Sunday 1 June 2014

Week 39 - The Grambler on refereeing

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…


This is a football blog, right?  Okay, it is sort of a football blog, so this week I give you a footbally type gripe.  It concerns refereeing, or at least it will after I take you on a journey back into the past.  Cue harp music…

When I was very, very young I came to live in the west of Scotland.  I liked it so much I stayed.  Actually, I didn’t have much option; I was 4.  But I have remained here all my life since.  I was an outsider, certainly, and didn’t understand certain aspects of the culture.  [I thought you said this was about football refereeing.  Get on with it – Ed.]  One aspect was the Rangers/Celtic divide.  When I was a six year old at school, older lads would ask me what team I supported, Rangers or Celtic.  That was the choice.  It never occurred to these guys that there might be other teams to support.  Rangers or Celtic.  That’s it.  Choose.  Now, you had to be careful how you answered, because if you said the wrong one, a doing would be heading your way.  I, being the same awkward bugger then that I am now, would confuse the hell out of them by announcing that I supported Derby County.  While they worked out what their next move should be, I legged it.  Now, you are probably wondering what point I am trying to make here.  It is this.  Such behaviour was, and still is, rife all over the West of Scotland, indeed it was, and is, probably the case throughout Scotland judging by the numbers of Rangers and Celtic fans that travel from all over the country to watch their team.  It is a tribal thing.  You had to support one or the other.  It meant that children grew up with the one or the other mentality.  An old Rangers-daft aunt of Mrs Grambler once suggested that I was not a proper football supporter because I went to watch Motherwell and didn’t support Rangers or Celtic.  Excuse me?  She was serious too.  I haven’t mentioned the religious divide, mainly because I don’t believe this is the place to discuss such matters.  Let’s just be aware that one side tends to be firmly in the Rangers camp and the other side veers very much towards Celtic.  What is the definition of an atheist?  Someone who goes to a Rangers v Celtic match to watch football.  That is a cracking joke, but do not tell it to a Rangers or Celtic fan.  Not if you value your life.  The great Scottish comedian, Arnold Brown…why not…said that, as a Jew growing up in Glasgow, he felt deprived because he didn’t have a team to hate.

So, to referees.  They grew up in the same environment and despite all their efforts to appear impartial, they still grew up with the Rangers or Celtic mentality.  Or at least that is what the fans believe.  Sometimes it is not without reason; some refs seem to award free kicks and penalties to certain teams, shall we say, rather too easily.  There I’m at it.  But in Scotland, it is just the way we, the fans, behave. 

At a Rangers Celtic game each set of fans believe that the ref is against their team.  In any game featuring Rangers (or Celtic) against anyone else, the opposing fans think the ref favours Rangers (or Celtic).

The problem lies with the fans who believe that the referee has grown up in their own image, so to speak.  If the ref went to a certain school it follows that he must favour one of the big two to the detriment of the other.  Thus, according to the fans, he is not impartial.  Yes, I know it seems a ridiculous notion, but that is the average fan’s perception. 

Do I have a solution?  Of course I do.  The solution is to ‘import’ referees from over the border.  Sorry, pardon, excuse me?  Yep.  English refs should be in charge of those games where Rangers or Celtic are involved.  Of course, Scottish refs could travel south to take charge of games in England where there is a history of hostility - it does happen, I am informed - Voila, no more criticism of the referee because of which school he attended.

No, no.  I don’t ask for thanks.  Happy to be able to solve an age-old problem.

Righty ho. On to the usual drivel.  Any birthdays to celebrate?  Any songs to gramblerise?  Weyull.  Looky here y’all.  If it ain’t thayut good old Murcan bowah from the deep sayuth, Payut Boone.  Yup. Pat Boone.  80 years old on the first of June.  Only 80?  He behaved like a 60 year old when he was at his peak in the 50s That makes him at least 120 by my (admittedly suspect) reckoning.

Sorry to my grambling chums from the good old U. S of A.  Couldn’t resist the rather poor imitation of southern patois.  Actually, it isn’t so far removed from the truth.  When Stewart was young, Mrs Grambler and I took him and his bruv to visit Pat’s home state, Florida.  Obviously, we were doing the Disney theme parks.  As you do.  So, on day one of our holiday we meet up with a holiday rep who would tell us about all the wunnerful attractions we could visit.  Her opening gambit was this – “Inny yall curma see a mayuss?”  Silence.  What language was this woman talking?  She repeated the line.  Only louder, obviously thinking the problem lay with our hearing rather than the fact she spoke a different language to the people she was addressing.  Nothing.  No response.  She tried it again.  More slowly, this time.  Nope.  You’ve lost me, hen. Eventually, one of the brighter individuals among us travel-weary holidaymakers managed to work out what she was trying to convey.  “Inny yall curma see a mayuss?” meant “Has anybody here come to see a mouse?”  Oh right.  Ha ha.  Very good.  This woman’s mad.  Needless to say, we learnt nothing from this particular holiday representative.

Any road up that is all by the by.  What great song did Mr Saccharine give us that we might gramblerise?  Could it be anything other than…

La la laaaah!  La lalalala la la laaaah!

Laaaah!  La lalalala la la laaaah!

You better come home, Grambly Gonzales
Away from Gramblery row
Stop alla your a-gramblin'
With that grambler named Flo
Come on home to your adobe
And slap some mud on the wall
The roof is gramblin' like a grambler
There's loadsa gramblers in the hall…etc. etc.

Ahem.  Shall we move on to grambling matters?  Yes, let’s.

You remember how we won a huge sum of money for the Bobby Moore fund last week?  Yeah, well, we couldn’t do it 2 weeks on the trot.  Last week’s payout out from Mr Betthreesixfive was a measly 96 pee.  How measly is that?  Actually, why do we use the word measly?  Does a smaller than hoped for amount resemble a pimple?  Pretty rubbish, anyway.  Do you want to know what happened?  Do you care?  It’s horse racing, for goodness’ sake!  Roll on the World Cup, I say.

Anyway, we will try again.  Hmm.  Something tells me The Grambler is not really trying.  I’m sure some of these names have cropped up already and this is only the third week of betting on the gee gees.  All these races take place on Sunday the 1st of June and The Grambler has gone for …


Meeting – Time – Horse – Odds


Fakenham          2.30            Midnight Diamond               5/2


Nottingham        2.15            Mubtaghaa                           4/11


Nottingham        3.45            Foxy Forever                        7/4


Nottingham        4.15            Manderley                             3/10


Nottingham        4.45            Kalahari                                2/1


There are 10 bets of 20 pee doubles plus the usual 20 pee accumulator.  If all results go as predicted by The Grambler, the Bobby Moore fund will benefit by… worth a fanfare, this…


Woo hoo!  That is a goodly sum of dosh.  Will it happen?  Doubtful.  Hey, let’s be positive here.  Yes it will happen.


What about last week’s football teaser, I hear you ask.  I don’t really hear you, don’t worry.  Last week I asked which Englishman holds the record for appearances without even being brought as a sub?  The answer?  Peter Shilton.  1005 league games in a career lasting over 30 years.  He also holds the record for having the most international caps – 125.


How about a teaser for this week?  We have one about attendances at matches.  The largest ever crowd in Britain (in senior football) and the smallest ever took place within ten miles of each other.  Not on the same day, of course.  That would be silly.  Your teaser for this week is – what is the difference when you subtract one from the other?  And don’t subtract the bigger one from the smaller one… that would also be silly.


Let’s finish with a crap joke…


Q: What’s a horse’s favourite TV show?
A: Neighbours


Told you it was crap.  Happy grambling.

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