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 omplgood. 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…
It's official: Prince Philip is more offensive than Jerry Springer: The Opera. Surely not, I hear you splutter through your tea/coffee/any other drink you may be consuming while reading this. Well, yes and no. It is all to do with complaints received by the British Broadcorping Casteration. Prior to the Duke’s demise, last Friday, the record number of complaints received by the Beeb had been 63,000 when that show was aired; mainly from church people who objected to the depiction of Christ. Most of those complaints most likely began, ‘I did not see this dreadful programme, but I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms... etc.’ Probably the same lot who complained about Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
Friday’s programming, following the announcement about Phil falling off his perch, received over 110,000 complaints. Yay! Divisive to the end.
Obviously, the complaints weren't levelled at Phil; they were aimed at the Beeb for it cancelling all programming on all channels to air tribute programmes for him. The gripe was that only one channel needed to be altered to show any tributes. Absolutely right. Nobody can watch more than one channel at a time so why the blanket coverage?
Not all the complaints were about the programming, however. 400 or so complaints related to Prince Andrew being interviewed. It was obviously felt by a few individuals that Andy was still persona non grata after his involvement with the well-known nonce Jeffrey Epstein came to light.
A couple of hundred people moaned about the lack of respect shown by the presenters of the tribute and news programmes. Sorry pardon excuse me? Yes, they weren't wearing sombre enough clothing, apparently. Come on, every person I saw was wearing dark clothing, surely that was enough. Not for these saddos it wasn't. What were they looking for? Black ties for the men? Black veils for the women?
The expression ‘get a life’ comes to mind.
One reason for the incredibly high number of complaints may have been that the Beeb set up a dedicated complaints line, which brings me to the final largish group to complain. 116 people complained to the Beeb for making it too easy to complain.
Talking of his passing, I do hope you enjoyed reading Prince Philip’s gaffes last week. What an amusing guy, you might be thinking. Or you might be thinking, what an arrogant bully of a man.
I think the latter comment is nearer the truth. Prince Philip led an extremely privileged life. Such an existence also gave him that sense of entitlement only enjoyed by royalty (and ex-public school boys who go on to be prime minister). Thus, he could say and do what he liked and nobody would question him. He wasn’t a tall man, but he could talk down to anybody.
As already stated, the TV was awash with tributes to him on the day he died. (Obviously, these had been prepared well in advance; the death of an eminent 99 year old isn’t exactly unexpected.)
People that knew him eulogised about what a ‘character’ he was. When I hear that said of someone, I always think it means they are a bit too unpredictable; or, to put it bluntly, trouble.
Another word that was used was irascible. That is just a polite way of saying he was a bad-tempered old git.
Frankly, he seemed to be the sort of guy who said what he liked and didn't care who he upset in the process. [I didn’t know he was a Yorkshireman. - Ed.]
One term that someone used in describing him was that ‘he didn't suffer fools gladly’. It’s an expression I’ve heard attributed to many individuals... none of them nice people, I should add.
I remember back in the days when I worked for a living, rather than wrote ill-informed blogs, there was a work colleague who was proud to use the expression about himself as if it was some sort of badge of honour. I also remember another work-mate who returned the perfect comment when the said arrogant git spoke this line to another person. And that riposte was: ‘If that's what you think, then you're the fool.’
Not surprisingly, the first colleague never uttered the words again.
What a pity no-one was brave enough to tell Prince Philip.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 17th of April? Of course there were. Here are some that even I know.
Harry Champion 1865 - Music hall comedian/singer. Here’s a recording from 110 years back. Seriously. Here's Any Old Iron
William Holden 1918 - Actor. Starred in Golden Boy in 1939 which may have helped coin his nickname of Golden Holden. Oh, how we laughed. Came to an ignominious end. He was a heavy drinker and he died when he tripped while drunk and hit his head off a table.
Lindsay Anderson 1923 - Film Director
Gordon Rollings 1926 - Jobbing actor. Charlie Moffitt in Coronation Street. That was him.
