Wednesday 26 April 2017

Week 38 - The Grambler on Gollum, sorry, meant David Moyes

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


I watched a programme on TV recently. [Really? How interesting. Yawn. - Ed.] It was about those little day cruise ships that used to operate on stretches of water such as the Bristol channel or the River Clyde. Very interesting it was, too. [If you say so. Yawn. - Ed.] As every schoolboy knows, the first ever passenger carrying steam ship was the Comet [I didn't know that. - Ed.] which began carrying paying passengers between Greenock and Glasgow. Educational, this is. Any road up, one of the people talking on the programme described the ship as the Concorde of its day. Sorry pardon excuse me? You mean it cost millions to develop, was years behind schedule and when it did finally get built, the cost to use it was prohibitive? So all the other shipbuilders of the day took one look at it and decided to stick with tried and tested sailing ships, but made them bigger to carry more passengers than ever before? Of course the talking head didn't mean that; his comparison was that the Comet and Concorde were examples of the most modern engineering skills available in their day. Unlike Concorde, the Comet was viewed as the way forward and soon dozens of similar vessels were plying the waters of the Clyde and other places. The Concorde was, indeed, the fastest passenger aircraft ever made, but operators could not afford to buy and run it and passengers were not exactly queuing up to pay a couple of grand to fly the Atlantic when a slower aircraft could be used for a tenth of the price. Those airlines that purchased the plane could only ever use it as a 'flag ship' (flag plane?) which would never actually earn money. Thus, the aircraft manufacturers of the time (ie. Boeing) took a different approach and, rather than make passenger aircraft faster, made them bigger, more economical and able to carry more passengers at a fraction of the price of Concorde. It would be a bit like buying a people carrier rather than a Ferrari. So, those Eagle comics of the fifties got it all wrong; planes would not be capable of getting around the world in an hour or so.
It set me thinking. This was an example of the latest technology not succeeding with old technology being preferred. Has such a thing ever happened before? Well, yes it has. Way way back in the nineteenth century, in fact. Maverick engineer Isembard Kingdom Brunel was the man responsible for an example of forward thinking that could have paved the way for a public transport system that would have been the envy of the world. I called him a maverick, because although he was undoubtedly a brilliant engineer, he had little regard for costs involved and most of his work went well over budget because of his attention to detail. Sometimes projects went over budget due of his sheer bloody-mindedness; he had an attitude of always thinking himself right even when he was obviously wrong. His Great Eastern steam ship was built side on to the water it was to be launched into, which caused massive problems for the engineers tasked with this part of the construction process. In the end, the cost of launching the ship was a third of the total build cost.
That isn't the project I wish to discuss, however. In 1838 Brunel's first foray into railway engineering began operations. As always, Brunel eschewed (That's a good word; I must look it up.) current practice and went about things his own way. Up until that time railways had been constructed with a gauge (the distance between the rails) of 4 feet 8 and a half inches. Brunel realised that this was too small and increased the gauge to a whopping 7 feet. His Great Western Railway provided the most comfortable travel of the day. Had the railway been constructed just five years earlier, the wider track might have been the norm throughout the country but, by the time the Great Western was up and running, too many other railways had been constructed with the narrower gauge and so, after an act of parliament of 1846 which standardised all lines, Brunel's line had to be altered to conform. It is a great shame, because railway carriages of the standard maximum width (9 feet 3 inches) would be far more stable with a wider gauge track. Indeed, it would be possible to have carriages as wide as 15 feet and still have a better ride than those currently in use. Double decked trains, anyone? If railways were being built using the construction methods available today, wider, two-level carriages would be quite feasible.
Anyway, where is this all leading us? [Nowhere? - Ed.] There is another example of modern technology being tried and then dropped with old technology continuing to be used regardless. Quilt covers. You what? Yes, quilt covers. It is something that bugs me no end. Whenever I am changing the quilt cover on my bed, in fact. [A bed bug! Ha! - Ed.] What has happened to popper studs? They were great. Pop pop pop, all done. What have we got nowadays? Buttons. Old-fashioned, awkward to fasten buttons. Bring back popper studs, I say.



