Friday 20 March 2015

Week 33 - The Grambler on how to complain

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 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.


He began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery.  He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter.  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…


Dear Mr O’Grambler,

We read The Grambler every week, but feel aggrieved that you only ever deal with English and Scottish leagues.  Could you not see your way clear to occasionally making some reference to the Irish Leagues?

Yours truly,

Lynn Field, Cliff Tonvil and Glenn Avon.




Sad news.  Mrs G has been stung.  You are probably thinking, where on earth do you get wasps at this time of year. No, she wasn’t stung by a wasp or, indeed, by any form of stripey insect.  We were visiting a hospital and felt like a coffee.  She was stung in the cafeteria [Ooh, nasty.  You don’t want to be stung there.  Can be very painful.  And you wouldn’t be able to ride your bike. – Ed.]…ahem, as I was saying, she got stung by the person serving coffee.  While she waited in the queue to pay, she was chatting to someone standing next to her.  Without paying much attention she removed a £20 note from her purse and paid the cashier.  She was then handed a few coins as change.  The amount given meant that she had paid nigh on 14 quid for two cups of coffee…

‘I think that was a £20 note I just gave you,’ she said, not sounding particularly certain.

‘No.  It was a £10 note,’ said the person on the other side of the counter with an air that said – try and prove otherwise.

What could she do?  It was his word against hers.  All she could do was put it down to experience.

Of course, the mistake she made was being very British about it.  In the good ol U S of A, things would have been different.  Americans know how to complain and do.  You have to admire them for their ability to kick up a stink if something isn’t just so.  If Mrs G had dealt with it the American way, she would have proclaimed loudly…

‘I have just handed you a £20 note and you have only given me change for ten.  If you don’t rectify this immediately, I intend to speak to the manager of this establishment to report the theft!  Yes, you heard.  Theft!’

In Britain, we are too timid to deal with such situations.  How many of you can honestly say you don’t recognise the following type of exchange?

A man and a women are seated in a restaurant eating their meals…

‘This steak’s a bit tough.’

‘Mine’s cold.’

‘I know.  It’s full of fat too.’

‘The chips are burnt as well.’

‘And the onion rings are soggy.’

The waiter approaches the table…

‘How are your meals?’


‘Mmm.  Lovely.’

Admit it.  You’ve done that at some point in your life.  Not so in America though.  I recall a holiday in Florida we took many years ago.  We were in a Perkins restaurant and had waited for ages for our meals.  As I stood in a queue to pay the bill, a small man ahead of me with the look and demeanour of Edward G. Robinson as Little Caesar, was paying his…

‘Did you enjoy your meal sir?’

‘No!  Da carrots stunk!’

‘I’m sorry?’

‘Dey stunk!  Dey was all watery and sloppin’ about!’

‘I’ll give you 10% off.’


My turn.

‘How was your meal sir?’

Thinking - when in Rome…

‘Fine, apart from having to wait for ages for it to be served.’

‘I’ll give you 10% off.’

He gave me a very odd look as, in my best Edward G. voice, I replied, ‘Tanks!’

Back to the plot.  Mrs G being fleeced for a tenner.  There is a simple way to deal with it.  It is a way I always adopt.  And don’t think I do this because I consider myself clever to have come up with the answer.  No.  I was caught out in exactly the same way many moons ago and this is simply how I prevent the same thing happening again.

Whenever I pay for an item with a note large enough to require smaller value notes as part of the change.  I hand over my money with the words, ‘I’m sorry I only have a 20 (or whatever value it is).’  That way, you have removed the dubiety (That’s a good word. Must look it up.) before parting company with your dosh.  Having announced the value of the note, there is no posibility of getting conned… unless you get given a counterfeit note as part of your change.  But that’s another story.

No no, I don’t ask for thanks.  Just look on this bit of sage advice as my gift to you all.