James Last 1929 - Bandleader. Famous for easy-listening recordings often labeled ‘Non-Stop Dancing’ where dozens of popular tunes were strung together to form a complete album. He must have been doing something right; between 1963 and 2006 over 190 studio albums were released. Here’s a 1966 toon Midnight in December.
Eve Pearce 1929 - Jobbing actress. Lady Fisher in High Road. Her.
Chris Barber 1930 - Musician. Have a clip. Here's his take on an old hymn, Just a Closer Walk with Thee.
Tony Bilbow 1932 - TV presenter and scriptwriter.
Don Kirshner 1934 - Music publisher. Known as ‘The man with the golden ear’ thanks to his ability to spot up and coming talent.
Colin Campbell 1937 - Actor. Sergeant Willoughby in The Ruth Rendall Mysteries (1988-1992). Him.
Ferdinand Karl Piëch 1937 - Engineer and businessman. Head of VW until 2015.
John Stalker 1939 - Policeman. Used to advertise roller shutter doors.
John McCririck 1940 - Eccentric TV horse racing pundit.
Ronald Wycherley aka Billy Fury 1940 - Singer. Here’s his highest charting single which stalled at number 2, Jealousy.
Brian Miller 1941 - Jobbing actor.
David Bradley 1941 - Actor. Argus Filch in the Harry Potter films. Him.
Tony Crane 1945 - Musician. A Merseybeat or a Mersey. Take your pick. Have a clip. Here's The Merseys with Sorrow.
Henry Kelly 1946 - TV and radio presenter.
Clare Francis 1946 - Writer and sailor.
David Kaffinetti 1946 - Musician. Keyboard wizard with prog rock band Rare Bird. Here’s a clip, Beautiful Scarlet from 1970.
Jan Hammer 1948 - Musician. Here’s something he was famous for, the Miami Vice Theme. Godawful video.
Olivia Hussey 1951 - Actress. Played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (1968). Er... That’s it.
Pete Shelley 1955 - A Buzzcock. A clip? Here's Love You More.
David Lowe 1955 - Actor, composer, film director and scientist. In fact, a right old smarty boots.
Lance Taylor aka Africa Bambaataa 1957 - DJ, rapper, songwriter and producer from Da Braaanx. Have a clip. Here he is with UB40 and Reckless.
Nick Hornby 1957 - Orfer. Fever Pitch. That was one of his. He is also something of a lyricist. Here’s one of his, Ben Folds Five with Levi Johnston's Blues.
Sean Bean 1959 - Actor. Father Michael Kerrigan in Broken. Not related to Rowan Atkinson.
Catherine Russell 1965 - Actress. Serena Campbell in Holby City and Casualty. Her.
Chris McCart 1967 - Fitba guy. Played for Motherwell, you know.
Henry Ian Cusick 1967 - Actor. Desmond Hume in Lost. Him.
Lee Whitlock 1968 - Actor. First appeared on TV in 1980. Stanley Moon in Shine on Harvey Moon. That was an early role for him.
Tamara Beckwith 1970 - Posh bird. Famous for being a posh bird.
Claire Sweeney 1971 - Actress. Lindsey Corkhill in Brooookside. Her.
Victoria Beckham 1974 - Now famous as Mrs Beckham, but used to be a singer, apparently. Here she is with This Groove
Susie Amy 1981 - Actress. Chardonnay Lane-Pascoe in Footballers’ Wives. Her.
Josie Long 1982 - Comedian.
Paula Lane 1986 - Actress. Kylie Platt in Coronation Street. Her.
Lorna Fitzgerald 1996 - Actress. Abi Branning in Eastenders. Her.
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Africa Gramblaataa,
I really enjoyed hearing a Buzzcocks song again. Here’s a question for you: what was the first single that charted for The Buzzcocks?
Yours with love,
How did The Grambler’s predictions go last week? A bit better than last week with, not two out of five but, three out of five. Yay! Well, sort of yay. From our £2.20 outlay, we recouped £2.24. So, we’re in profit. Just. What happened? Read on...
Portsmouth vs Burton Albion - Prediction Home win
Result - Portsmouth 1 Burton 2
Mike ‘Cheese’ Fondop and Josh ‘Nosher’ Powell scored either side of half-time to give Burton three points.
