Thursday 8 September 2016

Week 6 - Star Trek - boldly grambling for 50 years

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


Do you ever get to go on holiday? I hope you do. Holidays are generally enjoyable things. They can induce a bit of stress sometimes. The process of getting on a flight is quite tiresome, I find. But, hey, I am willing to deal with that if there is the prospect of a few days of complete rest from the rigours of day to day life. Not that my life is especially rigorous, you understand. But for those of you who live hectic lives, you deserve a little break from your busy schedule.
Do you bring back souvenirs from your holiday? I have to admit, I used to. I also have to admit that much of it was utterly tacky. Tat of the worst kind. I recall buying a little sealed bottle which contained different coloured sands. The sand had been inserted into the bottle in such a way that it formed a 'picture'. A lighthouse I think it was. Any road up, this little souvenir was carried all the way home in our suitcase. Once we arrived home, the bag was emptied and the little parcel with the bottle in it unwrapped. A bottle of sand. Just that. No longer was it multicoloured; just a browny colour. Unfortunately, the buffeting the suitcase received on our homeward journey had shaken the sand up so that the lighthouse was no more. Another souvenir was a bit more successful though no less tacky. It was a sealed picture frame that contained oil and sand. If you turned the picture over the sand fell through the oil and formed an image of hills or, perhaps more correctly, sand dunes. If nothing else, it was a conversation piece. People would see it and ask, 'Why did you buy that piece of crap?'
The tackiest souvenir I recall bringing home was from Venice. Naturally, a gondola featured. It was a cheap plastic model of a gondola in black and gold and it plugged into the mains. What happened when it was plugged in was that this already nasty piece of tat became even worse as several fairy lights illuminated within it. Hey pesto! A gondola shaped Christmas tree. At least it didn't play Arrivederci Roma.
Often there are more tasteful souvenirs on offer. I recall one, a gift for my mother, was a glass dome which contained some greenery and a large, and very dead, butterfly. It actually looked okay as an ornament. You just had to try and forget that you were looking at a dead insect, which wasn't always possible.
The first time I went abroad (Benidorm, incidentally) I promised to bring back a present for my neighbour's son aged about six. What should I bring? This was in the days when a souvenir from Spain meant a flamenco dancer doll, a sombrero or, for some odd reason, a donkey. Not a real donkey, obviously. It was a plastic thing about two and a half feet tall and it had a furry mane and tail, big eyes and reins. It was as unrealistic as you can imagine and could well have been the inspiration for the My Little Pony toys. Any road up, holidaymakers always fell for this bulky piece of sh*t and bought them by the skip load. Of course, nobody considered the problems that might ensue. Sorry pardon excuse me? At the airport when I arrived in Glasgow, the suitcases all started coming along the carousel/conveyor belt thing. Then, when all the cases were through, along came the donkeys. Dozens and dozens of the things. Brown ones, black ones, grey and white. It was like a donkey Derby. I think mine came in about 57th!
Nowadays, I don't bother bringing anything back. I ask myself whether something that looks okay on a market stall would look okay when I get it back home. The answer is, invariably, no.
To conclude this (g)ramble there have always been those souvenirs in shops and on market stalls which just shouldn't be there. There is no reason for them to be there. Why would anyone consider buying a bottle opener in the shape of a man's genitalia? The first question that springs to mind is why anybody thought it a good idea to manufacture such a thing in the first place. Second question that springs to mind is still why anyone thought it would be a good idea to produce such a thing. It is such a crazy idea...
'Hey Miguel, I have the great idea for a tourist type souvenir that will make us the fortune.' Obviously, I have written this in ‘foreigner-talking-English’ to signify that this was a Spanish entrepreneur (That’s a good word; must look it up.). He wouldn’t have been speaking English at all, in reality.
'Yeah? What ees thees breelliant idea, Pedro?’ Miguel, strangely, has an even more ‘foreigner-talking-English’ way of speaking; more Mexican than Spanish.
'It is the wooden willy that can be used to open the bottle of beer.'
'Er... ees the steeff willy?'
'Of course. How are you going to open the bottle with the floppy one?'
Any road up, on my last holiday to a Spanish resort, there was a shop with all these tasteful souvenirs displayed outside it and a small family group from England went into the shop. The daughter, aged about five picked up one of these bottle openers and asked her mum...
'What's this?'
'Erm... nothing. Put it down.'
'But what's it for?'
'Just.... Just put it down. It's nothing... Oh look this is nice...'
While I had to smile, I also understood the discomfort the mum felt at trying to explain such an obscene object to her little girl. The poor girl is going to be a bit confused in later life when she first encounters a real one...
'So how do you open bottles with it?'




