This was not the result most fans of either side predicted. Many Bees fans, maybe half , would have taken a point before the game. The reality was that a resurgent Brentford side played their best football this season and possibly for a few seasons and dominated the game from every angle.
Overall Brentford were brilliant more than Stoke were poor. Brentford need to carry on with this tempo and maybe Stoke need to jettison a few players simply past their prime .
Lastly I loved seeing the great reception Ryan Woods received . Nice Brentford fan behaviour for players we respect . And a privilege to see not only a few minutes of Peter Crouch but also him posing with young fans after the game and again the nice Ealing road reception he got when warming up.
Neither side will go up nor down this season and it will be interesting to see where they finally end up .
Football food is far from idyllic. In general nonleague clubs serve better and cheaper football fare. One of the best food items is served at Met Police football club. They play in Esher at Imber Court and participate in Evostik Southern League Premier South and are well worth watching .
They have recently started serving The Full Hogburger. For £5 you can have a superb burger cooked properly in a toasted bun. But on top there is a large sausage cut in half , cheese, onions and a thick slice of back bacon. Tasted delicious. They do not serve chips but there again you hardly need them. If there is a criticism it is that the burger is huge and not so easy to eat. This is a real meal! Football league clubs might learn here
During the second half of the recent game versus Bolton, the view over the Ealing Road stand was as good as any I have seen in years watching Brentford. So instead of photographing Neal Maupay rampaging through the Bolton defence , I spent 5 minutes capturing this beautiful moon.
When we move to Lionel road I will miss hugely Griffin Park and moments like this will forever be remembered.
These three photos were taken only a few minutes apart and using different exposures. Don’t let anyone ever say it’s easy to photograph the moon. Sometimes you get lucky and some of the trees behind the Ealing Road stand can be seen in front of the over exposed moon making an interesting image.
Ridiculous fact number one for Xmas eve is that only 3 championship teams are spelled the same way in Serbian…. one of those is Brentford! My favourite is Lids….
Usually when I post musings and photographs after a game I go through and find my best 20 action photos and write a few words around these. Here I want to do something a little different.
Things have not been good recently at Brentford. Not many good results, some social media distractions amongst fans and generally the mood of optimism that was with us a month ago had partially evaporated. There was ill-advised talk that Thomas Frank had only a few games to save his job ( ridiculous I know) and many ideas regarding team selection (myself included). This was an important game in the context of where the season might go from here.
We all know Brentford won 2-0 and although there were a few scares along the way, Brentford were the better footballing side and generally had the higher work rate. Something very different struck me strongly yesterday, perhaps I miss this sometimes, but Brentford are a real team. They worked hard for each other and have a true bond with the fans. The bond is important. We learned this week how strong that bond can be and the results of a good bond with the sad news emanating from Leicester city. No doubt I will post more comments and photos during the week, but these are the ones that captivated me . They are not my best action shots, these will follow, but these show the real emotion and bond between players, fans and the manager.
In the context of the season the result and the performance was critical and the obvious bonding between fans and team will be important in the months ahead. Brentford are a good team, a young team, mistakes will be made (by players, manager and fans) but lets keep this tight bond going.
Reethi Beach is one of the newer resorts in Maldives. For those not familiar with Maldives, they are essentially a series of islands, some of which have been transformed into resorts.
Reethi Beach is a good resort although the complexity of travel in the Maldives means that getting there might take a bit longer than some other resorts. Flights arrive in Male and for some resorts a speedboat transfer is relatively quick – for example one could be in Kuda Huraa in less than 30 minutes. Most, however, require either a seaplane or an internal flight. Seaplanes look incredibly cool but do not come cheap and can add almost £1000 onto a holiday cost.
Getting to Reethi Beach requires an internal flight, then a short bus ride and finally a 20 minutes boat transfer each with its obligatory delay. So upfront I will say that the only negative about Reethi Beach is having arrived in Male at 8.30 am it was near enough 13.00 before arriving at the resort. The rest is entirely positive. If your bank account allows it seaplane is recommended but also remember a 20 kg luggage maximum and 5kg for hand luggage.
Reethi Beach is one hour ahead of Male time so it operates +5 compared to UK. The island takes maybe 30 minutes to walk around on the beaches.
Accommodation is chalets. A few water bungalows. Chalets are comfortable and clean but this is the Maldives so the occasional insect and cockroach cannot be discounted nor frankly prevented. Meals are buffet style for those on all inclusive. The food is superb beyond belief. Plenty of vegetarian options. The weather depends partially on the seasons, but you can reasonably expect 28-30 C sunshine most days, the occasional full cloudy day but rain showers also most days. These usually come and go in an hour. Beaches are idyllic. You can pay for a whole variety more of course including various dining options and range of water-sports. Snorkelling is not so good as some of the other islands but not too bad. Stingrays come right to the sea edge to get fed at 18.00 but also some with either bigger stomachs or cheaper watches come any time to say hi. Three herons patrol their beach territory and allow you within about 5 metres. Maybe less.
