Friday 12 August 2016

Week 2 - The Grambler goes to Rio

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


From diving pools being turned green with algae to a gymnast with a broken leg being dropped by the stretcher bearers, the Olympic Games in Rio have been getting all the wrong kind of attention. So, this week’s (g)ramble takes us to the Olympic Games to discuss something a little different, but familiar to you regular readers out there in Gramblerland. [Sport? - Ed.] Well, sort of. Yes, it does concern sport. A very particular sport. The men’s 470. No, I don’t know what that means either, other than it is a class in the sailing events. Why have I chosen to discuss this particular event? Come closer and I’ll tell you.

Four years ago, in the London Olympic Games, two young men - Luke Patience and Elliot Willis - won silver in that event. From that moment on, they set about becoming the best at the next Olympics. Their training was geared to one thing: winning gold at the 2016 Games.

Unfortunately, in December of last year their plans were brought to an abrupt halt. Elliot Willis withdrew his name from the Team GB ‘hopefuls’. Why? Why, having trained for more than three years with the same team-mate to improve their technique, did he decide he couldn’t continue? Well, you have probably already realised, he didn’t choose to stand down; the decision was made for him when he was diagnosed with cancer. Bowel cancer. He is a fit young man. He is 32. He has got the cancer which doctors tell us affects older people. We are told it shouldn’t hit people of 32, but it does. It shouldn’t hit teenagers, but it does. It shouldn’t have claimed Stewart, but it did.

At the moment, there is a big advertising campaign on in Scotland urging oldies of over 50 to remember to return their two-yearly bowel cancer detection kit. It even has Fred Macaulay doing the voiceover. How much does it cost to put these adverts on the TV? Might that money not be put to better use educating people (especially doctors) that bowel cancer should be considered if anybody, no matter what age, has any kind of bowel irregularity? I wonder how long Elliot Willis waited before his doctor thought about that possibility. Hopefully, it wasn’t so long and the cancer was spotted at an early stage; early enough for treatments to actually have a beneficial effect.

If you have any of the following symptoms, see your doctor and insist that you be checked for bowel cancer.

A change in your bowel habit

Has your normal bowel habit changed? Are you going to the toilet more often or experiencing looser poo (diarrhoea). Do you have constipation, a feeling of fullness or incomplete emptying of your back passage after going to the toilet?

A lump in your abdomen (tummy)

Can you feel a new, unexplained lump in your abdomen (tummy) which doesn’t go away?

Bleeding from the bottom or blood in your poo

Have you noticed bleeding from your bottom with no obvious reason such as local soreness, piles (haemorrhoids) or tears (anal fissures)? Have you tried over the counter remedies, but the condition has not improved?

Unexplained tiredness, dizziness or breathlessness

Do you feel constantly tired, dizzy or breathless? Are you looking paler than usual? These may be signs of anaemia (low iron levels in your blood).

Pain in your abdomen (tummy)

Do you have constant or intermittent pain anywhere in your abdomen? It may be linked to going to the toilet or it might come and go like cramps or colic.

Unexplained weight loss

Have you lost weight without dieting, maybe due to reduced appetite, feeling bloated or sick?

Don’t be fobbed off with being told you are too young. As this blog tells you every week - you are never too young.




To finish this visit to the Olympics; you have to feel for Britain’s gold medallist Adam Peaty. He had just won the 100 metres breast-stroke in a world-record time and all the news channels could tell us was that he didn’t like taking a bath when he was a little boy. I’ll bet some news reporter had been speaking to the one individual who could give the media a story to embarrass Adam. No doubt his reaction was to redden up, look at his feet and say, ‘Oh, muuummm!’




