Saturday 17 May 2014

Week 37 - The Grambler and some worrying statistics

Stewart was an amazing person -  A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle.  He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and will be missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good.  We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer.  If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via .


If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which recently appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent.  It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will.


His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige.  Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see. Read on and enjoy…


First off this week, I must mention the death of Stephen Sutton.  He died of bowel cancer.  He was 19.  Do you understand why I keep bleating on about being on your guard about any bowel problems you might have?  19.  It is no age at all.  But this remarkable young man embraced social media and in doing so raised over £3 million.  More importantly – although totally ignored by the media covering his story – he raised awareness about bowel cancer and how it can attack both young and old.


Talking of social media; we got booted off twitter last week.  Really.  The Grambler twitter account was ‘suspended’.  Why?  Because I had been putting out so many tweets I was tweeted (d’you geddit?) as a spammer.  I don’t even like Spam.  Chopped ham and pork was never a favourite with me.  Anyway, I sent a message explaining that I was trying to boost readership of and, by doing so, raise awareness of bowel cancer in the young.  Anyway, it worked and we are up and running again.  So all you folk out there in Twitterland please tell your fellow Twits (is that what we are called?) to follow @letsGramble and to read  The more readers we get, the more chance we can help someone detect bowel cancer early.


Right.  On with this week’s business.  Congratulations are due to Georgios Samaras, the Greek Celtic forward.  How many footballers can boast that they won the Scottish Premier league title and the Eurovision Song Contest?  And he managed to sing his song without once hurling himself to the ground.  Such self control.



And so the season comes to an end, save for a couple of cup finals and play-offs to decide the final promotion/demotion places.  The winners of the various leagues have received their trophies.  Those clubs in leagues that are sponsored by the big TV companies will know how much dosh they will be receiving.

Of course, those teams which took second spot should also be applauded.  Especially if on the very last game of the season they managed to overtake a team that had been sitting in second spot for most of the season.  Yes the mighty ‘Well scored in the 90th minute to wrest second spot from Aiberdeen.  Yahsss!

Did I mention I was a Motherwell fan?

I am now going to draw your attention to a newspaper article in the Noo Yawk Times .  Why?  Well, two journos at that august publication have highlighted something that has been bugging me (and a great many others) for years.  It points out that many clubs have very few local lads in their ranks.  By local, they mean English.  Basically, Manchester City had only one Englishman in their regular lineup – model and part-time goalie, Joe Hart.

It set me thinking [Fancy that – Ed.].  What percentage of home grown players does each team from the English Premiershit employ?  Do those teams at the top always have fewer English players?  For the purposes of this little experiment I have treated both Welsh teams as English (sorry Swansea and Cardiff) just to keep the comparison valid.  If it were based on players from the country each team plays out of, then Cardiff would be down at the bottom as it only employs 2 Welsh players (at the time of writing).

Below is a table of the teams as they were at the finish of the season.  The columns to the right are percentage of English players with new table placing in parentheses and percentage of UK players with new table placing in parentheses.


1.      Manchester City           24%  (17)            24%  (18)

2.      Liverpool                                39%  (8)              50% (7=)

3.      Chelsea                                   16%  (20)            16%  (20)

4.      Arsenal                                   18%  (19)            21%  (19)

5.      Everton                                   42%  (4)              45% (10)

6.      Tottenham Hotspur                27%  (15)            31% (17)

7.      Manchester United                 36%  (10)            50%  (7=)

8.      Southampton                          52%  (1)              57%  (3=)

9.      Stoke                                       33%  (11=)                   37%  (14=)

10.    Newcastle                               30%  (14)            37%  (14=)

11.    Crystal Palace                        41%  (5=)            56%  (5)

12.    Swansea                                  21%  (18)            46% (9)

13.    West Ham                               48%  (2)              60%  (2)

14.    Sunderland                    33%  (11=)                   42%  (11)

15.    Aston Villa                             41%  (5=)            41%  (12=)

16.    Hull                                        26%  (16)            41%  (12=)

17.    West Bromwich Albion         37%  (9)              52%  (6)

18.    Norwich                                 46%  (3)              57%  (3=)

19.    Fulham                                   33%  (11=)                   33% (16)

20.    Cardiff                                    41%  (5=)            62%  (1)


Not quite sure what point is being made here, other than it is a sad state of affairs that only one club in the Premiership actually employs more than 50% of players who are English.  It doesn’t follow that more than 50% of first team players are English; these figures are based on total squad numbers.

The second column of figures looks a little more encouraging.  But only a little.  Eight clubs employ 50% or more of British players.  Hmm.  It’s not encouraging in the least, is it.

Is it any wonder, then, that the National teams from the UK (and I am including England) are so (How can I put this without upsetting too many people?)  rubbish?  If top clubs aren’t willing to play British players, how can UK national teams ever hope to achieve?

Okay, let’s move on shall we?  By the by, I am happy to eat my words if that mob from south of the border do well in the World Cup.

Any birthdays of note this week.  Who can forget Trini Lopez?  Trini Lopez…you do remember him.  Singer.  If I had a hammer…him.  Boom boom, boom boom, Gonna get along without you now.  No?  Well, it’s his birthday, anyway.  77 on May 15th.  So let’s gramblerise his most famous toon, his version of Pete Seeger’s protest song ‘If I had a hammer’.


Ooh ooh ooh ooh

Ooh ooh ooh ooh

Ooh ooh ooh

If I had a gramble,

I’d gramble in the morning,

I’d gramble in the evening,

All over this land.