A first half devoid of any real chances burst into life in the last minute of normal time when Tom ‘Doon’ Hamer's long throw caused havoc in the home defence.
Fondop's initial header was miraculously saved by Craig MacGillivray but he was on hand to hook the rebound into the Pompey net.
Powell doubled the visitors' lead two minutes after the break with a perfectly struck shot from 30 yards out after Sean Clare tapped a free-kick into his path.
Burton put 10 men behind the ball for most of the game but pressed high on Portsmouth to prevent them from having any real possession.
Charlie Daniels' header two minutes from time proved no more than a consolation goal for Pompey.
Sunderland vs Charlton - Prediction Home win
Result - Sunderland 1 Charlton 2
Once more I say BOO!
The Addicks secured the points courtesy of an own goal from Black Cats midfielder Josh Scowen in the 31st minute and a low finish from Alex Gilbey in the 61st minute.
Scowen pulled one back for Sunderland with 13 minutes remaining but they could not find an equaliser.
Sunderland could, and perhaps should, have been in front before the opening goal but Charlie Wyke missed two fantastic opportunities.
Charlton took the lead when Scowen's attempted clearance on the line hit the roof of the net after Ryan Inniss' header was only half saved by Lee Burge.
Addicks striker Jayden Stockley had already headed against the post when Gilbey latched on to his flick-on just after the hour to add the second from close range.
Scowen made amends to put Sunderland back in it with a 20-yard diving header, after goalkeeper Ben Amos had denied Wyke again.
But the Wearsiders could not find a way to level things up in a frantic five minutes of stoppage-time.
Bradford vs Grimsby - Prediction Home win
Result - Bradford 1 Grimsby 0
Grimsby were reduced to 10 men after Stefan ‘Awfy’ Payne was sent off at the end of the first half for appearing to headbutt his own team-mate, winger Filipe ‘Minor’ Morais.
After an even first half-hour, the home side began to test the Grimsby defence and after 33 minutes visiting keeper James McKeown made the first serious save of the game when he dived full length to keep out Gareth ‘Good’ Evans' shot on the turn.
Right-back Finn ‘Myperfect’ Cousin-Dawson then had a fierce shot blocked in a crowded goalmouth two minutes later as Bradford stepped up the pressure.
Andy Cook then saw his diving header deflected for a corner after the Grimsby defence failed to clear Conor ‘Tiger’ Wood's left-wing cross and this led to Bradford taking the lead in the 42nd minute.
The visitors could only partially clear the corner and when Evans returned the ball into the goalmouth, Anthony O'Connor scored with a diving header from close range as Morais flicked the ball towards his own goal.
Then after the one minute allowed for stoppage time, Payne, apparently annoyed with Morais for a misplaced pass, appeared to headbutt his own team-mate and was shown a red card by referee James Bell as the players left the field.
Grimsby made a determined bid for an equaliser in the second half, with their best effort coming in the 74th minute when Bradford goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell did well to block a fierce shot from substitute Harry ‘Bernie’ Clifton.
Cheltenham vs Leyton Orient - Prediction Home win
Result - Cheltenham 1 Orient 0
A first-half Conor ‘Rufus’ Thomas penalty was enough for Cheltenham to see off Leyton Orient.
The home side dominated the early chances, with the first coming after just nine minutes when Andy ‘Moon River’ Williams headed just wide.
Charlie ‘Sleeve’ Raglan fired just wide before the opening goal arrived in the 31st minute when Orient goalkeeper Lawrence ‘Vim and’ Vigouroux clattered into Williams.
That earned the Robins a penalty and the O's keeper a yellow card, and Thomas made no mistake from the spot.
Chris ‘Brazen’ Hussey put another effort wide shortly afterwards before both keepers were called into action early in the second half.
First Cheltenham's Josh ‘Melanie’ Griffiths reacted well to push a point-blank Danny Johnson header over the crossbar and then an excellent diving save from Vigouroux denied Liam ‘Harry’ Sercombe at the other end.
Orient saw plenty of the ball in the closing stages but failed to get past a solid Cheltenham defence.
