2013 – May Blog

With so much to do and so little time I’m afraid the blog has been neglected a little in the past month but hey ho, let’s go! (as Joey Ramone would have said…) Aaahhh, The Ramones. Must dig out Leave Home sometime and do a bit of time travel. 1-2-3-4! What a band. They played for me at the Outlook Club a lifetime ago and I was blown away. A veritable whirlwind. Twenty songs in a 40 minute set that left me and hundreds of others wide eyed and reeling. I’d never witnessed power and unbridled joy like it. Who needed to sniff glue when you had the Ramones? “I remember you-ooh-uh-ooh-ooh…”

Oh hell, it’s gotta be done:

Sadly I digress. Then again it’s so easy to do that when you’re a daydreamer. Welcome to another bumper blog. Better grab a cuppa and make yourself comfortable because this will tie you up for a while.

Back To 1977

But hey ho, let’s go fishing now. What have I been up to? Well, once the river season is out of the way I like to turn my attentions towards commercials because this is the perfect time to target roach before the vermin carp wake up and ruin everything. For a few short weeks I can scale down my gear and pretend I’m back in 1977 when both carp and cormorants were rarely seen in my neck of the woods.

Test

Which reminds me of a shocking statistic I read in the Salmon and Trout Association magazine Gamefisher. More than 600 non-native species have arrived in Britain since 1950. Yes, you read that correctly, SIX HUNDRED!!!!

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-european-aspen-tree-taken-down-image19579078

It also mentions that 100 beavers, illegally introduced to the River Tay are to stay. A crazy decision taken by Scotland’s minister for environment and climate change. I say we go the whole hog and release grizzly bears in Salford and maybe open the gates at Knowlesy Safari Park. Why not?

On The House

Hope you’re keeping up because this is going to be a bit of a random blog!

Sykehouse

A few hours with my old mate Trev Empson at Sykehouse Fisheries went down a treat. A trip to the docs meant I didn’t arrive until lunchtime but it didn’t stop me bagging up on roach sitting well back from the edge and using just two sections of pole. Unfortunately the big roach didn’t show but I couldn’t complain about the quantity. Can’t help wondering how I would get on here with hemp and tares…

Sykehouse Bream

It’s all about simple rigs and tactics.

Simple Rigs

Straight And Narrow

Next up after Sykehouse was the Straight Mile at Brampton. It’s your typical snake lake but untypically you are restricted to using just 5 baits and pellets are not on the menu. In a howling wind I chose my swim on the grounds of gaining a bit of shelter and respite.

Straight Mile Action

Unfortunately this put me in a relatively shallow area so I stretched things to a whole 3 sections of pole. I do wish I’d taken more bait because a couple of pints of maggots simply wasn’t enough. I ran out and spent the last hour scratting around on the floor looking for skins I’d thrown away and still continued to catch. Alas I was soon baitless and frustrated because I’d missed my target by two fish. Still, 296 roach, 1 rudd and a small carp ain’t bad for a few hours fishing, is it?

Straight Mile

Would You Like That Fish Battered, Sir?

I usually throw down a spring challenge to Marc Johnson at Tyram Fisheries. Peg One angler Marc regularly runs carp trips to France in the summer but his passion is for match fishing. To add a twist we tend to fish the members carp lake, squeezing in between the bivvies and buzzers. He beat me last year so I was out for revenge. Unfortunately after catching two roach on my first two drops neither of us could get a bite so we switched to the match lake. Now I was in trouble!

Marc Tyram Carp

My game plan was to fish short pole for roach and skimmers while his was to chuck a method feeder to the island. Amazingly he struggled to catch anything. The fish were clearly all over his bait but they just wouldn’t take it. Meanwhile I sacked up on skimmers and roach. Unfortunately I did find myself attached to a carp every now and then which is a proper old pain in the backside, especially when they’re pushing double figures and I’m on a 4’s elastic, 2lb line and a tiny fine wire hook.

