SORRY FOR MY ABSENCE
Well where have I been and why haven’t I blogged since June?
The simple answer is ‘Surgery’
I have been waiting to have Bariatric surgery for a while now and knew that it would take place in the second half of 2012 and in July I was told I could get called in for it at any time. With this knowledge along with the worry that was now going on in my head unfortunately my blog had to take a back seat as I wasn’t in the right place in my head to do it. Due to the seriousness of the upcoming surgery I wanted to spend my time doing other things such as spending as much time as possible with my family and being on the river bank when possible.
So sorry to anybody that has missed reading updates but from now I will be posting again on a regular basis now that my surgery is complete and I am fully healed.
Anyway as I have quite a bit to catch up on then this blog will probably be a long one but hopefully well worth the read, so here goes……..
As I said earlier I’ve now had my surgery and I have healed really well. I won’t lie, it was the most terrifying experience of my life, I don’t mean the surgery itself it’s the uncertainty of thinking ‘what if I don’t wake up?’ Like all major surgeries there is a risk that you might die during or after the procedure and being a single parent of 2 teenage kids this was my biggest worry, the thought that they might be left without a parent to look after them terrified me more than the surgery itself.
I ended up having the surgery in November and the day itself was one of the longest and most surreal of my life. I arrived at the hospital at 7am and was sat around waiting until 4pm before I was operated on! The worst part was the walk to theatre, it felt like I was on death row and was walking to the electric chair. Everything seemed a daze as I climbed onto the operating table and an oxygen mask was placed on my face before I was given the injection to knock me out. What a horrible feeling it was, it felt like I had a 10 tonne weight on my chest and that I couldn’t breathe, I even shouted “I can’t breathe!” to which the anaesthetist calmly said “you’re doing fine” and the next thing I remember was waking up in recovery as high as a kite on morphine and babbling nonsensical bollocks to the nurse but all I could think of was what a relief it was to wake up and that I was alive.
Later that night I saw my kids and parent’s which cheered me up no end and then it was time for the road to recovery and a new life, the only downside being I couldn’t fish or do anything else until after the new year.
To start with this section of my blog will be not too in depth and not talk about many sessions as there are too many as I haven’t blogged for 6-7 months, so i just want to give a general idea on how my fishing went during that time. I will go more in depth with what I have been up to from my sessions since the New Year later on.
Well what a bizarre season we have had so far on the river Trent, for most of the time it has been well above normal levels and also spent quite a bit of that time in flood. The picture below is taken above the A46 at Newark-on-Trent in late November and shows just how bad things were.
Having said that I’m having a great season up to press catching, a lot of barbel along the way. Up to today my barbel count stands at:
165 out of a target of 200
11 doubles out of a target of 20
So with 6 and a half weeks of the season to go I still have a quite a few fish to go, especially doubles to the targets I set myself. Having said that due to me being out of action for 7 weeks because of the surgery and the fact that the river has been difficult to fish due to the condition it has been for a lot of the time I’m very happy with how my season has gone so far.
Even though I have had good results it has been tough going and the main reasons I have had a good year are 35 years knowledge of the river along with using all the watercraft skills I have picked up over that time. As I have said in previous blogs a lot of my work is done before the season even starts checking out stretches and pegs and chucking a lead out to learn depths of swims and how the bottom can change from gravel to silt etc. Also write EVERYTHING down, not only what you catch but on what methods, baits, the date, weather, river conditions, moon phase etc. as all this information you collect over time will be your essential ‘knowledge base’ for reference and future catches.
I did have trio of memorable short 6-7 hour sessions in the space of a week on the river in October when I landed around 30 barbel which included 4 doubles up to 11lb 8oz and 7 fish over 9lb that did include this ‘double header’ of fish that weighed in at 9lb 4oz & 9lb 1oz.