Before we move onto grambling matters, did you know that Star Trek has been boldly going where no man has boldly gone before for fifty years? Who would have thought such a creaky production would still be going strong fifty years on?  And who would have thought that the 'communicators' Captain Kirk and co. used would ever have become so commonplace?  It's a crrrazy idea, Captain, but it might just worrrk. 
I liked David Scheider’s (@davidschneider) suggestion for a way to celebrate...

In an office? Celebrate StarTrek50 by pretending you're under attack and all falling to one side then another.





Any birthdays of note to celebrate? Did any famous or notorious folk come into this world on the 10th of September? Of course they did. Henry Purcell 1659 (Inventor of washing powder.), Adele Astaire 1896 (Fred’s big sister and dancing partner for 27 years; beginning when Freddie was five.), Robert Wise 1914 (Directed West Side Story. No relation to Ernie.), Edmond O’Brien 1915 (Was taught magic by Harry Houdini. That is absolutely true. When O’Brien was a child, Houdini was a neighbour.), Rin Tin Tin 1918 (Seriously. The German Shepherd ‘starred’ in the silent film ‘Clash of the Wolves’. When the talkies began, like so many stars, his voice wasn’t suitable. He had a small yappy type dog bark, totally at odds with his appearance. It is said, his descent from stardom was a rapid one. He was soon sleeping ruff and eventually went barking mad.), Beryl Cook 1926 (Artist whose work was more cartoon than serious, but it had a certain unmistakable, bawdy style which appealed... but not to the art ‘establishment’. See below), Gwen Watford 1927 (Ectress. Played Michael Palin’s nymphomaniac mother in ‘Tomkinson’s Schooldays’.) Arnold Palmer 1929 (Golfy bloke aka ‘The King’.), Karl Lagerfeld 1933 (Fashion designer, dwahling. Famous for his pony tail and wearing ridiculously high collars to hide his scraggy neck.), Jose Feliciano 1945 (Sang ‘Light my Fire’. Er... That’s it.), Don Powell 1946 (Slade drummer.) Judy Geeson 1948 (Ectress. Starred in To Sir with Love. Er... That’s it.), Barrie ‘Barriemore’ Barlow 1949 (Ex Jethro Tull drummer. John Bonham described him as ‘the greatest rock drummer England ever produced’.), Joe Perry 1950 (Geetarist with Aerosmith and with Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp in the Hollywood Vampires.), John Moylett 1956 (As Johnnie Fingers was a piano-playing Boomtown Rat in pyjamas.), Siobhan Fahey 1957 (A third of Bananarama and half of Shakespeare’s sister.), Carol Decker 1957 (A bit of T’pau which is the noise a gun makes in Yorkshire.), Colin Firth 1960 (A river estuary in Scotland.) and Guy Ritchie 1968 (Wasn’t he once Mr Mad Donna?).





Let’s move on to grambling matters. What happened last week? We won. Yay! No definitely not yay. We won a grand total of 88 pees so we actually lost £1.32. Oh dear. What happened? Read on...


Bolton vs Southend - Prediction Home win

Result - Bolton 1 Southend 1

Ooh! ’It the bar

Harry Kyprianou's early goal gave the visitors the lead as he fired John White's deep cross into the top corner.

Bolton put Southend under pressure for long periods, but Gary Madine, debutant Keshi Anderson, Jay Spearing and Liam Trotter all missed good chances.

Anderson bundled in an equaliser soon after half-time after putting goalkeeper Ted Smith under pressure.


Fleetwood vs Coventry - Prediction Home win

Result - Fleetwood 2 Coventry 0


The Sky Blues bossed much of the opening spell, but struggled to turn pressure and possession into meaningful chances against former City boss Steven Pressley's side.

Devante ‘King’ Cole might have opened the scoring within 10 minutes, when David Ball picked out his run, but the former Manchester City youngster fired straight at keeper Reice Charles-Cook.

The hosts went close again on 15 minutes when Ball looked to benefit from a collision between keeper and defender, but his goalbound lob was cleared off the line by on-loan Newcastle defender Jamie Sterry.

It took Coventry until the last five minutes of the half to carve out a real opening, when Vladimir Gadzhev's free kick almost beat Chris Neal but substitute Marcus Tudgay was unable to turn home at the back post.

The Sky Blues continued to press from the restart but were caught on the break for Fleetwood's opener.

Kyle Dempsey, on loan from Huddersfield, launched a delightful diagonal pass to pick out the run of Chris Long, the on-loan Burnley striker showing a cool head and clever feet in the box before slotting low under Charles-Cook.

The hosts did not take long to double their lead, Ball mopping up a loose pass 25 yards out to release sub Martyn Woolford, who took a touch before blasting low inside the near post.


