The Thing Is with Steve Canavan - December 5, 2013

RELAXING PASTIME: Fly-fishing may be for some but it's not for me
RELAXING PASTIME: Fly-fishing may be for some but it's not for me
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I am one of those folk who can’t resist a bargain.

I don’t walk down the aisles in supermarkets, I stay at the section at either end where they put the special offers. It is always a thrilling moment to discover a product you use is half-price.

Indeed one of the highlights of my life thus far – along with Bury FC’s promotion and accidentally walking into the girls changing room while at high school – was when Aldi had a three-for-one offer on Sanex shower gel.

This tendency to want to take advantage of an offer though, backfires badly when it comes to those many websites which have nothing but offers, my favourite of which is Groupon.

It sells everything – holidays, food, jewellery, furniture, children (I’ve not actually seen the last one advertised but I’m sure it’s a matter of time) – at a knockdown price.

I started using it a year ago and was in heaven.

You register with the site, then it sends daily emails with offers such as “DX22 self-gliding garden shears – normal price £399, today £9.99” or “week-long stay for four in a rustic farmhouse in Cornwall – usual price £1,250, today £2.50” (usually accompanied by something in the smallprint along the lines of ‘warning: farmhouse has no toilet or beds and the voucher can only be redeemed between the dates November 7-14, 2016’).

But being a man who craves a bargain I buy pretty much buy every deal going.

Indeed in my first month alone I purchased 50 laps of go-karting in Cirencester; a year’s supply of tuna fish (£15.99 – how can you ignore that?); a pair of child’s slippers that glow in the dark (I don’t have any children but, hey, it was 88 per cent off the usual retail price); afternoon tea at a hotel in southern Latvia; a deep filled pocket sprung mattress; 10 kilos of low calorie pasta; a pair of ladies twin zip riding style leather boots; some Moroccan Argan Hair Oil; and 272 Panasonic batteries.

All that cost just £328 – what a bargain.

On the downside I will never see the majority of the above for what happens is you get sent a voucher and then have to fill in a form on another website to reclaim your purchase.

This takes quite a bit of effort so I rarely get round to it. But I don’t care.

I don’t actually need afternoon tea in Barcelona or to have in my possession neon slippers designed for a child. The fact I’ve got a good money-off discount and thus, in my own little way, beaten the system is enough.

On the odd occasion I do bother to claim a purchase it usually backfires.

Recently, for no reason other than curiosity, I bought a day’s fly-fishing for £30 (allegedly the full price for a day’s tuition was £179, though I would take that with a large dollop of salt).

I’d not been fishing since I was eight when the lad across the road needed someone to help him carry his new rod to the local pond.

I remember we stood watching passing fish sensibly choose not to bite a hook with some rotting maggot on and returned home empty-handed and freezing cold eight hours later.

It was incredibly boring, and it turned out three decades on that nothing had changed.

Now I’m not criticising people whose idea of a good time is to sit on a deckchair and stare at water for the day but it’s not for me.

A chap called Geoff, wearing waders and a tweed jacket, told us we’d catch “loads of fish”. Eight hours later, nothing.

Last time I go fly-fishing, doubt it’s the last time I’ll go on Groupon though.

A time for cool heads

To describe Blackpool’s game at Yeovil in midweek as lively would be an understatement akin to ‘that Tom Daley – he’s had a quiet week, hasn’t he?’.

The mighty Seasiders, going so well this season under Paul Ince (pictured right), somehow contrived to have three men sent off in stoppage time en route to a 1-0 defeat.

Ince, as you’d expect, was fuming, though I had to smile at his post-match comments.

“They’ve let everyone down,” he said about the trio who saw red. “They’ve let the fans down and the club down.”

Now he’s right of course, but the Blackpool boss can’t become too preachy about it.

Ince, you may recall, has just returned from a five-game stadium ban (not just touchline ban, but entire stadium ban – like someone standing on the doorstep at Downing Street and telling David Cameron ‘sorry son, you can’t come in’), dished out by the FA after the Seasiders manager was involved in a verbal and physical confrontation with the officials at a match earlier in the season.

Given the leader of any workforce has to set an example, Ince has to be careful about criticising his own charges too harshly for a lack of discipline given his own recent transgressions.

Those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, so the saying goes.

With six red cards this term; a £5,000 fine for a mass brawl in the Blackburn derby; and a fine for Tom Ince over gestures made to the ref, Pool need to sort their discipline before it derails their season.