Saturday 1 October 2016

Week 9 - The Grambler on Sam Allardyce

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


I have just seen an advert for the new Renault Megane. I’m not sure if the advertising strategy is going to work...

It starts with a view of a smart architect-designed house. It then cuts to an interior view and we see the owner, a young handsome guy, picking up his car keys. The keys are lying on a magazine which has his picture on the cover. So we are meant to infer from that, that he is a successful and famous person. However, the magazine isn’t some fluffy Hello or OK type thing; it appears to be something quite serious. It implies that he is not only famous but important; perhaps a scientist.

He then gets into his nice new Renault. We are meant to equate success with owning a Renault Megane. Okay. Fair enough. But it doesn’t end there. Next, we see him in his working environment. He is surrounded by his workmates who look impressed with whatever he is telling them. So we now see that he is not only important, but he is popular and a good communicator.

Next, we see him in his nice new car driving along with a beautiful young lady in the passenger seat. I see. We are supposed to see the Megane as a crumpet magnet. We don’t see what he gets up to with this girl because the scene then cuts to him on stage playing a guitar. So he’s an accomplished musician. Now he’s just becoming insufferable. He is just too perfect.

Finally, we see him arriving at a huge conference centre and he begins to address an audience of important looking business people.

So, to sum up, we have a handsome guy who is so clever and important that his face is actually on the cover of a science type magazine, he is a cool guy who can relate to people, he attracts beautiful young women, he is a musician in a band and he addresses business folk a la Steve Jobs. And he drives a Renault. Come off it. First of all, nobody is that fn perfect. Second of all, if he’s that successful, he’d be driving BMW or a Jag or a Merc; not a Renault. Nothing wrong with a Renault, I might add, but it isn’t really the type of car high flyers would aspire to own.

However, I think the advert shoots itself in the foot. Obviously, the message is that really successful people drive this car. Problem is, most people aren’t that successful. They will see that advert and immediately feel completely inadequate because they can’t match this guy on any level. I reckon they would just scrub it from their short list and go and buy something more suitable like a Nissan Micra.

Incidentally, in France the advert is slightly different. We see the same guy, the same magazine and the same conference being addressed. In between though, we don’t see him chatting with workmates or driving along with a girlfriend or playing guitar. Instead, he takes his pet dog to the beach and throws sticks for it. So, he is still the same clever guy but this time he’s such a geeky bloke, he is Billy-no-mates. That is probably a more honest way to advertise the car, but it is no less off-putting. It is saying, clever academic types buy this car, especially those with no friends.

Nice car, shame about the advertising.

Actually, if he is that geeky, he’d probably be driving around in a Citroen 2CV.




Who’d have thought Fred Flintstone lookalike Sam Allardyce would be involved in dodgy dealings. He isn’t the first; he won’t be the last. There is something about football managers; they can’t seem to think things through before opening their collective gob. You would think that somebody in a £3 million a year job would be happy enough with that instead of happily volunteering to bend rules for a 400 grand payout. 400 grand? To bend the rules? Surely, the world and his dog would have realised it was all a big setup. That is, unless the dog is owned by one H. Rednapp.

So, Big Sam is jobless. After 67 days as England manager, what has he got to show for it? A million quid, apparently. Yup. He has (allegedly) been given a ’seven-figure pay-off’. Not bad for less than ten week’s work; if you could call managing one game of football, work.




Changing subject entirely, it is time for a very serious matter. The following article was on the BBC’s website this week...

One in five bowel cancer patients diagnosed in an emergency had ‘red flag’ symptoms that should have been picked up earlier, a study in the British Journal of Cancer suggests.

And 16% of emergency bowel cancer patients had seen their GP three times or more with relevant symptoms.

Overall, these symptoms were less common in patients diagnosed at an emergency stage rather than earlier on.

The study looked at data on diagnoses in England from 2005 to 2006.

The researchers, from University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, focused on what had happened to patients in the five years leading up to their cancer diagnosis.

They analysed National Cancer Registry data that was linked to GP data for 1,606 patients from more than 200 GP practices.

They found that in England 35% of colon cancers and 15% of rectal cancers were diagnosed after an emergency presentation.

Although many of these patients often did not display obvious symptoms for bowel cancer, making it harder for GPs to diagnose their cancer early, 17.5% of colon cancer patients and 23% of rectal cancer patients did have "red flag" symptoms.

The researchers say this indicates there could have been opportunities to pick up the disease earlier.


Paul, 47, from Manchester, started to feel unwell in 2007. He had no energy and constantly felt worn out.

Something was wrong, but the GP told him to lose some weight and come back if things did not improve.

He did go back - several times - and eventually, after he noticed blood in his stools, his GP arranged for a sample to be sent away for tests.

But there was a delay after his name was not put on his sample. And then, the test came back saying everything was OK.

However, he was increasingly concerned at feeling tired all the time. Sometimes after work, as a self-employed builder, he had to go straight to bed.

