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…
Did you have a good Gramblemas? Yes? I’m pleased to hear that. Me? Yes, very nice, thanks for asking. There was just one thing that spoiled it. The news coming through that Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou had died. Who? George Michael to you and me. [No wonder he changed that name. - Ed.]
You are probably thinking I am going to do that usual Grambler thing of being quite scathing about somebody who has just died. Well, I don’t intend to. Well, not much, anyway. George Michael’s music may not have been my cup of tea, but I will admit that he was a very good singer with a powerful voice. He also wrote some excellent songs. Who can forget the brilliant Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. I know I can’t. It was one of those clever songs that got stuck in your head whenever you heard it and you would be humming it all day long. I’m doing it now. When I say clever, I don’t mean that I consider it to be a particularly brilliant song. No, it was clever because it got you hooked and reeled in on the first hearing. So for clever, you might substitute annoying.
That was a song from his days in Wham or should I say his days as Wham? I could never quite work out Andrew Ridgeley’s contribution. After going solo, George began to produce more serious songs and, I have to admit, there were one or two that I quite enjoyed. Faith was a good un. Careless Whisper was the first indication that his style was changing and, though it was credited to Wham in some parts of the world (presumably to cash in on the success of Wham), it was very much a solo effort. A good song, definitely, but it contained some of the daftest lyrics ever. Guilty feet have got no rhythm? What the heck does that mean?
He was a troubled individual, it would seem. There were so many stories of his embarrassing misdemeanors over the years that he became a bit of a joke to some. He always struck me as having a good sense of humour, though, and laughed all the incidents off.
One of the most bizarre of his exploits occurred in 2013 when he was being driven along the M1 in his car. George was in the back seat and he thought the door wasn’t shut properly and tried to close it. Unfortunately, he misjudged it and actually fell out of the car. He was very lucky to have sustained only minor injuries because he tumbled out of the vehicle onto the fast lane of the motorway; other drivers managed to swerve out of the way to avoid him. There was much speculation at the time that his actions had been deliberate. Was he trying to kill himself? Nobody knows.
My abiding memory of George Michael is nothing to do with his unfortunate escapades; it is his generosity at the time of the Ethiopian famine back in 1984. It was December and the song Last Christmas was heading surely for the coveted Christmas number one spot. George (and Andrew Ridgeley) gave all the proceeds from the song to the Ethiopean appeal. Not only that, but when Do They Know It’s Christmas was released, they asked everyone to go out and buy that single rather than theirs to ensure that Geldof and Ure’s Band Aid song got to number one to highlight the famine in Africa.
That is all very well, you say, but what about a clip? What would be an appropriate tribute to the man? Well, there will be fitting tributes aplenty elsewhere. The Grambler has to do things a bit differently. A most inappropriate tribute is what you are about to get. Probably, George Michael’s most embarrassing moment was the time he was arrested for ‘performing a lewd act’ in a public convenience. I don’t need to go into details. Let’s just call it a monosexual act. The incident forced him to publicly announce that he was homosexual and no doubt lost him a lot of female fans who suddenly realised that they had been well and truly barking up the wrong tree. His sense of humour saw him through and he even released a single to ‘celebrate’ his coming out. The accompanying video sent himself and the US polis up perfectly. Ladeez and gennulum, I give you Let's Go Outside.
What footy news do we have other than all the speculation about which club is going to pay gazillions of pounds for whatever player from whichever club before the transfer window closes?
I think Troy Deeney deserves a mention. Why, you ask. Because on Monday his scored his 100th goal for Watford. Yay! He is only the fifth man in the team’s history to have reached the magic ton.
One other worrying piece of news is that Hairy Redcap wants the vacant Swansea manager’s job. Oh no! Not only that, but he has threatened to bring John ‘not a racist’ Terry with him. Please no. Hairy Redknees history has been... erm... chequered, to say the least. Portsmouth, once a Premiershit side are still languishing in the lower leagues thanks to Harry’s... erm... dealings. Give the job to Chris Coleman. He seems a nice enough bloke. And he’s Welsh.
Were any famous or notorious people born on the 31st of December? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart 1720 (Who the..? Oh that Charles Stuart. Aka the Young Pretender, the Young Chevalier [Sank evun for leedle gurls... Oh, not him. - Ed.] and Bonnie Prince Charlie.), Henri Matisse 1869 (Wild beast. There’s an arty reference there that probably only Will Gompertz will understand.), Florence Nightingale Graham 1978 (No not the lady with the limp. Better known by her ‘cosmetic’ name Elizabeth Arden.), William Heynes 1904 (Who? He worked for Jaguar during the 1940s and 50s. Helped design the brilliant XK engine. [Really? How interesting. Yawn. - Ed.], Jule Styne 1905 (Songwriter. With lyricist Sammy Cahn wrote - among many others - Five Minutes More, Three Coins in the Fountain and this seasonal favourite, Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow.), Simon Wiesenthal 1908 (Man who really knew how to bear a grudge.), Peter May 1929 (Crickety bloke.), Anthony Hopkins 1937 (Welsh Ectaw, isn’t it. Loves a drop of chianti.), Alex Ferguson 1941 (Footy bloke.), Sarah Miles 1941 (Slightly loopy ectress.), Andy Summers 1942 (A policeman.), John Denver 1943 (Singer/songwriter. Definitely time for a clip... All together now... You fill my senses...), Krishna Bhanji 1943 (Who? Better known as Sir Ben Kingsley, ectaw, dear leddie.), Pete Quaife 1943 (A Kink. Another link? Why not? Girl, you really got me going... ), Joe Dallesandro 1948 (Starred in Andy Warhol’s Flesh, Trash and Heat. That’s three separate films, apparently.), Sandy Jardine 1948 (Footy bloke.), LaDonna Adrian Gaines 1948 (Who? Better known as Donna Summer. Want a link? Course you do. All together now... Ooooh it's so good it's so good it's so good.), Alex Salmond 1954 (Quote: Can we just remember that Marks out of Marks and Spencer was a refugee? Mo Farah was a refugee. Freddie Mercury was a refugee who came to this country. All made huge contributions. Jesus Christ was a refugee from Palestine to Egypt. These people are not just a problem, they are a potential opportunity for the countries which give them a safe haven.), Val Kilmer 1959 (Starred in the 1996 film The Island of Doctor Moreau considered by some to be the worst film ever made.), Steve Bruce 1960 (Whispering footy bloke.), Malcolm Middleton 1973 (Scottish musician. You’ve never heard of him? Time for a clip; a festive one. This was his shot at a Christmas number one in 2007. Strangely, it only got to number 31. Ladeez and gennulum I give you the incredibly upbeat We're All Going to Die .) and Craig Gordon 1982 (Footy bloke.).
Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did we do last week? Oh dear. 62 pees back. That’s all. Rubbish. Anyway, let’s see how the games went. Read on...
Bristol Rovers vs Coventry - Prediction Home win
Result - Bristol Rovers 4 Coventry 1
The hosts took an 18th-minute lead when Bodin's free-kick from the right was met by Peter Hartley, who sent a glancing header past Lee Burge from 12 yards.
Billy Bodin grabbed the second in the 54th minute, making space to drive a fierce left-footed shot into the centre of the goal from Rory Gaffney's pass.
Three minutes later the Sky Blues replied when centre-back Jordan Willis took advantage of poor defending to volley home Gael Bigirimana's left-wing corner from close range.
Bodin clinched the points in the 74th minute with another sweetly struck left-footed shot, this time from 25 yards. The midfielder completed his treble from the penalty spot nine minutes later after being tripped by Turnbull.
Millwall vs Swindon - Prediction Home win
Result - Millwall 2 Swindon 0
Lee Gregory looked dangerous from the off and it took him just 10 minutes to open the scoring, bamboozling Swindon defenders before firing home from a tough angle.
That woke Swindon up but Sean Murray's shot fell easily into Jordan Archer's arms, before Michael Doughty blazed over the home side's bar.
At the other end Gregory fizzed a shot just over before Shaun Hutchinson's goal-bound header from a corner was hooked clear by Robins defender Raphael Rossi Branco after half an hour.
The Lions continued to press but could not add a second before half-time, and should have been made to pay on the hour only for Swindon's Luke Norris to flash an effort wide with just Archer to beat.
And Gregory showed Norris how it was done five minutes later, volleying home Steve Morison's chip from close range.
MK Dons vs Charlton - Prediction Home win
Result - MK Dons 0 Charlton 1
Ademola Lookman's seventh goal of the season was all that Karl Robinson needed to see off his former club MK Dons and secure his first League One win as Charlton manager.
Oxford Utd vs Northampton - Prediction Home win
Result - Oxford Utd 0 Northampton 1
Marc Richards struck a stoppage-time winner as Northampton snatched a dramatic derby victory over Oxford. Substitute Harry Beautyman knocked Matt Taylor's corner back across goal and Richards stuck out a foot to flick the ball home at the far post.
Peterborough vs Gillingham - Prediction Home win
Result - Peterborough 1 Gillingham 1
Ooh! ’It the bar!
Baily Cargill grabbed his first Gillingham goal to earn his side a last-gasp leveller at Peterborough.
The on-loan Bournemouth defender hooked in a Scott Wagstaff cross in the second minute of stoppage time to ensure the spoils were shared at the ABAX Stadium.
The Gills had looked to be heading for defeat after substitute Lee Angol fired Posh ahead with 12 minutes to go. But Baily fn Cargill had to go and muck things up for The Grambler. Thanks for nothing Baily.
Oh well, let’s see if The Grambler can give us some better predictions this week. All matches start at 3pm on Saturday the 31st of December.
Game - Result - Odds
Huddersfield vs Blackburn - Prediction Home win - 3/4
Wolves vs QPR - Prediction Home win - 17/20
Oxford Utd vs Walsall - Prediction Home win - 10/11
Peterborough vs Coventry - Prediction Home win - 3/4
Plymouth vs Crawley Town - Prediction Home win - 4/5
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...
Just a touch less whopping than last week.
Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you why AC Milan supporters sang You’ll Never Walk Alone before their 1989 European Cup semi-final against Real Madrid. It happened right after the Hillsborough disaster where 96 died and 766 were injured. AC Milan fans wanted to show their support and, just days following the disaster, printed off song sheets with the words to You’ll Never Walk Alone and handed them out amongst their support with a plea to learn them for the next home game against Real Madrid, only 4 days after the disaster. At exactly 3.06pm (the time the game at Hillsborough was stopped) the game was stopped for a minute of silence after which the fans gave their rendition.
One for this week? Since it is his birthday, let’s have an Alex Ferguson question. Here’s a cracker for you. In all his years as manager of Manchester United there was only one British club the team played that they failed to beat. Who were they?
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 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. R. Fulton who provides us with this week’s finishing link. It is his ‘tribute’ to one of this week’s birthday celebrants, Bonnie Prince Charlie. Enjoy.