Before leaving this topic, I want to mention a programme that was on TV when I were a lad [Oh oh.  Hovis time. – Ed.].  The programme was called Budgie and starred Adam Faith as a likeable, but inept, crook.  Each week he came up with some crooked way to make money and tended to end up with it going totally wrong.  I recall one programme was exactly what I have described thus far; his scheme was to run a crummy little burger bar and, if anyone gave him a fiver, he would return change for a pound note (I told you this was a long time ago.  When did you last get a burger for less than a quid or even see a pound note?).  That was his plan, anyway.  As always happened with Budgie, he never won.  Everyone he tried it with managed to catch him out and he always had to give them the correct change.  By the end of the programme, his little enterprise has failed miserably and we see a dejected Budgie going to a burger bar not unlike his own and ordering a coffee.  He hands the guy a fiver and receives change for a pound.  Every programme ended with Budgie losing out in this way.  In it’s day, it was a damned good series; it was created by Willis Hall and Keith Waterhouse and, as well as Faith in the lead role, the series had a brilliant character called Charlie Endell played by Iain Cuthbertson who was supposed to be a respectable club owner but was an underworld villain who was menacing to say the least.  He could even make the words, ‘have an olive’, sound intimidating.  It is fair to say that the Endell character became the main reason for watching.  The programme also provided Hollywood actor John Rhys-Davies with an early TV role.  He played one of Endell’s henchmen who went by the brilliant name of ‘Laughing Spam Fritter’. It’s a shame they never show it on UK Gold (or whatever name it’s called these days).




Birthdays of the week?  What fine famous folk found their way into the world on the 21st of March?  Modest Mussorgsky 1839 (Unassuming brother of Humble Mussorgsky, Shy Mussorgsky and Absolutely-full-of-himself Mussorgsky), Florenz Ziegfield 1869 (Builder of extravagant and useless garden buildings), John D. Rockefeller III 1906 (Maker of rocking chairs), Paul Tortellier 1914 (type of pasta), James Coco 1929 (Monkey on the front of the cereal packet), Michael Heseltine 1933 (Ginger nuts), Brian Clough 1935 (Shy football manager), Solomon Burke 1940 (Rhyming slang), Ray Dorset 1946 (She’s a long-legged woman, Jessie Black), Timothy Dalton 1946 (27th James Bond), Roger Hodgson 1950 (Can you put your hand in your head?), Gary Oldman 1958 (Syd), Lothar Matthaus 1961 (Footy bloke), Matthew Broderick 1962 (Simba), Ronald Koeman 1963 (Football manager who played Bulldog Drummond), Adrian Chiles 1967 (Talking Toby jug), Mark Williams 1975 (Snookery bloke), Ronaldhino Gaucho 1980 (Grinning footy bloke) and Lee Cattermole 1988 (Another footy bloke).

Who’s going to provide us with our gramblerised toon this week?  When I saw Ray Dorset, I immediately thought ‘yes, I’m sure we could gramblerise something by his group Mungo Grambly.’  However, there is someone else in there who I think provides us with a very good toon indeed – It’s Roger Hodgson of Gramblertramp, and what better song to gramblerise than…


Grambler, you know you are a grambler
Well can you put your hands in your head, oh no
I said, "Grambler, you're nothing but a grambler"
Well can you put your hands in your head, oh no
I said, "Far out, what a day, a year, a laugh it is"
You know, well you know you had it Gramblin' to you
Now there's not a lot I can do
Grambler, you stupid little grambler
So now you put your head in your hands, oh no


Did you understand any of that?  No, neither did I.



How did our grambling fare last week?  Quite well, actually.  Four out of five correct.  Woohoo, do you say?  Go on, it’s worth a woohoo.  We even made a profit.  Woohoo!  How much did we win? 


That wasn’t profit.  £2.24 was.  Double our stake money back, then.  I repeat: woohoo!  What happened?  Read on…

Game – Result – Odds

West Bromwich Albion vs Stoke – Prediction Home win

Result – West Bromwich 1 Stoke 0


Brown Ideye headed the decisive goal early on but the hosts could have had more in a dominant display that lifts them 11 points clear of the drop zone.

Saido Berahino flashed a shot across the face of goal, before Asmir Begovic did well to deny Ideye with a fine low save after the break.

Stoke threatened sporadically, with Peter Crouch seeing a header charged down after Ben Foster fumbled a cross.

Bournemouth vs Blackpool – Prediction Home win

Result – Bournemouth 4 Blackpool 0


Brett Pitman's first-half hat-trick sealed Bournemouth's return to the top of the Championship with victory against bottom side Blackpool.

Pitman cutely headed in a second and then drilled a third as Blackpool crumbled before half-time.

Callum Wilson's spot-kick sealed the Seasiders fate after the break.

Pitman was a prominent figure throughout and might have added to his treble had referee Chris Sarginson awarded a penalty when he went down in the box in the opening period.

Blackpool came into the match on a run of four straight defeats and were always on the back foot, even before Pitman sauntered forward and slotted the ball past keeper Parish for the opener.

Parish was wrong-footed by Pitman's clever header, his 100th Cherries goal, and the ex-Bristol City keeper could have done better with the third when the Jersey-born striker's shot went in for the matchball.

