Friday 31 March 2017

Week 34 - The Grambler on that Cristiano Ronaldo statuey thing

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


Did you read last week’s edition of If you did, you might have noticed that I am not too sure about bands that go on performing well beyond their expiry date. If you didn’t read it; shame on you.

Any road up, I have a confession to make. The very day I published that (g)ramble (or it might even have been the day before), I went to a concert. It was a group of guys who had once been part of the band Yes: Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman. Their average age is 67. Well past their sell-by date, you might assume. Indeed, vocalist Jon Anderson is 72. In any walk of life other than the business called show, he would have retired yonks ago. Well, not politics, obviously. Or the legal profession, perhaps. And being Queen. Or Pope. Those aside, I am sure you get my point.

If you have read some of my rants from way back, you will know that I do not like going to watch old musos trying to perform songs they first performed 40 plus years ago. My reasoning is simple: singers’ voices deteriorate over the years. Most of these oldies are embarrassing to watch... Elton John, Rod Stewart, Ian Anderson... Their voices are shot.

I am also less than happy that these old musicians charge a fortune for you to see them perform. As I have stated before, I much prefer going to see a tribute act and hear vocalists who can sing well and don’t charge you an arm and a leg.

So how did I end up going to a show that featured three old codgers? Well, the ticket was a Gramblemas present from Mrs G.

I have been to Rick Wakeman shows in the recent past and have enjoyed them immensely. Not only is he an extremely gifted keyboard player, he is a great raconteur. I knew, then, that I would not be disappointed by his contribution.

I was less sure about Trevor Rabin, the youngster of the outfit at 63. I really didn’t know much about his work with Yes. I think I had given up on them by the time he joined the band.

Jon Anderson though... hmm. He had a very distinctive higher-register singing voice; surely, surely, he couldn’t reach those high notes nowadays. Not at 72. No chance.

The show began with just a drummer and a bassist playing on stage. Then, Rabin and Wakeman walked on from opposite sides and embraced in the middle of the stage [Ahh. How nice. - Ed.]. But where was Anderson? Well, Rick Wakeman is one big guy (6 feet 2.5 inches or 6 feet 4 inches, depending on source - try ), but his waist size must be over 60 inches. He is enormous. My first thought on seeing him was that he had eaten Jon Anderson. However, the little figure of Anderson (5 feet 5 inches) appeared on stage and the show started proper... once he had climbed onto the podium at the front of the stage... He is that little.

I really was expecting the worst. This would be like watching Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson all over again, I told myself. In other words, I expected the vocalist to have no singing voice whatsoever. The crowd would be cheering more out of sympathy than because he was actually doing a good job. As Jon Anderson opened his mouth to sing, I was ready to squirm with embarrassment on his behalf.

Guess what. He was in excellent voice. He sounded much the same as he had done 45 years ago when the songs were first recorded. Frankly, I was amazed. By the end of the show, I was wondering just how he managed it. Absolutely marvellous, I thought. All in all, a great show.

So does this change my opinion about going to see old musicians trying to produce the sound they did many years ago? No. I went to this show because the (rather expensive) ticket was bought for me as a gift. I would still rather go to see four tribute acts than go and see the original acts once.

This show was exceptional in that the singer still had a fine voice; most shows are disappointing by comparison. I would much rather hear the original recordings and watch shows made at an artist’s peak than have my memories spoiled.

By the way, Trevor Rabin is 6 feet 3 inches tall.




So what is the football story everyone is (perhaps) talking about this week? Trying to work out who this bust is meant to be...


What do you reckon? A dead ringer for... ermm. If you haven’t already read the story, it is supposed to be a likeness of Cristiano Ronaldo. Do you know something? If you stare at it for long enough, eventually you will see that it is almost exactly nothing like him. I’ve tried half closing my eyes. Nope. Still nothing like him.  Apparently, the sculptor has tried to defend his work.  Apologise for it, more like... As Rowley Birkin QC might have said, 'I was very drunk at the time.'




Were any famous or notorious people born on the 1st of April? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Otto von Bismarck 1815 (First Chancellor of the German Empire. Him they named the ship after.), Sergei Rachmaninoff 1873 (Russian composer. Here’s his most famous piece. Apologies for the schmaltzy video.), Edgar Wallace 1875 (Orfer. Wrote Four Just Men and J.G.Reeder novels and is credited with the creation of King Kong although he died before the film script was complete.), Lon Chaney 1883 (The man of a thousand faces.), Wallace Beery 1885 (Actor. Was first choice to play the wizard in the Wizard of Oz.), Clemantine Churchill 1885 (Winnie’s wife.), Cicely Courtneidge 1893 (Played Reg Varney’s mum in the first series of On the Buses.), Ferenc Puskas 1927 (Footy bloke. Scored 84 goals in 85 appearances for Hungary.), Jane Powell 1929 (Actress. Married to Howard Keel. Not really. But he was her ‘beau’ in this film.), George Baker 1931 (Inspector Wexford.), Debbie Reynolds 1932 (Actress. Married to Gene Kelly. Not really. But he was her ‘beau’ in this film.), Ali McGraw 1939 (Actress. Married to Ryan O’Neal. Not really. But he was her ‘beau’ in this film.), Carole White 1943 (Cathy who was implored to come home.), Ronnie Lane 1946 (A Small Face. Another clip? Here is The Poacher.), Jimmy Cliff 1947 (Singer. Time for another clip... Here's The Harder They Come.), Sammy Nelson 1949 (Footy bloke.), Gil Scott-Heron 1949 (The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.), Arnold Sidebottom 1954 (Footy and crickety bloke with a brill name.), David Gower 1957 (Crickety bloke.), Susan Boyle 1961 (Subo! Subo! Want a clip?  Why not? ), Philip Schofield 1962 (The Silver Fox.), Chris Evans 1966 (The Ginger T*ss*r.), Dean Windass 1969 (Footy bloke with flatulence problem.), Karen Dunbar 1971 (Comedienne. It says here. Don’t mention the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. Just... don’t.), Clarence Seedorf 1976 (Footy bloke. The only man to have won the Champions League with three different clubs.) and Beth Tweddle 1985 (Gynasticky bloke.).




Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did we do last week? Slightly worse than last week. We ‘won’ 54 pees. What happened? Read on...



Accrington vs Grimsby - Prediction Home win

Result - Accrington 1 Grimsby 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Shay McCartan rescued a point for Accrington with a late free-kick. McCartan fired home from 20 yards in the 89th minute.

Grimsby had looked on course for victory thanks to substitute Akwasi Asante's goal in the 70th minute.

Stanley had hit the woodwork twice prior to that with defender Harvey Rodgers firing a long-range effort against a post and Matty Pearson rattling the crossbar with a long-range strike.

Dutchman Asante, a 57th-minute replacement for Scott Vernon, almost claimed a winner in the second minute of added time when he was denied by a superb save from Aaron Chapman.


Blackpool vs Hartlepool - Prediction Home win

Result - Blackpool 2 Hartlepool 1


The visitors led after 18 minutes when Lewis Alessandra capitalised on some hesitant Blackpool defending and fired the ball home from 15 yards.

Blackpool midfielder Osayi-Samuel quickly levelled things up with a cool finish moments later.

The hosts had Dean Lyness to thank for keeping Hartlepool at bay before half-time, denying first Lewis Hawkins and then Padraig Amond, and then acrobatically tipping over Alessandra's shot.

Lyness denied Amond again after the break before substitute Kyle Vassell's cross-shot looped over Joe Fryer and into the far corner from the tightest of angles.


Crawley vs Leyton Orient - Prediction Home win

Result - Crawley 3 Orient 0


James Collins swooped to give Crawley the lead with his 20th goal of the season midway through the first half.

The former Shrewsbury striker struck by heading in a free-kick from Josh Payne and, although keeper Sam Sargeant got a hand to the ball, it flew into the corner of the net.

Crawley took a firm grip of the game by scoring twice in the space of four minutes before the interval.

Defender Joe McNerney rose unchallenged to head home a Payne free-kick from 12 yards on 29 minutes and then, from an Andre Blackman set-piece, Dutch midfielder Enzio Boldewijn forced the ball home.


Exeter vs Yeovil - Prediction Home win

Result - Exeter 3 Yeovil 3

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Exeter City astonishingly battled back from 3-0 down in the 88th minute to earn an unlikely draw at home to West Country rivals Yeovil Town.

After a relatively quiet, goalless first hour, Yeovil stormed into a three-goal lead as Francois Zoko slotted home before Shaylon Harrison and Alex Lacey both headed in.

Anything but a Glovers win still seemed unlikely even when David Wheeler drilled in off the post with less than two minutes of normal time remaining.

However, in stoppage time, first Troy Brown headed in to make it 3-2 before Reuben Reid smashed in Jack Stacey's cross at the far post to equalise amid delirium at St James Park.


Wycombe vs Notts County - Prediction Home win

Result - Wycombe 0 Notts County 1


Both sides traded chances in a frenetic opening with County’s Jon Stead forcing a brilliant save from Jamal Blackman, before Luke O'Nien blazed an effort over from seven yards for Wycombe.

The midfielder was then denied a goal by a terrific block by Richard Duffy and it proved a crucial intervention as County scored from their next attack when Shola Ameobi rattled a shot in via the post, following some brilliant work by Stead.

So, two right, one wrong and two near misses for The Grambler, can he/she/it improve on that this week?

Game - Result - Odds

Bristol Rovers vs Shrewsbury - Prediction Home win - 4/5

Fleetwood Town vs Swindon - Prediction Home win - 4/5

Millwall vs Scunthorpe - Prediction Home win - 19/20

Rochdale vs Northampton - Prediction Home win - 17/20

Southend vs Oldham - Prediction Home win - 17/20


All matches kick off at 3pm on Saturday the 1st of April. 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...


That is highly whopping.




Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you who was the Scottish international also represented his country at Squash, volleyball and golf? The answer is Captain Scarlet lookalike Alan Hansen.

Too easy? Try this one. Liverpool play Everton this weekend, so here is a suitably Liverpudlian teaser for you. Which player has scored the most times in a Liverpool derby? Easy? Mibbees aye, mibbees naw. That isn’t a clue. It wasn’t King Kenny.





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 birthday celebrant Ms K. Dunbar who ends this week’s (g)ramble with her cheesy tribute act Almost Angelic. So bad, it’s good (almost).


Happy grambling.


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