Friday 23 December 2016

Week 20 - The Grambler proves Santa Claus is real

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


It is the 24th of December and you know what that means, don’t you? Santa comes tonight. Ooh, I’m so excited. What? What do you mean he doesn’t exi... of course he exists. I have proof. [Aye. 40% proof, I reckon. - Ed.] I do have proof. Let me explain...

When I were a lad [Uh oh. Hovis time. - Ed.] of about seven, Santa brought us a reel-to-reel tape recorder. That shows you how old I must be. We are talking pre-compact cassette, here. Any road up, those of you who read last week’s edition of this very blog will recall that on Christmas mornings my brother and I lugged our pillowcases full of presents into my parents’ room and climbed into bed with them to open our gifts. Well, on this particular Christmas morning, there was a large wooden box-type thing sitting on my dad’s bedside table. This was the new tape recorder. Dad pressed a button and the voice of a seemingly old man began to speak... ‘Hello, this is Santa Claus speaking. I hope you both like the presents I have brought for you....’ It went on, but I forget what he was saying. My sheer wonderment at hearing the voice of Father Christmas meant that I didn’t really concentrate on what was being spoken. Imagine! Santa Claus was talking to me. Wow. I only heard it the once as my dad clumsily recorded over Santa Claus. [Oh, what a shame. - Ed.] But I didn’t care. I had heard him with my own ears. And the funny thing was, he had a Derbyshire accent.

Not proof enough? Well how about this? Fast forward about 25 years to the year I bought a video camera. I told my young sons that I was going to film Santa Claus. I set up my video camera on a tripod, to catch Santa in the act. Do you know what? Santa is invisible. [I thought he might be. - Ed.] He is and all. When we played the film back the next morning, my sons watched in amazement as present after present appeared beneath the Christmas tree as if by magic. Nobody seemed to be putting them there, they just... appeared. Not only that, a plate with a mince pie (for Santa) and a carrot (for Rudolph) which fortuitously happened to be within the camera’s range just as suddenly became empty. Now the less charitable amongst you might suggest that somebody had been using stop-motion filming to show the presents after they had been put under the tree without showing the actual placement of those presents. Oh ye of little faith.

All right then, years later, my son attempted the same experiment for his kids (my grandkids) and do you know what happened? Exactly the same thing. Presents just seemed to appear out of thin air with nobody putting them there. Hah! Explain that, non-believers!



Joey Barton is in trouble again. Apparently, it has come to light that he placed 1260 bets over a ten year period relating to the outcome of matches. 1260? That’s a bit specific, isn’t it? How does anyone know the exact number of bets he placed. That is probably just the number the authorities know about. No matter. The point is, footballers should not be placing bets at all. It is illegal. He made 44 of those bets while he was a ‘player’ at Ibrox. I wonder if he bet that he would be a useless pillock every time he got a game for Rangers. He’d have made a fortune.

Anyway, Barton was set to join his old club Burnley in January, but those in charge of the club are having second thoughts. It makes sense, I suppose. He has been involved in dodgy dealings; he can’t just waltz into a new job.

I see Sam Allardyce has been appointed manager of Crystal Palace.




Were any famous or notorious people born on the 24th of December? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Christopher ‘Kit’ Carson 1809 (Famous frontiersman whose exploits made him a legend in his own lifetime. In fact, exaggerated tales of his daring feats were often sold as dime novels, which I’m guessing were the American equivilent of penny dreadfuls.), Michael Curtiz 1886 (Born Mihaly Kertesz in Hungary and began directing films in Europe in 1912 and moved to the US to direct in 1926 although he couldn’t speak a word of English.), Harry Warren 1893 (Who, I hear you ask. The first composer to write music primarily for films. You may have heard of some of his toons... Lullaby of Broadway, You’ll Never Know, You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby, Jeepers Creepers, Chattanooga Choo Choo... Loads of them. I think a link is in order. This is a version of one of his songs that reached number one 41 years after it was written. All together now... My love must be a kind of blind love...), Howard Hughes 1905 (Film producer, aircraft manufacturer and airline owner.), Ava Gardner 1922 (Quote: ‘Deep down, I’m pretty superficial.’), George Patton 1923 (The bloke they made a film about.), Lee Dorsey 1924 (He was a successful boxer, ran an auto repair business, but you’re not interested in that, you want a clip, don’t you? All together now... Working in the coal mine...), Norman Rossington 1924 (Achtor from Liverpule. Has the honour of being the only person to have worked on a Beatles film and an Elvis Presley film. [How interesting. Yawn. - Ed.], Colin Cowdrey 1932 (Crickety bloke.), Stan Bowles 1948 (Footie bloke.), Carol Vorderman 1960 (Human calculator.), Caroline Aherne 1963 (What did I say, Roy?), Ed Milliband 1969 (Glenn and Steve’s brother.), Enrique Martin Morales 1971 (That’s Ricky Martin to you and me. Puerto Rican singer and actor. Time for another clip? Go on then. All together now...  She's into superstition...), Paul Foot 1973 (The comedian, not the journalist son of Michael.) and Louis Tomlinson 1991 (A quarter direction. Used to be a fifth direction. Want another clip? No chance. Ricky Martin is already scraping the barrel a bit.)

