Friday 19 September 2014

Week 7 - The Grambler on monkey hanging

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 today am going to ask you a question: Where have all the monkeys gone?  I can imagine Marlene Dietrich singing it – “Verr hef all the maunkeys gone? Lonk time pessink.”  [Nurse, I think it’s time to up his medication again! – Ed.]  No, no, no.  You don’t understand.  I am referring to a strange phenomenon of several months ago.  Monkey hanging.  Sorry, pardon, excuse me?  Yes, monkey hanging.  Not real monkeys, you understand.  This isn't Hartlepool you know.  Do you know that story?  I’ll tell you it anyway. 

Legend has it that during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century a French ship was spotted foundering and sinking off the Hartlepool coast. Suspicious of enemy ships and nervous of possible invasion, the good folk of Hartlepool rushed down to the beach, where amongst the wreckage of the ship they found the only survivor, the ship’s monkey which was apparently dressed in a miniature military-style uniform.

Hartlepool is a long way from France and most of the populous had never met, or even seen, a Frenchman. Some satirical cartoons of the time pictured the French as monkey-like creatures with tails and claws, so perhaps the locals could be forgiven for deciding that the monkey, in its uniform, must be a Frenchman, and a French spy at that. There was a trial to ascertain whether the monkey was guilty of spying or not; however, not unsurprisingly, the monkey was unable to answer any of the court's questions but was found guilty anyway. It was then dragged into the town square and hanged.

There is another, even crueller, version of the story.  Maybe they didn’t actually hang a ‘monkey’ but a small boy or ‘powder-monkey’. Small boys were employed on warships of this time to prime the cannons with gunpowder and were known as ‘powder-monkeys’.

Over the centuries the legend has been used to taunt the residents of Hartlepool.  At football matches between local rivals Darlington and Hartlepool United the chant, “Who hung the monkey” can often be heard. Most Hartlepudlians however love this story. Hartlepool United’s mascot is a monkey called H'Angus the Monkey (How sick is that?), and the local Rugby Union team Hartlepool Rovers are known as the Monkeyhangers.  Do you know what?  Hartlepudlians sound a bit odd.

The successful mayoral candidate in the 2002 local elections, Stuart Drummond, campaigned dressed in the costume of H'Angus the Monkey, using the election slogan "free bananas for schoolchildren", a promise he did not keep, incidentally. However this appears not to have dented his popularity, as he went on to be re-elected two more times with or without bananas.

However, that is nothing to do with the monkeys of which I speak.  The ones I am talking about are monkeys of the knitted variety.  Perhaps like the one that Johnny Vegas works with when advertising satellite tea or whatever it is he is trying to sell.
To explain, I have seen, hanging beneath railway bridges, pedestrian bridges and the like, knitted monkeys; just dull, brown, knitted monkeys.  But now they have gone. It was a phenomenon or craze that brought a smile to my face whenever I saw a knitted monkey hanging on a rope under a bridge.  As well as wondering why they have disappeared as suddenly as they appeared I must ask a question.  It is not why someone would want to suspend a knitted monkey from a bridge; it may well be some mystical, secret-society ritual; I don't know. My question is - how?  How did somebody manage to get up there to hang a monkey? The thing is, it is never suspended from the side of the bridge which is reasonably accessible. Instead, it is located right in a central position underneath. They were always over busy roads.  Did someone come along with a cherry-picker type vehicle and tie it in place?  Or do they smother one end of the rope in glue and fire it from a crossbow?  I honestly cannot fathom how they did it.
Can you?  Answers on a postcard please.

Right.  Birthdays of note, anyone?  Mungo Park 1771, George Robey 1869, Stevie Smith 1902, Kenneth More 1914, Rachel Roberts 1927, Johnnie Dankworth 1927, Sophia Loren 1934 were all born on the 20th of September (and Mrs Grambler too, incidentally, but I won’t say which year).  Sadly, nobody in there had any hits worth gramblerising.  Although Sophia Loren did have a couple of novelty songs in the charts way, way, way back.  Both were performed with Peter Sellers.  One was called Bangers and Mash, the other, perhaps more famous, one was called Goodness Gracious Me.  It was the song that gave the title to Britain’s first Asian comedy series (That looks weird when it’s written down – it suggests a programme in some eastern language).  Another fact about the song surprised me.  The writer.  It was penned by none other than George Martin.  Yes, that George Martin; the one that produced all the great Beatles records.  I suppose everyone has to start somewhere.  But, Goodness Gracious Me?  Goodness gracious me!