There was no change in momentum for the second half, with Wilson stepping up for his 19th goal of the season from the spot after Marc Pugh's run was ended by a foul inside the box.


Portsmouth vs Luton – Prediction Home win

Result – Portsmouth 2 Luton 0


Matt Tubbs gave Pompey an early lead with a superb flick from a ball into the box by Jed Wallace, who then crossed for Ryan Taylor to make it 2-0.

Luke Wilkinson had a header cleared off the Pompey line for Luton late on, but the Hatters drew a blank.

We’ve not had a manager talking bollocks for a while, so here is Portsmouth manager Andy Awford.

"It's a real good win for us and we're delighted with the three points.

"The atmosphere was electric. The supporters were unbelievable and we responded to it.

"I said to Danny East as he came off it was nice to see him out there.

"The loan spell definitely worked at Aldershot. It got him match fit and it was good to see him out there."

I gather he was pleased to see him out there.

Just to keep it fair here’s a flattering picture of Luton manager, pensioner, John Still…

‘I’ve got all me own hampsteads ent I?’


Ayr vs Stenhousemuir – Prediction Home win

Result – Ayr 0 Stenhousemuir 0

Ooh! ‘It the bar!

Ayr United twice struck the woodwork as they laboured to a goalless draw at home to fellow strugglers Stenhousemuir.

Craig Beattie rattled the crossbar in the 19th minute and Brian Gilmour's effort hit the frame with nine minutes remaining.

Greg Fleming in the visiting goal thwarted Beattie, Jon-Paul McGovern and Robert Crawford to preserve his clean sheet.


L. Ginn vs Queen’s Park – Prediction Away win

Result – Elgin 1 Queen’s Park 2


Jordan Moore's 90th-minute winner over Elgin kept Queen's Park in touching distance of the League Two summit.

Gilchrist made an early impression by sweeping home Daniel Moore's early free-kick in just the second minute.

Queen's Park were level before the break, though, as Mark Nicholson headed into the back of his own net.

Paul Woods hit the Elgin post and he later set up Moore to finish in the final minute.


What about this week’s predictions?  There are 51 matches in the English and Scottish senior leagues which take place at 3pm on Saturday the 21st of March.  From these, The Grambler has selected…

Game – Result – Odds

Norwich vs Nottingham Forest – Prediction Home win – 7/10

MK Dons vs Notts County – Prediction Home win – 8/15

Carlisle vs Morecambe – Prediction Away win – 9/5

Falkirk vs Hearts – Prediction Away win – 8/15

Livingston vs Dumbarton – Prediction Home win – 17/20

There you have it my little gramblerinis, The Grambler has spoken.  The bets (10 x 20 pee doubles and 1 x 20 pee accumulator) have been placed.  How much will The Grambler’s Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund be forwarding to the Bobby Moore Fund?


That’s quite… isn’t it?  I think so.  It’s definitely…yes.




How about an answer to last week’s teaser?  Last week I told you that Lionel Messi was the top goalscorer in Europe’s top five leagues with 41 goals.  Christiano Ronaldo was second on 39 goals.  I then asked which 21 year old came third on the list?  The answer is Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane with an impressive 26 goals.

This week’s teaser?  Who is the only player to come on in an international game as a substitute for his own father?  A good one to ask down the pub, methinks.

Before we do our ‘and finally’ bit, I will repeat what I stated at the end of last week’s blog.  Why?  Because it is important.  I ask all you readers of this wonderful blog that is to tell everyone you know to start reading it.  Maybe they won’t appreciate the drivel that I write but, hopefully, they will learn something about the horrible disease of bowel cancer.  We are told so often that 95% of cases are in people aged over 50.  This is true, but the other 5% can be any age.  Let people know this.  Let them know that any bowel problems should be investigated immediately, no matter how young they are.  Don’t be fobbed off with the line ‘You’re too young to get bowel cancer’.  You’re never too young.

And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther, I am indebted to a Mr Ray Dorset who wrote the song you can hear by clicking on Kelly Marie [She might not like you doing that. - Ed.].  It’s a catchy little number entitled Feels Like I’m in Love.  You can just imagine a 70s disco with everyone boogieing along and shouting ‘boom boom’ at the appropriate moment.  What you perhaps can’t imagine is the song being sung in the style of Elvis Presley… No that’s wrong; not in the style of Elvis, actually by Elvis. Yes, the King.  Ray Dorset could, because that was who he specifically wrote it for.  I don’t know why Elvis turned it down.  Perhaps he didn’t fancy having to do a video with those two tw*ts poncing about in their lurex suits.


Happy grambling.

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