Friday, 21 February 2014

Week 25 - How to improve discipline on the pitch


Hello all my little grambler fans.  How are you doing?  All right?  That’s good.  Me?  Yes, still on the Gramblerplan diet.  Doing not too badly, thanks for asking.  Another couple of pounds down (in weight and financially thanks to my pledge to give a quid to bowel cancer research via https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 for every pound in weight that I lose).

Before I give you this week’s dieting tips, can I have a grumble?  It is football related, so I am sure you will allow me a small rant.  Discipline in the beautiful game is what I want to discuss.  I watched the Arse vs Liverpool game last Sunday.  Good game.  A couple of incidents stood out though.  First Saunders gets frustrated and almost pushes the ref.  Luckily, he no more than touched him, otherwise a card would have been shown.  Later on Suarez, who is admittedly a great player, plays for a penalty by giving the sort of dive that would have earned Tom Daley a gold medal.  Trouble was, it was definitely a penalty.  However, because of his crazy theatrics, it wasn’t given.  To me, the ref was punishing him by not awarding the penalty rather than give a yellow as would have been the case had it not been a legitimate claim.  So how do we stop such behaviour?  As usual, I have the perfect solution. [Bighead – Ed.]  At the present a player who is booked a certain number of times receives a ban of so many games.  Sendings off mean a ban for the next game plus accrued points towards a further ban.  Where is the sense in that?  Be naughty and you get a week off.  Be very naughty and you get more weeks off.  Okay, they no doubt have their wages docked as well, but some of them are earning hundreds of times the average wage; are they going to care?  The solution?  Dock the manager’s pay for every misdemeanour.  Say 10% for each yellow card, 20% for each red.  He can then dole out whatever punishment he wants to his players, as well as docking them the same percentage as he has lost.  All the monies raised would then go to the opposing club at the time the cards were issued.  Thus, the club that suffered because of cheating, fouling and/or bad behaviour would at least benefit financially. Watch the number of cards issued drop dramatically over night.  No, no, I don’t ask for reward for such pearls of wisdom.  Look on it as my gift to the world of football.

Back to the Gramblerplan, what tips can I give you?  Occupation.  You what?  Yes, occupation.  No I’m not talking about marching on the Sudetenland.  What?  Too soon?  I do apologise to anyone thin-skinned enough to be offended.  No, I mean occupying oneself.  Today somebody sent me one of those ten amusing things about something equally amusing.  Or unamusing as they usually tend to be.  And what’s this crap about sending some mawkish message on to other people to ensure good luck?  Daft I calls it.  Any road up, one of the said ‘amusing’ lines was – ‘There is a thin line between boredom and hunger’.  Meant to bring a smile to my face.  It didn’t though, because as a piece of diet advice it is spot on.  If you are not occupied, your mind drifts towards the desire for food.  In a way I am just repeating what I said about being too busy to eat (see http://www.thegrambler.com/2014/01/week-22-stewarts-world-famous-isaac.html for details).  The difference here is that I want you to make yourself busy.  Don’t sit about watching telly and thinking about food every time the adverts come on.  No.  Get up and do something.  Do anything at all to take your mind off food.  Become so engrossed in whatever you are doing that you can’t be bothered stopping to eat.  Isn’t that brilliant advice?  I think so, anyway.

Let’s move away from food related stuff, shall we?  I’m getting hungry.

We have a birthday to celebrate.  Yay.  Born on 22nd February in 1929 (or, if Wikipaedia has it correct, 1930) it is the birthday this Saturday of none other than Marnie Nixon.  Yay…Who?  Marnie Nixon.  You know.  Singer.  What do you mean, you’ve never heard of her?  She was in ‘My Fair Lady’.  No?  Not ringing any bells?  West Side Story’?  No?  What about ‘The King and I’?  Still don’t know her?  Well, the truth is you won’t have seen her, but you will have heard her as she provided the singing voice of Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Wood and Deborah Kerr in the films I mentioned.  Very important lady and worth a mention in this august blog.  And well worth a gramblerised toon or two.

First My Fair Lady –

I could have grambled all night!
I could have grambled all night!
And still have grambled for more.
I could have grambled my wings
And grambled a thousand things I've never grambled before.