Just after the turn of the New Year and after weeks of being out of action I was desperate to get back on the river. After checking the EA’s river level website I saw the river was only a couple of feet up on the middle river and 3-4 on the tidal but I was told the problem would be getting down to the river itself due to floodwater still being in the fields and blocking access roads but this didn’t really bother me as surely I would get on the river somewhere? How wrong could I be? I checked out at least a dozen places on both the middle and tidal reaches and couldn’t get anywhere near the river. Check out the pictures and video below to see what I mean.
So with heavy heart I was left with no option but to head back home.
A week later I decided to get back on the river as access should now be possible on some stretches but after weeks of mild weather when I woke up I was greeted to the first severe frost of the winter and an air temperature of -4 and freezing fog. It didn’t put me off as I just wanted to fish the Trent, so off I set to the middle river. I knew it would be hard and I wasn’t wrong. No matter what method or bait I tried I couldn’t buy a bite. I even put out a deadbait for Pike or Zander as well as my Barbel rods and nothing. Not the first session on the river since my operation that I wanted, oh well it beats sitting indoors and the stretch I fished is one of the most picturesque on the river and i even had a Robin visit me eating maggots I tossed onto the grass a couple of yards to my right.
With the cold weather and sub-zero temperatures here to stay for a couple of weeks at least, I decided to put the Barbel gear away and get the Pike gear out because in these conditions if the Barbel aren’t playing then by changing your target species means at least you can get out and have a better chance of putting fish on the bank. With this in mind 3 days after my blank I was Trent bound again after Pike and Zander. During the night we had a little light snow which I didn’t mind but while I was on the river the snow got heavier and heavier. Anyway I had 2 rods set up, 1 with a 20lb 7 strand trace along with a size 6 single and size 8 semi barbless treble with a 2 inch roach head deadbait aimed mainly for the Zander and the other was made up with a 28lb green coated 7 strand trace along with 2 size 6 semi barbless trebles and lamprey section aiming mainly for the Pike. The day went very slowly however thankfully I didn’t blank and i managed to catch a small jack of around 4lb, I didn’t care about the size because what pleased me more was it was my first snow pike and I worked hard to get it.
Three days later and I’m back on the middle river with a friend Chris after the ‘crocs n zeds’ again. We settle into our swims only to find they are both full of unexpected snags that I can only imagine are here due to the severity of the river level for long periods over the previous months. So after losing a few leads it’s decided to move stretches and head to the tidal river. Just like my previous session I’m using 1 rod aimed at Zander and the other at Pike and I’m fish a lovely looking peg. An hour or so later I’m into a fish on the zander rod, now at this point I have to say that even though I’ve had a few Pike up to just under double figures over the years that I’ve never caught a Zander and after hitting into this fish I see a flash of light olive green under the surface and like a giddy kid I’m saying to Chris “it’s a zander!” and he’s also thinking the same when we see a flash of olive green under the surface again, however my joy was short lived when the net slips under a small jack Pike around 3lb….. Bugger!
The Reel Rod race
I along with around half a dozen other guys are testing a new competition format this calendar year (2013) that hopefully will be a regional if not national competition either next year or in 2015. There is a lot of playing around with the rules and concept to be done as well as phone apps, pc tools and an interactive friendly website to be finished.
Anyway to cut a long story short without going too much into detail the aim is to catch the heaviest fish you can of as many different species of freshwater fish you can with points being awarded for various different aspects.
With this in mind and the Trent being unfishable at the turn of the year I decided to have a short session on a small Stillwater I know that contains Crucian Carp approaching 4lb and Perch to 3lb 8oz. I don’t hold out much hope of catching any Crucians as it’s cold so I concentrate on targeting the Perch.
I set up 2 rods, one with a small blockend feeder containing maggots with single and double maggot on a size 18 B611 hook. The other has a small blockend containing chopped worms with either a dendrobaena worm tail or small red worm on a 14 B611. The fishing is hard and I only get 3 bites which produced 3 fish, a 2lb 7oz Perch along with a surprise (due to the cold temperature) Brown Goldfish of 1lb 7oz and a 1lb 1oz Crucian.
