Friday 17 March 2017

Week 32 - Last week Barca, this week The Grambler on Monaco

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


Council Efficiency - Part 1

Yesterday morning a council van arrived on the street and parked directly opposite my house. This was about half past eight. There were two workers in the cab. Somebody's keen, I thought to myself. After watching them for ten minutes, I realised that they weren't particularly keen. The driver had settled down to read his paper and his mate was munching his way through some sandwiches, the crusts of which he dropped out of the van window. They were still sitting in the same position at half past nine. The crusts and the van occupants. Seriously. They had sat for one hour and not moved out of the van.
At half past nine, there was some activity. The guy in the passenger seat got out and pulled on his overalls. He then walked up the path of the house opposite and knocked on the door. There was no reply. After waiting a minute or two, he got back into the van. A quarter of an hour passed. Then there was some more activity. Both men got out of the van. The driver put on his overalls while the other stood watching. They then both put on some kind of harness things and hard hats. After a few minutes of chatting to each other, they began to haul a tarpaulin off the cargo area. They then stood chatting with each other for a few more minutes before starting to haul various pieces of scaffolding off the truck and then carry them round to the rear of the house. By now it was ten o'clock.
When the truck was empty they replaced the tarpaulin and removed their protective gear. At a quarter past ten, they drove away.
At half past ten another identical vehicle arrived. It had more scaffolding on it. The two guys in this vehicle didn't seem too concerned about safety and just hauled a few bits of scaffolding off the truck and carried it round to the back of the house. That van was only there for about five minutes when it was off again.
At about eleven o'clock the first van came back with the same/original guys in it. Again, they sat in their cab for about a quarter of an hour before climbing out and donning their overalls and safety gear. After the usual ten minute chin wag, they walked round to the back of the house. Whatever they were doing, took them less than half an hour because at ten to twelve, they returned to the van, removed the safety gear and were gone. It must have been lunch time. Did they return after lunch? Did they f... no they didn't. Presumably, whatever job they had been there to do was complete. So the whole morning consisted of about one hour of actual work while the rest of the time was spent chatting, reading newspapers and eating food.

Council Efficiency - Part 2

A few months ago there was much activity around the streets of Polomint City as council ‘cherry picker’ vehicles arrived. Every street lamp was being altered from sodium vapour lights to light emitting diode type. It was a simple enough job, it seemed.

Before long, all the lights in the area were converted. On this occasion, it appeared, the council workers weren’t hanging about and got the lamps converted pretty damn quickly. So what is the point of this (g)ramble? Read on...

A couple of weeks after converting all the lamps in the street where I live [Isn’t that a song? - Ed.], more council workers appeared in vans and pick-up trucks. Why? To replace the old lamp-posts witth shiny new ones. Honest. I am not winding you up here. That is exactly what happened. Two weeks after being upgraded, all the old lamp-posts were ripped out.

Not quite all. At the end of the street there is still one of the old lamp-posts. Did they forget to replace it? No, three feet away from it is a brand-spanking new lamp-post. The old post doesn’t have a light on it any more. So why is it still there? I’ll tell you. It has a little metal plate with the street name attached to it. I am guessing that another department within the sprawling council deals with street name signs so, rather than move the plaque to the new lamp-post, it has presumably been left for another team to come and sort out.

Why am I telling you this? Is it because I am shocked that council employees are not the most productive? Definitely not. I think it is a given that council workers tend to be less than speedy about their business. Is it because the council is wasteful in its use of resources? Again, I must answer no. I think that this is also a given. No, my reason for mentioning this is that there has recently been a news item about councils insisting that there be an increase in council tax (rates in old money) to ensure that services are maintained! Sorry pardon excuse me? Really? They are suggesting that services could get worse? Impossible, surely. [Don't call me Shirley. - Ed.]

All this (g)rambling has reminded me of an old joke which sums up council thinking...

A man is sitting at his front window (not me this time) looking out at the main road which runs past his house. He sees a council van draw up and two workers emerge. Each carries a spade. One begins to dig a hole in the grass verge. He then moves on a few yards and starts to dig another, similar hole. Meanwhile, the second worker takes his shovel and fills in the first hole. The first worker moves on and digs a third hole and the second guy fills in the second hole. This digging and filling in routine continues for some time before our observer can take it no more and goes out to confront these two, in his mind, idiots.

‘What the hell are you playing at? One of you digs a hole and the other fills it in? It doesn’t make sense.’

‘Well, there are usually three of us, but the fellow that puts the trees in the holes is off today.’

Boom and, I think it goes without saying, tish.



