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 “lionel road”

Brentford V Hartlepool. 27th October 2012. A look back.


In football a lot can happen in 5 minutes, as for example at the end of last season which saw Hartlepool relegated to the National Conference and Torquay survive. In 5 years a lot more can happen, so it was interesting when sorting through old football programmes ( I have maybe over 5000, more possibly, some dating back to 1923) to find three programmes in the same pile together. All from 2012.

  1. Brentford v Hartlepool. League 1. From the 25 player names in the Bees team 8 to my knowledge are no longer playing football, although KOC of course remains coaching. FullSizeRenderNone are playing in the premiership ( although Foresaw was last year), 7 play in the championship and the ten remaining  are scattered in the lower leagues and non-league. Brentford can be regarded as to top 10 championship side, whereas Hartlepool have the please of their first season in non-league to contemplate, three divisions below Brentford. Looking through the programme none of that current Brentford U-18 team playing that week seem to have made careers in football. However a quick glimpse through the U-21 team that week shows Alfie Mawson, Jake Reeves, Josh Clarke who have all had excellent league careers. We had a sporting director called Mark Warburton who made some salient points in his programme notes. He talked a lot not only about the quality of a player and what is needed for the club, but also knowledge of their off-field character. Mark Devlin writes an eloquent piece about what needs to be done in the years leading up to Lionel road in 2016. IMG_2728
  2. Mansfield V Darlington. This was a game played in the Blue Square Premier, the National Conference. Mansfield were a team beginning their upward surge that took them back to the league, whereas Darlington as we know were on a downwards spiral, that has only just ended essentially this season with them moving to a ground of their own. Two names stood  out in the Darlington side. Marc Bridge-Wilkinson, as I had breakfast by chance with his grandparents in a small cardiff hotel before the Brentford v Port Vale 2001 Football League Trophy Final, and guess who scored one of the Port Vale goals that day in our 2-1 defeat. By this time he had 350 league appearances and could be termed a veteran. The other name that stands out is the England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. He was playing for Darlington in a side that frankly was getting hammered each game. He was signed on loan from Sunderland and even at that stage had earned schoolboy honours for England. I recall he had an outstanding game and looked a real talent even then.
  3. Carshalton v Lincoln City. FA Carlsberg Trophy Second Round replay. Lincoln were a club in real decline then. Playing in the conference with no indications of desire to regain league status. Carshalton were playing in the Ryman League with a number of decent players. Carshalton dominated the game and won convincingly against a Lincoln side looking totally disinterested. The Lincoln manager was a certain David Holdsworth. I wrote a blog back then about the game https://arcticterntalk.org/2012/01/18/carshalton-athletic-3-lincoln-city-1/
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So how times have changed. Hartlepool are now the non-league side. Lincoln City had a superb season last year and would be potentially a favourite for promotion again this year.  Brentford have moved on impressively to have ambitions of the premiership. Darlington are on the move up and can be expected to regain league status in the next 4-5 years. And Lionel Road should be built by 2019. Maybe the 2016 was a mere typo….

It is anyone’s guess which Brentford team will emerge on saturday against Bristol City


On paper this is should be a Bees win and in fact my prediction is a comfortable 3-1 victory. However as many times this season Bees are capable of being brilliant or being dire and rarely in between.img_1308

Bristol city are in fact a decent side and I am surprised that they sit on the edge of the relegation places however the reality is that they are likely to survive as there are some awful teams in our division this season. Wigan and Rotherham have booked their visits to Southend and maybe Fleetwood already. They need the points and will not be easy to beat, with Tammy Abraham a good finished goals are likely.00007680

What might be the Brentford team? If bjelland is fit I would expect him to start ahead of Egan based on Dean Smith’s previous team selections, though personally Egan and Dean are the strongest central pairing we have. I would like to see Tom Field have a few games before the end of the season and for the same reason above expect him to start with Rico Henry on the bench. Upfront Vibe and Jota surely, with a midfield of Woods , possibly McCormack, Canos, Sawyers.00007400

Selection decisions? Should Josefzoon also have a run in the side? Difficult one, as that would be in place of Canos.

Looking ahead to next season, the other area that Bees need to strengthen is the reserve goalkeeper position. Jack Bonham does not seem to have the ability to play at this level and frankly both Bonham and Hoffman would benefit from regular football at a lower level.

In the remaining games this season I would like to see our first team for next year develop and go on a decent run. where we finish is not really important in that 10th or 13th makes zero difference, but carrying forward momentum is important. I have no wish to see fringe players play who have no future at Brentford. Lets hope saturday brings 3 points as a birthday present for the 70 year old Peter Gilham. But lets not put him in goal!

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What Logically is going on at Brentford? Are we heading for relegation in the next 2 seasons?


