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…
There was a news item this week about the Russian Olympics team being barred from the games because of its use of drugs. Or rather, some of the Russian Olympics team being barred, but not others.
It is a very odd state of affairs. The field athletes have been told they are not welcome, but sportsmen and women from all other disciplines are being allowed to go. Why? Surely, from the Russians’ perspective and that of the organisers, it would be far more sensible for the whole team not to go. Let me explain.
Okay, it has been proven that some of the athletics squad were taking a few performance-enhancing drugs. As they were being encouraged, and funded, to do so by people in authority, the only action that could be taken for such illegal activity was to ban the athletes. Fair enough.
However, competitors from other sports were not found guilty. Not that they were exonerated (That’s a good word; I must look it up.) you understand. They just were not found guilty. It is this last point which should stop the whole of the Russian Olympic team going to Brazil. Somebody, possibly Vladimir himself, should announce that the whole team is ‘boycotting’ the games. He might even blow a raspberry and shout yah sucks boo [Lucky old Boo. - Ed.] for good measure.
Sorry pardon excuse me? You see, they just can’t win. If a Russian sportsman or woman does well and wins a medal, the inference will be that they have succeeded simply because they are taking performance-enhancing drugs. However, if they don’t win medals, people will assume it is just because they are not taking any performance-enhancing drugs. As I said, they cannot win. Better for them if they just don’t turn up.
Of course, in the old days before drug-testing became more sophisticated than asking 'Have you taken any drugs?', all sorts of performance-improving drugs were used by athletes. I can remember when most of the women athletes from the Warsaw Pact countries looked more masculine than the blokes. Indeed, way way back there were even male athletes who took part in women’s events; ‘Dora’ Ratjen took fourth place in the women’s high jump event in 1936. It was later discovered that she was really a he called Heinrich.
Then, there was the story of Stella Walsh (born Stanislawa Walasiewicz) who won the gold medal in the women’s 100 metres at the 1932 Olympics. Her style had often been likened to that of a man. She certainly looked quite masculine. And she sounded like a man trying to talk like a woman. In the 1936 Olympics, she couldn’t repeat the feat and had to settle for silver.
In December 1980 she was fatally shot in the crossfire of an attempted robbery. In the autopsy that followed, it was revealed that Walsh had a chromosomal disorder called mosaicism which left her with sexually ambiguous genitalia. Despite the gender confusion caused by the disorder, Walsh had lived her entire life as a woman.
Obviously, those examples had nothing to do with drugs. The former was an example of out and out cheating. The latter was a case of simply not knowing the facts.
So, how can we stop drugs cheats? I have the answer. [You always have. Yawn. - Ed.] Stop bothering about it. You what? Stop bothering. Don’t encourage or condone drug use, but don’t ban it either. Sorry pardon excuse me? That’s right. Tell athletes, yes, take drugs if you are so desperate to win. Take drugs if you seriously want to have your life shortened. And it will be. Severely. Go ahead. Sure, have your fifteen minutes (or 9.8 seconds) of fame. Don’t come running to us when all the nasty side effects kick in. Oh yes, we will continue to drugs test every athlete after an event and, no, we won’t strip you of any title you may win when the drug use is discovered. We will simply have it noted for posterity that your win was due to drug assistance. Oh, and we won’t attempt to stop any events organiser deciding that you aren’t welcome at a particular event. Yeah, go for it. Good luck to you.
That should do the trick.
Any birthdays of note to celebrate? Did any famous or notorious folk come into this world on the 30th of July? Of course they did. Emily Bronte 1818 (Wrote Kate Bush’s first hit.), Henry Ford 1863 (Arthur Dent’s pal in Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy.), Henry Moore 1898 (Played James Bond.), Richard Johnson 1927 (Vocalist with the Skids.), Buddy Guy 1936 (Damn right I’ve got the blues.), Peter Bogdanovic 1939 (Bugs Bunny fan.), Clive Sinclair 1940 (Came up with a ‘green’ car 30 years too soon.), Paul Anka 1941 (Rhyming slang.), Frances de la Tour 1944 (‘I have no intention of giving way to it, extinguish your stick!’), Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond 1946 (Beetlejuice.), Arnold Schwarzenegger 1947 (His first film appearance was as Hercules in the 1970 movie Hercules in New York. He was credited as ‘Arnold Strong’.), Rat Scabies 1957 (Neat neat neat.), Daley Thompson 1958 (Decathlete who won every event he entered between 1978 and 1988, achieving gold in the 1980 and 1984 Olympic Games.), Kate Bush 1958 (Heathcliff, it's me Cathy. Come home. I'm so cold! Let me in-a-your window.), Laurence Fishburne 1961 (Cowboy Curtis.), Jurgen Klinsmann 1964 (Footy bloke; turned diving into an artform.), Hilary Swank 1974 (Unfortunate name.) and Justin Rose 1980 (Golfy bloke.).