Finally, early in 2008, with the encouragement of his family and friends, he decided to pay to see a specialist privately.

Within days of having an internal examination and a scan, he was diagnosed with bowel cancer that had spread to his liver and lungs.

The following week, Mr Muscovitch had the first of several major operations to remove the cancer.

He says: ‘I was practically begging them in the end to do something.

‘They told me that if I'd left it another couple of months, the cancer would have spread and I would have had no chance.’

Doctors removed more than 2ft (60cm) of his bowel before taking half of his liver out too, then chemotherapy followed.

‘My energy levels are back to a certain extent, but I'll never be the same as I was,’ he says.

‘I can't do all the things I used to do because of all the surgery I've had - but I count my blessings.’

Most patients, regardless of how they were diagnosed, visited their doctor in the year before their diagnosis.

And patients tended to see their doctors more often in the months and days leading up to their cancer diagnosis - whether it happened in an emergency or not.

The research team suggested that specially trained nurses could support GPs and act as a safety net during consultations.

Easier access to specialist advice for GPs was also important, the study said.


Most common symptoms during year before diagnosis among colon cancer patients:

  • abdominal pain
  • anaemia
  • diarrhoea
  • rectal bleeding

Among rectal cancer patients:

  • rectal bleeding
  • change in bowel habits
  • diarrhoea
  • abdominal pain

Cristina Renzi, lead researcher from University College London, said patients diagnosed with cancer after an emergency presentation did not fare as well as patients diagnosed by their GP.

‘However, in most cases they visit their doctor for various reasons multiple times during the months leading up to their diagnosis, which could represent opportunities to diagnose the cancer earlier.’

She added: ‘It's important to find ways to ensure these patients can be diagnosed at an early stage.

‘And this study highlights the need to support GPs and give them the tools to diagnose and refer patients promptly when they feel it's necessary.’

Dr Julie Sharp, head of patient information and health at Cancer Research UK, said diagnosing patients who were not showing typical symptoms of bowel cancer was very difficult.

‘So research like this, to understand more about people's symptom histories, is crucial to find better ways to diagnose the disease at an early stage, when treatment is more likely to be successful.’

If you have any concerns about bowel cancer you can speak to the Beating Bowel Cancer nurse helpline on 020 8973 0011 during office hours.




Lecture over. Any birthdays of note to celebrate? Did any famous or notorious folk come into this world on the 1st of October? Indubitably. Henry III 1216 (Leicester’s newest visitor attraction.), Stanley Holloway 1890 (Brahn boots? I arsk ya.), Bonnie Parker 1910 (Gangster’s mole.), Michael Goodliffe 1914 (Mark McManus’s grandad.), Walter Matthau 1920 (Felix Unger’s flatmate.), Jimmy Carter 1924 (Peanut farmer.), Sandy Gall 1927 (What a ventriloquist gets if he sits on the beach.), George Peppard 1928 (Mr T’s boss.), Laurence Harvey 1928 (Born in Lithuania but obviously thought himself English... ‘We English have sex on the brain. Not the best place for it, actually.’), Richard Harris 1930 (Not the greatest fan of Michael Caine.), Julie Andrews 1935 (Also not one of Richard Harris’s faves... ‘When I worked with Julie Andrews, I think I experienced the greatest hate I ever had for any human being.’), Duncan Edwards 1936 (Footy bloke. The greatest of the Busby Babes.), Geoffrey Whitehead 1939 (Hardthrasher, Sternbeater, Whackwallop, Grimpunch and Clampvulture. Something for fans of Bleak Expectations there.), Donny Hathaway 1945 (I’m thertain he duth.), Rob Davis 1947 (The Mud guy in the dress, but did you know he wrote this ?  No?  Well, he did.), John Hegley 1953 (Poet... In the beginning was the dog/The real name of Jehovah is Rover/Adam's rib is buried in the garden.), Theresa May 1956 (Or may not. Who knows?), Youssou N’dour 1959 (Senegal’s most famous son. He had a hit with Neneh Cherry, but here he is with Peter Gabriel in a rather odd video), Harry Hill 1964 (What are the chances of that happening?) and Keith Duffy 1974 (Oirish singer-songwroiter, actor, radio and tallyvision presenter and drummer. In fact a roight owld clever clogs.).




Let’s move on to grambling matters. What happened last week? Well, it was an improvement on last week. But, not much. We won 58 pees. I say won, we actually lost £1.62. Isn’t that rubbish? What happened? Read on...


Millwall vs Rochdale - Prediction Home win

Result - Millwall 2 Rochdale 3


Callum ‘Boot’ Camps' well-taken early strike from 12 yards was cancelled out two minutes later by Millwall striker Aiden O'Brien's close-range finish.

It was Lee Gregory who doubled the Lions' tally to give them the lead before the break, coolly slotting his penalty down the middle on his 100th appearance.

