Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see.
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. Read on and enjoy…
Woo hoo! Motherwell are in the final of the BetFred/Scottish League Cup, or whatever it is called these days. Yes, they thumped the Teddy Bears 2 nil at Hampden on Sunday. Yay!
Despite that upbeat start to this week’s (g)ramble, it is a bit of a sad one this week.
I would love to have said I was at the match but I can’t. Because I wasn’t. Why not, I hear you ask.
My big mate thought the same...
‘Whit dae ye mean ye wurnae there? Imagine no going tae see yer team playing in the semi o’ the cup! Whit kind of supporter ur ye?’ He talks like that.
He has a point. My answer was a rather feeble, ‘I don’t like Hampden.’ That is true; I think that its shape is not really suitable for a football stadium. Then I added, ‘I could only have got a seat low behind the goal.’ This is true also... up to a point. If I had sought to get a ticket early enough, I could probably have managed to get a seat in a higher position. I have been to a couple of games where I was sited in a low position behind the goal and definitely wouldn’t want to spend a football match there ever again. I might as well have been elsewhere, anywhere, because it was impossible to see what was happening on the pitch. All it was possible to make out was the fact that the players were either running towards me or running away from me. Sometimes they were going from side to side. Possibly. Occasionally, I got a glimpse of the ball. It was nice to be there to soak up the atmosphere, but it would have been nicer to see a game of football as well.
So, if I could have got a decent seat, why didn’t I go? Pull up a chair and I’ll tell ee...
The last time Motherwell played in a semi-final and a final at Hampden was six years ago. 2011. [Yes, we had worked that out. - Ed.] I still have the rather faded mug commemorating the occasion. I went to both of those games. I enjoyed them both, even though Motherwell lost the final which, incidentally, took place on my birthday. It would have been a wonderful present indeed if the ’Well had taken the honours. As it was they got humped 3 nil and I got that mug.
If you enjoyed those matches so much what has changed, I hear you ask. (Don’t worry, I can’t really hear you asking that. CCTV surveillance hasn’t got that far. Yet.)
The person sitting at my side has changed. You see, at those matches of six years back, Stewart (the founder of this great and glorious blog) was beside me. We cheered together. We groaned when the goals went in. We berated the referee. No doubt we drank Bovril at half time together. We drank a pint in the pub before the game. We drowned our sorrows in a pint after the game.
Stewart had not yet been diagnosed as having bowel cancer; that would happen a little over a month later. Although the actual Hampden matches had been happy times and had given me some memories to cherish, the fact that I subsequently found out that the final had been the last game without Stewart knowing of his cancer makes it difficult for me to return there, however.
There would be very few matches at all for Stewart after that one; the next season he was more often than not too ill to go to games.
I don’t know if I could face going back there without him. My memories of that time, generally, are not happy ones.
You may argue that I still go to Fir Park to watch Motherwell and that there should be no difference. Actually, there is a huge difference. I am surrounded by people who I have known for years. I might not know their names nor they mine, but we see each other at every game and chat to each other. They knew Stewart and are aware of what happened to him. I feel comfortable with them... although I could happily swing for that nutter who sits behind me and starts shouting abuse at the referee and linesmen as soon as the match starts and doesn’t stop til it ends. But, apart from him, I am happy to be with the folk around me.
At Hampden, though you try to get seated near the guys you know, you can end up seated next to complete strangers. I fear that, with my sad memories of Stewart, watching a match there would be a lonely and ultimately depressing experience... and not just because my team might be getting gubbed. I’m just not sure I am yet ready for the Hampden experience.
I may yet change my mind, but I don’t regret missing Sunday’s game. I listened to the commentary on the radio and watched the highlights.
And I thought of my last visits to Hampden with Stewart.