Let’s move on to grambling matters. What happened last week? I don’t know. You what? I don’t know. You see, last week, as I explained, I placed a bet with a bookies called BetFred. The only reason I was able to place the bet was that I happened to visit the small town of Blan’ur where there was a BetFred shop. However, I haven’t had any reason to go back there this week and don’t plan to go there just collect a few pence. I was in Glasgow yesterday and thought I might be lucky and find one of Fred’s shops, but I was out of luck. I passed five bookies, Paddy Power (the famous Irish energy supplier), Coral, Ladbrokes and two Bill Hills, but no Fred. Any road up, here are the results of last week’s predictions...
Ayr United vs Edinburgh City - Prediction Home win
Result - Ayr United 1 Edinburgh City 0
Cowdenbeath vs Dunfermline - Prediction Away win
Result - Cowdenbeath 0 Dunfermline 3
Kilmarnock vs Morton - Prediction Home win
Result - Kilmarnock 0 Morton 2
Partick Thistle vs Queen of the South - Prediction Home win
Result - Partick Thistle 2 Queen of the South 1
Ross County vs Raith Rovers - Prediction Home win
Result - Ross County 1 Raith Rovers 1
Ooh! ’It the bar!
I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, where is the match report. [I wasn’t thinking that at all. I was thinking I could go a cup of tea. So your mind-reading skills are rubbish. - Ed.] Ahem... The reason for there being no match report is that this competition is so insignificant that journalists and TV folk don’t even provide a write up for us to use... in a completely altered form, I might add [A little too hastily. - Ed.]. I wouldn’t want you to think I might plagier... plaja... playg... copy someone else’s work.
Right, what about some predictions for this week? Do you know what? After last week’s problems to even place a bet, I am not going anywhere near the FretBed Cup. You know what that means, don’t you? Blibbing gee gees...
Meeting - Time - Horse - Odds
Doncaster - 2.15 - Stratum - 10/11
Newmarket - 3.25 - Blending - 6/4
Goodwood - 4.20 - Lockheed - 4/6
Newmarket - 5.10 - Al - 5/4
Lingfield - 7.30 - Cliff Edge - 11/10
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 Predictions, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...
That is the whoppingest amount for a long time. Hey, I think I may have just made up a new word.
Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you what Gary Lineker did in a 1990 game between England and Ireland that was very unusual. The answer is... I hope you aren’t eating while you are reading this... the answer is... especially not chocolate... the answer is... or curry... the answer is [Get on with it! - Ed.] he pooed in his shorts. Seriously. Don’t believe me? Click here for the story from Poo-pants himself.
One for this week? Ex Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood played for Blackburn Rovers, joining them in 1992. Rovers were considering signing another player (who went on to become rather famous) but chose Sherwood instead. Who was the player that was turned down?
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 J. Hammond, one of our birthday celebrants. As Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, he played bass guitar for Jethro Tull. He wasn’t actually a very gifted musician, indeed he could barely play the instrument, but he was a good friend of the band’s frontman, Ian Anderson. He was brought in as a replacement for Glen Cornick, who was an extremely talented bass player. Not that Mr Cornick wanted to leave; he didn’t have the option. He was ousted in the same way that Syd Vicious would take over from Glen Matlock in the Sex Pistols. In both cases the replacement was perceived to have more of a stage presence than the original. In 1975, Hammond left Jethro Tull to pursue a career as a painter and, apart from a mid-eighties audition to rejoin the band, has never again played the bass guitar. Any road up, to finish this week’s (g)ramble here is Hammond’s greatest contribution to Tull - This is The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles. I do hope you enjoy it.