A couple of days later 4 of us from the competition (myself, Chris, Marko & Garry) are on the canal Pike fishing. It’s very slow and by 12.30pm only Marko has had a run which resulted in a small jack so we decide to move onto some nearby drains to try our luck. I’m fishing a smelt deadbait on one rod and half a mackerel on the other and manage to land a ‘croc’ of 9lb 15oz less than 30 minutes after arriving. I was gutted that it was an ounce shy of being a double and Chris kept reminding me for the rest of the day that it “wasn’t a double” Grrrrrr. However even if it wasn’t a double I did get some revenge, as it was the biggest fish of the day.
A couple of weeks later and in the snow I’m back on the canal to try and improve on the 9lb 15oz Pike that is my largest so far in the competition. This time I decide to solely use lamprey deadbaits and it turns out to be a wise choice and ends up being a great session. I arrived on the towpath at midday and my plan is to fish for 5-6 hours so I get the afternoon, dusk and an hour or 2 of darkness. I have 1 bait in the boat channel and the other just on the edge of the near shelf which is where I’ve had countless Pike grab silver fish I have been landing over the years in matches and pleasure sessions. All is quiet until around 2.30 when the bite alarm of the boat channel bait starts to beep and the drop off indicator rises slowly and I’m into the first Pike of the session and after a short scrap I unhook and weigh a lovely fish of 11lb 1oz. Around half an hour later the other rod goes off and this fish puts up a great fight and I eventually slip the net under a new personal best Pike of 13lb 2oz. I’m smiling like a Cheshire cat and it’s not long before the same bite alarm sounds again and I’m in once more but this time it’s just a small Pike of 6lb 10oz. with no more baits coming I pack up at just gone 5pm and end a pleasing session with a new personal best Pike that I can put into the competition.
So what are my plans for the rest of the competition for targeting different species?
Well a lot of fish of specimen size can be caught on my beloved Trent but I will also be visiting a few still waters and canals during the close season. That’s another thing that really riles me, the close season. I’ve always abided by the law and never fished a river during this period unlike Bob James but isn’t it time that rivers were brought into line with stillwaters and canals and the close season for coarse fish is abolished totally? For 3 months a year our rivers are left with no fishermen on the bank and they are left ‘unguarded’ for the Eastern European immigrants to rape and pillage them. Not only that but our ecosystem and weather is so screwed up nowadays that fish aren’t spawning in the close season anyway! Anyway back on topic, during the close season I’m heading down to Sywell Reservoir in the 2nd half of March to target Pike & Perch and maybe the Tench if the weather is kind. After that I will be paying regular visits to a local still water after the Tench and Carp along with the specimen Roach & Rudd and I will be dusting off the match gear for a few pleasure sessions on the canal, Bank End & Hayfields. Then in May it’s back ‘darn sarf’ to Sywell for Tench for a couple of days before spending a weekend that has been booked on a Stillwater trying to tick Catfish off the list of species from a small lake well known for producing them to 60lb.
Pike/Zander Rigs & Their Handling/Unhooking
Pike and Zander can feel the slightest resistance when they take a bait and will almost inevitably drop any deadbait they pick up when they do. Because of this it is important that the rigs you use for them offer as little resistance as possible in order maximise the number of fish you put on the bank. Because of this the ledger rigs I use for deadbaits are free running and have as little resistance as possible and they incorporate a popped up large ledger ring on a short length of braid that is attached to your lead via a quick clip covered with a helicopter rig sleeve.
Because there is a pop up ball holding the large running ring off the bed of the river, lake or canal this reduces resistance considerably resulting in more positive runs and fish you will catch. Hopefully I will be able to make a short video for next months blog showing how these links are quick and easy to make.