Keith Hill's men improved after the break and grabbed an equaliser through Calvin Andrew's powerful header after a superb free-kick from Joe ‘Bugs’ Bunney.

The hosts then had to cope without Ben Thompson for the final 15 minutes after the midfielder picked up a second yellow for a rash challenge.

It looked like it would end all square before Ian Henderson calmly slotted the spot-kick to win the game in the third minute of added time after Steven Davies was fouled by Nadjim Abdou.


Carlisle vs Wycombe - Prediction Home win

Result - Carlisle 1 Wycombe 0


Carlisle's unbeaten run rolled on to nine League Two games when a second-half goal from Shaun Miller proved enough to beat Wycombe 1-0.


Raith vs Dumbarton - Prediction Home win

Result - Raith 3 Dumbarton 2


First half goals from Kevin McHattie, Ross Callachan and Scott Roberts helped Raith Rovers see off Dumbarton.

Dumbarton made them sweat for the points though as second half strikes from substitute Ryan Stevenson and Robert Thomson made for an uncomfortable finale.

However, they were reduced to 10 men when Gregor Buchanan received a second yellow card.


Stenhousemuir vs Alloa - Prediction Away win

Result - Stenhousemuir 2 Alloa 2

Ooh! ’It the bar!

League leaders Alloa could only manage a draw against bottom-placed club Stenny. It didn’t help matters to have a man sent off, I suppose. So, Jim Goodwin, a word from The Grambler... PILLOCK!

Annan vs Edinburgh - Prediction Home win

Result - Annan 1 Edinburgh City 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

It was the hosts that took the lead when David Mckenna fired past goalkeeper Andrew Stobie in the 29th minute despite City having a good spell of posession. City did finally equalised in the 49th minute as pressure from Craig Beattie forced what appeared to be an own goal.


So yet another crap week for The Grambler. Can he/she/it improve on matters this week? [Doubt it. - Ed.] Let’s find out what The Grambler has randomly selected for us this week...

Game - Result - Odds

Bristol City vs Nottingham Forest - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Carlisle vs Colchester - Prediction Draw - 3/1

Plymouth vs Yeovil - Prediction Home win - 4/5

Edinburgh City vs Arbroath - Prediction Away win - 17/20

Forfar vs Montrose - Prediction Home win - 1/2

Hmm... A bit of a mixed bag there. Carlisle vs Colchester a draw? Has The Grambler lost a chip? Any road up, 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...


A bit more whopping than usual. 1699? Did anything interesting happen that year? Ermm... The Edinburgh Gazette was published for the first time? What about...Thomas Savery demonstrated his steam pump to the Royal Society? Or... Captain William Kidd was arrested and imprisoned in Boston? No, nothing particularly interesting happened, unless you are interested in newspaper history, steam pumps and pirates... not three topics usually included in the same sentence.




Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you who Arsene Wenger replaced as manager when he first arrived at Arsenal in 1996. The answer was Bruce Rioch who, in his heyday as a midfielder, won a Championship medal with Derby County. At that time he was a pretty prolific goalscorer, netting 34 times in his 106 games for County.

One for this week? Let’s stick with football managers shall we? Well, a fictitious one, anyway. Do you remember a film entitled Mike Bassett: England Manager? It starred Ricky Tomlinson in the title role. This week’s trivia question is... the title character was based on which real-life manager? It wasn’t Big Sam, incidentally. Try that one down the pub before you resort to googling [Steady on, children might be reading this. - Ed.]




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, I am indebted to a Mr R. Harris who gives us his views on a Mr M. Mickelwhite aka Michael Caine. Here is proof, if proof were needed, that Harris wasn’t awfully keen on old Maurice.

He is an over-fat flatulent 62-year-old windbag, a master of inconsequence now masquerading as a guru, passing off his vast limitations as pious virtues.

[on Caine's comments about being under appreciated in his own country] He takes himself too seriously. I've made 63 movies and I've never been nominated by Bafta for anything. Do I care? Not in the slightest.

[about Caine comparing himself to Gene Hackman] Hackman is an intimidating and dangerous actor. Mr. Caine is about as dangerous as Laurel or Hardy, or indeed both, and as intimidating as Shirley Temple

[on Caine receiving his honorary BAFTA] Good luck to him with his Bafta mask. I hope he does us all a favour and wears the bloody thing in front of his face wherever he goes.

[having been called a drunk by Caine] The point about Michael is that he can say what he likes, I don't mind him opening his mouth and shooting off. I don't care what he says. But don't characterise Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole and me as drunks as if that's all we achieved in our life, because he could live twenty f***ing lives and he couldn't achieve as much as we three have achieved.

Any suggestion that he has eclipsed the names of Finney, O'Toole, Burton, Bates, Smith and Courtenay is tantamount to prophesying that Rin-Tin-Tin will be solemnised beyond the memory of Brando.



A final wee teaser: who is this man with the attempted moustache?

Happy grambling.


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