Saturday, 11 April 2015

Week 36 - The Grambler on Motherwell fans


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 is 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 https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .

 

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. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997

 

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…

 

Thanks to everyone who read last week’s 30th birthday commemorative edition.  Thanks too for all the comments made; it makes it all seem worthwhile.  It is fitting that last week’s blog saw thegrambler.com pass something of a milestone (which is not the same as passing a kidney stone) when we notched up 50,000 visits to the blog.  I said blog, not bog.  It means that each week’s blog has received, on average, almost 300 hits.  Actually, that isn’t quite true.  In the early days of thegrambler.com one particular post got hit after hit after hit.  In all, nearly 1800 visits to a single post.  Strangely, they were nearly all from Ukraine.  Now, I can’t imagine these weekly rants going down particularly well in Ukraine, can you?  If you ask me, there’s something funny going on.

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

I am a Motherwell fan.  There, I’ve said it.  I may have mentioned the fact sometime in previous articles.  Motherwell are not doing very well this season.  As I write this, they sit second bottom in the SPL.  The way things are going, Championship (that’s division two in old money) footie looks a distinct possibility next season.

Recently, things have been improving.  The other week, on a Friday evening, would you believe, we played our local rivals, Hamilton and, after being humped by them 4 nil at Fir Park and 5 nil at Douglas Park earlier in the season, we fans were not expecting great things.  Well, would you Adam and Eve it?  We only won 4 nil. 

Then, last weekend we beat Kilmarnock 2-1 and on Tuesday we hammered bottom club Saint Mirren 5-0.

We have had little to crow about this season, so please allow me this moment to savour these little moments of glory.  Ah, that’s better.  Thank you for that.

What is this week’s (g)ramble, I hear you ask.  Well, let us stick with footie.  In fact, let us stick with those who really do stick with footie; the loyal supporter.  There are some terrific supporters at Fir Park for Motherwell home games.  Just a particular group of a few hundred are the people I wish to tell you about.

In the stand where I sit (Yes, we sit in what is known as a stand.  Don’t ask.) away to my left, are the most supportive of fans.  One of this number brings along a drum and bangs it from the start of the game to the finish, while the rest sing along.  It creates a fantastic atmosphere and some of the song choices can bring a real smile to the collective faces of us quieter supporters.

Often the songs or chants are those sung up and down the country at every ground.  Any player with a name having four syllables is bound to get the old favourite, Guantanamera.  Motherwell fans tend to reserve that one for our end of the year fixture and sing it to the memory of Phil O’Donnell who died on the pitch on 29th December 2007 during a memorable game between Motherwell and Dundee United.

The Madness song ‘Our House’ gets sung if our goalkeeper pulls off a particularly fine save.  It helps if he has two syllables to his name, as the crowd sing ‘Blah blah, in the middle of the goal!’  We don’t have a keeper called Blah blah, incidentally.

Individual players often get their own tune.  A few seasons ago Motherwell had a right back called Yassin Moutaouakil.  Guess which James Bond film theme was adopted and adapted to suit him.

The current favourite to be given his own song is John Sutton who left us for a couple of seasons before returning.  Maybe it was his return that prompted the crowd to sing words to the tune of ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again’.  Each week, I try to decipher the words the fans have given the song, but I can only ever make out the line that in the original song goes – ‘And we’ll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home.’ (Stop sniggering at the back!)  For this line the fans sing – ‘Big John Sutton; Motherwell number nine’.  It fits perfectly.  Somebody must work out a song and then sing it to those around him at the ground and hope they pick up on it.

It doesn’t always succeed.  Years ago we had a player called David Partridge and some wag who sat close to me thought he would make an ideal target for his own song.  The fan sang something to the tune of the Christmas song ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ thinking a play on the line ‘and a partridge in a pear tree’ would be appropriate.  The reaction of those around him?  Did they join in with his attempt as a lyricist?  No, they didn’t.  The reaction was a resounding, ‘Shut the f*** up, you w***!’  Oh how we laughed.

As I said at the beginning of this piece, our singing support can brighten a dull game.  And so it was on that Friday night encounter with Hamilton.  Football on a Friday night!  Shouldn’t be allowed!  The first half saw no goals and very few actual attempts on goal.  It was not an exciting game at that point.  However, our musical support brought a smile to every face in the ground as, for twenty minutes, they sang the old Beatles’ classic ‘Twist and Shout’.  No alteration to the song; they sang the original lyrics.  For twenty minutes.  Brilliant!  How could anyone not smile as a few hundred supporters belted that out as loud as their lungs would let them.  It made for one of my own favourite memories of this season.  Although, admittedly, there hasn’t been much I want to remember.

However, my favourite crowd moment is not a song.  Not even a chant.  Just the shouting of one word.  Our captain, Keith Lasley, is always the hardest working player on the park.  He leads by example, you might say.  Quite often he will pull off a brilliant tackle, or perfect pass.  It is at such moments the singing support, taking their lead from the ever-present drummer, shout (boom boom boom) KEEF! (boom boom boom) KEEF! (boom boom boom) KEEF!  This can carry on for some time; well, until another player does something outstanding, or, as is more likely, the referee makes a howler of a decision, the crowd then begins singing an extract from George Frederick Handel’s oratorio Messiah.  Who would have expected a football crowd to use classical music in its repertoire?  They sing a specific section of the piece; the ending of part II which is known as the Hallelujah Chorus.  What do you mean, what do I mean?  Haven’t you heard it? The first hallelujah is the ref’s name (preferably having four syllables) - ‘Blah blah blah blah – You’re a w***er, you’re a w***er!’

Time to move on, I think.

 

.....oooOooo…..