You may have heard the expression ‘It is political correctness gone mad’. This week’s news that Sunderland manager and Gollum impersonator David Moyes has been charged over his playful comment threatening to give a female interviewer a slap is very much a case of that. How often have you made such a remark to someone? I’m sure many of you have. You never actually intended doing it; it was probably just said as a joke. Moyes’ comment was no more than that. He would never have struck the woman, but some busybody has put in a complaint and the matter (which should never have been taken seriously) has ended up with him being charged by the Football Association. Ridiculous. Whoever complained deserves a slap.*

*Please be aware that The Grambler has no intention of causing actual bodily harm to anyone. I thought I should make that clear before somebody reports me to the Ill-informed Blog Writers’ Association.



Were any famous or notorious people born on the 29th of April? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. William Randolph Hearst 1863 (Scored the winning goal in 1966. [Surely some mistake. - Ed.]), Malcolm Sargent 1895 (Conductor. Damn, I did the bus gag a few weeks ago.), Edward ‘Duke’ Ellington 1899 (Composer, pianist and bandleader. Here’s your first clip of the week. Ellington composed many decent toons, the most famous being Take the A Train so here’s It Don't Mean a Thing.), Fred Zinnemann 1907 (Film Director. He directed a favourite joke of mine. Sorry pardon excuse me? What would be a good name for a pet jackal? Dave. Boom and indeed tish.), Zizi Jeanmaire 1924 (Ballerina. Actually, I only ever knew she existed because of that pretentious song by Peter Sarstedt.), Heinz Wolff 1928 (Churrrman zientist. Remember The Great Egg Race? That was him.), Jeremy Thorpe 1937 (Politician and one time leader of the Liberal Party.), Lonnie Donegan 1931 (The most successful British chart act of the 1950s; I think he deserves a clip. Here’s Battle of New Orleans), Rod McKuen 1933 (Gravel-voiced singer. Here’s one of his most famous toons... Jean.), Willie Nelson 1933 (Gravel-faced singer. Here’s one of his most famous toons... Always On My Mind.), Klaus Voorman 1938 (Bassist. Worked a lot with the Beatles. He also was the producer behind this catchy little toon. All together now... Aha aha aha... ), Jonah Barrington 1941 (Squashy bloke.), Francis Lee 1944 (Footy bloke with a penchant for diving. His nickname was Lee Won Pen. After his footy career he made toilet rolls.), Tommy James 1947 (Singer. With the Shondells, was famous for being a bit of a Mony Mony.), Johnny Miller 1947 (Golfy bloke.), David Icke 1952 (Footy bloke. Now a conspiracy theorist. Sorry, I meant loony.), Jerry Seinfeld 1954 (Comedian... ‘I turned 60 this year and people around that age make a bucket list. I made a bucket list, turned the "b" to an "f" and was done with it.’), Daniel Day-Lewis 1957 (Ectaw dear leddie. Won an oscar for being able to wiggle his toe, or something.), Michelle Pfeiffer 1958 (Half woman. half cat.), Andre Agassi 1970 (Tennisy bloke with a shaving rash in some odd places.) and Uma Thurman 1970 (Actress. Not a patch on Diana Rigg.).




Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did we do last week? We won. No, really we did. The Grambler got every prediction spot on. [I’ll just check if there is a blue moon tonight. - Ed.] So, the winnings this week really were whopping. £10.75. Woo hoo! What happened? Read on...



Hull vs Watford - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Result - Hull 2 Watford 0


Hull endured a nightmare first half with striker Oumar Niasse being shown a controversial straight red for a challenge on M'Baye Niang in the 25th minute.

They also had a decent penalty appeal turned down, but kept their composure in the second half. Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic was central to the win, tipping over from Sebastian Prodl in the first half and then producing a point-blank save to keep out Etienne Capuoe just a minute before Hull took the lead.

The breakthrough came when a quick break ended with Kamil Grosicki crossing for Lazar Markovic to fire in on the rebound after his header came back off the bar.

