Saturday, 29 December 2012

Week 20: Following in the footsteps of Orwell.

Some projects can result in life changing experiences with devoted workers often given the opportunity to travel the world in search of essential information and fresh research to make said project a success.  The Grambler can now count itself as one of these endeavours.  Having previously been written from such majestic locations as 'my flat' and 'the Starbucks down the road', this edition is brought to you live from... the hospital!

Not just any hospital though (warning: history lesson due to commence) for it was this very hospital to which a Mr Eric Arthur Blair was admitted for treatment for tuberculosis back in 1947.  Blair was better known by his drag-queen stage-name name Big Barbara McBoobs but others may know him by his pen-name; George Orwell.  Orwell was already a well known novelist and satirist sadly nearing the end of his days as he arrived in said hospital.  He had made a name for himself with writings and essays based on his own experiences policing in Burma, living rough in Paris and Britain, fighting the war on fascism in Spain and encountering a farm run by a Stalinist pig.  But in the year 1947 in this very hospital, Orwell started work on his most famous and influential novel.  Based in a Dystopian future where governments had complete control over the population's every waking move and policed their thoughts, this book would go on to be used as a warning against officials gaining too much power the world over.  Orwell titled it 'Crazy Winston and the Great Mystery of Them People What Can Read Minds and Do Other Bad Stuff: With A Vengeance' but the publishers changed it to 1984.  So there you go, this blog is being written in the very same spot as one of the greatest pieces of literature of all time!  And by very same spot, I obviously mean that it was two miles down the road and demolished over 50 years ago, but let's not let facts get in the way of interesting nonsense.  Besides, I'm sure ol' George would have been ecstatic about the overpriced, PFI funded, already crumbling hospital full of failing equipment which has taken it's name.

And with that piece of satire which Mr Orwell would have been proud of, how's about some predictions?

Game 1: Fulham vs Swansea 
Prediction: Home win
Martin Jol's Fulham side were somewhat impressive last season as they finished the season comfortably in 9th place.  However, they have been hot and cold this season and currently languish in 14th.  A Boxing Day draw with Premiership strugglers Southampton angered Jol but he should perhaps have less offended by the result and more offended by striker Dimitar Berbatov.  The Bulgarian striker has been one of the most likeable strikers in the top flight for the past decade.  Often appearing lazy and always cocky with a 'couldn't care less' attitude and insane amount of skill, Berbatov has been a joy to watch.  However, he had to tarnish his image by celebrating with a 'keep calm and pass me the ball' T-shirt; a variation of the choice slogan of the brain dead, one which adorns every other item in Poundland...  Why Dimitar?  Swansea have enjoyed a good first-half of the season under Michael Laudrup and currently sit 9th in the table.  They failed to impress in their midweek game however, running out a goalless draw with relegation-fodder Reading at home.  Unfortunately for the Swans, top-scorer and bargain of the season Michu has been ruled out for this match, denting their chances of a win.  Laudrup will hope that Danny Graham can find his form from last season to provide the goals.  And also that crazed Ashley Williams doesn't go on another killing spree.
Odds: 11/10

Game 2: Morton vs Dunfermline
Prediction: Away win
The pick of the games from the First Division schedule today sees 2nd take on 3rd as both sides aim to remove Patrick Thistle from pole position.  There are now only two points separating the top three sides in the division as we head into the second-half of the season.  Morton fans will have been delighted by their sides recent form as they are now undefeated since the 10th of November.  On Wednesday they managed to pull of what seemed like the impossible by defeating Thistle at Firhill, thus ending the leader's impressive 100℅ home record.  Morton fans will be less delighted to realise that they live in Greenock.  Dunfermline had been impressive in the early stages of the season but have not won a single league game this month.  They were unfortunate to fall to defeat at home to Falkirk on Boxing Day, losing to a 90th minute Bairns goal.  Pars gaffer Jim Jeffries has described this tie as a 'massive' match in the race for the title, no doubt with his usual enthusiasm that makes him sound like he is about to throw himself in front of a moving freight train.
Odds:6/4

Game 3: Sunderland vs Tottenham
Prediction: Home win
Sunderland have, for the most part, been unimpressive this season.  In the early stages of the campaign they became known as draw specialists prone to throwing away leads whilst manager Martin O'Neill became one of the bookies favourites for the sack.  But the Black Cats gifted their fans with a seasonal stocking filler in the form of a 1-0 win over current champions Manchester City thanks to a goal from Adam Johnson.  The Wearside team have now won three of their last four league games, having kept a clean-sheet in each victory, and will be hoping to continue this resurgence.  Spurs fans seem to slowly coming to terms with manager Andres Vilas-Boas' methods.  The boss was booed by sections of the Spurs support after a sloppy start to the season but with his side now eyeing up third-spot in the league the boos have changed to sighs at the Portuguese's rugged features.  Tottenham recorded their biggest victory of the season against current Premiership whipping boys Aston Villa on Boxing Day, inspired by hat-trick from simian-lookalike cheat Gareth Bale (nope, I've still not forgiven him for that dive against Scotland).  Spurs have not allowed their defender Danny Rose, currently on-loan at Sunderland, to turn out against them today resulting in Rose reportedly telling his dad on them.
Odds: 11/4

Game 4: Brighton vs Watford 
Prediction: Home win
Brighton are currently placed a respectable 10th in the Championship but lead the way in two unwanted areas in the league; they have drawn more games than any other side in the division this year, with 10 draw in 23 attempts, and they have failed to score in more home games than other side.  They have yet to record a win in December, although last week's match against the Comedic Imploding Chicken Factory XI was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.  The Seagulls have made several sacrifices in the name of Aztec rain God Tlalec this week to ensure that the Falmer Stadium is fit for some footballing action today.  Brighton welcome back midfielder Gary Dicker from injury... Nope, can't think of any jokes about his name.  Watford have shown their intent to return to the Premiership following a takeover from The Mafia the Pozzo family and find themselves 6th and challenging for a playoff place.  The Hornets have won twice and drawn once in their last four but like their opponents, their last match was a washout.  Unlike their opponents, manager Gianfranco Zola performed ceremonies to the Inuit rain God Asiaq.  One of them has to have picked the right deity.    Whatever the outcome of today's game, don't expect Watford to park the bus.  It's something that they have trouble with.
Odds: 1/1

Game 5: Aldershot vs Torquay
Prediction: Home win
Damn you Torquay, where were you last week when I needed a turkey pun?  It's useless showing up now, at least 350 days before anyone is likely to even contemplate eating turkey!  You deserve to lose for crap timing alone.  Not that it matters anyway as this game is this week's Game What Has Been Called Off Because Of The Bloody Typical British Weather Of The Week.
Odds: 8/5

Them are some swell predictions!  And should they all be correct, £102 shall be added to the Bobby Moore Fund fund.  Worth mentioning that the reason for my hospitalisation is linked to the marauding bastard that is bowel cancer, so here's a thought seeing as it's the season of goodwill and giving... You know that lovely wee granny of yours who gave you £20 for Christmas? Show her how kind you can be by nicking her purse and giving the contents to the Bobby Moore Fund.

Have a good New Year all, we shall return for some more Grambling in 2013!

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