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.
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…
The big news story of the week is that Lord Lucan has been found. He has been hiding in the jungle in borneo since his disappearance in 1974. On being found, his first question was, ‘Have they caught Pat Phelan yet?’
A wee gag for fans of Coronation Street, there. What do you mean, it wasn't funny?
Before I begin this week’s (g)ramble, I should point out that it is a little poignant [Poignant? Isn’t he that Agatha Christie detective? - Ed.] and even a bit odd.
I would like to start by reminding you of the reason for this great and noble blog.
If you click on https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/geraldine-smith3 you will see the amount of money that we, Stewart’s family and friends, have raised for the Bobby Moore Fund. Almost 40 grand! Why do I point this out to you? Am I gloating as if to say, aren’t we wonderful? Definitely not. Although it is terrific that such a huge amount has been raised for bowel cancer research over the past four and a half years. Am I trying to get you to give to the fund? Not at all. Although, if you want to donate, don’t let me stop you.
No, the reason I am telling you about our Justgiving page is that, if you look down the list of donations, you might notice the occasional comment ‘Did a nostalgia presentation...’ Such presentations are my way of raising money for the fund. You don’t need to know the content of these daft slide shows other than the short piece I add at the end to explain to the watching audience why I spend my time doing these slightly silly presentations. It is a short slide show, set to music, showing famous people who have succumbed to cancer. The final face on the screen is that of Stewart and at that point I tell them his story and explain about our fundraising activities. Usually those in the audience are happy to donate a few coppers to the fund.
I did such a presentation on Tuesday. Whenever I do these talks, naturally I think about Stewart a lot. Every presentation is really done in his memory so I am thinking about him before, during and after it.
On Tuesday evening I went to Fir Park to watch the mighty ’Well beat Saint Johnstone. Yay! Stewart loved going to see Motherwell and it is now the time when I miss him most. I miss his comments during the game. I miss the discussions we had as we analysed the game on the way home. So, even though he isn’t there, I always wonder what he would be saying about the current Motherwell team. Would he be happy with the squad? Who would he single out as a star player? Would he still be grumbling about the shouty fan that sat (still sits) behind us?
I returned home after a long day; a day in which Stewart seemed to feature heavily, if only because I had been thinking about him so much.
It was then that something incredibly eerie happened. Regular readers of this august blog may remember an edition from way way back called Grambling with friends. It was about an on-line Scrabble-like game called Words with Friends. I still play this game. When I sat down late on Tuesday evening, I decided to play my ‘word’ in a game that I was currently playing. It was while playing my word that the eerie moment occurred. I played a word with five or six letters and my ‘letter rack’ filled up with new letters. What were they? S-T-E-A-W-R-T. I could not believe it. I spotted it immediately... SWATTER! 73 points. Just like that.
Of course, I am being facetious. Wasn’t that weird, though? If I were a superstitious type, I might call it a ‘sign’. But I’m not. So I won’t. There is no getting away from it, however. It was a creepy moment. There was definitely an odd sensation ran down my spine when I saw those letters appear on my rack. Spooky.
Were any famous or notorious people born on the 10th of February? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Samuel Plimsoll 1824 (Famous for the line bearing his name, not the running shoes.), Boris Pasternak 1890 (Poet and novelist.), Alan Hale 1892 (Ectaw. Casey Jones’ dad.), Jimmy Durante 1893 (Comedian, it says here.), Harold Macmillan 1894 (Supermac. You’ve never had it so good.), Bertolt Brecht 1898 (Dramatiker.), Lon Chaney Jr. 1906 (Ectaw. Chingachgook), Larry Adler 1914 (Famous for blowing his harmonica which is a good trick if you can do it.), Alex Comfort 1920 (Author. Famous for his Joy of Sex manual.), Danny Blanchflower 1926 (Oirish footy bloke.), Leontyne Price 1927 (Rerr chanter. A clip? Here’s the gospel hymn This Little Light of Mine.), Jerry Goldsmith 1929 (Composer famous for his film and TV scores. Another clip? Here’s the opening and closing credits from Dr. Kildare. Ahhh... little Jimmy survives.), Robert Wagner 1930 (Actor. Currently being questioned about the death of his wife, Natalie Wood, in 1981. Cue sick joke from the time... What kind of wood doesn’t float? No... I can’t do it.), Barrie Ingham 1931 (Ectaw. Hine.), Roberta Flack 1939 (Musician/singer. Here is her most famous toon, Killing Me Softly With His Song. The song was written for Lori Leiberman by Norman Gimbal - with music by Charles Fox - after she told him about seeing a young singer perform. Who was this singer with the murderous voice? [I don’t think that is what is meant by the lyrics. - Ed.] None other than the man behind last week’s finishing clip, Don McLean... No, not the Brummie comedian.), Mary Rand 1940 (Runny bloke), Michael Apted 1941 (Director. Responsible for some TV classics. Who can forget P’tang, Yang, Kipperbang?), Nicholas Owen 1947 (TV presenter.), Nigel Olsson 1949 (Drummer/singer. Drummer with Elton John’s band. Here he is being backed by the Elton John band in 1974 with Only One Woman.), Mark Spitz 1950 (Swimmy bloke), Greg Norman 1955 (Golfy bloke.), Cliff Burton 1962 (Original bassist with Metallica. Would you like a bit of thrash? Here’s For Whom The Bell Tolls.), Laura Dern 1967 (Ectress.), Keeley Hawes 1976 (Ectress.), Andy Johnson 1981 (Footy bloke.) and Holly Willoughby 1981 (TV presenter.).
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Mr Crumbling,
We are writing in response to last week’s letter from Hugh Ree and Leigh Gottme. They asked you what the Kinks’ first number one record was; we would like to know what their follow-up to that song was. Can you help?
