Match legend Dick Clegg OBE has urged the new boss of the Angling Trust to put his weight behind competition fishing and provide more support to the England squads.
With the announcement of Jamie Cook as Trust’s new chief executive, England’s most successful team manager used social media to voice his opinion on its outgoing CEO, Mark Lloyd.
“I never got the impression that Lloyd had competition very high on his list of priorities,” wrote Dick on Facebook. Asked about his comments, he added: “I meant what I said, but I would like to make it clear that I support the Angling Trust, and I think that everyone should support our governing body.
“However, I really do hope that its new CEO gets behind competition fishing.
“I come from a matchfishing background, and I know that if you have someone that supports you, you’re okay, but Mark Lloyd never gave me the impression that competition fishing was a priority.
“Neither Mark nor his colleagues ever went to a World Championships, and there were competitions at places as close as Ireland. It’s disgusting, really.”
Dick was involved in team management for 35 years and knows more than most about competition anglers. “Angling Trust membership numbers aren’t good enough, and I know that lots of match anglers will join only because they have to do so in order to fish certain competitions.
“If the Trust doesn’t start putting money back into match fishing it will become a problem, as people will realise and simply stop joining.
“We have so many teams now, including juniors, veterans, and the disabled squad, that something needs to be pushed from the top to give these teams the support they deserve.
“Internationally, we need someone who is responsible for looking into how to fund our teams, find new sponsors, and create a good working relationships so we don’t experience the debacle that was the Drennan International calamity.”
Dick believes a voice for match anglers in the Angling Trust is required, and there hasn’t been one since the retirement of a few key individuals. “When the NFA and the Trust joined we had three members of the NFA on board – all with a competition fishing background. All three have now retired, and nobody has replaced them,” he said.
“As a result there is no voice for competition anglers in the Trust, but I hope that the new CEO can be just that.”