Any birthdays of note to celebrate? Did any famous or notorious folk come into this world on the 13th of August? Of course they did. William Caxton 1422 (The original press baron. Sometimes these comments are facetious.), Annie Oakley 1860 (Inventor of sunglasses. Or daft.), Giovanni Agnelli 1866 (Founder of FIAT car company. Sometimes correct.), John Logie Baird 1888 (Boo Boo’s mate - ‘I’m smarter than the average Baird.’ But not often.), Bert Lahr 1895 (‘Put em up. Put em up.’ Sometimes there’s an obscure film reference.), Alfred Hitchcock 1899 (Didn’t have a navel, you know. Or a bizarre fact.), Felix Wankel 1902 (Insult. Often rude.), Basil Spence 1907 (Architect. Designed my school, you know. Occasionally true and trivial at the same time.), Ben Hogan 1912 (Golfer in a German prisoner-of-war camp. Or utterly silly.), George Shearing 1920 (Pianist who started a travel company. See what I mean.), Fidel Castro 1926 (Cuban leader. Castro claims he survived 634 attempts on his life, mainly masterminded by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. They involved poison pills, a toxic cigar, exploding mollusks, a chemically tainted diving suit and powder to make his beard fall out so as to undermine his popularity. That’s more sensible.), Bernard Manning 1931 (Comedian. It says here.), Madhur Jaffrey 1933 (Curry cook and actress. That’s not very silly. Erm... She’s only 5 feet 2 tall?), Rod Hull 1935 (‘Is it green jelly?’ A suitably obscure reference there.), Susan Jameson 1941 (‘Why, it’s Jessie Seaton.’ Any When the Booooat Comes In fans remember that one?), Howard Marks 1945 (Drug dealer aka Mr Nice. He even had a song written in his honour - Here Comes The Nice by the Small Faces), Dan Fogelburg 1951 (His home city, Peoria, Illinois, renamed Abington Street Fogelberg Parkway in his honour. You get trivia here too, you know.), Marie Helvin 1952 (Walking clothes-horse.), Herb Ritts 1952 (A variation on the standard cracker.), Feargal Sharkey 1958 (An Undertone.), Phil Taylor 1960 (‘The Power’.), Stuart Maconie 1961 (Freak.), Alan Shearer 1970 (Foo’y blurk.) and Joe Perry 1975 (The Fen Potter.).




Let’s move on to grambling matters. What happened last week? We won. No, not really. 77 pees isn’t exactly winning. What Happened? Read on...


Derby County vs Brighton - Prediction Home win

Result - Derby 0 Brighton 0

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Derby threatened in the early stages but Brighton managed to soak up the pressure and eventually created the better openings in what was a tight encounter.

On-loan Seagulls striker Glenn Murray had a shot blocked just before half-time and then headed over the bar in the second half.

We haven’t had any quotes from managers for a while; what gems did Messrs Hughton and Pearson have for us?

First, Brighton manager Chris Hughton.

‘Generally you don't know what you are going to get first game of the season but I thought the application of the team was excellent and apart from winning and goals I think I've got everything I wanted today.’

Er... so what you are saying is that you got nothing you wanted, surely. (Don’t call me Shirley.)

Next, Derby County manager Nigel Pearson.

‘You've got to try and win games but if you can't win them you don't lose them and I think both managers would be saying very similar things.’

Ahh, it’s good to hear some good old managerial bollocks again.


Oxford Utd vs Chesterfield - Prediction Home win

Result - Oxford Utd 1 Chesterfield 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

If you are interested, Ched Evans returned to professional football with Chesterfield after a lengthy spell in one of her majesty’s establishments. I won’t go into details, but his every touch at the Kassam Stadium was jeered by Oxford supporters. The U's took the lead through a tap-in from Wes Thomas just after the half hour mark.

Evans missed two chances after the break but fired in from a 25-yard free-kick with 14 minutes remaining to clinch a point.


Grimsby vs Morecambe - Prediction Home win

Result - Grimsby 2 Morecambe 0


Grimsby enjoyed a successful return to the English Football League as they defeated Morecambe at Blundell Park.

Cheered on by more than 6,000 fans, the Mariners went ahead through Kayden Jackson early on.

Ben Davies made it two with a stunning free-kick midway through the second half.

