying for a red card and possible execution.

The second half was better though not by much. Brentford leaked their usual two goals with the second resulting from another error from Harlee Dean. Brentford in between scored a goal, a tap in after a goalkeeping error. Frankly this was the sort of game that neither side deserved any points. The referee was also abysmal, Graham Scott. He was finicky to the extreme. Booking an excessive number of players and stoping the game on any any pretext at any time. He ran Keith Stroud a close second in the worst referee of the week awards.

A strange Brentford team performance after recent very strong ones. Raised questions about possible tiredness? Issues behind the scenes relating to transfers?

The team was also a little unusual in that Jota was neither in the side nor on the bench, for which there may be multiple reasons but is he being transferred was the one being discussed? Alan Judge had his quietest game for months. Maybe tired, maybe took a few heavy tackles , maybe again is a transfer allegedly to Middlesbrough for 12 million on his mind? James Tarkowski had his worst game I have seen him have, but still looked good! Again, transfer issues? Tiredness? Who knows.

On the positive side Gogia looked interested when he came on with 20 minutes to go. Neither Hoffmann nor Vibe are strikers we want playing upfront alone.

So, a strange game. St Andrews is a decent ground but we always seem to lose there every time i go……so maybe all my fault.

Weekend offenders was a great piece of graffiti on a wall and foot long hot dogs smelled great. They were maybe the highlights today.

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Football Joy to end 2015. This cheating has to stop. Why should Fraser Fyvie not be banned from football for 3 years? What is wrong with players and supporters of our great game?


A few pieces of football news just floated by on various media sources. All highly depressing.

  1. Sheffield United are investigating allegations of racism by their fans at their home game with Bradford City last monday.
  2. Coins were allegedly thrown by Bradford City fans towards Sheffield United striker Billy Sharpe in the same game.
  3. Stuart Milleker, an alleged ” Notts Forest fan” has been banned from attending football matches for three years after entering the field in the game versus Derby County and attempting to grapple a Derby player.
  4. Fraser Fyvie, a Hibernian player, has been banned for two games for feigning a face injury in a successful attempt to get a Rangers player sent off. 

The most depressing part of this story above is the cheating by Fraser Fyvie and the even more depressing part is that few saturdays go by where I do not visualise cheating in this guise in a game that I see. Sometimes total simulation and more commonly gross exaggeration of an injury, usually timed to help the team in a difficult or final moments of a game.

What occurs to me is that often the punishment does not fit the crime. Players, managers and fans all are quick to point out the failings of referees. Myself included. Keith Stroud in his performance in the Reading v Brentford game two days ago was exceptionally poor. However what chance do they have with the ” clever” feigning of injury by players like Fraser Fyvie? One also presumes this is the not first time he has attempted this party trick and presumably been successful before. His behaviour also means that if becomes more difficult for referees to stop a game for injury if in the back of their minds is a ” cry wolf” scenario. Why has he not been banned for three years? Why only two games?

Football is a game and is played both on and off the pitch with volatile emotions. But it is a game. Players should not cheat, fans should not try to harm players and racism in 2015 is simply moronic. IMG_0998

 

Reading 1 Brentford 2. A few thoughts, reflections and comments.


There are plenty of eloquent match reports and informed opinions on the various blogs and message boards. So no need for a detailed match report. What does need saying though is that fine margins make results. Brentford were the better side but Reading gave the impression, certainly in the second half of working a bit harder.

The neutral would have enjoyed this game, with end to end movement, an awful referee and three truly excellent goals that would have graced any Champions league game never mind the premiership or championship.

Will Brentford fans see two better goals from their side this season? A 30 yard shot from Ryan Woods that gave the keeper no chance and came out of nowhere at a time that Brentford were not on top, was maybe bettered by the effort from Sergi Canos that he both made and scored. He took an excellent pass from Ryan Woods, and produced two sublime touches with his right foot then switching to his left foot to hit the ball home. The Reading goal from Garath McCleary was made by Matej Vydra, a player I would not mind in Brentford colours, with again a wonderful passing movement that one cannot criticise the Bees defence for conceding.

Those that say we should use our pitch to share with other teams, football or rugby, might like to take a look at the awful pitch at Reading especially in the penalty area and corner regions. It was fairly terrible.

The other point of note was the woeful performance, again , of referee Keith Stroud. He was without doubt the worst official I have witnessed in 2015. His decisions were error strewn, with both sides left in bemusement at times. Most bookings were incomprehensible, with the exception of the sensible decision to give two yellow cards to Michael Hector, both deserved. The first one for a crude and potentially dangerous challenge on Alan Judge might have been deserving of a red card and the second one for some poor simulation in an attempt to win a penalty was also well deserved. But otherwise Mr Stroud annoyed both sets of fans and players with odd and seemingly random decisions that defied the many rules of football that I am aware of. It would be a pleasure not to witness that charade again this season or ever maybe.

Brentford did not play to their best. The defence looked more solid. James Tarkowski started the game hobbling in the warm up and seemed to finish that way too, but was excellent. Ryan woods scored an amazing goal but gave the ball away so many times that this is an area of real concern for the team. However other than the goalscorers the Man of the Match for me was Maxime Colin. An imperious display.

Are Brentford play-off contenders? The mathematics say they are but they need to improve on their goal scoring records. They are playing well and have improved enormously since August but need a clinical striker.

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