Were any famous or notorious people born on the 28th of October? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Robert Liston 1794 (Scottish surgeon. Lost the heavyweight title to Cassius Clay.), Auguste Escoffier 1846 (French chef and author. Ever wondered where the word ‘scoff’ came from? Look no further... than a dictionary.), Edith Head 1897 (Costume designer with unfortunate name.), Elsa Lanchester 1902 (Ectress. Eventually bought over by Daimler. A car buff gag there. Not a very good one, admittedly.), Evelyn Waugh 1903 (Journo and author. Somewhat right-wing politically. Described Abyssinia as '...a savage place which Mussolini was doing well to tame.'), Francis Bacon 1909 (Artist. ‘I feel ever so strongly that an artist must be nourished by his passions and his despairs. These things alter an artist whether for the good or the better or the worse. It must alter him.’ Yeah, right. An artist who talked bollocks.), Pearl Hackney 1916 (Ectress. Later became Pearl Black Cab. No? Please yourselves.), Dame Cleo Laine aka Lady Dankworth 1927 (Jehhhzzz singer. Time for our first clip of the week. Here’s Lady be Good. Husband John is on sax.), Bill Rodgers aka Baron Rodgers of Quarry Bank 1928 (Politician. One of the ‘Gang of Four’ defectors from the Labour party who formed the Social Democratic Party.), Joan Plowright 1929 (Ectress. Merried to Lord Lerry Olivier dontchaknow.), Bernie Ecclestone 1930 (Bluebottle’s mate in the Goons.), Manuel Francisco dos Santos aka Garrincha 1933 (One of Brazil’s greatest ever footy blokes.), Graham Bond 1937 (Musician. Enjoy this clip of the Graham Bond Organisation from 1965 playing Hoochie Coochie Man. Did you recognise the other band members?), Howard Blake 1938 (Composer. I bet you know his most famous composition. You do. Here it is.), David Dimbleby 1938 (Jonathan’s bro.), Brian Rankin aka Hank Marvin 1941 (Influential geetarist. Want a clip? Here are the Shadows from 1960 looking mean and moody.), Jimmy McRae 1943 (Car racey bloke.), Glyn Ellis aka Wayne Fontana 1945 (Original singer with the Mindbenders whose most famous hit was this - The Game of Love.), Wim Jansen 1946 (Footy bloke. Briefly managed Celtic.), Peter Hitchens 1951 (Journo.), Bill Gates 1955 (Who?), Stephen Morris 1957 (Drummer with Joy Division, New Order, The Other Two... Another clip? Here’s True Faith. I'd forgotten what a brilliant promotional video that was.), William Reid 1958 (Musician with Polomint City’s own Jesus and Mary Chain. Time for another clip. Here’s April Skies.), Julia Roberts 1967 (Ectress. As Arthur would say, her with the mouth.), Joachin Phoenix 1974 (Actor.), Alan Smith 1980 (Footy bloke. Still playing.), Milan Baros 1981 (Footy bloke. So’s he.), Matt Smith 1982 (Ector. The 97th Doctor Who.) and Joe Thomas 1983 (An Inbetweener.).
Taza, a Chiricahua Apache
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Mr Grarmbuler,
I enjoyed the clip of the ‘mean arnd mardy’ Shardows from their arly days. Ho, I knew all their tunes... Shazarm, Wonderful larnd, Guitar tarngo, Foot Trapper. Then there was that other one about an Red Indiarn bloke... The one parachutists shout out. Germolino. Him. Of course, they became much more farmily friendly as the years parssed. Oh yarss. I believe they (an instrumentular group) represarnted the UK in An Song (as in singing) for Europe. An blibbing odd choice if you arsk me. What the blibbing flip were they doing singing? They’d never done it before. I can’t remember the song, anyway. Couldn’t have been much cop. It probably came second. We always did in those days. Ho yarss, Kennarth the Cellar, Karthy Kerbstone, Clogger Rogger... all of them. Never won. Don’t know why we kept entering the blibbing thing. Oh, I’m forgetting that one about an puppet made of string sung by... something to do with the seaside... her with the feet. That won.
What was that Shardows song called, again? No it’s gone. Carn you help?
Lemmy B. de Juan.
Something seems strangely familiar about that so-called letter, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.
Well, time to get on with some grambling. How did The Grambler’s predictions for last week fare? Not too badly. We won. Still made a loss of 21 pees though. What happened? Read on...
Newcastle vs Crystal Palace - Prediction Home win
Result - Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0
Mikel Merino came off the bench to head Newcastle to a 1-0 victory with his first goal in English football.
The Spaniard's bullet header from Matt Ritchie's 85th-minute corner handed the Magpies a win they barely deserved on an afternoon where they were poor for long periods before producing a late flurry.
