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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 “nico yennaris”

Ipswich 1 Brentford 1. A good point for Bees but should have been three . Some good signs for next season


Being fortunate enough to photograph the game one gets fairly close to the action and able to see some of the little things that might get missed. Let me start with the highly supportive nature of Dean Smith to all his players after the game, and also the embrace between Toumani and himself.

A fairly wet night and a fairly boggy pitch certainly not of the Griffin Park standard. Ipswich is a very friendly club and when arriving to collect press pass one is greeted by a serious of smiling and mischievous souls in the ticket office, all wearing smart clean blazers and ties. In fact I cannot fault the Ipswich club at all. Nice people, who deserve a good and decent football team. Whether they deserve mick McCarthy as a manger is a separate question. The fans I spoke to were mixed in their views.  Inconsistency of the team was a common theme. As a negative though the entrance price of 35£ for adults is excessive, 25.50£ for concessions, and 24.50£ for under 20. There is no need to charge these prices.

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There are plenty of good match reports online so no need for me to repeat much. This game was not a classic but was fully competitive until the last kick of the game. Although both sides are truly mid-table and arguably satisfied with a point, even in the 4 added minutes both pressed for a winner.

The goal was a nice pass from Romain Sawyers and a neat finish from Yennaris.

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Nico Yennaris scores

Brentford played the better football. Ipswich did a lot of shirt pulling and pushing and a few dubious tackles and manoeuvres . Maybe someone in the FA or the Referees select committee can explain to me how this “rugby league” tackle ( illegal even there and seriously punishable in the NFL in USA) was not given as a foul. The role of assistants talking to the referees arises weekly. How this was not given as a foul against Vibe I am unsure.

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An interesting style of tackling from Ipswich 

Brentford looked well set up with Woods looking more solid and winning more than his share of the 50-50 balls. The full backs looking better with every game. Maxime Colin has improved enormously this season.

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Maxime Colin demonstrating an interesting style of tackling

00007689 Bjelland went off injured, without having an inspiring game, and Barbet came on, who still looks suspect to me. 0000767300007763

Justin Shaibu had 20 minutes and as against Rotherham caused all manner of problems to the Ipswich defence and was unlucky not to score. The days of Hoffmann are truly over and he needs to move on. 000077610000774400007746

So I take away a lot of positivity in this team and performance. The sort of game a while agao that Brentford would not have drawn. The worry remains over the number of goals conceded. This will improve.

Sergi Canos is such an exciting talent and could be a truly great player.

0000770200007703Rico Henry looks a class player and fast coming forward.

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Rico Henry

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

A worrying Brentford performance. Brentford 1 Sheff Wed 1


Although the result shows a draw this game should go down in the annals as a game that could start a season of struggle.  Many fans struggled to get to the game on time due to roadworks in the area  and to avoid the dangers of Knotweed. 


In short Brentford with the exception of Daniel Bentley and Ryan Woods were poor. Off the pace all afternoon. Abysmal tactics. Disjointed substitutions.  I am struggling to recall a single tackle Brentford won and if they won a single header then I missed it. 


Sheff Wed should have been even 4-0 up at half time . An astonishing miss from under the crossbar will go viral on Twitter later. Brentford were second to every ball.  The Brentford goal from Vibe was a comedy of errors from the keeper Westwood who having kicked the ball against Vibe then watched it trickle into his net. 

The referee managed later to send off two players when really he should have had better options. The game hardly contained a meaningful foul. 

The Sheff Wed equaliser had been coming and when it did arrive in injury time the Brentford players played the remaining minutes seemingly hanging on to the point. 


Why were Bees so poor? Certainly the physical presence of their opponents was one factor yet that does not explain the abysmal work rate.  The whole midfield were anonymous and with the exception of the tenacious Ryan Woods one might have been excused not knowing that Yennaris and McCleod were even playing. 

In contrast Daniel Bentley was superb making world class saves. So simply there is no real explanation for this poor performance. But a worrying sign of what might lie ahead. 

Darkness Descends Over Bolton


No Bees fan will object to 6 points in a week even though the opposition was truthfully dire. For the first time in many weeks or even months, Bees fans came to the game with an expectation of winning. A healthy 3-0 victory a few days previously at Nottingham Forest provided the belief that winning against the bottom side in the Championship would be a likely outcome.

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Griffin Park looking good under floodlights

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Brentford seem to be praying for victory

The evening was perfect for football and even the River Thames at Brentford looked pleasant enough doused in muddy water. A few strange items, like an old toilet residing beside the water filled with what I hope was old leaves.

