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
Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.
Stewart 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…
This is the 200th post of thegrambler.com. Huzzah! Thanks to all you regular readers out there in Gramblerland. Remember to tell all your pals to read the world’s most ill-informed blog. Each post must be averaging 300 ‘hits’ as there have been over 63,000 visits over the time the blog has been up and running. Thought you might be interested in that little factoid. Oh. You weren’t. Ah well. Here’s to the next 200.
This week I am going to throw caution to the wind and start with the teaser. Yes, I know it goes against every rule in the book and could signal the end of civilisation as we know it, but I think it deserves a bit of promotion up the paragraphs. Why? Well, last week I asked you whose record Reg's lad, Jamie Vardy had equalled by scoring in ten consecutive Premiershit league matches. I also suggested that the record might be Vardy’s alone if he kept up his scoring in every game. Blow me [Steady on. - Ed.], he only scored in his eleventh game as well. Quite apt that the goal that took him into the record books was scored against the team that the previous holder of the title played for. Yes indeedy. He scored against Ruud van Nistelrooy’s (for it was he) old employers, Manchester United.
If Vardy can score at Swansea this Saturday, he will equal the record in English ‘top flight’ football. Jimmy Dunne scored in 12 consecutive Division One games for Sheffield United in 1931/32. Mr Vardy will need to keep scoring for a few weeks more if he wants to beat the world’s best in top flight matches. A certain Mr Lionel Messi scored in 21 consecutive league games for Barcelona back in 2012/13.
‘Jamie Richard Vardy (born 11 January 1987) is an English professional footballer who plays for Leicester City and England. He plays as a striker, but can also play as a winger.
After being released by Sheffield Wednesday at the age of sixteen, Vardy began his senior career with Stocksbridge Park Steels, breaking into the first team in 2007 and spending three seasons before joining Northern Premier League side Halifax Town in 2010. Scoring 27 goals in his debut season, he won the club's "Player's Player of the Year" award, then moved to Conference Premier side Fleetwood Town in August 2011 for an undisclosed fee. He scored 31 league goals in his first season at his new team, winning the team's "Player of the Year" award as they won the division.
In May 2012, Vardy signed for Leicester City in the Football League Championship for a non-league record transfer fee of £1 million, and represented the club in the Premier League after winning the Championship in 2014.’
That was a straight lift from Wikipaedia. Why? Well, apparently Jamie’s story is being considered as a suitable subject for the Hollywood film treatment. Seriously. Hollywood writer, Adrian Butchart, the man behind the successful (it says here) Goal! films, is (allegedly) planning to make a film of Vardy’s ‘rags to riches’ story. Three Goal! films have been made. Since it was always intended to be a trilogy, that makes sense. So, in 2005 we had Goal! The Dream Begins, followed in 2007 by Goal! II : Living the Dream and finally, in 2009, Goal! III : Taking on the World. Having not watched, or even wanted to watch any of these films, from what I have read, they would appear to be the usual Hollywood fayre of underdog getting his big chance and, despite the odds being stacked against him, triumphs in the end (just in time for the closing credits, who’d have thought it?). Yay! Think Rocky meets Roy of the Rovers and you have it in a nutshell. Robert Pattinson is being touted as the man to play Vardy. So is Zak Efron. All I can say is ye gods and little fishes! With any luck the film will be out at Christmas; that’s when you usually get turkeys.