There is a birthday boy who might be able to give us a song to gramblerise.  He was born on September 21st 1972.  Happy 42nd birthday (on Sunday) to waggly shouldered Liam Gallacher.  What song should we choose?  Gramblerwall?  Nah.  Some Might Gramble?  Oh no.  Champagne Supergrambler?  Do me a favour!  Surely it can only be…

So, The Grambler  can wait
He/she/it knows it's too late as he/she/it's grambling on by
My soul grambles away
But don't gramble back in anger
I heard you say

Okey dokey, pig in a pokey, let’s get on with some grambling shall we.  I could actually cut and paste last week’s return and stick it in here; the money won/lost was exactly as it was last week.  As Harry Hill so succinctly put it, ‘What are the chances of that happening?’  Yes, £2.20 bet, 67 pees return = £1.53 loss.  How did it happen?  Read on…

Southampton vs Newcastle – Prediction Home win

Result – Southampton 4 Newcastle 0

Woo hoo!

Striker Graziano (you’re welcome) Pelle scored twice as Southampton overwhelmed a poor Newcastle side at St Mary's Stadium.

The Italian grabbed his first in the sixth minute when he headed in Ryan Bertrand's cross from the left.

And he slotted home his fourth of the season after a terrible misjudgement by Mike Williamson in the Newcastle defence.

Jack Cork then took advantage of another lapse in concentration by Williamson before Morgan Schneiderlin curled in a superb late fourth.

Great start there for The Grambler.

Blackpool vs Wolverhampton – Prediction Away win

Result – Blackpool 0 Wolves 0

Dang it!  Hit the bar!

In fact, both sides hit the bar as Blackpool earned their first point of the season and climbed off the bottom of the Championship after an entertaining goalless draw with Wolves.

But Kenny Jackett's Wolves stay third, despite drawing a blank against under-pressure Jose Riga's Tangerines.

Wolves, who could have gone top with a victory, hit the woodwork through Rajiv van La Parra before the interval.

But Blackpool also found the woodwork, striker Nile Ranger (Sounds like an Egypt-based version of Tonto’s mate) dinking an effort off the crossbar after the break.

Oh well, one out of two for The Grambler.

Bournemouth vs Rotherham – Prediction Home win

Result – Bournemouth 1 Rotherham 1

Stone me!  Hit the bar again!

Jordan Bowery's injury-time header salvaged a point for Rotherham in a battle of two out-of-form sides at Bournemouth.

The visitors' substitute headed in Paul Taylor's corner to deny the hosts in a match they dominated.

Bournemouth's Callum Wilson hit the post with only Rotherham goalkeeper Adam Collin to beat before Steve Cook headed the Cherries into the lead.

But Bowery nodded home Taylor's set-piece three minutes into stoppage time.

Jordan Bowery!  Do you see what you did?  Only stopped The Grambler getting two out of three; instead it’s one out of three.  Injury time equaliser indeed!

Chesterfield vs Scunthorpe – Prediction Home win

Result – Chesterfield 4 Scunthorpe 1


Eoin Doyle missed a penalty but still scored a second-half hat-trick as Chesterfield thumped Scunthorpe.

Paddy Madden's turn and shot had put the Iron ahead before Doyle hit the crossbar from the spot.

He quickly made amends by converting debutant Sam Clucas's cross at the near post and then doubling his tally after being put clear by Daniel Johnson.

Doyle completed his treble from 12 yards after Niall Canavan had tripped him before Sam Morsy sealed the win.

Chesterfield move up to fourth in the League One (three!) table, while Scunthorpe remain in the bottom four.

Two out of four; The Grambler back on track.

Dumbarton vs Hearts – Prediction Away win

Result – Dumbarton 0 Hearts 0

What the…!  Hit the bar yet again!

Hearts returned to the top of the Scottish Championship despite dropping their first points of the season at the home of Dumbarton.

Goalkeeper Danny Rodgers made some fine saves to keep Hearts at bay, denying Jason Holt and Osman Sow (He had a pig of a game.  Hur Hur.  No.  You’re right.  It’s not that funny.) in the first half and Sam Nicholson in the second.

Chris Kane's header was the closest the Sons came, his header saved by Neil Alexander.

And, late in the game, Nicholson's header came back off the crossbar.

Robbie Neilson's side, who remain unbeaten but lose their 100% record, move a point clear of Rangers.

So two out of five for The Grambler.  Not good enough.  Must try harder.

What has The Grambler got to offer us this week?  Well, there are 56 senior games from the eight divisions in the English and Scottish leagues taking place this Saturday at 3pm.  From those The Grambler has randomly selected…

Game - Result – Odds

Norwich vs Birmingham – Prediction Home win – 1/2

For our first game we go to Carrow Road where the Canaries play host to the Blues (Hmm, wonder what colour these teams play in.).  The Grambler has predicted that Norwich will take all the points on this one. Given that they have won five out of seven so far this season and Birmingham have won only one, it would seem to be a good call.

