A belated happy new year folks. Let’s hope 2013 brings peace and joy to the world. Of course it won’t happen but never say never. I’ve already had a couple of folk approach me with a view to burying the past so who knows. Miracles might happen. All the same, I’ll not hold me breath just yet.
The New year kicked off in fine style with a party at Anglers Paradise. I drank and danced the night away in fine company and woke with a clear head. There’s little more a man can ask for and with a bright sunny day beckoning I took advantage to wet a line. Nothing complicated, just a simple maggot feeder cast into the nearest lake and it wasn’t long before I was catching golden orfe, golden tench and some cracking carp. I do like the strain of carp there. Nice platey mirrors. So much prettier than those leathery fat pigs that so many target.
Size isn’t everything.
I rounded 2012 off with a few fish on the pole. Proper mixed bag, too. My first 6 drops produced 4 chub, a tench and an orfe. The bites slowed up after that but not to worry. I was at least out in the fresh air although it was certainly fresh.
Returning home it was hard to get enthusiastic about fishing. The rivers were bank high and downright dangerous. Then we had a really cold snap. and now we have snow. Bring it on, although I think I can wait before braving the elements. Give myself a chance to get rid of the man-flu that’s dogged me this past fortnight.
On A Roll
I did wet a line in the Trent, mind. Eventually.
I say eventually because I had a spot of bother. Normally I can park close to the river but the recent floods have created a problem. The grass looks fine but what isn’t apparent is the ground beneath it is sodden and covered by a thick film of sludge. Of course it just looks green because the grass is long enough to mask this. The moment I crested the rise I knew I was in trouble. I was facing the river on a slight incline with a big drop on my left into a ditch. Moreover I was facing the wrong way. Somehow I had to get the vehicle facing in the opposite direction and up the slope. Easier said than done.
An hour later after scouring the tide line half way across a field for twigs and branches I managed to extract myself from the skid pan and parked up on firm ground. Unfortunately I was miles away from where I was hoping to fish and would need two trips with the gear. These things are sent to try us.
I’ve got myself a set of Barry McConnell’s excellent Rollover indicators and I wanted to see if they’d solve a little problem I’ve been having with zander bites on the Trent. Mark Barrett was quick to point out that they’re useless when using big livebaits. Well they’re also useless for painting ceilings and playing golf with. But for deadbaits they are the absolute bees knees, certainly that’s the purpose I needed them for – to reduce the number of fast bites I get that pull the bobbin straight to the top whereupon the bait is ejected before the clip releases. With the Rollovers there’s no clip and you fish with an open bail arm.
On my very first cast the Rollover pivoted upwards, released the line, the Delkim warbled and I was able to pick up without haste and set the hooks. Job done! One hundred per cent success. Faultless. Of course if you are intending to clear a blocked drain the Rollover will be useless but used as intended they’re brilliant. Well done Barry!
As I sat by the rods gently being lulled by the drone of the distant A1, not a soul in sight in any direction, I was suddenly struck by the silence. I couldn’t hear a single bird. Usually you get a visit from a robin, a pied wagtail, the odd chaffinch, long tailed tits, warblers and so on. You also see lots of coots and moorhens. There were none. And then the penny dropped. With the bank side vegetation being submerged for several weeks the insect life normally found in the undergrowth will have been devastated. Most of the seeds will have been swept away or have rotted. Hence the lack of feathered friends.
A glance in the margins revealed hundreds of tell-tale footprints. Who says otters and mink don’t share the same territory? The banks had been well and truly quartered and I wonder, with so much high, coloured water, maybe our fury friends had given up trying to catch fish and settled for munching moorhens instead.
I did intend to have a day’s chubbing with Mike Townsend this week but unfortunately his only day off clashed with a meeting I had to attend at the bank. You can imagine then that I wasn’t a happy bunny when my Relationship Manager failed to turn up! Let’s just say the Area Manager took an ear bashing. It could have been worse and I suppose the case of wine they sent me as an apology went some way to repairing the damage…
Let It Snow
Two weeks ago we were being threatened by the ‘Beast From The East’. The TV news presenters worried about whether our stocks of grit and salt would run out. It didn’t materialise. Last week they said snow was on its way this week. 3 days in and we’ve barely totalled an inch. Now they say we’re due a deluge on Friday. Really? I suppose they have to get it right sooner or later. After all, this is winter and we normally do get a bit of snow.