 

Any birthdays of note this week?  Yes, born on the 11th of April were Frederick I 1370 (Known as the Warlike.  So, not an actual war, just like a war), Joel Gray 1932 (Willkommen, bienvenu, welcome), Stuart Adamson 1958 (Big Country member. Yes we do remember), Jeremy Clarkson 1960 (Uhmale uhchauvinist uhpig), Lisa Stansfield 1966 (child abandonner), Cerys Matthews 1969 (Road rager) and Joss Stone 1987 (Scented rock).  There must be a few tunes available from that lot that might lend themselves to a bit of gramblerising…

 

Been around the world and I, I, I, I can't find my grambler
I don't know when, I don't know why, why he/she/it’s gone away
And I don't know where he/she/it can be, my grambler
But I'm gonna find him/her/it.

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

 

So how did The Grambler’s predictions fare last week?  Did any of our bets win?  Yes.  Did any of our bets lose?  Yes.  From our £2.20 stake, we got a return of £1.93.  Hmm.  Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.  Who came up with that as a comparison for anything?  Anyway, the thing is […What I really mean.  Elton John, Your Song.  Do I win a tenner? – Ed.] we still lost 27 pees.  What happened?  Read on…

Swansea vs Hull – Prediction Home win

Result – Swansea 3 Hull 1

Yay!

Bafetimbi Gomis (cracking name of the week, I think) struck twice as Swansea City beat 10-man Hull City at Liberty Stadium.

Ki Sung-yueng fired the Swans in front from close range before Gomis' acrobatic volley doubled their lead.

Paul McShane's finish after a Jake Livermore free-kick gave the Tigers hope but David Meyler was sent off soon after for a high tackle on Kyle Naughton.

Gomis' stoppage-time strike sealed the three points for Swansea.

 

Hibernian vs Queen of the South – Prediction Home win

Result – Hibs 0 Queen of the South 1

Boo!

The visitors had the better of the first half, without being able to open the scoring.

However, Mark Durnan netted from close range early in the second period to give Queens the advantage.

Hibs tried to respond without success, Dominique Malonga having a header saved by Zander Clark.

 

Stenhousemuir vs Forfar – Prediction Away win

Result – Stenhousemuir 1 Forfar 3

Yay!

Stenny took the lead when Colin McMenamin fired home from inside the six-yard box just after half-time.

However, Anthony Marenghi was sent off for a second booking and Forfar took advantage when Martyn Fotheringham struck low past Greg Fleming.

Fotheringham converted Gavin Swankie's pass before the latter also netted.

 

Stranraer vs Ayr – Prediction Home win

Result – Stranraer 1 Ayr 0

Yay!

Ayr goalkeeper David Hutton frustrated the hosts with saves to deny Chris Aitken and Willie Gibson.

Aitken also struck against the post before Craig Malcolm lobbed Hutton to break the deadlock.

And keeper David Mitchell maintained Stranraer's advantage by saving from Jordan Preston.

 

Arbroath vs Annan Athletic – Prediction Home win

Result – Arbroath 1 Annan 1

Ooh!  ‘It the bar.

Arbroath struggled early on and fell behind early in the second half.

Annan, who earlier hit the post through Stuart McColm got ahead when Kenneth Mackay poked the ball under the onrushing Marc McCallum.

But Simon Murray found space in the box to level for the home side

 

Okay, that was what happened last week; what has The Grambler chosen for us this week?  From the 58 senior games taking place this week on Saturday the 11th of April at 3pm he/she/it has chosen…

Game – Result – Odds

Sunderland vs Crystal Palace – Prediction Away win – 17/10

Birmingham vs Wolves – Prediction Away win – 23/20

Ipswich vs Blackpool – Prediction Home win – 1/4

Oldham vs Sheffield United – Prediction Away win – 11/10

Dunfermline vs Stranraer – Prediction Away win – 13/10

There we have it my little gramblerinis.  The Grambler has randomly chosen, the bets (10 x 20 pees doubles plus 1 x 20 pees accumulator) are on and, if all predictions are correct, there will be…

£15.70

…winging its way to the Bobby Moore Fund.  Will it happen?  Will it fu… I doubt it.  Four aways out of five?  Hmm.

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

What about the teaser, you ask.  Yes, if you remember, there was no teaser last week so here is the answer to the poser I put to you a fortnight ago.  I asked you why Swindon Town is unique and why is mackerel significant.  It’s a bit like Hull City being unique because you can’t colour in any of the letters, I’m afraid.  Swindon Town is the only club in the English and Scottish senior leagues whose name does not contain any letters from the word mackerel.  Was that a groan I heard?

What about a teaser for this week?  Only four teams have won the English top league title three times in a row.  Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool are three; which is the fourth club to hold the honour?  A good one to ask down the pub.  Answer next week.

 

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For the last few weeks I have finished with a mention of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog.  I’m going to do it yet again.  Yes, we have raised a goodly sum for the Bobby Moore Fund – last week the total was sitting at £22,620.07 and a few more donations have gone in this week, but the blog is mainly about raising awareness of bowel cancer.  There is an advertising campaign which tries to persuade people over 50 to take the time to do a simple 2 yearly test which could signify the early symptoms of bowel cancer.  What the advert does not do is point out that young people can also fall victim to the disease.  Stewart was 26 when he was diagnosed; an age where no testing is considered appropriate. 

If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration.  Just point your doctor in the direction of http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign .

 

…..oooOooo…..

And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther, I am indebted to a Mr N. Nosworthy for an excuse to give you, once again, a link to what I consider to be one of the best crowd chants ever… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8WCnoAijQ4

 

Happy grambling.

 

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