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…
Mrs G and I occasionally like to get away from it all I'm not sure what 'it all' is but, whatever it is, it is something we want to get away from and book a holiday somewhere. In the dim and distant past you knew little about the hotel or boarding house you might be staying in. That explains us staying in some pretty grotty places; hotel bedrooms which could accommodate a bed and nothing else; mattresses that were so sunken in the middle, they must have had that Slumberland Hippo lying on them. Nowadays, we never make a decision about where to go without consulting Trip Advisor. Good old Trip Advisor. It tells you exactly what you can expect. Or does it? Quite often, you will be reading the various reports of visits to a particular hotel, most of which are positive, when there appears a report which seems to bear no relation to anything that has been written before. Most of the reports might be favourable and say something brief like 'Great hotel, great service. I would recommend this.' while awarding it 5 stars, Then suddenly, from out of nowhere comes a one star review coupled to a veritable short novel about every thing being terrible in this hotel that everyone else has been praising in a succinct sentence. You know the type of thing... 'This hotel was one of the worst we have ever stayed at. The beds were uncomfortable. The place was crawling with cockroaches. The staff were lazy. The food was awful. The entertainment was dreadful. Etc. These reports go on for ages and relate any problems encountered ranging from a bathroom plug not sealing properly to swimming pools being a bit cool. If there is something that isn't quite right, these 'reviews' will mention it. Often they complain about things that have nothing to do with the hotel or even the resort...
'The hotel was overrun with loud, drunken (Insert stereotypically annoying nationality here) who (select annoying trait from the following) 1. Claim all the sunbeds, 2. Think they can sing karaoke, 3. Know how to enjoy themselves.
Somewhere in this criticism of everything about this 'holiday from hell' there is the giveaway line 'We complained and were given an upgrade' or 'We complained and didn't even get an upgrade.' Ah, now it all starts to make sense. The people that write these scathing reviews are professional complainers. They moan in the hope of getting something for nothing. The upgrade is the one that the professional complainer is aiming for, but they will settle for money off their bill or the occasional free meal/drink.
I think the hotels should be allowed to retaliate. No, not just by replying to these poor reviews as is currently the case. No. There should be a similar website where hotel managers can get their own back by putting on line the details of any serial moaners who complain for the sake of it. Other hotel owners/managers could consult this database of awkward customers and it would give them the chance to be ready. Forewarned is forearmed, I believe is the expression. Just think, managers could give the appearance of going out of their way to be nice to these people, while actually giving them inferior treatment. Better still, they could let other guests know about any particularly troublesome individuals. Obviously, the moany ones would spend a pretty miserable two weeks of being given the cold shoulder by everyone they try to talk to. Perfect.
I've even got a name for this website 'Shit Advisor'.
Any birthdays to celebrate this Saturday, the 27th of February? Maybe. John Steinbeck 1902 (Gave every schoolboy an excuse for not handing in homework - his dog ate the first draft of Of Mice and Men.), James T. Farrell 1904 (Studs Lonegan’s creator.), Franchot Tone 1905 (Mr Joan Crawford.), Joan Bennett 1910 (Little woman.), Albert George Cernik 1927 (Who? Oh, Guy Mitchell. No wonder he changed his name.), Ariel Sharon 1928 (Woman obsessed with a particular brand of detergent.), Joanne Woodward 1930 (Callan’s mum.), Elizabeth Taylor 1932 (Woman addicted to wedding cake.), Ralph Nader 1934 (Apparently, he’s unsafe at any speed.), Peter Revson 1939 (Racey car bloke. Trivia: He was ranked number 100 in The 100 greatest Jews in sports: ranked according to achievement. As that snappily titled book was published in 2003, it is probably safe to assume he no longer figures in such a listing.), Paddy Ashdown 1941 (Lib Dem leader from 1988 to 1999, famously treated to a new name by The Sun newspaper in 1992), Graeme Pollock 1944 (Cricket-playing fish.), Steve Harley 1951 (Shmikes us happy!), Garry Christian 1955 (A Christian.), Timothy Spall 1957 (What this hut needs is a leader.), Nancy Spungen 1958 (Girlfriend of John Ritchie aka Sid Vicious. Dubbed by the press, Nauseating Nancy.), Paul Humphreys 1960 (An Orchestral Manoeuvre in the Dark.), Derren Brown 1971 (Has a parrot called Rasputin. There was a cat that really was gone.), James Beattie 1978 (Footie bloke.), Chelsea Clinton 1980 (Cardshop in London.), Josh Groban 1981 (This is his joke - How did the grammar teacher die? He got overly hyphenated and slipped into a comma. Hmm... Good job he can sing.) and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov 1985 (Footie bloke. Worth 150 points at Scrabble.)
Must have been a dull news day for this to occupy the first nine pages.
Let’s move on to grambling matters. How good was last week’s bet? We won. No, we did. We actually made a profit. Woo hoo! £1.09. Fantastic, or what! [‘What’ definitely - Ed.] What happened? All is revealed below, fair reader...