Prices in other locations vary enormously but essentially paying more gets you relatively less. I would personally recommend Reethi Beach for most people unless you expect the luxury that you get from other resorts paying perhaps 3-4 times more.
Things to recommend though. Pay for coffee in the Moodhu bar that sits on stilts over the sea. Views are great and the coffee is sublime . Expect to pay maybe 5$ for a superb hazelnut latte .Around the edges of the island you will find huge man-made sandbags that probably contain more rock than sand, to prevent erosion of the beaches and create some quiet little inlets. As with all Maldivian islands probably a week is enough or ten days maximum. After that maybe most have had enough sun, food and relaxing. I would personally recommend Reethi Beach. All the photos you see here were taken by myself in October 2018. Lastly there is free WiFi in public areas and also if you position yourself on the beaches near the bars and restaurants you can access it there too.
The resort also make more effort with night entertainment than many others. Live music, DJs and Quiz evenings are actually not a bad effort considering the geography.
Anyone watching Brentford earlier in the season saw that we were a good team. Few teams if any looked better than us. This wretched run has now made some question even if relegation is a possibility.
It’s more simple than that . We are a mid table side that was full of confidence but after a series of events has lost confidence. My personal belief is that the players knew Smith was going long before it was announced . Weeks even. Having watched Brentford for many years , around 50 , I can spot when something behind the scenes is causing issues.
This leads to uncertainty amongst the players. Frank may be a good or a bad manager. We simply do not know , however it is unlikely he will have the same beliefs as Smith. Some players such as Josh have reverted to the abysmal form of last season. His lack of consistency for me combined with his inability to tackle means he is not one of our untouchable players, however to make wholesale changes last night was not the clever option. Moses will struggle to come up to speed , literally, after his injuries and lack of game time , and as he needed to play last night it could be argued that changing the midfield formation was not the time to do this. Having said that Yennaris is also a hideously inconsistent player who should have done better both last night and in general. Dan Bentley losing form has also cost us 3-4 points at minimum.
Frank needs to look close up at the team. My suggestion would be to revert to a single captain, a leader . That narrows it down to Dalsgaard or Barbet. The trouble is that the petulance and poor discipline that Dalsgaard can show suggests that to keep things calm he might not be the man.
So to put it simply my team selection for Norwich would be the usual back four, Kamo and McCleod , Watkins, Maupay, Benrahma, Sawyers and Daniels.
Daniels is a good shot stopper, like Andy Woodman, but currently falls down literally from not being able to command his area and come authoritatively for crosses, also like Andy Woodman. A goalkeeper coach is critical here to bring him on.
Some players must realise they are in the last chance saloon. Sawyers can perform. He can be premiership material but equally at times can be dreadful. Consistency is the key . Frank needs to select his best team and stick with them for 4-5 games. He also must not be afraid to make early changes in a game. If a player is poor for 20 mins take him off. Warnock does not do everything right in my book but this Warnockesque activity is what the team needs. Substitutions need also to be logical not pre-planned
Lastly do not play players where they are poor. Barbet is actually a good footballer but he has never been nor will be a good central defender. At times I would have played him as an old fashioned number nine as Plan B.
Brentford are a work in progress. We need as fans to remain realistic and supportive but also to be appropriately critical. That is important . Let’s have a rethink after the next six games of the Frank regime.
Over the last few months there has been an optimism amongst fans that for me is a little over placed. Sure we have some good players and at least two who could start in the premiership right now. The issue though is consistency. The teams that get promoted have good players but are consistent. Brentford have not been consistent.
My personal view might not go down well with some fans and that’s fine . Lewis McLeod is a luxury player. He has some good games. Some good moments . But if you were in a casino would you bet on him having a good game for example at Preston? Don’t think so. Some of his passing is sublime . But will he compete in every game ? Josh M… well ok we can explain an average performance on Saturday. Why was he selected? But many of his performances have been average . Intertwined with some brilliance . What was missing Saturday was physicality until Kamo came on. This guy is good. He rattles other teams. And he is consistent and needs to be a starter.
Thomas Frank will have his own views and I suspect team selection will evolve rather than see 5 changes overnight. We know our best defence. We know our most consistent player. Barbet. We need a Plan A and B and C for midfield. On days when Ollie Watkins is not at his best we need a quick change. Sitting in New Road the warm up gives me an indication who is up for it . Certainly by 30 minutes I can tell for sure. Let’s be radical and make substitutions early if needed or not at all if not .
Lastly we need leadership. Is the rotating captain working? Not sure. The natural captains of the side are Mepham , still learning his trade , Barbet and Dalsgaard. I would experiment with making Barbet captain. It just might work.
At the moment we are a mid table side. We could make top six but no way top two. Our focus needs to be on consistency and finishing off games. Few teams are better than us but on Saturday we saw a side that worked harder than us and it sounds bad but Lee Johnson got his tactics spot on. Thomas Franks did not.
For Preston let me see a real high tempo start . Kamo in the line up and early changes if things not going well.