Tyram Hall

I won’t dwell on the outcome of our match other than to say revenge is sweet. I battered him!!! There’s always next time Marc… 😉

Oh my God, I simply cannot concentrate. I’m trying to write this blog with the Ramones playing in the background! This is a clip from the 1977 tour:

The audience is made up of kids who previously would have listened to bands like Rush, Robin Trower, Jefferson Starship, Hawkwind and Manfred Mann’s Earthband. Life would never be the same again for this generation! This is the defining moment when the 20-minute drum solo was consigned to history. Guitar solos were for for your grandad.

Within weeks those kids in the audience would be cutting their long hair and shaving off the bum fluff. Say hello to the world of spiky hair, chopping chords, ripped t-shirts, safety pins, adrenaline rushes and pure excitement. Bring on the Pistols, the Clash and the Stranglers. Never was music more pure or basic than this.

Generation X

Thirty-six years later it’s all one thousand per cent yes, absolutely yes and you’ve got four BIG yes’s. More ooh’s and yes’s than a Seventies porn flick. Dear me, it’s mogadon for the masses. Sadly the Playstation generation ain’t never gonna be a Generation X. Kids today, eh? Huh!

The massess have been subjugated by the idiot box in the corner. Big Brother is no longer watching you. Three decades after Orwell’s 1984 we’re the one’s watching Big Brother.

Say you wanna revolution…? Roll over in your grave, John Lennon.

Still, the Road To Wigan Pier now has an FA Cup to replace the dance hall.

Meanwhile, Keep The Aspidistra Flying.

Footnote: “You must love Big Brother. It is not enough to obey him; you must love him.” O’Brian tells this to Winston (presumably as he prepares to audition before Simon Cowell).

Skimpy Return

So it was a day at Alderfen for me next. I wanted to catch a few skimmers on the feeder, just for a change. It’s always good to spend time chatting with Dave Walker, the owner. He cracks me up.

Alderfen action

Alas I failed to do the business fishing wise. To be honest I just didn’t fish well. It was a bad day at the office but I did catch a few bream, plus tench, roach, rudd, ‘nearly’ crucians and mirror carp so mustn’t grumble too loudly. A few years ago this would have been regarded as a cracking day. I’m just getting greedy.

Nearly Crucian

Soon as the weather gets a little warmer I’ll be back to Alderfen. The carp in the carp lake are now breaking through into the twenties and I won’t say no to hooking a few of those on floaters. And then there’s the specci lake. It’s already thrown up some big rudd this year.

Alderfen part catch

Mystery Solved

I had an interesting email about a skeleton that was found by the Tidal Trent asking if I could possibly identify the fish. From the description, a metre long without its head I was thinking perhaps a big pike but when I got hold of some photos I was stumped. It was like nothing I’d seen before in the Trent.

Trent Skeleton

Alan Henshaw at the EA was struggling, too, so I contacted the Natural History Museum. Turns out it was a porpoise! They were very surprised by how far inland it had swum though.

Doctor Feelgood’s Miracle Tablets

I won’t bore you with too many details but I’ve suffered a pretty grim winter health-wise. My neck and back pretty much seized up and I didn’t get a decent nights sleep in the best part of 6 months. I couldn’t turn my head to the left or right. Couldn’t get my arms high enough to pull a jumper over my head. Just standing up and moving around was proving difficult and explains my eagerness to concentrate on short pole tactics.

When things got really bad I was consuming a ridiculous number of prescription drugs and the doctor was even doubling up on tablets: ‘If you don’t get relief after 6 of these you can take up to 8 of these as well.’

Pills

The picture shows what I was taking after breakfast alone. The warning leaflet suggested I might start hearing or seeing things and maybe feel a bit paranoid.