Another sporting triumph also deserves a wee mention. For the first time in 79 years, Britain has won the Davis Cup. Yay! Well done lads. I have a problem with the coverage, though. Do you remember the pop group Bros? This is (slightly) relevant, I assure you. It was a pop group from the late 1980s. A trio, in fact. Oddly, the band contained two brothers - identical twins Matt and Luke Goss - and one other. I say ‘one other’ because this member just didn’t seem to fit in. The band is called Bros, right? Short for brothers, right? There are two members of the band who are obviously brothers, right? Peroxide blond twins, right? who’s this dark-haired bloke, then? Actually, his name was Craig Logan and even he wondered why he was there. After a couple of hits he left the band. Where is all this leading? Back to the Davis Cup, I hope. Like Bros, everyone will remember the brothers involved, in this case Jamie and Andy Murray, but who will remember the name of the third member of the winning team? Indeed, if you have seen any of the coverage from the Beeb Beeb Ceeb, you would be forgiven for thinking that Andy Murray had won the trophy single-handedly. The third guy’s name is Kyle Edmund and he played one match (which he lost) against David Goffin. That sounds as if he made no contribution, but Edmund (ranked 100 in the world) took the first two sets against world number 16, Goffin. So he very nearly caused an upset. Will anyone remember his name as the third member of Britain’s Davis Cup winning team? Doubt it.
By the way, Craig Logan left Bros at the age of 19 and has since that time become a very successful manager in the music industry working with Sade, Pink and Tina Turner. He was also influential in the success of one Robbie Williams [Thank goodness there is only one. - Ed.].
Any birthdays to celebrate this Saturday, the 5th of December? Why, yes. There are, literally, a few. George Armstrong Custer 1839 (Trivia: Custer graduated from Westpoint last in his class and was considered a bit of a prankster.), Fritz Lang 1890 (Dorothy Parker once remarked, in reference to Lang's wife's ‘campaigning’ for his career, ‘There's a man who got where he is by the sweat of his Frau.’ Oh stop! My sides are splitting!), Walter Elias Disney 1901 (Who?), Otto Preminger 1905 (A vain man. On Desert Island Discs his choice of eight records were all scores from his own films, his choice of book was his own autobiography and his ‘luxury’ was a mirror.), George Savalas 1926 (Kojak’s brother.), Wayne Penniman 1932 (Who? Oh, Little Richard. What can I say? How about awopbopalloomopawopbamboom?), John Weldon Cale known as J.J. Cale 1938 (She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie.), Adrian Street 1940 (Aka Kid Tarzan, The Nature Boy or The Exotic One), Andy Kim 1946 (Sang Rock me Baby... Would this make you want to buy a Jeep Liberty No didn’t think so.), Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards 1963 (Heroic failure.), Ronnie O’Sullivan 1975 (Snookery bloke.) and Frankie Muniz 1985 (Trivia: Likes cars and basketball, but likes bananas more.)
Anyone in amongst that lot suitable for a bit of toon gramblerising? Well, no. How can you decipher anything Little Richard ever sang? I can hardly use J.J. Cale’s most famous tune Cocaine. You’ve already had Andy Kim (You haven’t? Go on, click on the link.) So, no gramblerisation this week. There is an anniversary to celebrate, though. 42 years ago, on the 5th of December 1973, an album was released by arguably Britain’s greatest songsmith - Paul McCartney. Unfortunately, this was his post Beatles effort Band on the Run by his band Wings. I was never even a Beatles fan, so I certainly wasn’t a fan of this period in McCartney’s career. He still had a tremendous following though, and the album sold by the skip load. However, I did like it for one (non-musical) reason: the cover. Can you name the six extra band members who featured?
Dare I finish this section with an incredibly cruel joke that was going around at the time? [Dare. Dare. - Ed.] Okay, the core of the band was McCartney, ex-Moody Blues warbler, Denny Laine and, for some unfathomable reason, McCartney’s wife, Linda. She had no discernable musical talent and presumably got the gig because she slept with the band’s frontman. She was not popular though. There were many comments made about her less than tuneful singing, her ‘playing’ of an instrument and her ‘ordinary’ looks. Cruel, but that was the perception at the time. The cruel joke? What do you call a pig with wings? Linda McCartney. Sorry, tasteless in the extreme. I won’t mention the John Lennon gag about what’s thin and comes in a yellow bag, then.