Salford City vs Stevenage - Prediction Home win
Result - Salford 2 Stevenage 1
Yippee aye yippee aye YAY!
Richie ‘Beach’ Towell spurned a glorious opportunity to hand the hosts an early lead when he volleyed over from close range inside 10 minutes.
Stevenage also threatened an opener in an even first half but Elliott ‘Chopin’ List was thwarted from an acute angle by the onrushing Vaclav Hladky.
Despite failing to record a shot on target in the opening period, Salford began the second half with promise and were rewarded when Brandon Thomas-Asante converted a Towell cross shortly after the restart.
The lead proved short-lived, however, with Luther Wildin's thunderous strike from outside the area arrowing into the top corner beyond a helpless Hladky.
Thomas-Asante fired a free-kick from long range against the crossbar as the hosts looked to reclaim their advantage and, with 76 minutes gone, Ian Henderson nodded in an Ibou Touray corner to give Salford the win.
That was last week; what about this week? Well, you may have heard that Prince Philip died last week [You’ve told us already. - Ed.]. Well, not content with annoying the nation’s TV watchers, he’s now doing the same for us footy fans. How so, I hear you say. His funeral is due to take place at 3pm on Saturday 17th of April... Just when we all settle down to listen to the footy on the wireless. And? And, they’ve only been and gorn and moved all the games to 12.30. Oh well, nothing can be done about it now so, for this week only, all The Grambler’s predictions relate to games taking place at 12.30. Let’s see what he/she/it has randomly selected.
Game - Result - Odds
Luton vs Watford - Away win - 3/4
Middlesbrough vs QPR - Home win - Evens
Charlton vs Ipswich - Home win - 10/11
Grimsby vs Bolton - Away win - 10/11
Morecambe vs Oldham - Home win - 10/11
The bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles and 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and if The Grambler’s predictions are spot on, the Bobby Moore Fund stands (or sits) to win a whopping...
A whole 6 pees more than we didn’t win last week.
Yay! How did you get on with last week’s five questions? Here are the answers.
1. Who am I?
I was born in 1957 in Hayes, Middlesex. I joined Tottenham Hotspur’s youth squad in 1970 and progressed to the senior team in 1975. I made 377 appearances during which I scored 105 goals. I earned 53 caps for England. My managerial career took me to five clubs and I was also England manager for three years. Although my success rate was high at 60%, I was dismissed due to my views on disabled people.
Answer - Glenn Hoddle
2. Which Irish player has won three European Cup winners medals?
Answer - Steve Heighway (Liverpool 1977, 1978 and 1981)
3. Which Polish player has made over 200 Premier League appearances?
Answer - Łukasz Fabiański (271 and counting)
4. Which England manager won the most England caps in his playing career?
Answer - Stuart Pearce (78)
5. Which national side was given the nickname ‘The Pirate Ship’ after Euro 2004?
Answer - Greece
What about a few for this week?
1. Who am I? [Who cares? - Ed.]
I was born in Rotterdam in 1983. I began my senior career at Feyenoord and returned to end my playing career there. I played for Arsenal, Manchester United and Fenerbache in between. In 435 career club appearances I scored over 200 goals. I was capped for Netherlands 102 times and scored 50 international goals.
2. Which Scot set a competition record by scoring 14 UEFA Cup goals in a single campaign.
3. How old was Stanley Matthews when he won Ballon d’Or, a prize given to the best European player each year?
4. Which English club reached the final of both the UEFA Cup and the Europa League, but lost on both occasions?
5. Which club has won the most National League Titles?
There you have it; five teasers to test you. Can you answer them without resorting to Googlie or Bung (or any other search engine, for that matter)?
Remember the serious message...
As usual (at the risk of repeating myself), I remind you 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
Please, take a few minutes to watch an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s). Click on this link.
And finally, Cyril...
And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, you may be aware that a certain Prince Philip died last week. [Yes, you keep telling us. - Ed.] Well, spare a thought for Australian comedian, Lewis Spears. They do say comedy is all about timing. By the way, that is most definitely NFSW.
That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week (well, most weeks) by going to the blog at www.thegrambler.com where you can also catch up on any previous editions you may have missed.