Norman Rossington was in this, you know.
He played a character called Arthur Babcock.





Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did we do last week? We won. No, we really did win. The Grambler got it spot on. Woo hoo! £12.84 we won. Brilliant. Pity it only happens about once every 15 months. Anyway, let’s see how the games went. Read on...


Doncaster vs Grimsby - Prediction Home win

Result - Doncaster 1 Grimsby 0


Liam Mandeville curled a superb dead ball from close to 30 yards, putting it out of reach of Grimsby goalkeeper James McKeown with only three minutes on the clock.

That’s all we need to know.


Cambridge Utd vs Crewe - Prediction Home win

Result - Cambridge Utd 2 Crewe 1


Uche Ikpeazu gave the U's the lead six minutes into the second half, running onto Conor Newton's pass and firing a rising effort past Ben Garratt.

Full-back Greg Taylor doubled the lead on the hour, robbing Chris Dagnall and unleashing a stunning effort which flew home via the underside of the crossbar.

Despite being comprehensively outplayed, Crewe found a way back into the match eight minutes later through James Jones, who fired a fine low effort across Will Norris from just outside the box.


Carlisle vs Yeovil - Prediction Home win

Result - Carlisle 2 Yeovil 1


Shaun Brisley's first of the season and a Charlie Wyke header gave Carlisle a comfortable half-time advantage before Nathan Smith's goal set up an exciting finish in which both sides had chances.

That’s all we need to know.


Colchester vs Notts County - Prediction Home win

Result - Colchester 2 Notts County 1


County took a 17th-minute lead when Elliott Hewitt headed in from close range after Richard Duffy had nodded on Carl Dickinson's corner at the near post.

But Colchester equalised in the 24th minute when Kurtis Guthrie sent a fine diving header past Collin from close range, following Johnstone's excellent cross into the six-yard box.

Colchester keeper Sam Walker denied Dickinson at his near post but Duffy put through his own net with 13 minutes to go after Eastman had headed Owen Garvan's free-kick into the six-yard box.


Wycombe vs Leyton Orient - Prediction Home win

Result - Wycombe 1 Orient 0


Scott Kashket [Didn’t Nissan name a car after him? - Ed.] opened the scoring just after the break. The ball fell to the winger who guided his left-footed shot beyond the reach of goalkeeper Alex Cisak.

That’s all we need to know.


Right, let’s move on to this week’s random predictions from The Grambler. Can he/she/it make it two winning weeks on the trot? [Don’t talk wet. - Ed.] Unfortunately, you lot in England like to take a holiday on Christmas Eve so we only have a handful of Scottish games actually taking place on Saturday, the 24th of December and none of them at the hour of 3pm. The rules state that it is Saturday 3 o’clock that The Grambler should select from... so, erm... Houston, we have a problem. Excuse me for a moment. Just talk amongst yourselves.

Okay, I have spoken to the management and they have allowed a bit of leeway. Phew. So, for the next couple of weeks, the rules will be ignored. However, to create a bit of order, all selections will be made from the time of the weekend when most matches are taking place. Sorry, folks, it’s got to be Monday the 26th of December at 3pm.

Game - Result - Odds

Bristol Rovers vs Coventry - Prediction Home win - 3/4

Millwall vs Swindon - Prediction Home win - 3/4

MK Dons vs Charlton - Prediction Home win - 19/20

Oxford Utd vs Northampton - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Peterborough vs Gillingham - Prediction Home win - 3/4


Hmm... after being stuck in English League Two last week, The Grambler seems to have got stuck in English League One. I wonder why. 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...


Not as whopping as last week. but still fairly whopping..



Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you which English Premiershit side had actually made a profit in the transfer market in the five years up to the end of 2001. The answer was West Ham United. The second part of the question asked whose sale had made this profit possible. The answer was none other than Santa Claus impressionist Rio Ferdinand who moved to Leeds United in 2000 for £18 million, at the time, a world record fee for a defender.

Okay, one for this week. Why did AC Milan supporters sing You’ll Never Walk Alone before their 1989 European Cup semi-final against Real Madrid? One to ask over Christmas dinner.




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. P Foot, one of our birthday celebrants for a finishing link to this week’s edition. It has been said that he was a big influence on Russell Brand, the famous comedian (it says here). It has been said by less charitable types that Russell Brand stole his act. Whatever the case, here is Paul Foot with his thoughts on moist cake and other important matters.



Happy grambling.


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