Established 1979 Company Number: 11693988 VAT Registration Number: 284 0522 13 +44 (0)1606 836036 +44 (0)7871 701585

Red Pillby J Clements 09-08-18


‘Red Pill’  for Truth


John Clements


Everyone, who has been in pigeons for more than 30 years, is well aware the sport has changed. Those that have been connected with pigeons for 40 - 50 or even 60 years will be well aware this change has been dramatic and not always for the improvement of the pigeon or for the sport.


The old philosophy of the greater distance a pigeon has flown, the better the pigeon has now gone. This kind of judgement of quality has gradually disappeared so now only a few still cling to this kind of judgement.  This old philosophy was normal at a time when adverts in the Marriott BHW and the Osman RP used to quote pigeons for sale based on how far they had flown. This old philosophy was normal when auctioneers felt obliged to list an entire page of ‘reference birds’ at the head of their adverts.  Auctioneers and Advertisers have now moved to a different kind of pigeon and a different kind of advertising based on the supposition that new is always better.


Reference birds that had a history of success in long races are no longer used. The modern pigeon is one that has won the most firsts regardless of distance. The modern pigeon is one that has won first in races that are forgotten two weeks after they took place.


This short term inspired view of pigeon racing has swamped the old traditional history view of pigeons and left what was once considered good and worthwhile dead in the water.  Nevertheless, in spite of overwhelming publicity, yards of comment, and everyone having a point of view about the current top strains, some discerning fanciers (even young ones) are now beginning to see that we, as a sport, might have paid a high price for adopting this new agenda and abandoning the old beliefs.


These discerning  fanciers - if you have ever seen the movie ‘The Matrix’ - have taken the ‘Red Pill’ and have begun to see through modern deception, modern marketing and the ‘slight of hand’ conjuring trick where relevant facts are left out or not included if they do not fit with the story. Many fanciers have nevertheless swallowed the ‘Blue Pill’ and have been eager to do so without hesitation.


The price ‘The Matrix’ has extracted from us is, in broad terms, greater losses, declining heath, more sickness, less reliability and the erosion of our history.  A lot of fanciers are still prepared to pay this price regardless of the health of the sport or even the health of themselves if they can appear to come out on top.  One of the signs of this downfall pretending to be an improvement - is, we no longer socialise as we once used to. We no longer enjoy chatting about pigeons and we no longer have a thriving community spirit in local clubs.  Many times we are at each other’s throats.  All this has been enacted in the name of progress.


It is for this reason I intend once again, to highlight those rare pigeons that still exist based on the old philosophy off greater distance - more reliability the better the pigeon.  These exceptional examples are what can realistically be called ‘the ultimate’ in quality.  I am talking about pigeons that have won an ‘NFC Certificate of Merit.’


My first article will be about one of the most consistent long distance traditional lofts of our country -  M/M Redfern of Derby. They are definitely of the Old, History based, School of thinking. Stephen Redfern himself has a wide knowledge of top long distance pigeons. He has raced in three parts of the country. These three include Marlow, (racing with High Wycombe) The Wirral in Merseyside and now Derby.


When he was racing in High Wycombe he was in partnership with the renowned film director ‘Jack Clayton’ who directed the film ‘Room at the Top’ and the Academy award winning short film ‘The Bespoke Overcoat’ with Alfie Bass and Donald Kossoff.


I hope with this introduction I have wetted the appetite of those interested in such things and perhaps stirred some interest in those who unconsciously still think Long Distance Racing is the best expression of our sport and although they don’t do it.  Nevertheless I still feel it deep down many would like to do it in order to escape the hamster wheel of modern sprint racing and get back to something a bit more real.