And now West Side Story –

I feel grambling
Oh so grambling
It's alarming how grambling I feel
And so pretty
That I hardly can believe I'm real

And finally The King and I –

Shall we gramble?

Cha cha cha
On a bright cloud of music shall we gramble?

Cha cha cha
Shall we gramble?

Cha cha cha
Shall we then say, goodnight and mean goodgramble

There.  What do you think of that?

Well, quite frankly, it’s an lot of blibbing rubbish.  You’re just sticking the word gramble in anywhere you see fit.  Any idiot could do that.  I could make up better rubbish meself.  [We don’t doubt it – Ed.]  You could stick any old word in.  You could put the word ‘doodah’ and it wouldn’t be any dafter.  Here; I’ll do it.  Here’s an song from My Fair Lady –

All I wants is a doodah somewhere,

Far away from the cold night air,

With one enormous doodah,

Oh! Wouldn’t it be lovely!

See?  Easy.  And who’s this mardy Nixon when she’s at home?  And don’t give me that about her singing for Audrey Hepworth.  I don’t believe you. I saw Aubrey’s lips move.  She was from…ooh….where was it?  Where the sprouts come from.  Belgium.  Yes, she was Belgish was that Andy Hepman.  I wonder if she knew that other bloke.  That detective one with the moustache.  Hercules Poyet!  Him.  Ooh, I liked that Audrey Hipsway.  She was in that film, wasn’t she.  The one about an princess going on holiday with Captain Ahab.  What was it called?  Home on holiday?  Holiday home?  Oh, I can’t remember.  It was set in Rome anyway.  Anyway, she played this princess who didn’t like being an princess and got fed up doing princessy things.  So she runs off with Captain Ahab…him that played Godrey Peck in that other film.  What was it called?  The one about the whale…Moby’s Dick!  Ooh, I remember that final scene where Captain Arab goes down on Moby while jabbing his harpoon into him.  Anyway, back to the Andrea Helpmann film, she takes an shine to Geoffrey Puck’s Larmbretta and they go all over Rome and…that’s it, really.  It must have been made before the Moby’s Dick film because old Jiggery Pokery had two legs in this one and by the time he made the whale film he’d lost one.  Natalie Wood?  Wasn’t she married to that composer?  Wagner?...etc. etc. ad infinitum.

Time for some grambling, methinks.

First off, let’s see how last week’s predictions went.

Bournemouth vs Burnley – Prediction Away win – Nope

Bournemouth 1 Burnley 1

Well, The Grambler said an away win for this, but I did say in my write up that I thought a draw might be more likely given that that was the outcome of the previous encounter between these two.  I don’t want to seem smug but, I told you so.  Nah nah ne nah nah! [That is not worthy of this match report so don’t be so childish or I won’t let you play with my Lego – Ed.].

Sorry. After a tepid first half, Bournemouth went ahead early in the second as Ian Harte whipped in a corner [Ian Harte was whipped in a corner?  Do the authorities know about this? – Ed] which was deftly headed in by Tokelo Rantie.

Two Burnley substitutes then combined to equalise as Ross Wallace's cross was deflected into the path of fellow sub Keith Treacy, who rifled home.

Both sides had chances to win it in an end-to-end final 15 minutes.

Clarets keeper Tom Heaton got down well to his right to beat away a Lewis Grabban shot for a corner, from which home skipper Tommy Elphick's header was tipped over the bar by Heaton, before Cherries substitute Yann Kermorgant headed wide.

A grandstand finish - partly making up for a difficult first period which was played in driving rain - continued as Kermorgant curled a free-kick over the bar, substitute Ashley Barnes nearly conjured an opening for the visitors and right-back Simon Francis hit a powerful effort at goal which clipped the woodwork.

The Grambler got it wrong though.  And I got it right. [I’ve warned you; stop gloating – Ed.]

Bristol City vs Tranmere – Prediction Home win – Nope

Bristol City 2 Tranmere 2

I am not going to gloat, but again, I reckoned a draw and The Grambler got it wrong.  Two to me, none to you.  Hah!  [I won’t tell you again – Ed.].

Jason Koumas curled a right-footed shot into the top corner of the net with just 10 minutes remaining as the visitors twice came from behind.