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River Thames at Brentford

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Outdoor toilets

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New Road

The game was far from a classic but as much as Brentford ever do, they won this game easily at a canter. The Bolton defending was dreadful and frankly a decent Ryman South team might also have beaten them last night. The evening was perfect for football and the result turned out also to be perfect, a 3-1 victory, marred ever so slightly by Alan McCormack giving away a penalty. Brentford played decently enough and a few sparks of what we saw earlier in the season began to emerge. Oddly Nico Yennaris was the man of the match, although Lasse Vibe took the plaudits for his two goals, but Yennaris in central midfield looked comfortable and is learning how to tackle, though was outmuscled a few times . This was an encouraging performance that meant the game was over before half time with Brentford leading 3-0.  It was surprising that as many as 350 Bolton fans made the trip on a tuesday evening to watch their appalling side.

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Lets focus on Bolton. They were without doubt the worst side to visit Griffin Park this season and were as awful as Blackpool last season. Their likely trajectory will be similar too as this team looks poor even by League 1 standards, and I could back Colchester bottom in league 1 to beat this current Bolton team. They seemed generally poor footballers, but also dispirited and at times totally disinterested. There were no redeeming features. The defending was non league. Emile Heskey was an unused substitute but his body shape looked more likely to succeed in WWF than in professional football. Time to call it a day. Even he when warming up in front of the cheerful New Road crowd failed to acknowledge the generous applause he got. Darren Pratley committed enough fouls to have got a lifetime ban and seemed slow in pace and thought. A shadow of the former footballer he was.

So two wins in a few days essentially means that we will not get relegated and talk is of aiming for a top ten finish. But we should not get too carried away. Some of our defending was again dire last night. David Button almost gave a goal away by giving the ball away a few yards from goal and Harley Dean made numerous errors that somehow went unpunished. This was however an improved performance with the team looking more balanced than for a long while. Saunders and Woods out wide and Yennaris and McCormack more centrally gave the midfield a formation that seemed to work. Vibe scored two goals and the second one a very neat header. So we are in a lower mid-table position and thats probably right, maybe even slightly flattering. But it is a building block and we are staying up and Brentford fans will have woken up happy this morning.

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River Thames at Brentford

The Clouds Lift Over Griffin Park. Brentford 3 Wolves 0


There is no doubt that Brentford have been a spiral of disaster the last 2 months, and this is reflected in the win ratio of 1 win in the previous 9 games, and in the plethora of negativity that followed the Derby debacle on saturday. Something had to change.

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Clouds over Brentford seen while flying in for the game

Fans arrived late as often they do for an evening fixture giving the impression till almost the last minute that there would be no crowd. In fact almost 9000 hardy souls braved a bitter and literally freezing evening to watch an entertaining game.

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Griffin Park By Night

There was little agreement before the game on what the outcome might be and even less agreement on the team selection other than something had to change to bring back the fighting spirit and work rate that we saw earlier in the season. In reality the summoning of two of the best players in the club, John Swift and Sergi Canos gave the side width and skill, and Nico Yennaris recovered from a hideous performance in central midfield on saturday to have an excellent game at right back. The work rate in midfield was probably double that of saturday and from the start the elevated work rate and the chances created got the crowd going. In the end a 3-0 victory did not flatter Brentford and it should have been greater. We must not however lose site of how abject Wolves were. Watching the game it was difficult to believe that they had 40 points this season and sitting seemingly in mid-table security. They were poor, very poor. Never the less a good performance that should keep the crowds interested for the remainder of the season. Yet margins are thin in this league, with Brentford comfortably winning 1-0 in the second half, only a superb save from David Button kept the Bees ahead. Conceding a goal then might have led to one of the many Brentford collapses we have seen this season.

Were there any downsides to the game? Only one for me. No cornish pasties. What kind of football catering does not have cornish pasties, forcing me to sample a Chicken Balti pie, which I can sum up as saying could be a vegetarian option lacking anything I could find that resembled chicken. Edible none the less.

Lastly a strange emerging feature of watching Brentford lately. As the crowd streams out of the New Road stand, a group of 2-3 steward looking characters in cheerful fashion thank the crowd for coming and have a safe trip home. Brentford are emerging into the customer service era and will achieve that for me when cornish pasties return.

So the gleaming clouds were an omen and indeed the sun was truly shining on Brentford and their fans at 10 pm last night.

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The Skies above Brentford before kick off

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Clouds Gleaming over Brentford

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Floodlights over Brentford

A final thought. I will miss this old ground when it goes. We know it has to and understand why but the character and atmosphere is what sums up real football , even in the absence of cornish pasties.

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.

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