Grimsby's Josh Gowling was dismissed for a professional foul, but it mattered little in the end as the hosts held on.

It was a frantic start from both sides, but Jackson helped settle home nerves with a calm finish on seven minutes.

And just seconds later, the Mariners could have doubled their lead.

Tom Bolarinwa and Scott Vernon combined as the latter prodded over Morecambe keeper Barry Roche - only to see Alex Whitmore produce a stunning clearance.

James Berrett also fired over as Town marked their return to the fourth tier with a dominant performance against the Shrimps.

After the break, Berrett went close before Davies settled matters with a curling set piece from 25 yards.


St Mirren vs Morton - Prediction Home win

Result - St Mirren 1 Morton 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Michael Tidser had already skimmed the Saints crossbar with a shot before Thomas O'Ware headed Jim Duffy's Greenock men in front after 17 minutes.

St Mirren manager Alex Rae changed his formation to a 3-4-3 and saw an immediate improvement.

Lewis Morgan's cross into the box was met by the towering substitute John Sutton to nod home for the draw.

Morton started the game with pace and, after Tidser's 25-yard shot in seven minutes had grazed the woodwork, they had the bar shaking again when the unmarked Lee Kilday rattled it with a header.

The Ton made the breakthrough when ex-Motherwell striker Ross Forbes' great free-kick was bulleted into the net by O'Ware from close range.

The Saints fans had to wait until the 20th minute to see a chance for their side, ex-Motherwell striker David Clarkson's low shot drifting wide of the far post.

And their old rivals should have doubled their lead soon after when Gary Oliver teed up Jai Quitongo but he sclaffed his shot wide.

In the second half St Mirren's Calum Gallagher found Lawrence Shankland at the edge of the box, but Kilday blocked the shot.

Saints goalkeeper Jamie Langfield saved a snatched shot by Gary Oliver to keep his team in the match and with seven minutes remaining Sutton headed the leveller.


Alloa vs Peterhead - Prediction Home win

Result - Alloa 4 Peterhead 0


A brace from Jordan Kirkpatrick on his league debut helped Alloa's bid for promotion to the Ladbrokes Championship get off to a great start as they recorded a 4-0 win over hapless Peterhead.The hosts started well and took the lead when Kirkpatrick's shot went into the top left corner of the net from the edge of the box nine minutes in.Rather than sitting back, the hosts chased another straight away and on 14 minutes it was 2-0 thanks to Kevin Cawley, before a stunning free-kick from a central position by Kirkpatrick added another as half-time approached.Substitute Isaac Layne supplied the finishing touch almost as soon as he replaced Kirkpatrick on 69 minutes, finishing well past the goalkeeper with his right foot.

Oh well, not the best of starts for The Grambler’s first bet of the season. Can he/she/it make amends this week? [Doubt it. - Ed.]

Game - Result - Odds

Barnsley vs Derby County - Prediction Away win - 11/10

Doncaster vs Crawley - Prediction Home win - 7/10

Dumbarton vs Dundee Utd - Prediction Away win - 4/7

Peterhead vs East Fife - Prediction Home win - 19/20

Forfar vs Cowdenbeath - Prediction Home win - 17/20

Anyway, 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...


Moderately whopping, I think.




Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you which famous writer played for the amateur club that became Portsmouth FC. It was Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle and he played in goal. Did you work that one out. Of course you did. Elementary, my dear Grambler.

One for this week? Which former Manchester United striker (making over 100 appearances), as a child, was so in awe of borthdee bonny lad Alan Shearer, that he slept in a Newcastle shirt? He doesn’t now. Only when he was a kid. At least, I don’t think he does now.  That would be just a bit weird.



I know this repeats the main thrust of this week’s (g)ramble but, 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 a Mr Q. Devine who in a simple homage to Mr Man creator Roger Hargreaves has summed up a certain gentleman who, without trying, manages to open his mouth and put a size ten straight in...

Happy grambling.


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