Sam Baldock put the hosts ahead on the 13 minute mark as his cross went in off the post before Jake Cassidy levelled with a fierce shot on 19 minutes

Derrick Williams headed in his first City goal on 78 minutes from Baldock's chipped cross before Koumas snatched a point.

The result means both teams sit just two points above the League One relegation zone.

Bristol City manager Steve Cotterill told reporters that he had tried to whip it up a bit after the Brentford Nylons game.  I hope Ian Harte wasn’t involved.  I’m getting a bit worried about all this whipping going on.

Portsmouth vs Wimbledon – Prediction Away win – Nope

Portsmouth 1 – Wimbledon 0

Ho hum, another one wrong Grambler.  This time I can’t gloat, because, although I said I didn’t agree with your prediction, I didn’t actually come up with my own forecast.

Brave Ryan Taylor scored the only goal on 52 minutes as he bravely met Daniel Alfei's right-wing cross to loop a brave header into the net. [Okay, we get the picture; he was brave - Ed.]

The Dons had seen a penalty appeal waved away after two minutes when Danny Hylton appeared to be tripped in the box, but a free-kick was given instead.

Alan Bennett's [He’s a bit old to be playing football, isn’t he! - Ed.] point-blank header was also saved and Luke Moore's shot cleared off the line as Pompey held on.

And now…Dah dah dah dah!  It’s Gaffer of the Week time.  Step up to the mike Wimbledon boss Neil Ardley.

"I thought we were the better team for most of the game and we seemed comfortable. We defended really well, but credit to them, they made some crucial blocks and it didn't fall for us today but I know we were the better team.

"Ultimately we lost the game because five minutes after I gave them a half-time team talk about what the only threat would be, they did exactly that by not getting out of our penalty box.

"I thought we controlled the game and they were not a threat despite being the home team, but credit to them and we have to take that bitter pill and deal with it."

Yeah, thanks Neil.  Superb clich├ęs there, good repetition and utter bollocks to boot.  Respect.

Hibernian vs Ross County – Prediction Home win – Waheyy

Hibs 2 Ross County 1

We have a winner.  Game 4 and The Grambler finally gets one right.

Sam Stanton opened the scoring with a well struck free-kick after 10 minutes had elapsed.

And recent signing Danny Haynes set up Tom Taiwo to fire the hosts' second midway through the first half.

Captain Richie Brittain reduced County's deficit with a free-kick of his own on 59 minutes but despite continued pressure the visitors could not draw level.

Hoibees!  Hoibees!

Forfar vs Dunfermline – Prediction Away win – Waheyy

Forfar 2 Dunfermline 4

And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther The Grambler gets another one right. Yay! 

I didn’t spot this at the time, but definitely a belated cracking name of the week Faissal El Bakhtaoui chipped home the Pars' opener within 4 minutes, but the hosts were level by the break through James Dale.

Gavin Swankie steered Forfar ahead on 60 minutes, but Stephen Husband's strike on the 69 minute mark restored parity.

An own goal by Darren Dods (pillock) and Lawrence Shankland's strike proved to be enough to give Jim Jefferies' side all three points.

So Dunfermline are pushing for promotion being only 23 points behind leaders Rangers.  That’s right, the second placed team is 23 points behind the first.  Something tells me Rangers might be winning promotion this year.

So there we have it.  Only two out of five correct so there is some return on our £2.20 stake.  Only 82 pee though.  Never mind, onwards and upwards, let’s get on with this week’s grambling.

Week 25 on the Grambling calendar and how many games are on this Saturday, the 22nd of February, at 3pm for The Grambler to choose from?  Wow!  58 games.  I can’t remember that many for ages.  Sadly, only five of those come from the English Premiership as they all pay allegiance to the great god ‘Sky’.

So what have you chosen for us this week oh great and powerful Grambler?  Hmm…Three from the English leagues and two from the Scottish.  Let’s see what he/she/it has predicted.

Game – Result – Odds

Leicester City vs Ipswich Town – Home win -

First up we head to the King Power king Stadium where the king Foxes play host to the king Tractor Boys. Ooh Aarh!

The Grambler has gone for a home win here.  Let’s see some stats.

