Saturday 25 May 2013

Week 37: Gibt es irgendwelche Nebenwirkungen?

And so we have arrived at the end of the season and The Grambler has proved to be an interesting experiment/complete waste of everyone's time (delete as applicable).  Either way, we have raised £95.53 for the Bobby Moore Fund for Bowel Cancer Research and more importantly, raised some awareness about the evils of bowel cancer (hopefully).  But wait!  We have one last chance to add to that total with the showcase game of the European season taking place tonight.  Yes, 'tis the Champions League final tonight and the whole world will be watching as Borusia Dortmund and Bayern Munich face-off to claim the greatest prize in club football.

The Bundesliga's reputation has been on the rise in recent years.  Fans across Europe have taken note of the Germanic league for a number of reasons; fan ownership of clubs, affordable ticket prices, inclusive travel deals for supporters and safe standing areas being just a few of the initiatives admired but sadly not replicated elsewhere.  The football on show has also been rather entertaining and it is little wonder that a host of German-based players are being linked with multi-million Euro transfers this summer.  Yet for some reason, the 'experts' paid immense wages by the likes of the BBC and ITV were surprised to find that Dortmund and Munich should be challenging for the Champions League final.  This is largely because they are utterly clueless, have no knowledge of anything outside of the Premiership, are not worth a penny of their wage and have been given a job because they once played football and have friends in the right places.  I hate them all.

Tonight, we shall see which team has the right to call themselves Die Gro├če Wurst*, as the official Germanic title goes.  And it gives us once last chance to have a Gramble this season!  In order to keep it as exciting as possible, I will place one bet on each possible outcome; Borussia to win, draw at full-time and Bayern to win.  The Grambler will be picking the scores and goalscorers.  So I hope you all have your Bavarian beer, Bratwurst and Kinder Surprise at the ready for what should be a wonderful game of football.  And remember, if you have enjoyed any of the ramblings or Gramblings on this here website over these past eight months, please take a moment to make a small donation to our choice of charity.  It would make one Grambler very happy! 

*The big sausage.  May not be in any way official.

Bet 1: Borusia Dortmund to win
Dortmund finished the Bundesliga season in second place, 25 points behind tonight's opponents.  But Jurgen Klopp has had his side playing some very attractive football and their semi-final win over Real Madrid surprised many.  Polish striker Robert Lewandowski scored four goals in the first leg of said tie and this could well be his last game for Die Schwarzgelben, with a host of top-clubs interested in paying top-dollar for his services.  Another standout this season has been Mario Gotze, who will sadly miss the final with a groin injury.  He has already agreed to join Munich this summer for a reported fee of 37 million Euros.

The Grambler says that if Dortmund win, the score shall be an impressive 3-2 with Marco Reus grabbing one of the goals.  An ambitious £1 bet on said result will win us £60.  Yippee!  

Bet 2: Bayern Munich to win
Bayern fans suffered heartache last season as Chelsea beat them on their home-turf to take the Champions League final and they will be hopeful of making up for this tonight.  They eased to the Bundesliga title this season, setting a new record for the earliest title winners with six-games still to play.  Celebrated manager Jupp Heynckes is due to step down at the end of the season and Munich have pulled off something of a coup in persuading Pep Guardiola to take on the coaches role in his return to management.  Die Roten have also started to splash the cash, with the previously mentioned Gotze already on board for next season and a host of big-name players rumoured to be joining him at the Allianz Arena, including convicted cannibal Luis Suarez.

The Grambler has claimed that should Bayern Munich be victorious, the score shall be a respectable 2-1 and Arjen Robben will score one of those goals.  A £1 bet here will win a welcome £55.  Hooray!

Bet 3 Draw
Not much more to say about this one...  If the score is 1-1 cometh the 90th minute, we shall win a humongous £6.50!

That's it!  All Grambled out for the season!  Thank you for your support throughout the season and please do take the time to read up on the wonderful work of the Bobby Moore Fund and spread the word about the fight against evil, evil bowel cancer.  With any luck, we shall be back up ad running come the start of the new season (depending on good health).

Happy Grambling!

(Also, buy a t-shirt!)

Saturday 18 May 2013

Week 36: What the Hell do we do now!?

You may recall last season ending in rather dramatic fashion with that Aguero stoppage type goal against QPR prising the title from the clutches of Manchester United.  Well, this season is slightly different.  The relegation spots are filled, the title has been decided, runners-up are already in place and unless something ridiculous happens, Chelsea have have third sewn up.  So the only matter of interest is the race for fourth place.  Can you feel the excitement?  No, neither can I.  