Do we really need alarming broadcasts so far ahead? Is this going to be Armageddon? No. It’ll snow and we’ll suffer a bit of disruption for a couple of days. The same old faces will be trotted out to tell us it doesn’t happen in Norway, or Russia, or Canada. So what? Go live there if it bothers you. If everyone bought a 4×4 or fitted their vehicles with winter tyres and snow chains we wouldn’t have a problem. It’s a bit of snow. It’ll be gone in less time than we spend worrying about it beforehand. In fact it probably won’t even settle in London. Yes, the odd train will be late and points will freeze. Rest assured the self employed will barely miss a day’s work while those who work for the council will be unable to get out of their houses. ‘Tis always the way and forever will be.
Bewdley – The Perfect Spot For A Bit Of Night ‘Clubbing’
Having spent much of the past 25 years encouraging folk to sample the delights of barbel fishing on the River Severn in and around his adopted town of Bewdley, Big Des appears to be having second thoughts. Indeed he’s got the right hump on over this visitor who seems to have caught a fine winter barbel. If only fish squealed when they were in pain. Might add a new dimension to the TV report, eh?
Seems there’s been a bit of a run of seal stories of late. I’m hearing there’s one in the lake at Fen Drayton, home to massive carp. He’ll be popular! By all accounts the local RSPB has been saying there are plenty of fish in there for him to eat. F*** me, if a tiger escapes from Regents Park zoo will some bright spark be telling us not to worry, there’s no shortage of homeless folk?
Portrait Of A Charming Man
Angling owes a massive debt to Peter Drennan. I suspect every last one of us will find some item of kit that he produces amongst our gear. He does the lot from hooks and tiny beads right up to rods and everything else. And you get both quality and value for money. Peter Drennan has made fishing easy and should you ever meet him you’ll find, as I do, that he’s warm and charming. Completely down to earth.
Not bad who started out life making a few floats in his mum’s garage. And now you can watch his story.
Thank you Angling Times. Who’s next we wonder…
Wonder No More.
The Times Interview series is growing rapidly. You may now add Jan Porter and Bob Nudd to the roster.
And Stop Press. Dick Clegg. Get in there!
Not unexpectedly football’s managerial merry-go-round is now in full swing again. But dear, oh dear, what are these owners playing at in the Championship? Bristol, Barnsley, Blackpool, Blackburn, Forest and Wolves each sacked their manager within days. Can’t be long before Wednesday and Birmingham follow suit? Can a third of all Championship managers really be so bad?
I suppose Forest’s sacking of Sean O’Driscoll has to be the strangest. SOD was hired back in August with 12 days left in the transfer window. He only had about a dozen players left in a squad that narrowly dodged relegation the previous season and the best of that bunch had moved on. He was appointed as part of a long-term plan. Stabilise, build, then push for promotion within 5 years. That he managed to create a squad in a fortnight and then got them to within a point of the play-offs is in itself remarkable. His final game, at home to Leeds, resulted in a 4-2 win. He was expecting to strengthen the defence in the transfer window and push on yet he was sacked immediately after the game! The owner’s patience had run out. The 5-year plan was now a 5-month plan. Promotion this season was the goal and they wanted an iconic name with Premiership experience. So they signed up Alex McLeish – Agent Big ‘Eck.
Well, he certainly does have Premiership managerial experience having previously been in charge at two clubs who were relegated from it.
The sacking of Wolves manager Solbakken wasn’t exactly a shock but his replacement is. I personally couldn’t believe the news that they wanted Dean Saunders. Surely not? ‘Oh please, God, let it be true!’ I prayed.
‘Of course you can have our manager!’ Said John Ryan, our beloved Chairman. And off he went. Only hours earlier Saunders’ team was booed off the park at half time in a game at the Keepmoat. A win would put the Rovers level top with Tranmere. Colchester arrived on the back of 7 straight defeats and in dismal form, scoring a mere 3 goals whilst conceding 18. A decent win would have put Donny on top of the table but a scrappy game was decided by another a late goal. A meagre 1-0 scoreline secured the points.