And then I saw a second specialist. I really get on with my GP, but like he says, he’s just a gatekeeper. He’s there for the day-to-day ailments. I needed the A-Team. One consultation, a course of steroids and within 3 days I was pain free. It was nigh on a miracle. No wonder Sheikh Mohammed’s trainer was pumping his racehorses with them!

The Doc reckons if I can stay on them for 2 years my problem will go away. Eureka! Just got to be careful about a whole new bunch of side effects but do I care. Not on your Nellie. I can enjoy fishing again. Bring on that trip to Zambia!

Reservoir Dogs

By now I’d got my skimmer bream head on so I decided to have a crack at Cowick Reservoirs near Goole. These balancing reservoirs on the side of the Aire and Calder Canal offer brilliant fishing when they are on form. It’s just that they have been out of form for ages due to the cold weather.

Cowick Action

Knowing what I know now I’d have fished at much shorter range with the feeder. Pushing for maximum distance was not just a mistake, it simply wasn’t necessary and the resulting lack of accuracy cost me fish. Okay, I caught, but nowhere near as well as I should have done. That became completely apparent when I switched to the pole and caught steadily. Bream, skimmers and roach lined up for my bait. In fact if I had gone out on the long pole instead of just 9 metres and much earlier I’m sure I’d have caught a lot more fish.

Cowick Catch

The only sad thing about the day was that every single fish over 2lbs had an open wound on its flanks courtesy of the cormorants that roost on the central spit. They are bastards and I find it difficult to treat any RSPB member who hides behind the EU protectorate for these evil birds with any respect. These cormorants are not endangered, they are a plague, but our wild fish species are. Somethings got to change soon.

I did have to smile though when I heard an almighty splash behind me. I’d been pestered by a hungry swan earlier and I presumed it was creating a bit of a commotion at the next angler’s peg. When I looked around there was no swan to be seen, nor was there an angler, well, not at least until he popped up his head from beneath the water. He’d obviously been hunched over concentrating way too hard on his tip when he tippled forwards taking his box and trays with him. I rushed down to give a hand and rescue his tackle but it was an early bath for this guy, literally.

On Sale Now Folks!

Caught In The Act went on sale at the beginning of May and the feedback we’ve had, not to mention the press coverage, has been sensational. Comparisons with Passion For Angling are flattering but a little wide of the mark if you ask me. They’re very different films. I do however find it hard to believe that it hasn’t raised a discussion on a single one of the main angling forums.

Begging

It seems the regulars still can’t quite agree which rod rest is best or where’s the best place to buy pellets.

Sporting Chance

When I announced that I was going to write a weekly angling column for the Sunday Sport a couple of fairly well known anglers were quite sniffy about it, ‘Thought you were better than that,’ and so on. Well, a month in and I’m really chuffed about the venture. They like it, I like it and the feedback I’m getting from those who’ve read it confirms they like it, too. What’s more my sponsors, Daiwa are fully in favour, as Daiwa already have a close working relationship with two of the red tops up in Scotland.

Sport Interview

It’s all well and good on an individual level to think you are cultured and high brow but please tell me which of the broadsheets carries a coarse angling column or is in any way likely to do so anytime soon? I’ll tell you. None of them. What I will say though is that more coarse anglers read red tops than the Times, Guardian, Telegraph and so on.

38-39SFTW.indd

The Sport clearly did it’s homework before approaching me and they asked that I include tactical and technical content. I must confess I feared my column would be jazzed up (or dare I say jizzed!) with lots of feeble innuendos, but it hasn’t been. They are playing a straight bat and I can ask for no more than that. It’s an honour to write for the paper and be treated in this way. I had a fabulous message from them this week that read: ‘We REALLY love the column. It works perfectly, reads fantastically and the ed loves it.’

Shame you rarely get that kind of feedback from angling papers!