I know there may also be a number of people who would love to give predator fishing a go but are worried about a few things (I know I used to be) such as getting and using the right gear, setting up and using the right rigs and the handling and unhooking of Pike. Well either next month or the following month I will also make a video showing how simple it is to make your own traces for Pike, Zander and wobbling deadbaits as well as simple float rigs with uptraces etc. As for the handling and unhooking of Pike I strongly advise to go with someone that has experience at this to teach you at first until you feel confident and are able to do it yourself. Also remember that having the right tools for the job is a MUST and these include forceps (long and short), long nosed pliers, trace cutters and side cutters. Below is a very helpful video:
So it’s settled, fish do NOT feel pain and now I can shout even louder ‘Screw you PETA and all the other anti-angling groups’. The fact that that their biggest argument, one which they have banged on about for years that our sport is cruel because fish feel pain is in tatters and I wait with baited breathe to laugh at what their next ‘line of attack’ on fishing will be. An article regarding these findings can be read here: http://www.gofishing.co.uk/Angling-Times/Section/News–Catches/General-News/Study-concludes-fish-dont-feel-pain/
Farson Digital Water Cams has teamed up with the Environment Agency to combine its network of webcams at some of the sport’s most popular rivers with information from almost 2,000 of the EA’s water gauging stations around the UK. So now as well as checking the EA website for river levels you can actually see them live on a number of rivers. I just hope they get some cameras up on the Trent soon because it’s a crying shame there are none! http://www.farsondigitalwatercams.com
On Facebook last year on numerous Barbel & fishing pages/groups there was an advertisement for the British Barbel Angling Championship. Now this excited me a great deal and was something I was looking forward to ‘having a bash at’. Slowly over the next few months news on the event diminished and finally a couple of weeks ago it was revealed in the angling press that the event was now cancelled. A statement released by the organisers said: “Due to personal issues that have arisen we’re unable to facilitate this event. We hope we can run this event and make it a great success in the future but at this point we’re unable to commit to something of this magnitude.” I just hope they iron out the problems soon and hopefully the first event will take place in 2014.
I was going to write about ‘Keith the Seal’ but it’s been done to death by other bloggers and the angling press so I thought I would come at this topic from another angle and have a little rant. There is an organisation that had an opportunity to show the countries anglers that it is doing work on their behalf but once again the powers that be within it did nothing but sit on their backsides, yes I’m talking about the Environment Agency. The E.A. said that they would “not take any action as they believe the seal will naturally make her way back to the sea”. Can somebody please explain to me why we pay a licence fee to these muppets in order to fish when they don’t give a damn unless fish being killed or poached are salmon? If you see every day coarse fish being poached by our ‘Eastern European’ friends and report it to the E.A. nothing happens, the same people go back to the same spots time and time again taking all the coarse fish they want, whereas on the other hand if it was salmon they were poaching and you reported it to the E.A. then they would be there in a flash, why? Thankfully the Angling Trust did do something about it and teamed up with the British Divers Marine Life Rescue service to relocate ‘Keith’ back to the sea. In an ideal world licence fees would go to an organisation that does a lot more for anglers which is the Angling Trust. Imagine the voice it would have if it did and all licence payers would automatically become members through their licence fee. Sadly this will never happen, oh well we can dream can’t we?
Well with all the snow melt water now in the rivers which has once again pushed them towards bursting point and days of heavy rain forecast it looks like any chance of getting on the Trent anytime soon has gone out of the window. I have never in all my years fishing known a river season like this, the Trent has been in flood more than it has been at normal levels. Looking at the forecast for the rest of the season it looks to be continuing in the same vain that it has since the turn of the year going from sub-zero temperatures and snow to wind and rain, oh well the joys of a river fisherman.
Finally I would like to point people towards a fantastic new website belonging to the Trent Guru Lee Swords. It is a fantastic read and very informative and I even agree with a lot of what Lee says in regards to his political views that he occasionally writes about and even if you don’t then I think you would agree that they are a fascinating read and worth debating about. Anyway Lee’s site can be found here: http://www.leeswordsfishing.co.uk/
Well what a season we are having, and you know who to thank don’t you? ME!
Yes the reason we are doing so well and are level on points at the top of the league with a game in hand is all down to me and not being able to attend any matches for almost 2 months. Before then we were outside the play offs and had just lost 2 league matches at home on the bounce and the only reason we were anywhere near the play offs was due to some solid away form.