Last week it was Barca that had a terrific comeback to qualify for the quarter finals of the Champions League; this week it was Monaco who staged a brilliant comeback. Although you perhaps wouldn’t have realised it. You see, Monaco staged their comeback against a British (sorry, English) team. And? It was typical of the British (sorry, English) sports commentators that after this week’s Monaco vs Manchester City game, with Monaco clawing back a two goal deficit from the first leg to qualify for the quarter finals, all they could talk about was Manchester City not qualifying and how manager Pep Guardiola had never before had a team he had coached not qualify for the quarter final stage. There was little or no praise for the fact that Monaco, against the odds, had managed to qualify. Come on gramblerinis, let’s hear it for Monaco. They deserve some of the plaudits heaped on Barca last week... I wonder if Barcelona would have received such praise last week if they had beaten a British (sorry, English) team. Probably not.



Were any famous or notorious people born on the 18th of March? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov 1844 (Composer. He wrote Der Hummelflug. Sorry pardon excuse me?  This. ), Rudolf Diesel 1858 (Inventor of, go on, have a guess.), Neville Chamberlain 1869 (I have in my hand a piece of paper.), Edward Everett Horton 1886 (Actor - appeared in 121 films in a career lasting from1922 til 1970.), Wilfred Owen 1893 (Poet - If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood / Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, / Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud / Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, - / My friend, you would not tell with such high zest / To children ardent for some desperate glory, / The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est / Pro patria mori.), Robert Donat 1905 (Founder of Krispy Kreme.), Peter Graves 1926 (Joey, do you like films about gladiators?), John Fraser 1931 (Ectaw. Always played posh English blokes but was actually a Glaswegian.), John Updike 1932 (Orfer. Witches of Eastwick. That was one of his.), F. W. de Klerk 1936 (The larst survahving Stite Prisidunt of Sarth Ifrica.), Kenny ‘Kipper’ Lynch 1938 (Popular singer from the early sixties. Want a link? Here’s Kenny singing Movin Away. ), Timo Makinen 1938 (The Flying Finn.), Charley Pride 1938 (We’ve never catered for fans of country and western, so here is Charley with Crystal Chandeliers.), Ron Atkinson 1939 (Aka Big Orange Ron.), Wilson Pickett 1941 (Aka The Wicked Pickett. Time for another link? Okay, if you insist. Here he is In the Midnight Hour. ), Kevin Dobson 1943 (Kojak’s sidekick.), David Lloyd 1947 (Crickety bloke.), Pat Eddery 1952 (Horse racey bloke.), Jeff Stelling 1955 (Unbelievable, Jeff!), Ingemar Stenmark 1956 (Came down mountains quicker than anyone else.), Luc Besson 1959 (Film director, producer and screenwriter. Trivia: he wanted to be a marine biologist until a diving accident at the age of 17 stopped him.), Irene Cara 1959 (Probably doesn’t really believe she’ll live forever.), Courtney Pine 1964 (Saxophonist/clarinetist. Hey, let’s have another link, to another genre... Jehzzzz... Here is Courtney with Sacrifice. ), Dana Elaine Owens 1970 (Who? You perhaps know her better as rapper, songwriter, singer, actress, model, record producer, television producer, talk show host and right old smarty boots Queen Latifah.) and Danny Murphy 1977 (Footy bloke.).



Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did we do last week? Absolute rubbish. Didn’t get a penny piece back. What happened? Read on...


Cardiff vs Birmingham - Prediction Home win

Result - Cardiff 1 Birmingham 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Joe Ralls' second-half penalty put the hosts ahead, after Sean Morrison had been fouled by Ryan Shotton.

Birmingham salvaged a point in the 89th minute as ex-Motherwell man Lukas Jutkiewicz bundled in a rebound after his header was saved.


Leeds vs QPR - Prediction Home win

Result - Leeds 0 QPR 0

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Rob Green made a fine first-half save on his 600th league appearance to help Leeds extend their unbeaten run to six games with a goalless draw against QPR.

The 37-year-old ex-England keeper crucially denied Conor Washington after the striker turned into space in the 14th minute to race clear on goal.


Newcastle vs Fulham - Prediction Home win

Result - Newcastle 1 Fulham 3


16-year-old Ryan Sessegnon slotted in Sone Aluko's backheel after the break and then fired home just before the hour mark.

Tom Cairney had put Fulham ahead with a 25-yard strike into the top corner.

After Daryl Murphy curled in a consolation for the hosts, Tim Ream missed a chance to make it 4-1 when he sent a stoppage-time penalty wide.


Norwich vs Blackburn - Prediction Home win

Result - Norwich 2 Blackburn 2

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Cameron Jerome put Norwich ahead early on when he slid the ball past keeper Jason Steele, who had half blocked an attempt by Josh Murphy.

