Friday, 24 June 2016

Week 44 - Brexit - 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 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

 

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.  Oh dear.

Meet the next Prime Minister.  Oh dear.
 
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Last week, you may recall, I had a bit of a moan about the commentary teams at the Euro 2016 tournament. My gripes were that they spoke about any old thing other than the match we were watching and that they were pretty much obsessed with any English links they could find. This week I am going to moan again. Watching the France Switzerland game on Sunday, I have to say they excelled themselves. While play was underway, the commentator asked of his pundity colleague...
‘So what do you think the English line-up will be tomorrow?’
What! How dare they! They are paid to discuss the match on the screen, not to have a chat about a game that isn’t taking place until a day later. What is really bad is that Wales would be playing at the same time as England and this commentary is being broadcast throughout the UK. Welsh viewers must have been thinking, hang on a minute, what about us. Yes, England are in this tournament and England may have the largest population within the UK, but Wales and Northern Ireland are also in it; the Beeb Beeb Ceeb should be giving them consideration too. But they don’t. The Beeb’s coverage is from England so nowhere else matters. And they wonder why some nations within the UK want independence.

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I said I didn’t hold out much hope for the Grambler’s bet this week and my concern was not misplaced. There has been a lot of ‘pochling’ going on when the third games of the group stage have been taking place. Was it any surprise that France drew with Switzerland thus allowing both teams to progress to the next round? Of course it wasn’t. It happens in every competition that is run along these lines. A case of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. Similarly, Germany drew with Poland and guess what, it meant both teams had enough points to take them on to the next round. The word fix comes to mind. The problem is that, while these teams are scratching each other’s backs, the spectator is getting a raw deal and is having to sit through some pretty dull fayre.
What is the answer? Is there an answer? Well, I reckon the organisers are trying to get as many games out of these tournaments as possible, but the way they operate just now with six groups of four teams and the top two from each automatically progressing plus the four best placed third places completing the last 16 is not the best way to engage full endeavour from those teams taking part. At the moment there are 36 games taking place in the group stage, then 8 games in the next round followed by quarter finals, semis and final. A total of 51 matches (plus one meaningless 3rd place play off game). I have the answer. [You would have. - Ed.] At the moment, there are 24 teams battling it out at the start of the tournament. I would alter things slightly and have an odd number of teams. No, bear with me please. 25 teams would be split into five groups of five. In the group stage each team would play four games. Thus, at this stage there would be a total of 50 games played. Only one team plus the three best runners up would progress to the next level which would be the quarter final games. The total number of games played would be 57 (plus that meaningless one). Only six more games would be played overall, but it might mean an end to this playing for a draw that we get at present. I think the fact that only one team from each group would be certain to progress would encourage teams to actually try and win games because they could only be certain of progressing if they won all their games. What do you think gramblerlinis? A good idea? I reckon it would improve the dull second week of the euros (and the World Cup as well since it is run in the same way).

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Wow! What about Wales thumping Russia three nil? It proves that Wales are one of the best teams in Europe. Er... No it doesn’t. Sorry pardon excuse me? Yes, it was a great result. Three nil against any team is pretty good. Three nil against a team the calibre of Russia ought to be considered magnificent. In normal circumstances, I would agree. But this game did not take place in normal circumstances. Eh? I am talking about the ‘supporter’ trouble earlier in the tournament. Do you remember the altercation that took place between Russian ‘supporters’ and English ‘supporters’? I believe that if you had asked any one of those people to give their thoughts on the off-side rule, they would not have realised which sport you were asking about. I reckon that their answer would probably have involved a bottle being smashed over your skull.

So, the Russian team was threatened with disqualification if anything similar happened again. How can a football team’s officials ensure that their ‘supporters’ don’t behave the same way again? It is just not possible. The team officials have absolutely no influence over the stupidity of the fans. The safest way to deal with it is to just not be there.

If Russia had played to their capabilities, they should have beaten Wales. Remember Russia drew with England, the country that beat Wales; so, based on that fact, they should have taken all three points in Monday’s game.
In truth, they simply didn’t try against Wales. The camera kept cutting to the Russian team’s coach who sat impassively on his technical area chair throughout the game, whereas Welsh manager, Chris Coleman, was jumping up and down, shouting instructions to his players.

