Saturday 18 June 2016

Week 43 - Euro 2016 - The Grambler's view

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 .

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.

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


Euro 2016 continues and hasn’t it been (yawn) exciting? Anyway, before this week’s rant, let’s get the names out of the way...

A chap from Northern Ireland regularly bought one of these periodicals that you can buy every week until you have the complete set. It was about rivers throughout the world and each week a different river featured. He was particularly looking forward to the edition that covered the river that passed through Cairo and Alexandria. For some reason there was a bit of a hold up at the printers and the magazine was late in getting to newsagents. Every day our avid river fan used to go into his local newsagent to ask, ‘Is the Nile mag in?’


Rich Hall and Mike Wilmot (You remember. From Rich Hall’s Fishing Show. You do.) were watching the Euro 2016 Croatia game and at half time there was a break for adverts. One of the ads featured a man wearing a Parka jacket and riding a Lambretta. Mike turned to his pal, ‘Look, a mod, Rich.’


Carol Smillie (Remember her?) was a model before she worked on television and in her autobiography she devotes a few chapters to some tales of her days on the catwalk. One story tells of the time she was in Slovakia and actually had to model a kilt made of metal. Apparently, it was extremely uncomfortable to wear because it dug into her waist. That chapter is entitled ‘My tin skirt hell.’ Of course, she’d have said it with a Scottish accent. ‘Ma tin skirt hell’.


A sheep farmer was asked by a neighbouring farmer if he would lend out one of his tups during the breeding season.

‘Which one do you want, look you boyo isn’t it?’ he enquires of his friend. Did I mention he was Welsh?

‘How do you mean, bach?’ his friend asks. He was Welsh too, incidentally.

‘Well, I’ve got a few breeds here, see. I need to know which breed you want to borrow, isn’t it. I wouldn’t want to give you a wrong ram, see.’


Luke and Ian were great pals. More than great pals. Luke, who was Polish incidentally, absolutely idolised his friend. In fact, other friends use to joke about the way Luke worshipped his friend. One day, Ian proved he wasn’t so brilliant by locking himself out of his house; he’d forgotten that he’d lent his friend the key. Of course, his wider circle of friends were on social media straight away...

Ian has locked himself out of his house. lol.

OMG. Why is that???

Because Luke has fab Ian’s key.


Two pals were driving home to watch the England game when the car got a flat tyre. ‘Think we should call the AA,' says the driver.

‘Don’t be daft,’ says his friend, ‘they’ll take ages to get here. We’ll miss the start of the game. Don’t call out the AA when we can put the spare wheel on. There must be a jack in the boot.’

‘There is, but it’s not the right one for this car. It will not be strong enough. The jack will sheer.’


So far, I have watched some good games and some not so good - don’t talk to me about Austria self-destructing against Hungary and spoiling The Grambler’s bet. Or Portugal. Best player in the world? I don’t think so Mr Ronaldo. If you were the best in the world you could have magicked a goal out of somewhere to ensure The Grambler made a profit. But no. You couldn’t even do that. I think Mr Messi’s crown is safe.

I feel a rant coming on. No, nothing to with preening Portuguese poseurs, but it is to do with Euro 2016. Specifically, it’s to do with commentators. Sorry pardon excuse me? What about commentators, I hear you ask. All right, I don’t actually hear you, but you are probably wondering why I am not too happy with those individuals tasked with providing us, the viewing public, with an explanation of what is happening on the pitch during a game. I am not happy because they don’t actually spend much time talking about the actual game. Instead, they waffle on about anything and everything (but the game). One match in particular had this gem of non-information...

‘He used to play for Manchester City. I bet they wished they had him now. He’s turned into a good player. They probably couldn’t afford him.’

Okay, it’s about a player on the field, but it isn’t informative; it’s just the commentator trying to fill in every second with words of some kind. Any words will do, obviously [A bit like this blog, then - Ed.].  There is also another person on hand to give us pearls of useless information. This is the ‘pundit’, supposedly a knowledgable ex-footballer. This gives the opportunity for a bit of ‘chat’ between the two...

‘He’s only 18, you know.’

‘I wish I was eighteen.’


‘I was as good as him.’

‘In your dreams.’

It was like a couple of pensioners reminiscing...

‘Jumpers for goalposts. Isn’t it? Mmm?’

Who else remembers Ron Manager from the Fast Show?