Going Topless

Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a voluntary double mastectomy is one that I, as a man, will never truly grasp. I cannot begin to imagine the emotional trauma involved. Men are obsessed with breasts. We cannot take our eyes off them. We talk to them rather than give eye contact and we treat women with a ‘fine rack’ differently. Indeed, size and shape seem to matter little when it comes to the masculine libido. It’s embarassing but I guess we really are that shallow.

angelina

Jolie’s decision, undertaken as a preventative measure, could save her life, though it will come with a truck load of trauma. But be in no doubt she will remain one of the world’s most beautiful and desireable women, breasts or no breasts. She has it all. Beauty and brains. And Brad Pitt, of course. Let’s hope she can continue with her amazing humanitarian work.

Richard E Feynman

Caught the tail end of a documentary on TV last night featuring the late Richard P Feynman. Feynman was the maverick scientist on the enquiry into the Challenger Shuttle Disaster when NASA would have prefered we didn’t learn that rubber ‘O’ rings couldn’t cope with a cold morning. He was also involved in the development of the atom bomb.

Mind racing, I was soon rummaging through my bookshelves to find the most enjoyable science book I’ve ever read. It’s called ‘Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman!’. Infinitely more autobiographical than scientific, this safecracking, bongo-drumming, mind reading and Nobel prize winning prankster takes you on a roller-coaster journey that buzzes with energy, anecdotes and life. As one reviewer put it, ‘Richard Feynman is the kind of scientist you’d expect to meet in a Douglas Adams book.’

feynman copy

In fact I’m reading it again now and you can, too, if want. It’s available HERE as a PDF.

There’s a Feynman web site and I found a clip of Bill Gates extolling him as the man who made physics fun on the Microsoft web site. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but there’s more to life than bolt rigs.

One For You Diary

Stu and I will be attending the Barbel Society Show on Sunday 9th June 2013 at the Chesford Grange Hotel, Kenilworth, Warwickshire where we’ll be delivering one of the talks. There’s one hell of a line-up of speakers at this do including Dr. Paul Garner, Des Taylor and Dave Harrell.

logo_badge

If you don’t learn something after listening to that little lot then I’m afraid you’re dead from the neck up.

At £8 for members and £10 for non members it’s a bargain, especially when you consider the number of tackle and bait deals that will be on offer in the adjacent trade hall. Full details of how to obtain tickets can be found HERE.

BF25cover

Mentioning the Barbel Society, I have an article in their latest issue of Barbel Fisher. This is a classy magazine, heavy paper, glossy finish and all-round top quality articles. Almost worth joining the Society for this alone.BF Spread

It’s My Life

Lloyd Rodgers came up from Peterborough the other day to film me for the latest ‘My Life In Angling’ and record an interview for a spread in today’s Angling Times (May 14th). Love that headline – it’s me to a tee. As for the picture, there’s the evidence to support what you always suspected, I CAN walk on water!

My Life

I do think these interviews, broadcast freely on the Times’ Youtube Channel are a stroke of genius. I have no doubt there were some amazing anglers around a couple of generations ago. Their books are still kicking around but not many had what you might call a serious library of photographs. Nor did they appear on TV programmes, in DVDs or radio so all we have is a few grainy black and white images.

This series is a little gem of history in the making. Personalities preserved for posterity.

Footnote: If I may point out a small error in the piece, I’m credited with skippering Goldthorpe. That’s something I never did nor would have wanted, to be honest. I knew my limitations and would sooner try to broker the Middle East peace talks!

Going Clubbing

For the past 16 years I have organised a match fishing competition that is aimed at encouraging and supporting club match anglers. I didn’t invent it, I inherited it when Colin Dyson asked me to ‘ghost’ his column for a few weeks whilst he was seriously ill. I didn’t appreciate his illness was terminal although I’m sure he did. The Green Un Club Match Angler Championship has been running for the best part of 50 years. It has been the backbone of the Green Un sports newspaper’s angling column for half a century and I’m just carrying the torch.