I’d gramble out danger,

I’d gramble out warning,

I’d gramble out love between

My brothers and sisters ah aaah,

All over this land.

Ooh ooh ooh ooh

etc. etc.


Teeny loafers?  What?  Little shoes?  You’ve lost it now.  You have n’all.  Beat seagulls?  That’s aminal cruelty that is.  You can’t go around attarcking seagulls.  I know they can be blibbing annoying when they nick your chips when you’re having an fish supper at the seaside, but that doesn’t mean you’ve got to go beating them up.  And shitting on you.  They do that and all.  And ripping binbags open…leaving your rubbish lying all over the place.  And the racket they make.  Especially first thing in the morning when you’re still trying to sleep…Blibbing noisy, scavenging vermin…Hang on, I’ll get me cricket bat.


Shall we get on with some grambling?  How did we fair last week?  Not well.  Not well at all.  33 pees is all we won.  So we actually lost 1 quid 87 pees.  Rubbish or what.  How did that happen?  Read on…


Southampton vs Man U. – Prediction Home win – Nah

Southampton 1 Manchester United 1

Rickie Lambert shot Saints in front, with United claiming Nemanja Vidic had been fouled in the build-up.

Juan Mata equalised with a curling 25-yard free-kick in the second half.

There you go.  One match report.

Incidentally, did you know that Man U. didn’t qualify for Europe for the first time in 25 years?  Yeah.  Thought you might have heard.  Media have talked about little else for weeks.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Aston Villa – Prediction Draw – Nah

Tottenham Hotspur 3 Aston Villa 0

Paulinho cut through the heart of the Villa defence to shoot past Brad Guzan to put Spurs in early control.

Nathan Baker headed Danny Rose's cross past his own goalkeeper before Emmanuel Adebayor scored from the spot.

Spurs finished the season in sixth place, three points shy of their total last term, in what proved to be boss Tim Sherwood's last game in charge.

Just what do club owners expect from their managers?  Tim Sherwood gave them a sixth placed finish and European football next season and what happens?  Sorry Tim.  Not good enough.  Here are your jotters.

Call me cruel, but I hope the manager who takes over makes a complete a**e of it.  See for my thoughts on much the same thing at Cardiff.


Liverpool vs Newcastle – Prediction Home win - Yay

Liverpool 2 Newcastle 1

Newcastle had threatened a surprise when Martin Skrtel diverted a Yoan Gouffran cross into his own net after 20 minutes.

But two goals in as many second-half minutes – Daniel Agger and then Daniel Sturridge converting Steven Gerrard set-piece deliveries.

I don’t suppose Newcastle were helped by having 2 players sent off.  Shola Ameoba for mouthing off and Paul Dummett for a foul on… I might have known… Suarez.  I haven’t seen the incident but no doubt the little Uruguyan performed a pike on his way down.

Sunderland vs Swansea – Prediction Home win - Nah

Sunderland 1 Swansea 3

Nathan Dyer and Marvin Emnes struck for the Swans inside the first 15 minutes.

Fabio Borini pulled one back soon after the restart, but Wilfried Bony restored the visitors' two-goal lead with his 25th goal of the season

Cardiff vs Chelsea – Prediction Away win - Yay

Cardiff  1 Chelsea 2

The Bluebirds took the lead on 15 minutes when Craig Bellamy's left-foot shot was deflected off Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta and wrong-footed keeper Mark Schwarzer.

Below-par Chelsea finally struck back in the 72nd minute when Andre Schurrle fired a rebound high into the net after David Marshall's save from Azpilicueta.

Three minutes later, Fernando Torres's 11th goal of the season from six yards completed the comeback.  That’s 11 goals in total, not 11 from 6 yards.

So that’s it my little gramblerinis.  Those 2 wins only netted us that 33 pees thanks to the crappy odds for the Liverpool and Cardiff games. 

Now what do we do?  Hardly any games to bet on.  I did suggest that we could have a gramble on the gee gees from now until the World Cup.  The problem is The Grambler knows nothing about horse-racing [Doesn’t know much about football either. – Ed.].  But I have come up with a scheme.  If The Grambler were to take all horses in all races on a given day, there would be thousands of permutations (That’s a good word.  Must look it up.).  However, he/she/it has thrown up some interesting statistics.  Some days, up to half the winners are the favourite.  So, here’s the plan.  The Grambler will take all the favourites on a particular day and randomly pick 5 from that.  We can then still do the 10 doubles and a 5 race accumulator.  Sound good?  It does to me anyway.  Here goes…

Meeting – Time – Horse – Odds

Newbury             3.50            Olympic Glory             11/10

Newmarket        4.05            Pinzolo                         6/5

Newmarket        4.40            Yuften                          8/11

Doncaster           5.55            Haxby                           4/5

Uttoxeter            8.50            Forever Field              4/6

That’s it.  Our first foray into the sport of kings.  Five horses for courses, Four courses.  If all bets go our way, how much will be heading for the Bobby Moore Fund?


Not much, I grant you, but as we were selecting from favourites only, we can’t expect to get much more.


Okay, what about last week’s teaser?  What was the link between all the champions of all four English leagues?  They all came from Lancashire – Div 1 – Liverpool, Div 2 – Burnley, Div 3 – Bolton and Div 4 – Southport.  Wasn’t that interesting?

How about a teaser to finish with?  Okay.  What first was attributed to Everton at Goodison Park in 1957?

What about a little song from Father Ted, to end with?  We have mentioned the Eurovision Freakshow and we have horses; if we put the two together we get My Lovely Horse

Happy grambling.




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