Would you like a factoid?  Birmingham City FC were originally called the Small Heath Alliance when they were formed in 1875.  That’s very interesting. [You reckon? – Ed.]

Wolverhampton vs Bolton – Prediction Home win – 7/10

Game two takes us to Molineux where Wolves play host to the Trotters.  Once again The Grambler has predicted a home win.  League positions would suggest that The Grambler has got this one right.  However, recent past encounters between the clubs would suggest otherwise.  It is eight games, and almost five years, since Wolves beat Bolton who have won five of the last seven meetings.  Such a record does not bode well for The Grambler’s prediction.  I reckon this is more likely to end as a draw.

Colchester vs Bradford – Prediction Away win – 9/5

For our third game we head to the Colchester Community Stadium where the Us play host to the Bantams.  This time The Grambler has predicted that the away team will win.  Current league positions would again suggest a good call.  The two teams haven’t met played each other very often – twice last season with Bradford taking four of the available six points and once in 2010 when Colchester won 4-3 to progress in the F.A. Cup – so previous results can’t be used to show us a ‘pattern’.  A better gauge would be to look at this season’s games; both teams are performing poorly at home – they have each lost three.  However, Bradford have won three on the road, which is enough to make me think The Grambler has called this one right.

Yeovil vs Peterborough – Prediction Away win – 6/4

Game number four sees us head to Huish Park where the Glovers play host to the Posh.  Again The Grambler has gone for an away win.  Again, league positions would suggest a good call.  But hold on there little breeches, Yeovil may have had a poor start to the season by losing their first two games, but in the six games since have only lost once.  Peterborough may have had the better start, but in their corresponding last six games they have lost twice.  I am thinking that Yeovil, newly relegated from the Championship, may have now sorted out whatever problems caused that poor start and might now prove difficult to beat.  Think you have this one wrong Grambler.

Doncaster vs Chesterfield – Prediction Away win – 8/5

And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther we head to Keepmoat Stadium where the Rovers, or Donny if you prefer, play host to the Spireites.  Oh oh, The Grambler has gone for another away win.  Yes, Grambler, table positions would suggest your prediction might be correct, but have you forgotten that, like Yeovil, Doncaster are a side relegated from the Championship and as such should be perfectly capable of dealing with any side in the First (third!!!) division.  Table positions count for nothing at this stage in the season, anyway.  Fifteen places currently separate the sides, but there is a difference of only six points.  If Doncaster were to win this, they could potentially finish the weekend just six places below Chesterfield.  Once again, I reckon you have got this one wrong, Grambler.


Well, there you have it my little gramblerinis, five predictions made, eleven bets placed – 10 x 20 pee doubles and 1 x 20 pee accumulator.  Will it win?  For the reasons I gave in the text, I think not.  However, I would love to be proven wrong by The Grambler because this week there is a magnificent….

19 quids

…. heading for the Bobby Moore Fund via The Grambler’s Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund.  I wouldn’t hold your breath, though.

Now it’s time for the answer to last week’s teaser when I asked you who were the three top scorers for England.  The answer, in redro esrever, is – Orl right pop pickers - Third on 44 is Jimmy Greaves – Not arf – Second on 48 is Gary Lineker – and there’s no change at the top, that’s right – First is Bobby Charlton with 49.  Bobby Charlton took 106 games to amass that total, Lineker took 80, but Jimmy Greaves was a much more prolific scorer with his goals coming in just 57 games.  Wean Rooney has taken 97 games to reach his current total of 41.

Now, a teaser for this week I think.  Here’s a cracker…

If you were to list all Premiership (since its inception) goalscorers alphabetically, who would be first?  And I may as well ask it – who would be last?

Have fun with that.

Well, I’ve managed to avoid referring to it until now, but I can’t finish without a mention of the referendum to decide whether Scotland should become independent from the rest of the UK.  It was on the news all over the world, so you will no doubt already know that 55% of the Scottish electorate voted to change nothing.  So, after months of debating, not just between politicians but between men and women in the street – it has certainly been the most talked about election I have ever known – what will happen?  Precisely fu… nothing.  Well, Alex Salmond has handed in his resignation.  I don’t suppose he had much option; his whole career has been about gaining independence for Scotland and the Scottish people have told him what he can do with it.

There may be other changes of course.  Surely, nobody would dare to sing Flower of Scotland again.  Surely.  They wouldn’t dare.  Would they?

A change that would have occurred, had Scotland chosen to go it alone, would be that we would never have a Tory government again.  Sadly, that is an opportunity missed, so ladeez and gennulum… Let me introduce this country’s next prime minister…


Boris ‘Dubya’ Johnson

Happy grambling.

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