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…
Don’t you just love Dennis Skinner aka ‘the Beast of Bolsover’? He has been a Labour politician since 1970 and, at 84 years old, is still capable of ruffling a few feathers. There have been complaints from both his supporters and detractors for his referring to PM David Cameron as ‘Dodgy Dave’ this week in the House of Commons. Those that dislike him say he is rude and boorish. Those that support him think that he was right to question our esteemed leader’s financial shenanigans and believe Mr Skinner should not have been ejected from the House. Their argument goes that if the Prime Minister can make comments about Jeremy Corbin’s dress sense and choosing what songs he wants to sing along to, then Skinner is justified in calling Cameron Dodgy Dave.
Sadly, that kind of behaviour is not acceptable in Parliament and, while I completely agree with his sentiments, Dennis Skinner should know it. If ever you hear any speechifying from the House of Commons, they may seem like a bunch of big kids with their braying, booing and hear-hearing, but you should also note that they talk of each other as ‘honorable members’ (Stop sniggering at the back.) and old Dennis crossed the line by suggesting the Prime Minister might be a bit dodgy [A bit! - Ed.].
Dennis Skinner is so much better than that, though. He talks from the heart. And he listens to his constituents. Please take the time to watch this video of Dennis Skinner doing what he does best - fighting for the common man. Stay with it to hear the Prime Minister’s reply. Dodgy Dave? Oily Dave, more like.
Actually, if he’d wanted to upset Cameron, Dennis could have been a bit more subtle. He could just have referred to him as ‘Porky’ or made an oinking noise. [I have no idea what you are talking about. - Ed.]
Let’s stick with finance for our footy stories this week. A lot of them seem to revolve around money; dodgy or otherwise. It seems that Leicester City fans are missing out on being able to see the last home game of the season, the day the club could potentially become Premiershit Champions, because demand for tickets has been so high. Suddenly, people who haven’t bothered to go to other games are managing to get tickets. That, to me, is just shocking. Seriously. Season ticket holders should be given the first option, surely. (Don’t call me Shirley.) A fan who has what is called a ‘membership package’ and has missed only three games all season, is unable to get a ticket for the game? That is just unfair. That is bad enough, but tickets are going on sale on-line priced at upwards of £3000 per pair. Isn’t that terrible? There are reports of tickets being sold for £15000 a pair! Crazy money. So those ‘fans’ who managed to get the tickets that the real fans weren’t able to get, only did so to make a fast buck. Shame on them all!
The next story to catch my eye was the one that leaked details of Neymar’s contract with Barcelona. It reveals that he ‘earns’ £77,000 per week! [Is that all? - Ed.] Not only that, but there is a £153 million buy-out clause! Don’t think that is really necessary; I can’t see there being many offers to buy him after Barca getting bundled out of the UEFA league by turning a 2-1 first leg advantage into a 3-2 loss after the second. Oh how we laughed.
The real crazy-money story, though, concerns Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey. While Newcastle are in the Premiershit, he is paid £80,000. [What? He gets three grand a week more than Neymar? Who negotiated that deal? Allen Klein? - Ed.] You think that’s bad? If Newcastle get relegated to the Championship, as looks increasingly likely, how much will his wages drop? Zero. He will still get 80 grand a week because someone forgot to put a clause in the contract to reduce his wages if the club were to go down.
Finally (for this section at least), what is it about footballers and tattoos? Here is a picture of the latest ‘tasteful’ tattoo that Liverpool defender Alberto Moreno has spent his hard-earned wages on.
It would appear to be a chimpanzee, wearing a suit, glasses and headphones, holding a gun to his mouth. Discuss.
Any birthdays to celebrate this Saturday, the 16th of April? As Deputy Dawg’s mate Musky used to say - It’s possible. It’s possible. Wilbur Wright 1867 (Orville’s big brother [His brother was a nappy-wearing duck? - Ed.]), Charlie Chaplin 1889 (Liked young ladies - his first wife was only 16 when he married her aged 29. His second wife was also 16. He was 35. His last wife was 18 when he married her at the age of 54.), David Langton 1912 (Lord Bellamy in the original Upstairs Downstairs.), Terence ‘Spike’ Milligan 1918 (Aka Spike Milligna, the well-known typing error.), Barry Nelson 1917 (The first actor to portray James Bond; in a 1954 television adaptation of Casino Royale.), Peter Ustinov 1921 (‘In America, through pressure of conformity, there is freedom of choice, but nothing to choose from.’), Kingsley Amis 1922 (‘If you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in writing.’), Henry Mancini 1924 (Trivia: he was reassigned to a band unit in WWII; the original unit he was assigned to was completely wiped out in the Battle of the Bulge.), Joseph Ratzinger 1927 (Who? Known better by his stage name Pope Benedict XVI.), Vince Hill 1932, or 1934, or 1937 depending on source material (Chanter.), Joan Bakewell 1933 (The thinking man’s crumpet.), Robert Stigwood 1934 (Film producer. Forget Saturday Night Fever and Grease, his real tour-de-force was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. [Do I detect a touch of sarcasm? - Ed.]), Mary O’Brien 1939 (Who? Oh, Dusty Springfield.), Ruth Madoc 1943 (Good morning, campers.), Gerry Rafferty 1947 (A Humblebum and wheel stealer.), Rafael Benitez 1960 (Newcastle United manager... for now.), Jimmy Osmond 1963 (Still credited as being the youngest performer to have a number one in the UK chart. All together now... I’ll be your long-haired liver from Loverpool...), Max Beesley 1971 (Bongo player. Don’t believe me watch this.), Conchita Martinez 1972 (Tennisy bloke.), Fredrik Ljungberg 1977 (Underwear salesman.) and Aaron Lennon 1987 (Footy bloke.).