Yours with fondness,
Al Day and Oliver Knight.
Let’s move onto grambling matters. How did last week’s bet fare? We won and lost. It was the usual story; we got a return on our bet, but still lost money. How much did we lose? The less than magnificent sum of one pee. That’s right, our £2.20 bet won us £2.19. What happened? Read on...
Derby vs Brentford - Prediction Home win
Result - Derby 3 Brentford 0
The Bees lost Sergi Canos to a straight red card after just 21 minutes for a dangerous tackle from behind on Marcus Olsson [Any relation to Nigel? - Ed.], before two goals in three minutes put Derby in complete control.
Tom Huddlestone scored from close range before Cameron Jerome fired in off the bar.
Matej Vydra converted a stoppage-time penalty after Sam Winnall was brought down.
Fulham vs Nottingham Forest - Prediction Home win
Result - Fulham 2 Nottingham Forest 0
The hosts started the stronger of the two sides, but Forest had the best first-half chance when Matty Cash's effort was saved by Marcus Bettinelli.
Joe Worrall headed against the post for the Reds after the break, while Ryan Sessegnon went close at the other end.
Fulham took the lead when Lucas Piazon fired in from 12 yards, before Stefan Johansen slotted in a second late on.
Charlton vs Oxford Utd - Prediction Home win
Result - Charlton 2 Oxford Utd. 3
The home side took a 63rd-minute lead when the determined Tariqe Fosu pressured the visiting defence into a failed clearance.
Possession fell to Josh Magennis and as he lined up a shot he was brought down, but Ahmed Kashi controlled the loose ball, and in space from just inside the area calmly finished into the bottom left corner, beyond the diving Simon Eastwood.
Oxford's first goal, from James Henry, came 13 minutes later. When fellow substitute Malachi Napa played the ball across the area towards him, Henry chose to shoot when he could have passed and struck into the bottom left corner.
Jay Dasilva created Charlton's instant response, winning possession before crossing from the left wing towards Magennis who, from close range, required only a routine finish to restore the lead.
Charlton still appeared vulnerable at the back though, and in the 89th minute conceded to debutant Todd Kane, who powerfully struck from Ricardinho's cross to make it 2-2.
The winning goal, in the fourth minute of stoppage time, was Oxford's finest. Napa slid Isaac Buckley-Ricketts into a dangerous area, and after his pull-back to the impressive Ryan Ledson, the midfielder sidefooted in to secure all three points.
Peterborough vs Southend - Prediction Home win
Result - Peterborough 0 Southend 1
Jason Demetriou fired in after just seven minutes after Peterborough goalkeeper Jonathan Bond caught the leg of Stephen McLaughlin inside the area.
Posh had a few good chances and would have levelled if Jack Marriott had taken either a decent headed chance or two one-on-one opportunities either side of half-time, with visiting goalkeeper Mark Oxley denying the striker on all three occasions.
Southend central defender John White was carried off on a stretcher after injuring himself while attempting a tackle on Marriott, and - soon afterwards - Simon Cox and McLaughlin both narrowly fired wide for the visitors, who held on for a win.
Accrington vs Stevenage - Prediction Home win
Result - Accrington 3 Stevenage 2
Stevenage took the lead when Matt Godden tucked the ball into the bottom corner of the net after latching on to a pass from Mark McKee.
The visitors made it 2-0 when Accrington failed to clear their lines and McKee fired home from the edge of the area on 38 minutes.
Winger Sean McConville started the fightback in first-half stoppage time from a 20-yard free-kick.
After the break, Stevenage were still a threat and Jack King hit the top of the crossbar.
But Stanley levelled with 20 minutes left with a short corner to Kee, and he turned and squeezed the ball home for his 18th goal of the season.
Stevenage hit the frame of the goal for a second time as substitute Danny Newton went close before the visitors failed to clear their lines and McConville lashed home the winner from 15 yards with 12 minutes left.
Three right, two totally wrong. Can The Grambler improve on that this week? [Nope. - Ed.]. Let’s see what he/she/it has randomly selected.
Game - Result - Odds
Bolton vs Fulham - Prediction Away win - Evens
Bristol City vs Sunderland - Prediction Home win - 4/6
Derby vs Norwich - Prediction Home win - 21/20
Ipswich vs Burton Albion - Prediction Home win - 17/20
Middlesbrough vs Reading - Prediction Home win - 4/7
Let’s see how much we could win in the unlikely event that the results go as predicted.
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...
I’ve seen more whopping totals in my time.
Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you who, in the 2015 Champions League, scored for Barcelona in both legs of the quarter-finals, in both legs of the semi-final and in the final. The answer was Neymar against Paris Saint Germain (ironically) in the quarters, Bayern Munich in the semis and Juventus in the final.
One for this week? Here’s a Premiershit question. Which club holds the record for the most Premier League goals scored in a season by a relegated club? Hmm.
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, I am indebted to a Mr M. Apted, one of this week’s birthday celebrants who directed a rather wonderful TV play back in 1970 that I thought you might enjoy. It was penned by one of Britain’s greatest comedy writers of the era, Jack Rosenthal. Director and writer often worked together on series such as The Lovers, which made stars of Paula Wilcox and Richard Beckinsale, as well as single plays including There’s a Hole in Your Dustbin, Delilah (which spawned the sitcom The Dustbinmen) and the aforementioned P’tang, Yang, Kipperbang. If you have got 50 minutes to spare, settle down with a nice cuppa and enjoy Another Sunday and Sweet F.A.
Another Corrie moment - That's Anne Kirkbride
(Deirdre) on the right aged 17
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