Up to this point watching matches at the Keepmoat was awful, not only in terms of the result but the standard of football. At seemed that for all the results we were getting on the road that Dean Saunders didn’t have a clue how to get us performing at home. In away games we sat deep, soaked up pressure with some excellent defending and beat teams either hitting them on the break or relying on set pieces. Now when we play away this is fine as our opponents being at home come at us and play into our hands, the problem was Saunders tried to play like this at home and because it didn’t work relied on a lot of pointless ‘hoofball’ that was boring, horrible and tedious to watch. The reason it didn’t work at home which was obvious for anyone with half a brain to see and understand but for some reason Saunders couldn’t was that teams played against us entirely differently at our place, they sat back more expecting us to do all the pressing which completely nullified our tactics and our manager didn’t have a clue what to do about it. After another home defeat I wrote this elsewhere “A few have told me they were ‘bored to death’ yesterday because we were as bad as they have seen since we got relegated out of the league 15 odd years ago. Maybe people have been spoiled as we’ve seen some cracking football over the last 12 years or so, but what I’ve seen this season in terms of performances reminds me of some of the crap i watched in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I don’t think people can justify £25-30 anymore just for the ‘result’ and they want to see plenty of excitement and entertainment. Let’s be honest what we see isn’t going to have the crowds flocking back in droves, a club just relegated from the championship and on the brink of the play offs to go straight back up and less then 6k home fans there.”
Anyway while I’m out of action due to surgery we only have 3 home games where we beat 2 teams struggling at the wrong end of the table but get absolutely mullered by Coventry 4-1. On the road it’s a different story and we win 4 and draw 2 and all of a sudden we are in 3rd place behind Tranmere & Sheffield United! However I said it then and I still say it now, I think our league position was more down to the players and especially our captain then the manager and we were so high in the table in spite of Dean Saunders not because of him.
Anyway by now I’m ready for my return and can’t contain my excitement as my first match back is a top of the table clash against Sheffield United at the Keepmoat on New Year’s Day. For 80 minutes we absolutely dominate the match in fact we a battering them and are leading 2-0, in all honesty they could have had no complaints if we were winning 5-0 but then with 10 minutes to go we get our usual standard of crap officiating. This useless excuse of a ref had been trying his best to help them get something out of the game since the first whistle and on 79 minutes one of their players fouls Andy Griffin and falls over and bizarrely this dumb official points to the spot and awards them a penalty, which they duly convert to make it 2-1. Then on 88 minutes the idiot decides it’s time we got reduced to 10 men and sends Billy Paynter off for a reason that everyone in the ground to this day still doesn’t know what for, and then we all know what’s coming next don’t we? Yes we concede and equaliser in added time and what made it worse wasn’t the fact that it came at the end of what seemed like a game of pinball but the fact it was scored by that ginger t*sser (excuse my French) Dave ‘I really am a tw*t’ Kitson!
The following Saturday we are at home again against Colchester, a game that was abysmal to watch and even though we won after the game I wrote “Yes I’ve been away because of surgery and whether it’s due to the lack of seeing us play along with results away from home i was starting to warm to Dean Saunders and even more so after a the performance on Tuesday against the blades. Wow was i brought back down to earth today, apart from 1 piece of brilliance from Cotterill the whole performance was total dogshit, the likes i haven’t witnessed in many a year. There were 3 lads in their 20’s sat behind me and the only reason they were there was due to the performance on Tuesday and even though we won today all 3 said “I won’t be wasting 20 quid to come and watch that crap again” and i can’t blame them. A better side would have given us a real pasting today, we can think ourselves lucky that we were up against one of the worst sides in the division.”