The last six months have given us no real clue as to the ambitions nor the route to achieve these ambitions  at Brentford. We have gone from being a playoff contender a few years ago, to a steady mid-table side, through now to a side that unless radical changes happen are relegation candidates either this season or next. These are not baseless stupid comments, having watched Brentford for over 50 years, but real worries based on what I see on the pitch each week.

img_3407-1Amongst fans there has been clarity for at least 9 months that what is needed to move the club forward and arguably to retain championship status until Lionel road is completed, is a shopping list that comprises : a manager who can manage ( motivate and have a Plan B), some physically larger players in midfield ( where we have the smallest non-combative group in the championship and maybe the whole league), two strikers and some exciting wide players. In addition with all the hype of our B team and previously academy, the expectation that at least 2-3 players will emerge each year. So what has happened? Pretty much nothing. No strikers have been signed and the ineffectual pairing of Vibe and Sawyers float around upfront achieving little inspires nothing other than apathy. For the first time in many years I was embarrassed to be a Brentford supporter at Stamford Bridge. The odd glory goal from either of them does not deflect from the fact that they score few goals and are often absent in games. Hoffman in my opinion is not good enough for this league and for both him and his development would have been better going on a season loan to a league 1 side to play football for 90 minutes instead of the occasional 10-15 minutes. Our midfield has got even less combative. Many recent games the question could be asked did any player make a timg_3405le? Jota has been brought back ( with murmurings that he too might move on at the end of the season), and has yet to start a game. Arguably the best crosser of the ball Tom Field for some bizarre reason has not even been selected ( despite being the best player on the pitch in the Newcastle game).

To all this, why? Why do players not want to come to Brentford? There are good players in the three leagues below us who we might sign in all these roles. Why has the football become so sterile recently? Why the plethora of collapses and “inquests”? The appalling nature of the Fulham, Blackburn,Wigan and Chelsea defeats should raise a large red flag amongst fans. What exactly is wrong?

I cannot answer that and will not pretend to be a football manager however I have seen managers manage and teams play with utmost passion and workmate and succeed. Has anyone else watched Lincoln city play? Their workmate is a joy to behold. They are not the most gifted players on the planet but they work hard and are well organised. Danny Cowley, their manager, I would take at Brentford tomorrow. His skill set is aligned with Warburton. Yes, that calibre, and he has shown that consistently too. What do we get? We get Dean Smith who in my opinion fails to motivate his team, select his team, change things when Plan A fails and importantly has zero relationship with the fans. What would it have cost him to meander the 50 yards from his dugout to the away end at Chelsea to thank the fans? Occasionally even to do that at Griffin Park. At the recent Eastleigh cup-tie, the reception that Martin Allen received must have embarrassed Dean Smith, but he should learn what the Brentford fans expect. We do not demand sides that win all the time ( nice if they do, but not essential), but what we do demand is passion, hard work and some respect. I have a huge issue with the tedious style at the moment. Brentford mostly are boring to watch as at Chelsea. A slow tempo that gets slower. Why has Smith not utilised any of the players with real pace of late? Josh Clarke, Tom Field and Jota are three names that should be on the team sheet before anyone else. Why does he persist with the anaemic Yennaris, who in my view contributes nothing? Why play Barbet at full back? Barbet is a fourth choice centre back who has not shown great progress and who also needs regular football. My view is irrelevant but I do not see him as a championship player ever. But to play him at full back? img_3409

Tomorrow is the close of the transfer window and I hope Brentford make some sensible signings. However I fear there is some malaise in the club for all the above reasons that we seem unable to sign players from lower leagues. We need to be signing and improving 5-6 such players annually. Dan Bentley and John Egan  are the only players this year in that category (And when will Rico Henry actually play? Why are we signing players who are injured who cannot play for 6 months? We are a small squad ).

As always I hope to be proved totally wrong the rest of the season. Yennaris will play like a manic Jonathan Douglas and be transformed as Toumani was. Doubt it though. I am very concerned that we have a poor manager, and a team that must be considered relegation candidates. img_2193-3

Differing perceptions of the River Thames at Brentford 


While arriving for a football match at Brentford I was struck by how the views of the excellent street artist saw The Thames at Brentford contrasted with the photos I just took. 

Dear James Tarkowski. An open letter.


Sadly last night you were not “dear” to the 10,000 fans who having worked to earn the money to watch a football game that you were supposed to be playing in. You clearly felt it right to “go on strike” or refuse to play in the game. Why would that be? It seems that you are not brave nor maybe stupid enough to reply on twitter to the stream of invective and vitriol that I have been reading all evening from Brentford fans. So I have to surmise what the issue might be.

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No Camera even this large would have found James Tarkowski at Brentford.