Burnley vs Rotherham - Prediction Home win
Result - Burnley 2 Rotherham 0
Sam Vokes gave Burnley the lead from the spot in the first half after debutant Lloyd Doyley brought down George Boyd.
Rotherham frustrated the hosts for much of the game but Scott Arfield ended lingering fightback hopes with a late second.
Barnsley vs Doncaster - Prediction Home win
Result - Barnsley 1 Doncaster 0
Ashley Fletcher's late goal secured a hard-fought derby victory for Barnsley over South Yorkshire rivals Doncaster.
Sam Winnall headed narrowly wide for the Tykes early on, before Thorsten Stuckmann saved well from Adam Hammill as Barnsley pressed for an opener.
Doncaster struggled to create chances, while Winnall and Conor Hourihane both drew further stops from Stuckmann.
But the German keeper was unable to hold on to another Hourihane shot, and Fletcher tapped in to grab the points.
Mansfield vs Dagenham & Redbridge - Prediction Home win
Result - Mansfield 3 Dagenham & Redbridge 2
Oliver Hawkins turned in from six yards to put the Daggers ahead, before Matty Blair's strike and Adi Yussuf's left-footed finish gave the Stags the lead.
Pearce was sent off and conceded a penalty for tripping Jamie Cureton, but the striker fired over from the spot.
Matt Green slotted in for Mansfield, and the visitors could not rescue a point despite Cureton's late goal.
Brechin vs Dunfermline - Prediction Away win
Result - Brechin 1 Dunfermline 2
Josh Falkingham's side-footed finish put the Pars ahead, but Brechin levelled when Robert Thomson headed home Willie Dyer's corner.
Ben Richards-Everton slotted in from close range following Michael Paton's free-kick just before the break.
The Pars wasted chances before City's Andy Jackson had a late effort saved.
Montrose vs Elgin - Prediction Away win - 3/4
Result - Montrose 3 Elgin 1
Christopher Templeman and Gary Fraser struck either side of half-time for the impressive hosts.
Adrian Mallagaray put the game well beyond Elgin five minutes later with a tap-in, courtesy of another good ball from Templeman.
Neil Martyniuk put through his own goal with a misplaced header late on, but it would not spoil Montrose's day.
Maybe not, but that result certainly spoiled The Grambler’s day. Ho hum. Let’s see what The Grambler has to offer this week. There are 56 games kicking off at 3pm this Saturday, the 27th of February, which five has he/she/it randomly selected this week?
Game - Result - Odds
Leicester vs Norwich - Prediction Home win - 8/15
Bolton vs Burnley - Prediction Away win - 10/11
Charlton vs Reading - Prediction Away win - 10/11
Crewe vs Barnsley - Prediction Away win - 4/6
Hartlepool vs Northampton - Prediction Away win - 5/6
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…
Okay, time for your history lesson. Stop fidgeting at the back. And sit up straight. 966 was a very important year. Well, it was for Poland. It was the year Christianity was introduced to Poland and this event is often seen as the starting point of the Polish State. There you go. Interesting or what? [‘What’ definitely - Ed.]
Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you why Dunfermline FC are known as the Pars. Actually, I gave you that one because there are so many possible answers. I thought it might start a bit of a discussion down the pub. I am going to cheat a little bit with the answer by quoting from the book Black and White Magic by Jim Paterson and Douglas Scott.
There are numerous theories as to the origin of the nickname the Pars. Most tend to confirm the more common belief that the name arose from the team`s parallel striped shirts, their drinking habits or their style of play. The latter were both described as "paralytic". The earliest theory claims that in the early days when the Football Club was closely connected with the Cricket Club, the footballers were renowned for their performances at the bar and so were called the "Paralytics".
However in the early 1900s it is known that Athletic`s nickname was the"Dumps" - shortened from Dunfermline- and this is said to have been coined by English sailors visiting East End Park when their ship docked at Rosyth. After the 1914-18 War they were known as the Pars and some believe the parallel black and white stripes to be the reason.
Another school of thought involves English workers who came to work at the armaments depot at Crombie and at Rosyth Dockyard; they kept their association with their local team by forming the Plymouth Argyle (Rosyth) Supporters Club and it is said that the Dunfermline nickname comes from the banners in evidence around the ground.
Whichever answer is correct, I hope it got you thinking and didn’t result in too many punch-ups...
‘I’m telling ye, it was because of the parallel stripes... Pars, see?’
‘Ach, yer erse. It was cause they wis always ‘kin steaming... Paralytic... Pars.’
‘I’m sorry to interrupt you chaps, but I think you will find that their nickname came from the Plymouth Argyle (Rosyth) Supporters Club and the Dunfermline nick...’
‘Who ‘kin asked you tae pit yer tuppence worth in? Can yer mammy sew? Get her tae stitch that.’
‘Aye. Nosey b******!’
Time to move on. How about a teaser for this week? Who was the last English manager to have won the UEFA Cup/Europa League? Try that one down the pub... and no fighting, please.
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 one of our birthday celebrants, a Mr. D. Brown, whose love of a certain type of colourful bird gives us the chance to have a link to the most famous parrot of all. Click here to be transported to a pet shop in Notlob.