Let’s move on to grambling matters. What happened last week? We won. Yay? Definitely yay. Yes indeedy. We got that £7.02 and more. Two pees more for some reason. So after last week where every prediction from The Grambler was just the wrong side of right, or the right side of wrong, if you prefer, he/she/it got absolutely spot on. For probably only the third time in his/her/its existence. How? All is revealed below, fair reader...
Southampton vs Newcastle - Prediction Home win
Result - Southampton 3 Newcastle 1
The Magpies were woeful and conceded in the fourth minute when Shane Long ran past a hapless defence and slotted in.
Graziano Pelle swept home the second just before the break and Victor Wanyama drilled in to make it 3-0 after Pelle's shot was blocked.
Newcastle barely threatened but earned a consolation through Andros Townsend's stunning strike.
Bradford vs Swindon - Prediction Home win
Result - Bradford 1 Swindon 0
Billy Clarke headed goalwards after the ball was allowed to bounce and keeper Tyrell Bedford's efforts to keep the ball out were ruled in vain by the linesman.
Swindon's Jermaine Hylton stung the palms of Ben Williams from 20 yards.
Wigan vs Coventry - Prediction Home win
Result - Wigan 1 Coventry 0
Coventry made a bright start as Jodi Jones caused problems with his pace and keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen did well to keep out John Fleck's long-range drive.
Wigan raised the tempo after the interval and Will Grigg slotted home from Stephen Warnock's cross.
He had the chance for a second when Conor McAleny was fouled, but Reice Charles-Cook saved his penalty kick.
Crawley vs Oxford - Prediction Away win
Result - Crawley 1 Oxford 5
Joe McNerney put the hosts ahead before Chris Maguire equalised with his first league goal for the U's.
Callum O'Dowda's neat finish and Liam Sercombe's looped effort put Oxford in the driving seat.
The visitors secured the win as Maguire smashed home a penalty after he was brought down by Simon Walton before George Waring fired home a fifth.
Dagenham & Redbridge vs Portsmouth - Prediction Away win
Result - Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Portsmouth 4
The Daggers took the lead against the run of play on 34 minutes through Ashley Hemmings' looping overhead kick.
But the visitors struck twice in nine second-half minutes through Michael Doyle and a Christian Burgess header.
Sub Gareth Evans headed in a free-kick from Kyle 'Gordon' Bennett, who then sealed victory on 88 minutes after a mazy run.
So, a good week for The Grambler. Can he/she/it get it right two weeks in a row? Of course not, but we can still dream, can’t we?
Game - Result - Odds
Charlton Athletic vs Derby County - Prediction Away win - 3/4
Crewe Alexandra vs Scunthorpe Utd - Prediction Away win - 4/6
Doncaster Rovers vs Wigan Athletic - Prediction Away win - 4/6
Walsall vs Southend United - Prediction Home win - 5/6
Accrington Stanley vs Morecambe - Prediction Home win - 11/20
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…
Anything remotely interesting about 849? Well, King Alfred the Great was born in 849. I feel a bit sorry for old Alf. History has not served him well. He was an Anglo-Saxon king who managed to successfully defend his kingdom against the Vikings and was the dominant ruler in the whole of England at the time of his death. Does history note such facts? Well, obviously it does or I wouldn’t be able to tell you these things. However, the one fact that everyone seems to know about King Alfred is that he was left to tend some cakes while they were baking and he let them burn. So we have established that he was a pretty good monarch who probably deserved the sobriquet (That’s a good word; must look it up.) of ‘Great’, but we only know him for being a lousy cook. Sorry Alf.
Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you which three non-English managers have won the UEFA/Europa League Cup with English clubs. They are/were Scot Bill Shankly who won it with Liverpool in 1973, Frenchman Gerard Houlier who also won it with Liverpool in 2001 and birthday boy Rafa Benitez who won it with Chelsea in 2013.
One for this week? Last weekend Andy Carroll became the fifth West Ham Player to score a Premiershit hat trick for the club. Can you name the other four? Try that one down the pub before you resort to Googlie for the answer.
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 T. Milligan. Mr Milligan, known to the world as Spike, has many times been hailed as a comedy genius. Monty Python might never have been commissioned were it not for Spike's ‘pioneering’ form of comedy. The Goon Show had everyone tuning in their wirelesses back in the 1950s. In the 1960s Spike moved to television with The World of Beachcomber and thoughout the 1970s he gave us the series Q5 through to Q9. The racist sitcom Curry and Chips is best forgotten; not because of the racist overtones; just because it wasn’t very good. Any road up, for our final link of the week, Mr M gives us his take on a Wagnerian opera from one of his Q shows. Click here. I hope you enjoy it. I always find this particular item hilarious, but then, I do have a weird sense of humour.