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 “sports”

The Magic Of the FA Cup. Met Police Fc 0 Newport County 2


Whichever way you looked at this, Met Police were never favourites to win this game. They sit three divisions below Newport County and have crowds that are usually around the 100-120 mark. Contrary to popular belief they have had no serving police officers playing for them since 2015 and many players are youth team players who have come through the junior clubs that Met Police run. Any league side wanting to learn how to run their academies and compete against the larger clubs might look no further than Met Police. Their your teams have had enormous success in recent seasons.

There are far better match reports out there than I can write, but watching the game close-up whilst photographing gave an excellent position to compare the two teams. The result Met Police 0 Newport County 2 was probably a fair result overall, the strength and physicality of the league professionals won out in the end. Some of the photographs emphasise the youth of the Met Police players compared to seasoned professionals such as David Pipe who is 35years and still playing well. young and old However having said that neutrals might not disagree that Met Police were the more skilful side to watch and certainly the more entertaining . The best player on the pitch was 25 year old Jack Mazzone, who having watched a number of times this season, makes me wonder why he is not playing at a higher level. A strong intelligent and hard working number nine who has good skill. I would go as far as saying that if he was playing for Newport yesterday the scoreline might have been even greater. 00004938physicality 2

Joe Day the Newport keeper was a real conundrum. Prior to the game the away fans were telling me he had saved them many points this season and a world class save, I don’t exaggerate, in the first half to deny Jack Mazzone, may have tipped the game. The second half though was a different affair and although he came and commanded his area by viciously punching balls away, he also dropped balls and was lucky not to concede a couple of goals simply through errors. 00005004

The real story of the game though was the torrential rain that swept in just before kick off that gave fans ( except Newport fans who were under cover) and photographers a tough time. The rain was a real deluge and i have tried to capture some of the wetness in photographs on my photographic site.

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In the end this was a game that on a different day could have had a different result, but Newport County worked hard and although their goals were maybe a little fortuitous, they might have had a couple more in the end.

00004941Pain and emotionJack00004990000049850000497300004972000049691K4A67191K4A663300004954000049400000493700004942Lastly lets not forget the Newport County fans who were great. Chatting before the game they were a nice group of supporters and all will wish them well in the next round.

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Why Brentford Are A Real Team.Some Post-Match Millwall Thoughts


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.

Griffin Park at sunset in November

Griffin Park at sunset in November

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.

  1. Neal Maupay. This guy really cares and works hard. On this occasion he had made a great run but his final shot was inches away. This was one of the many opportunities Brentford had to make the score 2-0. 0000482600004824
  2. Said Benrahma. Looking through the photos the players photographed the most are Said and Moses. It was lovely to witness the celebration after the game as Said walked back alongside Braemar Road. He embraced a few fans and the looks on their faces says it all. 00004860
  3. Daniel Bentley. He has had a tough month and no-one would argue that he has lost form. This result and the clean sheet meant a lot. 00004866
  4. Thomas Frank. This was an important game for not only the team but also himself, and the justification of his team changes, and perhaps some of the changes he did not make. His bond with  Neal Maupay is clear and so wonderful to see. 000048560000485400004853
  5. Moses Odubajo. His first game as first choice left back. A long spell of injury the last few years at Hull City. The way he worked tirelessly all game and created havoc in the Millwall defence was immense and enjoyable to see.  0000480300004777
  6. Sergi Canos. Sergi is returning to the form we know he has but he has had to work hard to get there. His enthusiasm is immense to watch and no doubt rubs off on the team too. 00004784
  7. The whole Brentford team. They were a team and it showed before, during and after the game. 00004743

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.