Palace, who enjoyed the better of much of the game, ultimately paid for not making the most of their chances, the best of which fit-again winger Wilfried Zaha headed wide before the break.
Nottingham Forest vs Burton Albion - Prediction Home win
Result - Nottingham Forest 2 Burton Albion 0
The Brewers had the best chance of an uneventful first half when Eric Lichaj's superb goal-line block denied Lloyd Dyer.
Forest started the second half much better and led when Stephen Bywater's punched clearance fell to Barrie McKay, who volleyed into the top corner.
Lichaj fired home a close-range second after a neat flick from McKay.
Wolves vs Preston - Prediction Home win
Result - Wolves 3 Preston 2
Ivan Cavaleiro gave them the lead when he tapped in Barry Douglas' cross, and Leo Bonatini scored from the spot after Josh Harrop fouled Matt Doherty.
Bonatini slotted home his second after Jota's shot was saved by Chris Maxwell but Jordan Hugill headed a goal back and Conor Coady put into his own net.
Preston had Alan Browne sent off for a second yellow late on.
Doncaster vs Walsall - Prediction Home win
Result - Doncaster 0 Walsall 3
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear
The hosts were punished in the second half. On 62 minutes, Tyler Roberts pinched the ball away from Joe Wright and squared to Erhun Oztumer, who slotted in from close range.
And after 66 minutes the lead was doubled when Joe Edwards found Oztumer in space to fire past Ian Lawlor.
The game was put to bed with 10 minutes remaining when Amadou Bakayoko latched onto a long clearance and slid in a pass for Morris who finished well.
Coventry vs Colchester - Prediction Home win
Result - Coventry 0 Colchester 0
Ooh! ’It the bar!
Both sides had chances but failed to break the deadlock as the side's goalkeepers had barely anything to do all day.
The best chances of the game came right at the death as home defender Ryan Haynes missed two glorious opportunities to grab the points.
First he fired wide with just five minutes left before heading Jorden Shipley's corner over in stoppage time.
Ho hum. Pity about that Doncaster result. Other than that one, it was a reasonable week. What has The Grambler randomly selected for this week?
Game - Result - Odds
Cardiff vs Millwall - Prediction Home win - 4/6
Charlton vs AFC Wimbledon - Prediction Home win - 10/11
Wigan vs Blackburn - Prediction Home win - 3/4
Accrington Stanley vs Barnet - Prediction Home win - 19/20
Lincoln vs Crawley - Prediction Home win - 4/6
Still no Scottish games. Oh well. 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’s a first! A tenner! Spot on! Hope it happens.
Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you what country qualified for the 1982 World Cup having beaten England for the first time, prompting this famous partisan rant from a commentator, ‘Lord Nelson, Lord Beaverbrook, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Clement Attlee, Henry Cooper, Lady Diana - we have beaten them all. Maggie Thatcher, can you hear me?’ The answer was, of course, Norway. The words were spoken by Bjorge Lillelien, a sports journalist and commentator for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. He was a radio, rather than a TV, commentator, but he was so highly regarded that TV viewers used to turn down the volume on their sets and switch on the radio to listen to him. He finished his rant with the now famous words, ‘Your boys took a hell of a beating!’ Brilliant.
Righty ho, let’s have one for this week. Here’s a pre-English Premiershit question. Which 17 year old became the youngest scorer of a First Division hat-trick in 1988? Bonus question - For which club? A good un to ask down the pub, I reckon.
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, we have lost another great musician this week. Antoine Domino known as ‘Fats’ passed away on Tuesday. Although his most famous music was produced over 60 years ago, many people, young and old, will know his songs ‘Blueberry Hill’ and ‘Ain’t That a Shame’. He could take an ‘old standard’ and give it a piano-based blues arrangement that made you immediately know it was a Fats Domino song. Apart from being a big star physically, he was a big star as far as sales were concerned. Many of his records sold more than a million copies and from 1955 to 1960 he sold more records than anyone else, other than Elvis Presley. I think a little tribute to finish is in order. I was going to give you Blueberry Hill, but decided on this, slightly later, song instead. Ladeez and gennelum, please appreciate Fats’ version of the Beatles’ classic Lady Madonna.
Sod it, let’s have Blueberry Hill as well.
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 www.thegrambler.com