Grass Roots

The winner of each match that is reported in the paper is invited to compete in a semi final. The section winners from the semis goes through to a 20 peg final. Daiwa have sponsored us for the past 2 years and will be on board again next year. They put £3,000 worth of prizes into the final and in the 16 years I’ve run it the total sponsorships raised is almost £50,000. Is there any wonder it’s popular? Club match angling gets a shot in the arm, plenty of press coverage and well supported.

Green Un Semi 201310 (2)

The Internet is killing newspapers and when the Green Un announced it was not going to publish outside of the football season I was concerned for the future of the Club Match Angler Championship and of course the sponsorship that goes with it. I needn’t have worried. The Sheffield Star stepped in immediately and offered me a regular page in their Grass Roots Friday night sports supplement. In fact they’ve agreed double page spreads for the semi and the final.

It’s great to be able to put something back into the branch of the sport that gave me my first break.

Green Un Semi 201312

As for the semi final matches, wow! The venue was Hayfield Lakes and they fished really well. 47 anglers topped 60lb, 20 scored over 90lb and 13 broke the ton. That’s pretty good by any standards. A big thanks to Dave Taylor for optimising the pegging and to Pauline and Geoff Hurt who pretty much run the match for me. I couldn’t possibly do without their help.

The Coolest Man In Outer Space?

Come on, you would, wouldn’t you? And so must every single astronaught. I cannot imagine being in outer space and not singing those imortal words, ‘Ground Control to Major Tom…’ It just has to be done, doesn’t it?

Well, here for the first time is the official proof. This isn’t an actor or a mock-up film set. This is Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield doing what I’d give my right arm to do.

The full story and more is HERE.

Ashes To Ashes

Meanwhile on the other side of the world Stu Walker, James Gould and I appeared on the pages of an Australian fishing magazine. The last time we went GT fishing we met up with a bunch of hard drinking Aussies and the Andaman Ashes was born. A week long challenge took place for the princely sum of one English pound. Alas we were spanked but we have a great excuse, we were outnumbered 4 to 3 plus we were making a film for TV but how ever you disguise it we were out-fished.

Andaman Ashes

So they wrote a whole article about the experience. Ouch!

Although they did have a better boat.

Not that we’re bitter…

Ding Dong – The Football Bit

I guess I’d better mention football. How about, ‘Ding Dong, Fergie’s Gone’… Or would that cause offense to glory hunters all over the world? Well, what can you say? The king’s gone, long live the new king, I suppose. He certainly did incredibly well and proved without any shadow of a doubt that the clubs who have the most money win all the trophies. The shock is not so much when Man U win something, it’s when they don’t. And then their fans have the audacity to moan and bitch about bad decisions and referees; and don’t anyone dare call them selfish spoiled brats.

David Moyes now takes over. That’s David who has never won anything outside of a 3rd division promotion in his entire managerial career to date. Let’s see how well he does with untold riches to play with. What’s the betting he wins a trophy next year?

Just Deserts

Well, well, well. Dean Saunders has been sacked by Wolves. Now there’s a surprise. Was it really only 5 months ago that he walked out of Doncaster and set about telling the world that he was aiming for the play-offs with Wolves, a boast that now sounds rather hollow, especially as Wolves were relegated and Doncaster will be replacing them in the Championship.

If by chance his boast sounds familiar, he said exactly the same when he walked out on Wrexham to take S’OD’s job at Doncaster – before S’OD had even been sacked!

A troll round the Wolves fan’s forums soon reveals they were not impressed by the Welsh windbag who has now relegated two teams from the Championship in successive seasons despite his goal of the play-offs. Alas his ego and ambition has twice taken him to scenarios that showed him to be completely out of his depth. Hoofball’s fine in the lower leagues. It doesn’t get you far in the Championship.

Deano, you got your just deserts. You were the weakest link, not once, but twice. Although it won’t stop you thinking you deserve a crack at the Man Citeh job, will it?

