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!)



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