Sam Clucas made sure of the points with a superb shot from distance, the midfielder controlling 25 yards from goal and firing ferociously beyond the reach of Heurelho Gomes.


Chesterfield vs Charlton - Prediction Away win - 17/20

Result - Chesterfield 1 Charlton 2


Chesterfield needed a fine save by Thorsten Stuckmann in the 16th minute to keep out a Ricky Holmes free-kick from just outside the box.

Joe Rowley almost gave Chesterfield the lead in the 35th minute but two minutes later, Charlton scored when Jake Forster-Caskey was given too much time to fire a 20-yard shot into the bottom-left corner.

Chesterfield should have equalised in the 47th minute when Kristian Dennis robbed Ezri Konsa but blazed over from 12 yards and Charlton took advantage when Holmes' free-kick was deflected past Stuckmann in the 57th minute.

Reece Mitchell scored in stoppage time for Chesterfield before Forster-Caskey had a penalty saved after he was fouled by Jon Nolan.


Port Vale vs Bolton - Prediction Away win

Result - Port Vale 0 Bolton 2


The home side had Riginio Cicilia sent off after 33 minutes when he was shown a second yellow card for handball following a foul on Gary Madine eight minutes earlier.

Wanderers took the lead after 66 minutes when David Wheater rose highest to nod in Filipe Morais' free-kick.

In the aftermath, referee Carl Boyeson took the players off the pitch for 10 minutes after clashes broke out between both sets of fans.

Madine then doubled the visitors' advantage, sliding home from Morais' pass in the 80th minute


Luton vs Notts County - Prediction Home win

Result - Luton 2 Notts County 1


County were ahead in the sixth minute through Elliott Hewitt's finish after the ball broke to him inside the area.

Dan Potts fired into the side-netting, but Luton were level after 16 minutes as Danny Hylton's wonderful 25-yard curler hit the underside of the crossbar and Ollie Palmer headed the rebound beyond Adam Collin.

Jorge Grant flicked a header over, with Pelly Ruddock hammering off target and then making amends on the stroke of half-time, finding the bottom corner from 18 yards.

After the break, Hylton put a great chance wide, while home goalkeeper Stuart Moore made a fine stop to turn over Adam Campbell's effort in the 64th minute.

Hylton was denied by Collin, with Moore turning Mark Yeates' effort away, before Hylton saw red in stoppage time for his second booking.


Portsmouth vs Cambridge - Prediction Home win

Result - Portsmouth 2 Cambridge 1


A first-half strike from Karl Baker and a superb free-kick from Kai Naismith eased Pompey to victory over a Cambridge side who turned in a lacklustre performance and only had Luke Berry's late free-kick as a consolation.


The best result from The Grambler for a long time; can he/she/it do it two week’s on the trot? [No. - Ed.] Let’s see what he/she/it has randomly selected this week.

Game - Result - Odds

Oxford Utd vs Shrewsbury - Prediction Home win - 3/4

Southend vs Bury - Prediction Home win - 8/11

Cheltenham vs Hartlepool - Prediction Home win - Evens

Doncaster vs Exeter - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Plymouth vs Crewe - Prediction Home win - 3/4

All matches kick off at 3pm on Saturday the 29th 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...


How whopping is that? Fives pees less whopping than last week.



Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you who was the Scottish midfielder who nearly emulated his father by playing in the 1998 World Cup finals, but didn’t because he remained an unused squad member. The answer was Scott Gemmell whose father, Archie, scored this goal in the World Cup finals against Holland in 1978 as featured in the film Trainspotting.

One for this week? How well do you know your football grounds? Most clubs have a stand or two named after famous people associated with the club and Liverpool are no exception. In 1982 new gates were erected at Anfield; whose name do they bear? Quite an easy one methinks.




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. Cook for this week’s final clip. One of the names in our birthday listings was a Mr J. Thorpe, a politician whose career was ended rather abruptly thanks to a high-profile court case. Here, Judge Peter Cook gives his summing up. .


That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week by going to the blog at


Happy grambling.


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