Never Mind Rodders, We’re Millionaires

Whoever takes over at Wolves will be in an enviable position. Whilst teams in the same division will be hamstrung by football’s Financial Far Play Regulations, Wolves will enjoy comparatively bumper gates plus a whacking £16M in Premiership Parachute Payments.

This year Yeovil reached the Wembley play-offs with a squad who’s combined wage bill was less than a million pounds.Wolves currently have individual players who earn twice that amount. I suspect a huge clear-out is on the way, providing of course that anyone will have them.

Make that a fire sale. Everything must go, no reasonable offer refused…

You Couldn’t Make It Up

As for Donny, what a strange season. It’s hard to believe they are champions of League One. After all the squad was cobbled together in a very short time. The entire Championship team was hastily offloaded and not a penny was spent on transfers. Saunders himself told the local radio that if the team he’d cobbled together finished 11th or 12th they would have done brilliant. Shows how much he knew!

Then again, I guess no-one appreciated how dire League One would be this season. It was awful and not one team stood out.

Rovers gained promotion despite losing EIGHT home games. They were thoroughly unconvincing but a catalogue of improbable away wins, often thanks to injury time goals, saw them go into the final day needing a draw at Brentford to gain promotion. If they lost then Brentford would go up instead.

Both teams huffed and puffed till the 94th minute. Donny had promotion in their grasp when a penalty was awarded against them, harshly, I’d say, because no-one is quite sure why it was given. Some say handball, some say a high foot, some say a barge. It didn’t matter, Brentford simply had to tuck it away and they would be promoted.

Crazily the Brentford players were a little indecisive over who would take the kick and in stepped a young loanee from Fulham to smack it against the crossbar. It was too much for Brentford to take. Half the team laid down on the pitch, heads in hands. Meanwhile Donny broke away, raced down the other end and stuck the ball in the net to ensure they would be playing Championship football next season.

Meanwhile, up on Merseyside, Bournmemouth had failed to beat Tranmere although a goalless draw still looked to be enough to secure them the league title. Indeed their fans were on the pitch chanting ‘we want our trophy now’ but in one of those classic embarassing scenarios, their game had finished 6 minutes earlier than the one at Griffin Park. Bournemouth’s celebrations proved a little premature when news filtered through that Donny had not only scored, they had snatched away the title!

And then Watford ‘did a Doncaster’ with their own penalty/winning goal effort in the last minute of the Championship play-off against Leicester.

In a truly amazing coincidence both games were officiated by the same referee, Michael Oliver!

Tears For Fears?

Alas where we’re concerned it’ll all end in tears. I simply cannot see Doncaster having the wherewithal to stay up next season. Indeed temporary manager Brian Flynn’s contract ran out 48 hours after the Brentford game and guess what? He wasn’t given the job permanently. Instead he’s been shipped upstairs into the role of Director of Football. Meanwhile the search is on for a new manager.

Who knows, maybe Dean ‘Soundbite’ Saunders will return and add a third consecutive relegation on his CV… You never know in football, do you? One thing you can be absolutely certain of, should that happen none of it will be his fault. Saunders wears a Teflon suit.

Whoever does get the job will get a reality check when it comes to player recruitment. CEO Gavin Baldwin has announced the club’s acquisition of the ground has produced a £260,000 profit this season and things are set to get even better. “Next season it’ll probably make a profit of £460,000. That’s paying for three or four really good players to come to this club.

Kinda puts Blackburn’s splurge of £8 MILLION on Jordan Rhodes into perspective and re-opens the mockery of the parachute payments system. Bet you didn’t know that teams promoted from League One actually have to pay out £25,333 to the League before the end of May…

Real Football Isn’t About Winning 49 Trophies

Commiserations to the Peterborough fans who saw their team relegated from the Championship in such cruel fashion just as the fat lady was clearing her throat. That had to hurt but they put up a valiant fight and so nearly pulled it off. Relegation will not be the end of Posh. It’s just a new chapter starting and they’ll bounce back. Because that’s what real football is about. Like stocks and shares, real teams can go down as well as up.