Met Police 4 Basingstoke 4. Not a bad game for Non-league Day


As always Met Police are a decent team to watch, unless you happen to be their defensive coach.  This game was not really a 4-4 game but more like 8-8. One of those games where every attack could have been a goal. I still cannot fathom why Met Police do not get larger crowds as their style of football and quality is some of the best around in non-league currently.  Good to see a couple of things. A core support of noisy Basingstoke fans ( but is the drum really needed?) and a good referee. Andy Bennett took no nonsense from the players, at one stage telling a Basingstoke player to stop talking to him in that manner, and broadly got all the major decisions right. A penalty decision went Basingstoke’s way however when looking at the photos the Met Police defender, who clearly tripped the striker, was having his shirt massively pulled. In fact in almost every photograph there is some physical contact

This was a good game to photograph. There was energy from the start and plenty of interesting tackles. Even the last kick of the game came off the Met Police crossbar.

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Luke Williams

Luke Williams the Met Police Fc keeper

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Just a suspicion of a foul

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Somehow a goal

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Basingstoke fans

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Given as a penalty. But was it?

The Met Police defender trips the Basingstoke striker, but when did the shirt pulling start?

Carshalton 0 Corinthian Casuals 3. The Challenge of Nighttime Non League Photography AKA ISO 12800


Football photographers get used to many things, variable lighting across a pitch, non league floodlights and inclement weather. It is just what we do. Add to that sloping pitches, players warming up in front of you, and the fun really starts. But it is a challenge. My Canon EOS 5D MK3 copes reasonably well with all this, and a small amount of playing afterwards reduces some of the grain, albeit at the expense sometimes of sharpness.  I really enjoy these challenges.

These photos come from a non league cup game, Velocity trophy, and was actually a great game to watch for the neutral. Here are some of the photos both of the game and the fans which capture the magic of non league.

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Carshalton Promoted to Bostik Premier league after beating Whyteleafe 4-3


Not many sides in the history of football in any division anywhere worldwide have achieved what Carshalton have done since December 2017. From 33 points they have gained 31 and are unbeaten on this phenomenal run that saw them get promoted to the Bostik Premier league. Not that Carshalton made it easy on themselves. The scoreline will show a 4-3 victory in front of a seasons best crowd of just under 600.

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Before the game whatever happened in games elsewhere all Carshalton had to do was to win the game. A simple equation.  Starting the game however was the first obstacle as the referee was delayed on a flight back from Albania, that gave Carshalton the advantage of knowing their opponents results essentially at half time. In reality Whyteleafe gave them a tough game and were physical, maybe overly so , opponents that never actually lost the game until the 95th minute. On a hot afternoon physical fitness was going to be important and Carshalton certainly had the superiority on Whyteleafe on that.

Charlie Pattison caused problems all game on the right wing with his running and crossing

Charlie Pattison caused problems all game on the right wing with his running and crossing

The Whyteleafe goal led a charmed life at times

The Whyteleafe goal led a charmed life at times

The game however took a circuitous route with Whyteleafe taking the lead and Carshalton missing a penalty, then after making it 1-1, allowed Whyteleafe to score twice in minutes, making it 1-3 before staging a comeback to win the game 4-3 with the last meaningful kick of the game.

Tommy Bradford wins the game in the 95th minute

Tommy Bradford wins the game in the 95th minute

There are plenty of other detailed reports but from my perspective Carshalton played great football with measured passing, sometimes of a far higher standard. Finishing was superb, and with a little more luck could have won this game 7-3.

The end product was promotion and to the 600 crowd thats all that mattered.

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Brentford overcome the anti-football team Ipswich town


The game itself was a hard fought fairly dire at times 1-0 win resulting from a penalty that might not have been given on some days. Brentford continue their march towards a play-off place, which is unlikely but certainly possible. 00002387

The game was sad to watch really . Ipswich came with no intent to actually play football and were the definition of anti-football. Many photos show some of the pulling and pushing, and although no side are angels, this was frankly quite bad. All the things I can recall from old division 4 football when playing some of the teams like Workington and Bradford PA.  There was endless pushing, pulling, shirt pulling, general fouling and little else. Much of the Ipswich training manual must consist of where to run to get a new tattoo judging by the decor on view.

