Friday 20 January 2017

Week 24 - A gramble on the Donald Trump inauguration

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


Hello girls and boys. Are you grambling comfortably? Then I'll begin.

Once upon a time there were three billy goats called Gruff; Little Billy-goat Gruff, Big Billy-goat Gruff and Medium-sized Billy-goat Gruff.

They lived on a grassy hill near a river. Over the river was a small wooden bridge, but under that bridge lived a troll who could best be described as being aesthetically challenged. Not the best looking troll, for sure. Indeed, he was a paragon of ugliness. Not that his looks should have anything to do with this story, but you know what story writers are like; the perceived baddie has to be lacking in the looks department. That is a bit unfair on those that haven't got perfect teeth, nose, complexion and hair though, isn't it?

Anyway, these billy-goats I mentioned earlier were quite shallow individuals and they viewed the troll's lack of looks as equating to evil. Hey, they were goats; I never said they were particularly bright. However, they hadn't thought much about reserving food for the future and had greedily eaten all the grass on their side of the river. The only place where there was plenty of grass to eat was on the other side of the river and to get to that grass they would have to cross the bridge under which lived our friend, the troll. And as they thought he was an evil so and so, they didn't much fancy the idea. Eventually, starvation meant that they had to attempt to cross the bridge.

Little Billy-goat Gruff went first, which was a bit cruel when you come to think of it. Surely, if they feared old trolly, the bigger goats ought to have volunteered to go first, but no, they sent the tiny one.

Any road up, Little bravely attempts to cross the bridge. Trip trap, trip trap went his little hooves. On hearing this, the troll shouts, 'Who's crossing my bridge?' And who could blame him? It was the roof of his abode, after all.

'It's me, Little Billy-goat Gruff,' said Little Billy-goat Gruff, which was, of course, true. 'Don't eat me,' said Little Billy-goat Gruff, 'look at me. I'm tiny and skinny with it. Tell you what, why don't you wait for my big brother? He's bigger and got more meat on him.'

You little b******, thought the troll and he said to goaty, 'You mean to say, you would sacrifice your big brother to save your own skin?'

'Of course. I may be little, but I'm not stupid.'
So the troll let him pass. There was a bit of logic there, he thought.

Seeing his sibling get safely across the bridge, Medium-sized Billy-goat Gruff thought he would try the same trick. Off he trip trapped across the bridge and, as happened with his younger brother, he was confronted by Mr Troll. 'Who's that trip trapping across my bridge?'

'It's me, Medium-sized Billy-goat Gruff. Please don't eat me. Wait for my big brother. He's got much more meat on him than I have. He'd be far better to eat.'

'You goats like to look after number one don't you? Well, seeing as you drew the short straw when it came to names, off you go then.'
With that, Medium-sized Billy-goat Gruff joined his little brother and started munching away at the grass.

Seeing his brothers had got across safely, Big Billy-goat Gruff decided it was safe to join them. Onto the bridge he went, trip trap etc. 'Who's that trip trapping across my bridge?'

Big Billy-goat Gruff boomed, 'It is I, Big Billy-goat Gruff.'

'You can cut the amateur dramatics, mush,' said the troll, 'you want to hear what them brothers of yours suggested. Honestly, talk about back stabbing!'

'You what?' Said Big Billy-goat Gruff; this wasn't the welcome he expected. 'What are they suggesting?'

'Only that I should let them pass because you would make a far better meal than them.'

'You're making it up'

'No. gen up. They were willing to sacrifice you just to save their own skins.'

'The little b*******! I'll f***ing kill them!'

With that, the Big Billy-goat Gruff raced across the bridge and confronted his brothers. There ensued a great battle as the goats all rammed, bit and generally made a right old mess of each other. On and on they fought until they could fight no more. Mainly because they were dead.

Old trolly lifted the mangled bodies and set about making a smashing goat stew. And as he munched on the first meal of many, he reflected on how stupid, but tasty, goats were.

The end. Did you like that? I just thought it was prefereable to this week’s main news story regarding the inauguration of Mr Trump as the new president of the Yoonadded Stadesa Murca or, as I see it, this.




Were any famous or notorious people born on the 21st of January? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Christian Dior 1905 (Religious ruminant mammal.), Karl Wallenda 1905 (Trapezy bloke), Eric Brown 1919 (Famous pilot. Known as ‘Winkle’ to his friends... I thought it best not to ask why.), Telly Savalas 1922 (Who loves you, baby?), Paul Scofield 1922 (Presenter of This Morning. [Some mistake, surely. - Ed.]), Benny Hill 1924 (Comedian, actor, singer/songwriter, sexist - I’m using that as a noun - and racist.), Steve Reeves 1926 (Star of Hercules Unchained. Why do I mention this fact? Because I recall being dragged to the local cinema to see that crap film when I was 4 years old.), Robert Smith aka Wolfman Jack 1938 (A US dj with some unusual patter... ‘Lay your hands on the radio and squeeze my knobs’. Hmm.), Jack Nicklaus 1940 (The only living person other than Royalty to have his image on a Scottish banknote. See below. If you ever find one, it’s worth a mint on ebay.), Placido Domingo 1941 (A tenor - That’s $12.30 at the current exchange rate.), Richie Havens 1941 (Singer. From Steve Hackett’s second solo album, Please Don’t Touch, here is Richie singing How Can I .), Edwin Starr 1942 (Another clip, vicar?  War! Huh! What is it good for? ), Martin Shaw 1945 (Ectaw, dear leddie. Professional.), Julian ‘Pye’ Hastings 1947 (A bit of Caravan. The band. Not a bed or something. That would be daft. Want another clip? From the album Cunning Stunts - snigger - here is the lovely The Show of Our Lives .), Jonathan Meades 1947 (Journo, TV presenter and all-round good chap.), Leslie Charles 1950 (Who? You perhaps know him better as Billy Ocean, the go and get stuffed guy.), Phil Thompson 1954 (Footy bloke. GOOOOAAAAAL!), Geena Davis 1956 (Thelma. Or is it Louise? No, definitely Thelma.), Alex McLeish 1959 (Footy bloke. Managed Motherwell - badly - for a time.), Nicky Butt 1975 (Footy bloke. Stop sniggering you folk from the US who think his name sounds rude.), Emma Bunton 1976 (A Spice Girl.), Phil Neville 1977 (Footy bloke. Brother of Gary. Son of Neville. Honestly. Look it up.), Brian O’Driscoll 1979 (Oirish rugby bloke.) and Dave Kitson 1980 (Footy bloke.).






Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did we do last week? Badly. Very badly. Very very badly. What went wrong? Everything. Read on...



Burnley vs Southampton - Prediction Away win

Result - Burnley 1 Southampton 0


Would you adam and eve it? Substitute Joey ‘Looney Tunes’ Barton scored the second-half winner on his league return for Burnley, who saw off Southampton.

The 34-year-old had only been on the field for five minutes when he fired in a low 25-yard free-kick which took a deflection before beating keeper Fraser Forster.


Birmingham vs Nottingham Forest - Prediction Home win

Result - Birmingham 0 Nottingham 0

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Chances were few and far between in a poor Championship game at St Andrew's, as Forest failed to land a single effort on target, while Blues only had three. That’s it.


Preston vs Brighton - Prediction Away win

Result - Preston 2 Brighton 0


Paul Huntington gave Preston the lead when he headed in Paul Gallagher's free-kick at the near post.

Brighton improved after going behind, with Glenn Murray twice going close and Oliver Norwood firing just over.

But Callum Robinson fired in the hosts' second, while Tomer Hemed missed a late penalty for the Seagulls as they failed to turn pressure into goals.


Bury vs Peterborough - Prediction Away win

Result - Bury 5 Peterborough 1


James Vaughan scored four goals in 20 minutes as Bury ended their winless run with victory against Peterborough.

Tom Nichols tapped Posh into a fourth-minute lead, only for Vaughan to level three minutes later.

The Shakers striker then fired in three more, becoming the first Bury player to score four in a game since Phil Stant in October 1995.

Substitute George Miller completed the scoring in the 71st minute as Bury romped to their first win in 21 games.


Plymouth vs Stevenage - Prediction Home win

Result - Plymouth 4 Stevenage 2

Too little too late.

Plymouth conceded after two minutes against Stevenage as Matt Godden turned in Luke Wilkinson's nod down from close range.

Argyle levelled on 35 minutes through Jordan Slew, again from close range, as he turned in Jake Jervis' effort from Graham Carey's corner.

Jervis put Argyle ahead for the first time in the 42nd minute, swivelling on Connor Smith's flick-on after Slew's cut-back from the bye-line.

Stevenage restored parity in first-half stoppage time when Steven Schumacher's 30-yard free-kick bounced up to beat Luke McCormick.

On-loan Bristol City striker Arnold Garita turned in playmaker Graham Carey's goal-bound 25-yard drive for Argyle's third goal on 54 minutes at Home Park.

Substitute David Goodwillie made it 4-2 in stoppage time with a close-range tap-in.


Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. What else can I add? Oh dear. Come on Grambler, give us a better random selection this week. Oh dear. I think The Grambler may have taken the computerised equivilent of a huff. Five selections from the English Championship, all one after the other in the betting list and all home wins? Oh dear.

Game - Result - Odds

Aston Villa vs Preston - Prediction Home win - 21/20

Blackburn vs Birmingham - Prediction Home win - 5/4

Cardiff vs Burton Albion - Prediction Home win - 5/6

Derby vs Reading - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Huddersfield vs Ipswich - Prediction Home win - 7/10


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...


Hmm. Still a bit too whopping.




Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you which player was awarded the Ballon D’Or in its inaugural year of 1956. The answer was Stanley Matthews who, at the age of 40, narrowly beat Alfredo Di Stefano for the prize of European Footballer of the Year. He played on for another 10 years as a professional, playing his final game five days after his 50th birthday. He played his last game in 1985 when, at the age of 70, he turned out for the England Veterans XI vs Brazil Veterans XI which Brazil won 6-1. Matthews damaged his cartilage during the match. He claimed this cut short his promising career.

I also stated that only three others born in the same country had won the Ballon D’Or. The three Englishmen were Bobby Charlton, Kevin Keegan (who won it twice) and Michael Owen.

One for this week? The 1981 FA Cup final had to be replayed after a 1 - 1 draw (after extra time) between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. City’s Tommy Hutchison entered the record books in that first game. What was his claim to fame?



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 bookshop somewhere in Glasgow where I recently found this ‘bargain’ in the reduced-price bin.




Can’t imagine why the price was reduced.


Happy grambling.


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