There are of course play-off finals taking place which are far more exciting. With places up for grabs in the Championship and Premiership, Brentford will take on Yeovil tomorrow and Crystal Palace play Watford a week on Monday respectively.  And of course the Champions League final takes place next weekend so there is still something to look forward to.  But then, a whole summer without football!  Nooooooooooooooo!

This week's Grambler is made up entirely from Premiership games.  We have the usual three game accumulator and since it's the last round of games of the season... The Super Mega Awesome Grambler!  A ten game accumulator attempting to pick the winners of every Premiership games at random...  This is the bet that will prove whether there really are any footballing Gods supporting The Grambler!

Three game Premiership accumulator
Game - Result - Odds
Tottenham vs Sunderland - Home win - 2/7
West Brom vs Man Utd - Draw - 29/10
Newcastle vs Arsenal - Away win - 11/20
£1 @ 7/1

Oddly, The Grambler has managed to choose the only two games that actually matter in this accumulator, adding a little excitement to the proceedings.  Spurs will be hopeful of bettering Arsenal's result to pinch fourth place and the delicious Champions League football that comes with it.  Sunderland do not need to achieve anything following Wigan's midweek relegation but manager and horrible fascist (lest we forget) Paulo Di Canio might still have to prove to some supporters that he is the man to lead them next season.  Tickets are allegedly changing hands for thousands of pounds ahead of West Brom's tie against Man Utd.  This will of course be Sir Alex Ferguson's last game in charge and perhaps we should expect him to round off an illustrious career with a win.  The Baggies have also had a reasonable season and a point against the Champions would conclude things nicely.  Arsenal travel to Tyneside needing a win to secure fourth spot in the league but given the right results elsewhere, could force a 3rd/4th place play-off with Chelsea.  It is highly unlikely, however.  Newcastle will be relieved to find themselves safe having unexpectedly been dragged into a relegation fight towards the end of the season.  As with most teams at this stage of the season, they will no doubt still send out a strong starting line-up with instructions to win purely for the purposes of selling season tickets for next year.

Super Mega Awesome Grambler! accumulator
Game - Result - Odds
Chelsea vs Everton - Home win - 8/11
Liverpool vs QPR - Draw - 6/1
Man City vs Norwich - Home win - 1/3
Newcastle vs Arsenal - Draw - 18/5
Southampton vs Stoke - Away win - 4/1
Swansea vs Fulham - Home win - 4/5
Spurs vs Sunderland - Draw - 5/1
West Brom vs Man Utd - Away win - 5/6
West Ham vs Reading - Home win - 4/6
Wigan vs Aston Villa - Away win - 13/5
50p @ 44,048/1

Check out those odds!  I am genuinely excited by this bet!  It is so horrendously wrong that it has to be right!  What a perfect way to round of the season that would be too.  I can then sell my story to the Daily Record or some equally poor 'newspaper', write the Grambler book over the summer, start recording my Christmas single in Autumn and by the end of the year, an estimated £1.6 million will on it's way to the Bobby Moore Fund for Bowel Cancer Research!  Not that I'm setting my hopes unreasonably high or anything...

We shall return next week for the final Grambler of the season, a Champions League special. And then, who knows...?

Exciting news as I have decided to add a Eurovision bet to this week's proceedings!  The Grambler has selected Russia, who this year shall be represented by Dina Garipova singing What If (which turns out not to be a Lightning Seeds cover).  I'm not sure about this choice... Russia were robbed last year as the singing grannies of Buranovskiye Babushki were by far the best act of the night but failed to take the gong, maybe this could be their year?  The Russian entry is 16/1 to win outright so I have bet a quid each way and any winnings will go to the usual charidee.  Here is Miss Garipova in action for those of you curious enough...

Friday 10 May 2013

Week 35: Nation in shock as 71 year old retires!

We should get this over with quickly, nothing of note has happened in the past week football-wise...

Oh wait, some old geezer has decided it is time to retire and move into a new role as puppetmaster director and ambassador at Old Traffford.  Yes, the time has finally come for Sir Alex Ferguson to retire after 26 years and 38 trophies with Manchester United.  It is the end of an era as the manager many have hailed as the greatest of all time laves the dugout for the last time.  One has to admire his many achievements; the treble in 1999, his tactical nous, his handling of the media, his ability to spot raw talent...  But personally, I believe that his greatest moment was that time that he twatted David Beckham on the head with a football boot.