At least it was a home win. Prior to this victory they’d only won 5 home games and suffered 5 defeats. Then again, the average strike rate, at home this season, contrasts starkly with the league position. You’d expect a little more than 1.2 goals scored per game. A third of all Doncaster’s goals, home and away have come in the final 15 minutes. The last 6 games have produced 7 late goals.
Convincing? You tell me.
Quite what Wolves think they are getting I cannot imagine. Perhaps with millions to spend things will be different but if the fare being served up in League One is anything to go by then Wolves can expect their share of dire percentage football, or, as I prefer to call it, hoofball.
There’s a myth about Saunders amongst elements of our fans. These are the ones who believe winning a drab, boring game 1-0 against dire opposition is fantastic. Everyone behind the ball and hit ’em on the break. Get 3 shots on goal in 90 minutes and score one. Then shut up shop. The home gates say it all really. Crap league, crap football, crap crowds and a Championship disaster looming because it looks like we’re going up in May.
Saunders took over Donny in the Championship 7 games into the 2011/2 season. He had 39 chances to save us and he certainly talked the talk. In fact most everything he said then he’s repeated at Wolves. After just two games we were out of the bottom 3 and had several players returning from injury including those crippled by Brighton’s thuggery on opening day. The Chairman told anyone who would listen in the media that he hadn’t ruled out promotion. You couldn’t fault his optimism!
Unfortunately the honeymoon quickly came to an end and Saunders took us down to League One despite fielding a glittering array of foreign mercenaries and out-of-favour Premiership loanees. Rock bottom of the table and completely out of his depth. Thanks mate. Wolves, you are welcome to him.
His record at Wrexam shows he was capable of building a decent Conference side but despite having the biggest budget in the league he failed to clinch promotion in 3 attempts. His record at Donny over the best part of a season in the Championship ended in relegation. Half a season in a very poor League One with one of the highest budgets his team is competing near the top. We’ll never know now whether it would have fizzled out a-la-Wrexham or whether he actually is capable of finishing a job. So far there’s nothing in his CV which supports that.
Rovers are having an odd season. The home form is poor but a remarkable run of away wins has recently cemented an automatic promotion position. A number of those wins have been far fromconvincing but he’s rode his luck well and there’s nothing like 3 points to paper over a few cracks. Here’s an interesting statistic, Wolves fans. Doncaster have had the lowest average number of shots on goal per game in the whole of League One this season. At this level it would seem you only have to convert an odd chance. Especially away from home.
Credit where it’s due though, he’s built a ruthlessly competitive League One side but it neither pleases the eye nor would it ever hope to compete in the Championship. Maybe it’s his level. A competent lower league manager?
Should Rovers get promoted the directors will have to dig deep and I’m not sure they have an appetite for that. Saunders left 12 days ago and is yet to be replaced on a permanent basis. We’re going through the process of advertising, short listing, then interviewing sometime next week. Pretty much taking plenty of time over the appointment of a successor. Meanwhile the end of the transfer window looms. I wouldn’t be unduly surprised if we decided to stick with temporary management till the season ends and see what happens. It’s an odd set of circumstances. Normally it’s clubs in trouble that need a manager, not those at the top of the league. Of course, as far as the fans are concerned the new manager would be expected to deliver a promotion within 4 months of his arrival. A bit like Big ‘Eck really…
Must say, I get a feeling that despite JR’s rhetoric, promotion will be an unfortunate accident. Deep down a little dip might suit best. Maybe lose in the play-off final. Make a few quid, avoid the expense of promotion and everyone keeps their job. A jaundiced view? You bet! I’m not certain that Doncaster can ever become an established Championship club. Current gates of around 6,000 suggest not. But we live in hope.
At least we are not facing administration like Swindon and Portsmouth. These two clubs really do take the biscuit. They’ve extended themselves too far, too often, and all for what? Chasing a dream they’re unable to sustain, yet they keep spending other folks money, running up debts they know they cannot pay.
Both clubs appear to be heading into admin for the THIRD time. Surely that’s unforgivable? At what point does someone step in and say sorry, that’s an unacceptable way to run a business? No more. It’s over. You are finished. No longer will you be allowed to write off debts by paying folk 10p in the pound. You are an unsuitable, reckless business. This is legalised stealing. We’re closing you down. Who do you think you are? Leeds United?!!!