Let’s move on to grambling matters. Well, last week was much as the week before. We won. Unfortunately, we didn’t get enough to cover the stake money again, so our winnings actually lost us 32 pees. What happened? All is revealed below, fair reader...
Coventry vs Doncaster - Prediction Home win
Result - Coventry 2 Doncaster 2
Ooh! ’It the bar!
Adam ‘Louis’ Armstrong coolly slotted into the bottom left corner to open the scoring for the League One leaders.
Sky Blues keeper Reice Charles-Cook could not hold Andy ‘Moon River’ Williams' shot as Nathan ‘Earbiter’ Tyson pounced to equalise for Rovers.
The hosts’ lead was restored when John Fleck rifled in a low 25-yard shot, before Tyson intercepted a pass and curled in for a second equaliser.
Dagenham & Redbridge vs Plymouth - Prediction Away win
Result - Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Plymouth 1
Ooh! ’It the bar again!
Jodi Jones went closest in the first half with a curling shot that Plymouth keeper Christian ‘John Boy’ Walton parried.
The hosts took the lead when Joss Labadie strode forward with real power and slotted past Walton from close range.
But Plymouth salvaged an unlikely point when Ryan Brunt struck from distance with 30 seconds left.
Hartlepool vs Oxford Utd - Prediction Away win
Result - Hartlepool 0 Oxford Utd 1
Hartlepool midfielder Jake Gray hit the bar from 20 yards and was also involved in a penalty claim after a push by Johnny Mullins.
John Lundstram had a chance saved for the U's by Trevor Carson before Mikael Mandon nearly put the home side ahead.
Oxford scored from a counter-attack as Alex MacDonald crossed perfectly for substitute Danny Hylton to finish.
Northampton vs Yeovil - Prediction Home win
Result - Northampton 2 Yeovil 0
The Glovers had the opportunity to go in front after a Josh Sheehan cross, but Northampton counter-attacked and Lawson D'Ath slotted into an empty net.
Chris Wilder's side got their second goal as Marc Richards headed home Nicky Adams' delivery.
York vs Accrington Stanley - Prediction Away win
Result - York 1 Accrington Stanley 5
Matty Pearson opened the scoring with a 25-yard deflected strike before Billy Kee doubled their lead with a tap in.
Josh Windass added a third from the penalty spot after Stefan ‘Des’ O'Connor tripped Tom Davies, and Kee made it 4-0 after Sean McConville's shot was saved.
Bradley Fewster found the bottom corner for York but Shay McCartan wrapped up the away win with a 20-yard shot.
All together now... Everybody Stanley. Keep it in the family...etc.
So close to being a full house for The Grambler; just those two ‘near misses’ spoiling things. Ho hum. What has he/she/it got to work with this week? Thanks to cup matches taking place, there are only 29 senior league games kicking off at 3pm this Saturday, the 5th of December. From these, The grambler has randomly selected...
Game - Result - Odds
Arsenal vs Sunderland - Prediction Home win - 2/7
Brighton vs Charlton - Prediction Home win - 4/9
Albion vs Stranraer - Prediction Home win - Evens
Dunfermline vs Brechin - Prediction Home win - 1/5
East Stirling vs Clyde - Prediction Away win - 8/11
If the bets (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) all go as predicted by The Grambler, the Bobby Moore Fund will benefit to the tune of… fanfare please…
Is that it? £6.17??? That is rubbish! Well, fancy randomly selecting a 1/5 game. No wonder it’s so low.
Right, how about a teaser for this week? Okeydokey. Croatian Slaven Bilic is West Ham’s third non-British manager; who were the others? Write your answers on a postcard and throw it away.
Once again, let’s finish with a mention of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. 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 .
And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to a Mr A. Street who eschewed (That’s a good word; I must look it up.) a life down the mines in Welsh Wales, isn’t it boyo to pursue his career as a flamboyant wrestler [Flamboyant? What, he could predict the future? - Ed.]. He is pictured below with his father (a miner for 51 years) on a visit to his home town.