Leicester won the earlier meeting 2-1 at Portman Road in November.

Ipswich have won only one of the last six meetings, losing four. Their only win since 2010 was 1-0 at home last season.

Leicester won 6-0 against Ipswich at the King Power Stadium last season - the biggest-ever win in meetings between these sides.

Leicester are unbeaten in the last eight meetings at the King Power Stadium, winning four. Ipswich's last win there was 2-1 in the old Division One on Boxing Day 2002.

Leicester are unbeaten in their last 12 games in the Championship, winning nine. Their last league defeat was 3-1 at Brighton in early December.

Leicester have scored 56 league goals so far this season. Only Derby have scored more in the Championship.

Leicester have the best home record in the Championship this season. Their only league defeat at the King Power Stadium this season was 2-0 to Nottingham Forest in November.

Ipswich are unbeaten in their last five games, winning two.

Ipswich have the second-worst record in the Championship this season after scoring first, but the best record after conceding first.

Ipswich have not won any of their last five away games in all competitions, losing two.

You will have gathered that I didn’t actually compose all that.  Hopefully, the Beeb Beeb Ceeb won’t mind me using their info.

From all that, I reckon that The Grambler going for a home win is not a bad call.

 

Port Vale vs Crewe Alexandra – Home win -

Next we head to the Vale where the Valiants take on the Railwaymen.  The Grambler reckons this one will go the way of Port Vale.  Going on league positions that would seem a fair prediction.  However, in the past 7 meetings between these two clubs Port Vale only have a single win advantage having won 3 to Crewe’s 2.  However, the most recent of these did go Port Vale’s way, and that was at Crewe, so The Grambler may well have this one right.

Torquay United vs Accrington Stanley – Away win

For our close encounter of the third kind we head to Plainmoor where the Gulls take on the best named team in any league anywhere, the Stanley The Grambler has, in his/her/its wisdom called this as an away win.  Both teams have had pretty crap seasons and sit near the bottom of the table; Accrington in 20th spot and Torquay 23rd.  Accrington have got the better recent record having lost only 2 from their last 10 games; and those only to 2nd placed Scunthorpe and 5th placed Fleetwood.  Torquay, on the other hand, have lost 5 of their last 10.  Also, in their previous encounter this season, it was Stanley that took the points.  So, going on those statistics, The Grambler might have this one right.  However – yes, there is a however – in the past 10 meetings of these clubs, the away team has never won.  Let us hope that the Stanley change that historical fact this week.

Kilmarnock vs Hibernian – Away win -

Game 4 and we are off to Rugby Park where Killie play host to the Hibees (Hoibees! Hoibees!).  The Grambler reckons Hibs (Hoibees! Hoibees!) are on the start of a run and will continue the good work of last week (when they cuffed Ross County and helped The Grambler) by taking all the points in this encounter.  Although only one place separates the two teams in the league, Hibs have the best record in recent head to heads;  Killie haven’t won in the past 6 games.  But hold on there Bald Eagle, don’t Kilmarnock have goal machine Kris Boyd up front.  After a poor start, he is now scoring in nearly every game – 16 goals and counting.  I reckon Killie can at least take a point here.

Dunfermline Athletic vs Ayr United – Home win –

And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther we head to East End Park where we meet last week’s other Grambler helpers, the Pars who play host to the Honest Men.  The Grambler reckons Dunfermline, sitting 2nd in the league, will beat Ayr sitting in 4th.  The sides have met 4 times this season – twice league games and twice in the cup – and Dunfermline have won 3 and drawn one.  The draw was in the cup match which meant a replay which the Pars won by a single goal.  Since then, they have beaten Ayr at Somerset Park 4-2.  On such statistics, The Grambler ought to have this one right.

So, there we have it my little Gramblerados.  The predictions are in, the bet is placed and if our 2 pound 20 pee bet of 10 doubles and 1 accumulator is all correct, the Bobby Moore Fund (via https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 ) will receive the grand total of –

£21.80

Let’s hope it happens.  I’m getting fed up sticking £2.20 into the fund with an apology that The Grambler got it wrong again.

To finish, I mentioned those annoying emails that promise you good luck if you pass them on.  Well….



 

Thank you and good night.

 

 

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