For all their puffed out chests and grandiose boasts can someone tell me what is so wonderful about associating yourself with one of the Manchester teams, or Chelsea? Or Celtic even? The idea that a disastrous season is measured by failing to win a trophy is frankly pathetic. These fans only know success and they really don’t get football. They only ‘get’ winning and the millions their adopted clubs receive from impossibly rich benefactors, sponsorship, world-wide merchandising, Sky TV and the Champions League mean their current supremacy is practically impregnable.

For them the prospect of relegation is less likely than you or I winning the Euro Lottery or bedding Beyonce and I actually pity their fans for that. They will never understand the real emotional ties that, say, older Wigan fans will. They’ve seen their team play in the fourth division. They will probably be playing Doncaster next year. They’ve ridden the roller coaster but somehow they won the FA cup on Saturday in glorious, improbable circumstances. Deservedly, too. How good for the rest of us was that!

At the conclusion of the 1997/98 season Doncaster sat at the foot of Division 3 (now League Two). We said goodbye to the Football League and headed off into the wilderness of the Conference where we’d spend the next five years rubbing shoulders with Dover Athletic, Forest Green and Hednesford Town.

The four teams immediately above us escaped and gained a second chance. Boy, did they take it. Can you guess who those four teams were?

Here’s the foot of the table at the end of 1997/98:

20   Swansea City
21   Cardiff City
22   Hull City
23   Brighton & Hove Albion
24   Doncaster Rovers

Amazing isn’t it? Three of those teams will be in the Premiership next year, a fourth was denied the chance by a £15m loanee from Old Trafford while Donny will be in the Championship with 5 trophies and a relegation in the past 10 years to reflect on.

A year earlier Wigan Athletic had won the 4th Division title. Fulham were runners-up.

But for every winner there’s a loser.

In 1997/98 Stockport County were a top ten Championship club finishing 15 places above Manchester City; above West Brom, QPR, Stoke City and Norwich. Next season they’ll kick off in the Conference North, 6 leagues below Man City. That’s what happens in REAL football. It’s not all trophies and medals dot com and Sheikh it all about.

I’m fairly sure the Man United’s of this world believe the Lord’s Prayer was written purely with them in mind:

…for thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

And that, in a sentence, is what’s wrong with football and why the vision of yet another predictable Man United or Celtic open-topped bus parade is so laughably ridiculous. Look, there’s real football and there’s megs-bucks Hollywood. There’s grass roots and there’s this bastardised Cowellesque charade that masquerades as if it’s everything that matters. It doesn’t. Reality has left the building.

Sorry Mr Manchini, I know you won the cup and the Premier League, but that was last year. Second in the Prem and second in the FA Cup this year is simply not good enough for a club like City. We’ve invested millions and we’re very, very important so we have to win. At no small expense we’ve hired Lord Sugar to say, ‘I’m sorry, but you’re fired.’

Ding dong! Another one’s gone. Bye, bye Raffa, too! Oh well, Venger out!!!

Footnote: I started with a little homage to 1977 so what more fitting way to end than with a summary of the beautiful game in 1977.

Surprise, surprise, Liverpool held off the challenge of Man City to win the First Division title. Man Utd Beat Liverpool to win the FA Cup while Liverpool won the European Cup.  ‘Scuse me if I yawn! Open top bus parade, anyone? Or should we just include it in the scheduled timetable?

Meanwhile down in the basement, Southern League Champions Wimbledon won promotion to the Football League. Elton John decided he’d pump a few million pounds into 4th Dvision Watford and promised them First Division football…

Meanwhile, in 2013, Watford and Palace fans now have an opportunity to fork out £98 plus booking fees to watch the second division play-off final at Wembley. It’s a far cry from the days when football was a working class sport, don’t you think?

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