So as you can tell I’m pretty annoyed but as the night goes on there is breaking news. It seems the mighty Wolverhampton Wanderers are strangely after Saunders as their next manager. Now unlike just over 12 months ago when I was gutted we sacked Sean O’Driscoll I think I was one of the very few that was not panicking, in fact I would have driven Dean Saunders to Molineux for his interview after the number of dire performances I had witnessed over the previous 14/15 months. As usual the word coming from the club is that ‘no official approach has been made……… but we have been told to expect one”. Now I understand the first part of that statement but the second? Ok who told them to expect one? The Easter Bunny? Anyway less than 48 hours later everything is agreed and Saunders is on his way, with no tears of sorrow from me may I say.
My only concern at this point is that we fetch somebody in that can kick us on from where we are in the league and lead us to promotion. Someone who not only can sustain us picking up points away from home but who can turn around the dire home performances too. By some strange coincidence of fate there is a fans forum on the evening that Saunders has left and in attendance will be all 3 owners along with our CEO Gavin Baldwin. As expected there was to be no questions answered regarding names of our possible next manager or the compensation received from Wolves but what we are told is we have received 50+ applications and 10 are of the highest quality. As for the rest of the evening, well for me there were plenty of positives and only a couple of negatives. The positives were fixed price season tickets for next season which is fantastic news along with the spread payments option. Also how the ‘In Rovers We Trust’ program is coming along (read here to learn more about this http://www.drfc-vsc.co.uk/index.php?topic=232795.0 ). Also if the pizza’s and soup that were available on the night become available to buy on match days then the club is definitely onto a winner there and I was also really pleased about the initiative regarding signing for deaf people.
My biggest disappointment and something i didn’t want to hear but was expecting was that there will be no money for whoever comes in as our new manager. So he’s got to deal with who is already at the club or sell in order to bring players in he wants. I was also disappointed that a question was completely ignored and unanswered in regards to the club doing more to attract fans from the Polish/Kosovan communities in the town because I’m sure there are a few hundred more bums on seats we could attract if this was looked into and done correctly.
Anyway Brian Flynn who is one of our scouts but who also has a lot of experience in management, especially international management is appointed as interim manager to be assisted by captain fantastic Rob Jones who John Ryan has gone on to describe as “our most important signing since Alick Jeffrey”. I know Rob has a big say in discussions and team talks in the dressing room as captain and is respected by his peers so I have no problem whatsoever with this appointment.
Our next match is away at Stevenage and it’s a massive one for the club as it could be a record breaker. The clubs record for avoiding defeat away from home came in the 1946/47 season that saw us avoid defeat in an 11 consecutive away games stretching from the start of the season until mid-January. The current team had equalled that record when we won 3-0 at Preston in our last game of 2012 and now had the chance to better it. Anyway to the game and in the 66th minute we fall behind to a thunderbolt of a shot but with 10 minutes to go Iain Hume brings us level with a well taken goal. Now it’s all set up and you could say it was on the cards what was going to happen next. Four yes 4! Minutes into stoppage time we get a corner and up steps our inspirational leader of men, captain fantastic and interim assistant manager, the man mountain that is Rob Jones to head home the winner to confirm our 12th away game on the bounce unbeaten and a new club record which can be seen below.
We had been told that the club were in no rush to appoint a manager as they wanted to get the right man for the job, however the following Thursday morning the word gets out that a new manager could be named very soon. Then after lunch it gets announced that the club could be unveiling their new manager this afternoon and it’s not long before the club is officially saying that the new manager will be announced at 4.15pm. Well speculation is rife and there are names being bandied about everywhere but the press seem to think it will be Brian Flynn. Come 4.15 and it’s confirmed, Brian Flynn to be assisted by Rob Jones will be our manager until the end of the season. The following is taken from the clubs official website…
Doncaster Rovers are delighted to confirm today that Brian Flynn has been appointed as manager of the club and will be assisted by Rob Jones, who will continue in his role as player coach.
Following a thorough and efficient search process and after receiving over 150 applications, the Doncaster Rovers owners have decided that as the club challenge for promotion back to the Championship, a key element of the promotion push has to be continuity and it is felt that Brian and Rob will be able to bring this as they aim to capitalise on a successful first half of the season.