00002430 The Ipswich fans generally did not much like McCarthy and many wonder why he has not walked now rather than announce his grand exit for the end of the season. If this is his style, then Sir Bobby Robson will be turning rather more in his grave than some of the Ipswich strikers did during the game.  I recall Ipswich well as a child and my claim to fame was spending time at Sir Bobby’s house ( where the lawn was in fact the extra turf from Portman Road following a build of a new stand), having him cook breakfasts ( they were superb) and him getting me into games by telling the turnstile guys I was an Ipswich youth player. But I also recall that they played real football back then. McCarthy

Luke Hyam received the expected welcome based on his nasty tackle two years ago, but more so on his refusal to apologise. Frankly he was poor and there was nothing to really show why he had been restored to the team. Alan Judge made his first home start also since his leg break. hyam00002391

I found the Ipswich fans generally amusing with chants like ” we are the numbskulls” presumably in reference to comments from McCarthy. McCarthy cut a sad looking figure, not so tall as I had imagined and generally looking worn down. This surely will be his last football tenure.

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The game itself had few clearcut chances from either team, though towards the end Dan Bentley made some excellent saves, that are probably routine for him. Brentford lacked creativity in midfield and seemed to miss Flo Jo. For me yet again Josh McCeachran looked average at best and not maybe the standards we need next season.  Yoann Barbet looked a composed footballer but needs to reduce the number of bad passes that accompany his array of excellent ones. The left back berth is his to keep until next season. Romaine Sawyers certainly had his most physical game for Bees and the fact he was marking Hyam may have had something to do with that. His push on Hyam almost into the dugout in the early minutes set the tone for him. He also defended far more than most Bees fans realise, including myself. It is only when looking at defensive photos that I noticed how often he is there often behind the central defenders. 000024111K4A1593

Some Bees fans still think we have a chance of the playoffs but for me we are in the top 10 teams but not the top 6.  Bees lack the physicality to be a play off team and the points dropped against the “big” sides are what has cost us in addition to the missed chances. The recent “addition” of Chris Mepham has helped hugely. 00002469

The look that Martyn Waghorn gives Chris Mepham here is priceless. Lastly, did anyone else notice Mick McCarthy and Nico Yennaris having a cosy chat while they walked out before the start of the game. Anything in that at all?

As always Barbet is an extra spirit in the side and adds something that is immeasureable. For me he might be the next Brentford captain. Barbet

Having said all that we did win and we do still have a chance of the playoffs. Onwards and upwards……

Australian Cricket Rubbing The World Up The Wrong Way. Is this one of the final nails in the cricket coffin?


The past few years has not been good for cricket and in fact has been mostly disastrous. A series of betting related match fixing events and generally fairly average if not poor cricket. Frankly there is too much of it, test series back to back with endless T20 and limited over games, that rarely threaten to fill even the most modest of stadia. Presumably all related to Sky and other purporters of live cricket ( with advertising slots assailing viewers ceaselessly) and the betting market ( with that nonsense phrase ” when the fun stops”…..).

For most cricket the fun stopped many years ago, the game has become too predictable and generally uninteresting to many fans. Fans are charged sometimes outrageous amounts of money to perhaps watch a game, dependent on the weather, the light, 2-3 day finishes in test cricket and other nonsense factors. Not surprisingly few fans watch test cricket as seen in the current South Africa v Australia series, and the New Zealand v England series.

Cricket has somehow survived until now. I have been a member of Sussex county cricket club for maybe 15-20 years but having nothing to do with the increasing cost am considering cancelling my membership . Mostly because the quality of the cricket is poor and often little better than club cricket. The players often seem disinterested. The sponsors are also moving away, as judged by the much reduced sponsorship seen for the Arundel cricket festival in 2017 for example.  The recent events in South Africa however just maybe might put a final nail in the cricket coffin ( unless we include numerous meaningless “bash” competitions, that frankly have as much to do with cricket as french cricket did at school).

