Friday 17 August 2012

Week 1: Let's get ready to Gramble!

So here it is!  "This is it!" as Michael Jackson once said before (allegedly) touching a kid then keeling over after a few too many un-prescribed painkillers.

The data has been downloaded, the formulae have been entered and the bet has been placed.  There's no turning back as Kelis appears to have said at some point.  But enough pop culture references, let's get Grambling!

Game 1: Rotherham United vs Burton Albion 
Prediction: Home Win

I would absolutely love to put my thoughts about this game here but I have to admit my ignorance - I know nothing about either team!  A quick glance at Wikipedia tells me that Rotherham finished 1oth in League 2 last season whilst Burton Albion finished a lowly 17th, so perhaps The Grambler is onto something?  Also, Rotherham have former next-big-thing and Championship Manager 2001 leg-end Daniel Nardielo in their ranks so this prediction gets 8 balls out of a possible 1o (a scale I have just introduced this minute to compare reliability of predictions.

Odds on this result: 8/13 

Game 2: Ipswich Town vs Blackburn Rovers
Prediction: Home Win
I'm not too sure about this one... Ipswich have been rather poor of late managing a 15th place finish in the Championship last season.  Blackburn were beyond poor last season but have kept a reasonable squad after relegation from the Premiership and have managed to add a couple of big name signings, by Championship standards anyway, in Colin Kazim-Richards and Nuno Gomes.  However, Paul Jewell's men have the home advantage and Blackburn will be seen as a 'big scalp' to claim early in the season.  Reliability balls: 6 out of 10.

Odds on this result: 6/4

Game 3: Port Vale vs Barnet
Prediction: Draw
And after something of a renaissance period, with my knowledge of football kicking in, the ignorance is back!  Because let's face it, the only thing the average football fan knows about Port Vale involves Robbie Williams.  So back to Wikipedia and we learn that Port Vale finished 12th in League 2 last season whilst Barnet finished waaaaay down in 22nd place.  Shit.  Well, it is the first game of the season and both teams will inevitably have had departures and arrivals so anything is possible, right?  Plus, Barnet have Steve Kabba and Jon Nurse in their ranks.  They have fun names, right?  Reliability balls: 4 out of 10.

Odds on this result:  13/5

Game 4: Forfar Athletic vs Stranraer
Prediction: Draw
Ah, good ol' Scottish football, something I'm more comfortable with!  Except it's second division so, not really... Forfar, under the stewardship of Dick Campbell, finished last season 7th in the second division whilst Stranraer were close to making the play-offs in 3rd position. Forfar have home advantage which makes this result seem plausible.  They also have a guy called Michael Bolochoweckyj, which is just wonderful!  However, Stranraer have former Motherwell player and 'future Dougie Arnott' extraordinaire Martin 'The Greek' Grehan, which makes me think that Stranraer are guaranteed a win.   Reliability balls: 5 out of 10.

Odds on this result: 11/4

Game 5: Fleetwood Town vs Torquay United
Prediction: Away Win
The only away result predicted this week.  And I'm not sure that I like this one... Torquay had a good season last year, finishing 5th in League 2.  That would suggest that they will do well this season and walk all over newcomers Fleetwood Town.  However, big-spending Fleetwood also had a great season, albeit in the Conference League, and there will be high expectations from their fans as they make their debut in the football league, especially when starting at home.  The proposed loan transfer of QPR's former captain and Twitter philosopher (i.e. shite-talker) Joey Barton never came to fruition but they still have a strong squad.  Reliability balls: 4 out of 10.

Odds on this result: 11/4

Game 6: Portsmouth vs Bournemouth
Prediction: Home Win
And I thought we were in with a shout of winning something for a minute!  Portsmouth's problems have been well documented so I won't go into them too much.  Financial troubles have taken them from FA Cup winners and Premiership regulars to potential bankruptcy and League 1 in just a few short years.  Bournemouth, meanwhile, steadily plod along as a mid-table League 1 side, with an 11th place finish last season.  Portsmouth have just managed to get rid of the last of their overpaid  players and yesterday brought in ten league-football journeymen on a 1-month contract to fill the void.  One day of training will surely not have allowed these players to gel, will it?  Still, home advantage...  Reliability balls: 4/10

Odds on this result: 5/2

Game 7: St Johnstone vs Aberdeen
Prediction: Home Win
Nearly there, cheers for staying awake...  First of all, as a Motherwell fan, I am obliged to call Craig Brown an 'auld tit.'  With that out of the way, I think this is a reasonable bet.  St Johnstone finished in the top 6 of the SPL last season and qualified for Europe, although fell at the first hurdle.  Steve Lomas has made some shrewd signings up-front by bringing in Scottish Cup winner Craig Beattie and a former QPR striker and another Championship Manager leg-end in Rowan Vine.  Aberdeen, on the other hand...Well let's just say that things haven't been going to plan for them in recent seasons.  Karma for constantly stealing our managers methinks... Reliability balls: 8/10

Odds on this result: 6/5

So there we have it!  The bet is now placed and I have been given combined odds of... drum roll please... 1,574/1!!!  I'm going to be loaded by Sunday with plenty of cash heading for The Bobby Moore Fund!  Although we have the small matter of actually getting the results right first.

Thank you for visiting The Grambler, please check back on Sunday evening to find out how I got on.  And do check back weekly throughout the season, it's going to be a hell of a ride!

Disclaimer: I would apologise to fans of any clubs who I have offended but I really can't be bothered and don't care.  

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