Chairman, John Ryan, said “We are pleased to announce that Brian and Rob have taken up our offer to manage the team and are now fully focused on the game against Leyton Orient. Brian has a great history at the club and is being assisted by our current captain Rob Jones, who has earned the respect of his teammates and fans this season through his commanding leadership.
“We had an overwhelming number of applications for the position, including former International and Premiership managers, however after a detailed process we felt that our initial choice, Brian was the best person to put in charge and would allow a seamless transition.
Brian Flynn: “I am delighted to have received the news from the Chairman and Board of Directors this afternoon. Continuity is key, I’ve been here six months and in-charge ten days and nothing is broken so nothing needs to change.
“When you walk into a dressing room, you can tell there is success in the air, and that’s the feeling I got when I came down to the training Ground at Cantley Park. I could sense that the players were hungry for success.
“In the words of the Chairman, the aim for this season is not only promotion but going up as Champions as well – that positive attitude has come from the Chairman and the Board and we will try and carry that out.”
Our new management teams next game is at home against an in form Orient side that had only lost 2 of their last 15, and what a performance we put in. We dominate the game totally and win 2-0 when we could quite easily have won 6 or 7-0. We had 68% possession and had 13 shots while restricting them to NONE, yes they didn’t have a single shot the entire match. By far our best home performance of the season and what is even better was the manner in which we played. Gone was the hoofball and negative tactics and instead we saw free flowing passing football and created some great chances. I know Brian Flynn said he was going to make a few ‘tweaks’ to how we played but this performance was better than I ever dreamed we would play in such a short time.
Anyway that was our final game for a while as we now have a 2 week break due to MK Franchise being involved in the cup so our next game is away at Bury in February but all I will add at this time is…
It looks like it’s a 1 horse race for the Premier League title this season, I can’t see anyone catching Manchester United now even with 3-4 months to go. City have failed to kick on from last seasons success and look a pale imitation this season of what they were last. Chelsea & Arsenal both are a shambles and I can’t see Liverpool making a title challenge for years. The surprise package this season is Everton, having said that I do think David Moyes is a cracking manager and has put together his best team yet this season. Another that are doing well are Spurs and slowly AVB is turning his reputation around after his failings at Stamford Bridge, I feel they are only 3 players (striker, centre half and centre midfield) away from being serious challengers next season. Michael Laudrup has been a revelation at Swansea, not only guiding them to a league cup final but a so far comfortable top half finish while not only maintaining but improving the style of football they play. As for Aston Villa, all that can be said is ‘oh dear’ because they look relegation certainties to me and Newcastle or should I say ‘Le Toon’ due to all their team being French have gone on a serious slide down the table.
As for the Champions League, it’s been a disaster for Chelsea & City, in fact no it’s been an embarrassment for them. I can’t see Arsenal progressing past the next round against Bayern either. I can see United beating Madrid over 2 legs and Jose being shown the door at the Bernebeu and even though Celtic have been a revelation especially for beating Barca in the group stages I can’t see them getting past Juventus. I know Barca are the favourites to win it but I’ve got a sneaky feeling for Dortmund. Dortmund hold a special place in my heart and are my favourite team outside of the country and the way they dominated their group and remained unbeaten while playing fantastic football against City, Real & Ajax just shows how good they are and what a fantastic manager Jurgen Klopp is. The reason I like them so much goes back to when I was 11 years old and visited the pen pal I had back then who lived in one of the ‘posher’ suburb of the city called Castrop-Rauxel. His family were Dortmund mad and I went to 2-3 games at the fantastic Westfalenstadion and I was hooked on them from then on and they became my favourite non-English team.
Anyway that’s enough from me for now before this post starts to get too big and turns into a mini War & Peace, so…….
WHAT’S COMING IN MY NEXT BLOG?
I’m hoping that the Trent becomes fishable soon time soon and I can write up about my first barbel of 2013.
Reports of the sessions I have and the hopefully the video on how to make traces for Pike & Zander.
Hopefully more great news regarding the Rovers and other football chit chat.
Any other current events that crop up that I find interesting.
Until then tight lines & wet nets,