The cheating displayed by the Australians followed by their refusal to tell the truth until confronted by video evidence , the lack of remorse and the general nastiness exhibited by the Australians in how they play the “game”, just might be that final nail. Lets examine the facts:

  1. The Australians were found cheating, lied to umpires, media and by default the paying customers, and it is not credible that this is their first time. It is equally not credible that only three players were part of this. Would a bowler not have noticed a change in the physical ball or the swing immediately?
  2. The alleged remorse is fake. The real remorse is that they have been caught and punished with moderate sanctions. I take a view that would be simpler. Any cheating should be a lifetime ban from that sport. Leopards do not change their spots. From a psychological or psychiatric view personalities are fully formed and essentially unchangeable by cricketing age, of course behaviours can be changed, but the underlying desire to take that risk means it is not credible that they would be “cured” of cheating tendencies.
  3. The Australian players have created theatrical press conferences with wives, family members and young children in tow, that are obscene. What was needed was a genuine apology and a clear statement from each along the lines that they voluntarily would step back from cricket and never assume any leadership role.
  4. This is match fixing. Commentators in the national newspapers argue otherwise, but they are wrong. Match fixing is an attempt to illegally fix a result. This is the same a doping, diving, lying and all the other kinds of pretence seen in sport.

So what should happen. My view is that the players involved should voluntarily stand down from cricket for a year at minimum, that they should never have any leadership role again and finally they should donate their salary for a year to charity. Why are they receiving any salary still until June 2018? All these simple actions of humility would mean far more than fake tears of remorse. Lastly they should actually tell the truth and not hide behind the ongoing Cricket Australia investigations. It would be a good start to tell all bodies the truth and maybe start with the general public who after all pay their wages. Moving forwards sporting cheats should receive a lifetime ban, as who wants these characters in the sports that we love. They are paid huge sums of money to excel in their sports and by default be role models to some extent.

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A Day In Eilat-thoughts and photos


Eilat is the southernmost city in Israel sitting at the northern tip of the Red Sea with a population of around 50,000. Eilat is a popular tourist resort with regular flights from Tel Aviv as almost a shuttle service from Israel amongst other airlines. The diving options there are plentiful with unspoiled coral reefs and Eilat is regarded as  one of the world’s top diving centres. 0000189200001895

With only a few hours to see any of the city here are a few photographs that try to give a feel to the place. The temperatures are high being 30c even in early March and the beaches are a mixture of pebble stones with some sand. The only aspect that did not engage me though was the widespread usage of wire fences, sometimes with barbed wire to separate the promenade from the beach. 00001885

The food was amazing with fresh fruits and vegetables in abundance but with the odd curious aspect. At breakfast despite there being tomatoes on the buffets, the omelette chef did not allow tomatoes in his omelettes!00001903

 

The hotels seemed almost carved out of the hillside and the views from my room were quite unique.

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The beaches were fairly traditional with beach beds but also some more curious areas to sit. Some of the Eilat industry was also not too far away.

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If John Stead Had Been Playing For Brentford Would The Score Have Been different? Thoughts After A Dismal Day


Although no-one likes losing a game, frankly this was a game that Dean Smith clearly thought little of. Despite his post-match protestations, this was a  truly abysmal ineffective Brentford performance. Few would disagree with that and most might go further and ask why this might have happened. 00001572 copy

A very different Brentford team with 8 changes found it hard to get going and a half time score of 0-0 was about right against a physical Notts County.  The difference between the sides was a well taken goal from John Stead who is having a superb second half of his career at Notts County. 00001545 copy

With so many new faces it was maybe harsh to expect the kind of football and passing we are used to simply because the players have not played before together.  Individually a couple of the players had nightmare games for different reasons. Josh McCeachran was not only ineffective but gave the ball away numerous times and had his weakest game in a Brentford shirt. For all his skill, it is difficult to see what he gives to the team and his absence of physicality makes things even harder. Neal Maupay worked 100% but it seems does not have either the talent to succeed or the confidence, either way he again did not score and in the second half with multiple balls coming from the right from Florian Josefzoon one might have expected a goal or two. It is difficult to see how he can turn this around frankly. Alan Judge came on and had a decent 20 minutes and Marcondes also seemed a little unsure of his positioning but did show some promise. 0000152100001571

The reality of the game was that it should have been 0-0. Notts County worked hard but did not inspire, and although they will undoubtedly gain promotion, my guess is they will have a short stay in League 1 unless they sign a few more creative souls. I was not pleased to see their brand of physicality  ( which translates to fouls).