To me the Russian lack of performance was all about saving face. They were not expelled from the tournament and didn’t progress beyond the preliminary group stage thus ensuring that there would be no more ‘supporter’ trouble for the Euro 2016 organisers to worry about. Job done.

 

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Any birthdays of note to celebrate? Did any famous or notorious folk came into this world on the 25th of June? Of course they did. Antoni Gaudi 1852 (The world’s looniest architect.), Basil Radford 1897 (The Eternal Englishman.), Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, PC, FRS 1900 (Known informally as Lord Mountbatten. That’s his informal name???), Eric Blair 1903 (Who? Oh, George Orwell. Wrote 1984 and Animal Farm which gave us the lines, ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.’ Brilliant. Spent some time in hospital in Polomint City.), Roger Livesey 1906 (Colonel Blimp.), Cyril Fletcher 1913 (And finally, Esther, I am indebted...), June Lockhart 1925 (Played Raymond Francis in No Hiding Place [Shome mishtake, shurely. - Ed.].), Eric Carle 1929 (The Very Hungry Caterpillar man. That book has been translated into 62 languages and has sold more than 52 million copies since it was first published in 1969. A nice little earner.), Peter Blake 1932 (Artist whose most famous work was an album cover.  You know the one.  You do.  Of course you do.), Eddie Floyd 1935 (His biggest hit, Knock on Wood has been recorded by (among others) Amii Stewart, Otis Redding, Cher, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Seal, Tom Jones, Old Uncle Tom Cobbley and all, Old Uncle Tom Cobbley and all.), Harold Melvin 1936, 1939 or 1941 depending on source material (Bluenotes boss.), Carly Simon 1945 (Refused a Simon Sisters Sandwich with Sean Connery.), Tim Finn 1952 (Advised us to always take the weather with us.), Ricky Gervais 1961 (Do the dance.), Phill Jupitus 1962 (Porky the poet.), Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou 1963 (No wonder he changed his name to George Michael. Cue very old gag: What’s the difference between George Michael and a microwave? A microwave stops when the door opens.), Neil Lennon 1971 (Footy bloke. Aka Lenny Leprechaun, The Ginger Ninja or The Ginger Whinger.) and Jamie Rednapp 1973 (Another footy bloke. Son of Flash Harry.).

 

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Let’s move on to grambling matters. What happened last week? We won. Yay! No, not yay. Because half the teams weren’t blibbing well trying this week only two of The Grambler’s predictions came up trumps [Don’t mention Trump. - Ed.]. We won the far-from-grand total of 79 pees. Ho hum.

Righto, my grambling chums, this is our last chance to have a bet on Euro 2016. We have eight games for The Grambler to choose from; let’s see what five he/she/it has randomly chosen.

Game (Time) - Result - Odds

Switzerland vs Poland (Saturday 2pm) - Poland - 8/13

Wales vs Northern Ireland (Saturday 5pm) - Wales - 2/5

Croatia vs Portugal (Saturday 8pm) - Croatia - 8/11

France vs Rep of Ireland (Sunday 2pm) - France - 4/9

England vs Iceland (Monday 8pm) - England - 8/15

 

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...

£6.49

No, not at all whopping.

 

 

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Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you which Welsh player has scored the most Premiershit goals. Who thought the answer was Ryan Giggs. Come on. Hands up. Ha ha. Knew I’d catch you out. The Welshman who has scored the most Premiershit goals is, in fact... oh. It was Ryan Giggs. Yes, it was an easy one. Thanks to him being a first team fixture with Man U for over half a century, he managed to score a grand total of 109 goals. Runners up are Gary Speed and Craig Bellamy with 81 apiece, Mark Hughes with 63 and John Hartson with 55. I mention Mr Hartson because he could arguably be the correct answer. You see, he moved to Celtic after his Premiershit days and went on to score another 88 goals. Celtic ought to count as a Premiershit team. Okay, it’s the Scottish Premiership, but take them into consideration and Hartson’s total of 143 makes Mr Giggs total look pretty piffling.

Righty ho, one for this week. Which Spanish player has scored the most international goals? That is one to try out down the pub. Answer next week.

 

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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

 

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And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to a Mr R. Mortimer (without his friend Mr V. Reeves) who gives us possibly the best ever impression of our birthday celebrant George Michael for this week’s closing link.  Take it away, Bob

And finally finally did you wonder what Peter Blake’s most famous work was? You will recognise it. Here is the original photoshoot for Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band...

 

 


 

Happy grambling.

 

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