Any road up, it is all utter piffle. Why can these people not realise that there can be gaps in the commentary if nothing is happening. Or if they must fill every space with voices at least emulate radio commentators and talk about what is going on instead of giving us drivel like that.

Another thing that bugs me about these guys is that, being from England, they always have to find an English link. I have alluded to the constant references to a competition won by a lucky England team 50 years ago. It was 50 years ago, for goodness’ sake!  Every chance they get it’s talk of Geoff Hurst’s goal, of big Jack Charlton’s brilliant defending, or comparing every goalkeeper to Gordon Banks. Jeezo!  Please get over it!

There is a drinking game (devised here in Scotland) where, when watching any international game featuring England, one must down a shot of spirit every time there is a reference made to the 1966 World Cup. Most people are flat on their backs within two minutes.

Getting back to ‘English links’, commentators will come up with anything. If a player on the field plays, or in the past has played, for an English club it gets mentioned throughout a game...

‘That’s just the skill he shows every week at (insert English Premiershit/Championshit team name).' 
What if there are no players with links to England on the pitch, I hear you ask. No problem. These commentators can be quite resourceful. Here is an example from after the Belgium v Italy game...

‘I think referee, Mark Clattenburg had a good game.’

Guess where he comes from. Talk about clutching at straws!

Finally, in my Euro 2016 rant, I have a question for you. What is the significance of the goalies wearing one yellow and one pink glove? Or, some outfield players wearing one yellow and one pink boot? Am I missing something obvious here? Is it symbolic of something? I am intrigued. Does anyone out there in Gramblerland know what it is all about? Write your answers on a self addressed-postcard and throw it away.




Any birthdays of note to celebrate? Did any famous or notorious folk came into this world on the 18th of June? Of course they did. Giuseppe Scarlotti 1723 (Where there is love, there is jealousy.), George Mallory 1886 (Why did he attempt to climb Everest? ‘Because it is there.’), Jeanette McDonald 1903 (When I’m calling you hoo hoo hoo, hoo hoo hoo.), Sammy Cahn 1913 (Love is lovelier, the second time around [But a damn sight more difficult. - Ed.].), Red Adair 1915 (Used to dance with Ginger Rogers.), Richard Boone 1917 (Not the best judge of projects’ prospects. He turned down Jack Lord’s role in Hawaii Five O and the Robert Shaw role in Jaws.), Ian Carmichael 1920 (I’m all right, Jack.), Paul Eddington 1927 (He did very little harm.), Delia Smith 1941 (Let’s be ‘aving ya!), Paul McCartney 1942 (Who?), Barry Evans 1943 (Here we go round the mulberry bush.), Fabio Capello 1946 (Footy bloke and Tommy Cooper lookalike.), Linda Thorson 1947 (Miss Tara King.) and Alison Moyet 1961 (My soul desires a pre-industrial world.).




Let’s move on to grambling matters. What happened last week? We won. Yay! No, not yay. Thanks to Portugal and Austria not doing what they were meant to, we were down 37 pees. Shocking.

Should we bet on the Euros this week? Given that things get even more cagey in the third game of the group stages, I foresee more than the odd draw. Aye, go on then; we’ll do it. Come on Grambler; do your stuff.

Game (Time) - Result - Odds

Belgium vs Rep. of Ireland - Saturday 2pm - Belgium - 10/11

Romania vs Albania - Sunday 8pm - Romania - 5/4

Switzerland vs France - Sunday 8pm - France - 19/20

Slovakia vs England - Monday 8pm - England - 3/4

Ukraine vs Poland - Tuesday 5pm - Poland - 21/20


The bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Prediction, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...


Now that is whopping.





Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you of all the players representing their countries, who has scored the most international goals (67 at the time of writing). It’s not Zlatan Ibrahimovic; he’s scored 62. It’s not that fop and dandy Cristiano Ronaldo; he’s scored 56. It is... Ireland’s Robbie Keane. Mind you, having win 144 caps (and counting), it perhaps isn’t such a surprise.

One for this week? Not a Euro 2016 question, but one tenuously linked in that it features footballers from a nation taking part. Which Welsh player has scored the most Premiershit goals? An easy one? Maybe. Maybe.




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




And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to birthday celebrant Ms D. Smith and a short clip of her most famous moment of TV. She was famously a little ‘tired and emotional’ when addressing the Carrow Road faithful. First up - click here - the actual footage (with some added captions) and that is followed by a mix called The Delia Smith Song . I do hope you enjoy these moments of Delia not at her best.


Happy grambling.


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