Mitchell Dijks' was sent off soon after for a foul on Martin Emnes, but it took until midway through the second half for Blackburn to strike back.

Substitute Lucas Joao put the visitors back on level terms in the 73rd minute as he converted from Connor Mahoney's cross before then giving them the lead as he headed in from Danny Graham's delivery.

But Jerome joined the Portugal international in claiming a brace as he latched on to Murphy's pass to make it 2-2 at full time.


Luton vs Stevenage - Prediction Home win

Result - Luton 0 Stevenage 2


The visitors led from their first attack, defender Luke Wilkinson heading home from a corner after just three minutes.

Luton almost equalised after 10 minutes, but Pelly Ruddock's header was cleared off the line by Jack King.

Ben Kennedy almost took advantage of a poor free-kick from goalkeeper Matt Macey, chipping over the top.

Chris Day denied Isaac Vassell and the Stevenage stopper then tipped over Dan Potts' deflected effort, while Charlie Lee put a good chance over.

Steven Schumacher cleared Danny Hylton's header off the line, and Vassell's attempt in the 66th minute went just wide.

Day made a superb stop from Ollie Palmer's close-range header late on, and Stevenage clinched victory when Kennedy smashed an effort into the top corner.


Well, that was a rubbish week of predictions from The Grambler. Can he/she/it do better this week. I blibbing well hope so.

Game - Result - Odds

Birmingham vs Newcastle - Prediction Away win - 3/4

Fulham vs Wolves - Prediction Home win - 4/5

Norwich vs Barnsley - Prediction Home win - 4/6

Bolton vs Northampton - Prediction Home win - 5/6

Peterborough vs Oldham - Prediction Home win - 10/11


All matches kick off at 3pm on Saturday the 18th of March. 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 whole seven pees less whopping than last week..




Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked which African has scored the highest number of Premiershit goals. I said it was an easy one and so it was given that he had already been mentioned in last week’s birthday honours. The answer was Didier Drogba who scored 104 goals. Emmanuel Adebayor came second with 97 goals, closely followed by Yakubu on 95. Orl right pop pickers?

One for this week? In the past five seasons all but one PFA Young Player of the Year awards have gone to Tottenham Hotspur players; who was the only non-Spurs player to have been given the accolade?





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. Atkinson, a football manager with a... erm... unique way with words...

‘They’ve done the old-fashioned things well; they’ve kicked the ball, they’ve headed it…

‘I’ve had this sneaking feeling throughout the game that it’s there to be won.’

‘Woodcock would have scored, but his shot was too perfect.’

‘They must go for it now as they have nothing to lose but the match.’

‘Now Manchester United are 2-1 down on aggregate, they are in a better position than when they started the game at 1-1.’

‘Beckenbauer has really gambled all his eggs.’

‘Tony Adams – he’s the rock that the team has grown from.’

‘He sliced the ball when he had it on a plate.’

‘Someone in the England team will have to grab the ball by the horns.’

‘They’ve picked their heads up off the ground and they now have a lot to carry on their shoulders.’

‘He’s treading on dangerous water there…

‘Chelsea look like they’ve got a couple more gears left in the locker.’

‘There’s a little triangle – five left-footed players.’

‘For me the book’s still open on Totti.’

‘You think he’d chance his hat there.’

‘Liverpool are outnumbered numerically in midfield.’

‘I would also think that the replay showed it to be worse than it actually was.’

‘He’s not only a good player, but he’s spiteful in the nicest sense of the word.’

‘The keeper was unsighted – he still didn’t see it.’

‘You half fancied that to go in as it was rising and dipping at the same time.’

‘That was Pele’s strength – holding people off with his arm.’

‘I wouldn’t say Ginola is the best left winger in the Premiership, but there are none better.’

‘Well, either side could win it, or it could be a draw.’

‘City will want to win this one.’

‘Moreno thought that the full back was gonna come up behind and give him one really hard.’

‘There’s lots of balls dropping off people.’

‘Ever time Zidane comes inside, Roberto Carlos just goes bonking down the wing.’

‘He dribbles a lot and the opposition don’t like it – you can see it all over their faces.’

‘Zidane is not very happy, because he’s suffering from the wind.’

‘Stoichkov’s playing on the wing, in this situation he likes to come in and scalp the centre-half.’

‘I think Sir Alex might have been thinking about pulling Giggsy off… but that might be an incentive to stay on.’

‘I never comment on referees and I’m not going to break the habit of a lifetime for that prat.’

‘A ten-foot keeper really should have stopped that.’

‘They’ve come out at half time and gone bang.’

‘The lad throws it further than I go on holiday.’

‘..and Schmeichel extends and grows even bigger than he is.’

‘I think that was a moment of cool panic there.’



Happy grambling.


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