Colchester vs Exeter - Prediction Home win

Result - Colchester 2 Exeter 3


Exeter went ahead in the eighth minute through Robbie Simpson's close-range effort, after Jordan Moore-Taylor's header had hit a post following a free-kick.

Simpson should have scored again soon after when he blasted over from 10 yards following Jack Stacey's pass.

And two minutes later, Colchester equalised when Sammie Szmodics converted after Luke Prosser had headed a free-kick back across goal.

Colchester keeper Sam Walker denied Jake Taylor before Colchester went ahead seven minutes before half-time through Kurtis Guthrie, who deftly headed in Brennan Dickenson's corner.

But Exeter equalised five minutes after the break through Ollie Watkins' fine low shot from the edge of the area, and Joel Grant restored Exeter's lead midway through the second half when he slid in to convert Stacey's cross at the far post.


Luton vs Wycombe - Prediction Home win

Result - Luton 4 Wycombe 1


Luton broke the deadlock on 11 minutes when Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu's fierce cross was turned in by Ronnie Hylton.

Wycombe created little, their best efforts being Danny Rowe's wayward attempt and Matt Bloomfield's low drive, which was turned aside by Christian Walton.

The Hatters missed a wonderful chance on 28 minutes as Cameron McGeehan's tame penalty, won when Jordan Cook was brought down by Stephen McGinn, was easily saved by Blackman.

Mpanzu put a fine chance wide just after the break, before Luton had the second goal their play fully deserved. McGeehan's low shot was parried by Blackman, with Hylton tapping home his second of the afternoon.

Wycombe were back in the game on 63 minutes as Bloomfield escaped the home defence to find the corner, while substitute Garry Thompson tested Walton low down from range, before seeing another shot parried by the Luton keeper.

After weathering the storm, though, Luton won their second spot-kick on 88 minutes when Hylton was fouled and he converted the penalty, before Cook notched a breakaway fourth in injury time.


Mansfield vs Cambridge - Prediction Home win

Result - Mansfield 0 Cambridge 0

Ooh! ’It the bar!

The first half was a dull affair with neither side taking control in the wind and rain. Cambridge did have the ball in the net after only four minutes, but an offside flag was raised before Luke Berry headed home from six yards.

On 32 minutes it took a superb sliding tackle by Stags defender Mal Benning to stop Conor Newton in his tracks as he shaped to finish.

Mansfield's three best goal attempts all came from Mitch Rose. The midfielder volleyed over on 11 minutes, forced Will Norris to block his 20-yard snapshot on 24 minutes and saw Norris well-placed for his ambitious 35-yard dipper just before the break.

The second half was no better, though Newton wasted the chance of the game for Cambridge on 61 minutes. Unmarked, and only eight yards out, he turned Berry's cross wide of the far post.

Ho hum. That was last week, what about this week? From the 59 Senior League games kicking off this Saturday, the 10th of September at 3pm, The Grambler has randomly selected...


Game - Result - Odds

QPR vs Blackburn - Prediction Home win - 8/11

Millwall vs Coventry - Prediction Home win - 4/7

Scunthorpe vs Southend - Prediction Home win - 13/20

Plymouth vs Cambridge - Prediction Home win - 19/20

Portsmouth vs Wycombe - Prediction Home win - 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...


Not in the least bit whopping.




Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you who was the last player to score over 40 goals in an English top flight season. Wull, Saint, ah fink de readers probly know the arnswer to thet wan. Yes, it’s none other than everybody’s favourite cockney footballer, Jimmy Greaves. You crack me up, Greavsie. Yes, Jimmy Greaves the player who should have played in the England World Cup winning team instead of Geoff Hurst [Who? - Ed.] scored a still unbeaten 41 goals for Chelsea in the 1960-61 season. Incidentally, that tally included six hat-tricks. He moved to AC Milan in April 61 but, after an unhappy few months, returned to England in December of that year when he was bought by Tottenham Hotspur for £99,999. The reason for that odd fee was because he didn’t want to be burdened with the tag of being the first £100,000 footballer.

One for this week? Let’s stick with transfer fees. Clubs are now paying out ludicrous sums of money for players. £89 million for some French midfielder of no fixed hairstyle? Madness. It makes the above story seem a little quaint. Okay, this week’s teaser... Greavsie didn’t want to be saddled with the label, but who was the first player transferred for a six-figure sum? The bonus question... Who were the sellers and buyers in the transaction? A good one for trying out in the pub.




As usual, 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, again I am indebted to a Mr. U. Tube who provides our finishing link. I thought it right to finish with a little medley of some of Mr James Greaves’ finest moments. He really was an extremely talented player .


Happy grambling.


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