If Dean Smith wanted to win this game then he could and should have made perhaps only 4 changes. What he probably learnt was that his ” reserve” players are not perhaps quite up to Championship standard currently.

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The body language at the end showed it all, disappointment  , but simply the side was not good enough to score against a team two divisions below.  John Stead looked a decent player and with the number of balls that got into the box in the game, my suspicion is that if he were the Brentford forward, he might have had a hat-trick.

JM00001542000015271K4A7847000015230000151500001538Alan Judge will most likely be eased back over the next few months and realistically will look to be 100% by the start of next season. On positive notes yet again Chris Mepham played well and Florian worked hard but his final balls could be better. As we enter the transfer window yet again we are all thinking we need to sign 1-2 strikers. The argument that we already score lots of goals is not a good one, as with a pair of different styled strikers we might score a lot more. Some unanswered questions might be:

  1. Why has Justin Shaibu not featured more this season?
  2. What is the plan with Theo Archibald? Has his off-field antics caused behind the scenes problems?
  3. What to do with Neal Maupay?
  4. How could Brentford possibly consider selling Lasse Vibe?
  5. With our midfield and defensive players often getting balls into the box, is there not a solid argument for having a large centre-forward as either Plan B option or as yesterday, Plan A?

Premiership Football Is Killing Itself And I Do not Care


In a week when Griffin Park was packed for a superb game also televised live on Sky in which Brentford beat Aston Villa 2-1 the nonsense in the premiership has reached new heights. It is not just me but friends who are premiership season ticket holders are saying the same. IMG_6586

Lets take a look at events over only the last few days.

  1. Liverpool have signed an attitudinal centre back from Southampton for £75 million who is 26 years old on a 5.5 years deal for £180,000/week.
  2. Man City have effectively won the Premiership already in 2017 almost 5 months before the season ends having spent 134£ million in the summer alone and having won 18 straight fixtures. To try and combat this avalanche teams adopt an ultra-defensive mode when playing against them. The Newcastle side gave an incredibly defensive performance to lose 1-0 at home, in which in the first 30 minutes they always had 11 players behind the ball. How can anyone in the 52,000 crowd have been entertained by that? Certainly on Sky it was a tedious, predictable and boring game. Man City have now won 19 of their 20 premiership games and lead the title race by 15 points from Man Utd and are 21 points ahead of the team in 5th position. Is this ultimately good for football?
  3. Yet another football charged with assault. Jon Flanagan of Liverpool. Is this because they are inherently violent and unpleasant people ? Or maybe that footballers generally think themselves far superior to the football fans who pay to watch them?  Either way there has been a litany of never ending ( often alcohol-fuelled) events leading to court appearances and sometimes jail.

 

My team is Brentford and I have watched them for over 50 years. This is real football, played by real players and watched by real fans ( often in the pouring rain as was the case Boxing Evening versus Aston Villa). Things are never boring, there is little certainty in the Championship which side will win or lose, and this makes football a real game. 00001421

Money is ruining Premiership football and I could rant for hours over how the small clubs could benefit from more handouts from TV etc, however it is not going to happen. However if we reach a stage where the top 5 teams are the same every season, Man City always win the league  and the other teams are also-rans, then fans will lose interest. It may be in 5 or 10 or 20 years, in which case things will change. Why is the NFL and AFL so popular in USA? The whole system of player recruitment and wage caps is equitable and makes for a stable set of teams, changing annually . This is actually what football fans want, not to see a game where one side at home has 11 players behind the ball constantly for half the game. IMG_6587

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