Brentford played Burnley and we assume you and your agent have had contact with Burnley who have made an inadequate offer for you. Brentford who have trained you and improved you over the last two years quite reasonably need payback for that. After all who else will pay the coaching and fitness staff whose services you have used freely to improve.  And while on the topic of pay, maybe I should remind you of the games you have missed through red cards and suspensions, and of course those when you were injured. The club supported you through all this. You indeed have been a good player. Not a world beater. You will never for example be an international player like some of your team colleagues. I assume also that you have an issue with Brentford rejecting the bid as it would lead no doubt to higher wages. Brentford have stated, or the media has at least, that a bid of 4-5 million £ would buy your services. Presumably Burnley will pay that if they agree with the valuation. So, back to the game tonight versus Burnley. Why would you say you were not wanting to play? I can again only guess that you did not feel comfortable opposing the team you hope or imagine or know will sign you. Or worse, did not want to be part of a team that would beat Burnley? This is not how football or life works. You are under contract, legally to Brentford and presumably have been paid in accord with that contract? So you might not want to play, but in short you have to. You owed that to the fans and the club. But you declined this kind offer of team selection. So in short your loyalty is with the potential new club Burnley, who may not be blameless in all this by unsettling you and offering ridiculous low transfer bids, but your real loyalty is to yourself and your selfish desire to secure more money, without a thought for the fans, coaches and others who got you as far as this. In short you have let down everyone who has helped and supported you in your career. IMG_1246

A quick look at twitter reveals extensive vitriol towards you not only from fans but from those who know football from your side, players like Marcus Gayle, and journalists. You really have chosen to upset a lot of people. Football supporters who even have no connections with Brentford.

IMG_1248 So if You were watching the game on TV tonight you would have seen a Brentford team clearly unsettled by your selfish, arrogant and stupid behaviour lose an important game. You would also have heard 10,000 Bees fans chanting and singing your name, followed by expletives. You will go down in football history as one of the bad guys, who decided that they were more important than the game, the fans, the clubs and the very fabric of football. You will certainly be remembered in years to come but not for your football prowess. Any club who signs you in years to come will take all this into account as will your fellow footballers. How do you feel about letting down not only the club and fans, but also your fellow professionals. I think it is fair to say you have shown all of them a total lack of respect. I do look forward to hearing your side of the story.

 

A Very Wet Brentford Performance.Brentford 0 Walsall 1


As Brentford fans some weeks are best forgotten and it is better to remove those bees coloured spectacles and see the game for what it was. Brentford were comprehensively beaten by a hard working and decent Walsall side.

An excellent turn out from Walsall that filled the away end.

Fans arrived mostly by car but the potential was there to arrive by boat if they wished, and with such a wet game that might have been a good option. IMG_1179IMG_1178

The first half ended 1-0 to Walsall which is how the game ended but it was totally one-sided. The second half was better for Bees once Alan Judge came on, but frankly they never really seemed likely to score with the exception of one excellent save from the walsall keeper.

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Why were Brentford so bad? Conspiracy theorists will no doubt argue that the cup is not important or maybe that transfer speculation had upset the side. I don’t know, maybe both are true. But the reality was that Walsall were the better side, their work rate was higher , their players seemed technically better. The five players brought in from last week did nothing to suggest they should be chosen next week. The swirling rain made watching even from Row G a rather wet experience. The plus point was the introduction of Marco Djuricin half way through the second half.

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Hands on head time maybe?

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The Bees fans on Twitter formed their views of this game which align with mine above. What we learned for sure was that Bees have no strikers. Midfield needs strengthening . But above all the worry that it was not the result but the performance that is most of concern. Players like McCormack did not perform. Swift looked undone by the physical attention of the Walsall players. Hoffman just looked poor really, not a championship player.

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.

Are Employees trapped in their office near Watermans Centre Brentford?


A piece of graffiti seen on boxing day 2016 suggests that office workers may be trapped inside their office since Xmas. Their only hope was to paint graffiti on their windows and demand supplies. An insider however informs the blog that there was only enough paint to produce a single word. The word agreed upon was painted on the window. LAGER. Visitors to Brentford football club for their boxing day fixture against Brighton however seem not to have been in generous mood and no lager donations were spotted being provided. Little movement was seen in the offices as of late last night.

Brentford 0 Brighton 0 . What does Lager have to do with it?


An excellent fast paced championship game on Boxing day 2015 surprisingly resulted in no goals. There are enough match reports to mean little point me adding to the details. It is the bigger picture though which is interesting , simply is this a prequel to the play off game with these two sides involved again?

Brighton were either average or Brentford made them look average. Nico Yennaris proved again that he is not a full-back but could be a decent midfielder. David Button had a day off. Philip Hoffman should have won the game for Brentford in the final minutes.

The game was played in good spirit with few fouls and none of note. Darren Deadman as referee was better than usual and actually not too terrible, but would either side clamour to have him back again, unlikely. A capacity 12,200 crowd gave an excellent atmosphere for a 1 pm kick off, which traditionally seem unable to provide the same atmosphere and noise as 3 pm kick offs.

The game was end to end and what was clear is that neither side had a potent striker who could have provided the goals that the game deserved. A 2-2 draw would have been a good pre-match bet and probably a reasonable score. Both sides are clearly good but maybe with Brentford improving and Brighton on the decline?

For me the best teams in the championship are Middlesborough and Hull City and these teams may get the automatic places. Perennial play off contenders Derby, Burnley, Ipswich may again make the play offs. Brentford and Brighton are also contenders with Sheffield Wednesday an outsider too.

The big surprise of the day however was being able to get an easy parking space in the Watermans Centre car park  where the graffiti on a window of an office either suggested folks trapped inside demanding Xmas supplies or a prequel to a Lager advert. Great graffiti.

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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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