Fellow irate Scotsman and Everton manager David Moyes has been given the thankless task of replacing Ferguson.  Whilst most critics have agreed that this is a wise move, with the key motive of maintaining a formula that has provided years success and stability to the club, many United fans have been angered by the appointment.  But then again, most United fans I have ever met have been idiots...

Sad news elsewhere as Aston Villa captain Stillian Petrov has been forced to retire as he continues his battle against leukaemia.  He has decided to devote his time to setting up a foundation to help sufferers of the bastarding disease.  Yet further proof, as if it were needed, that cancer is a big hairy arse.  You should really donate some money to help the fight against said big hairy arse.  How about donating to the Bobby Moore Fund?  They seem nice.

Sadly, the end of the season is nigh...  Two rounds of games remain in the Premiership with the final Champions League place and relegation spot still to be filled.  Similarly, there are still two games to play in the SPL, with the mighty Motherwell one point away from securing second place.  In the lower leagues of England and Scotland, the play-offs are already well under-way; most notably one of Watford, Brighton, Crystal Palace or Leicester will earn a coveted place in the Premiership.  And Manchester City will face Wigan on Saturday in an FA Cup final which is surely a foregone conclusion...  I mean, there's just no way that City's attack are getting past Gary Caldwell!  So there are only about 20 Grambleable games to choose from this weekend, but we shall bravely Gramble on to the bitter end!  Two bets of three this week, plus an extra special FA Cup final bet which has been calculated in the most spectacular Grambler fashion yet!

Three game all-league accumulator
Game - result - odds
St Mirren vs Aberdeen - Home win - 9/5
Peterhead vs Queen's Park - Home win - 4/5 
Crystal Palace vs Brighton - Draw - 23/10
50p @ 16/1

Meanwhile, back where Alex Ferguson won his first silverware... St Mirren take on the sheep-fanciers of Aberdeen in a meaningless wind-down game.  Dundee's relegation last week confirmed the Buddies survival whilst the Dons have pretty much cemented 7th place in the SPL.  Staying in Scotland, Peterhead go into the second-leg of their play-off tie against Queen's Park with a 1-0 lead thanks to a stoppage time penalty on Wednesday night.  The Blue Toon also defeated the Spiders 3-0 in the final round of league ties so could make it three-in-a-row on Sunday.  On Friday night, Crystal Palace and Brighton square up in the first leg of their play-off tie.  Much is at stake with promotion worth an estimated £60 million to Championship promotees.  Palace have not appeared in the top-flight since 2005 but Brighton have yet to make a Premiership appearance.

Three game Premiership accumulator
Game - result - odds
Man Utd vs Swansea - Home win - 1/3
Stoke vs Tottenham - Away win - 10/11
Sunderland vs Southampton - 13/8
£1 @ 6/1

With the title already secured and Ferguson's imminent retirement, Man Utd fans will be turning out for a celebration rather than a competitive match on Sunday.  Likewise, Swansea will be celebrating another good year in the Premiership (along with League Cup triumph) so expect a party atmosphere and meaningless game at Old Trafford.  Stoke have slogged out the second half of the season and rumours abound that Tony Pullis will depart.  They may be out to prove a point in their final home game.  Tottenham continue to tussle with Arsenal for the sought-after final Champions League place and will see this as a must-win match.  Although Wigan look likely to join QPR and Reading in the Championship next season, there is still a chance either Sunderland or Southampton giving this game an air of a relegation battle. Both sides gambled by sacking their managers late in the season band it could pay off for either or both if they can avoid the dreaded drop.

Super extra special far-fetched and convoluted FA Cup bet
It would be a shame not to have a bet on the FA Cup final, but to choose either Manchester City or Wigan to win would be a) a tad boring and b) unlikely to win anything worthwhile.  So it made much more sense to enter the most complex formula into the Grambler spreadsheet of this season to come up with a prediction for an actual result and first goalscorer.  Obviously this is type of betting has not been outlined in the rules of The Grambler but then those of you who have been following may have noticed that I have changed the rules every couple of weeks anyway.  Also, it's Christmas so why not?  In the unlikely outcome that Manchester City and Wigan draw 1-1 with Pablo Zabaleta scoring the first goal, a cool £70 will be heading for the Bobby Moore Fund courtesy of a 50p bet with odds of 140/1.  How do you like them apples?

That is all from the penultimate Grambler of the season.  No go forth and celebrate.  Perhaps by buying several Grambler t-shirts (go on, you know you want one!)