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…
Have you ever played the lads’ (or ladettes’) party game where you are watching something on television and every time a certain person/topic/event gets mentioned, you have to down a shot of (insert alcoholic beverage of choice here)? It is often done when a football match is on. If the commentator uses the word ‘cynical’ to describe a foul, for example. World Cups tend to cause booze shortages in supermarkets throughout the land as drinkers have to down industrial quantities of bevvy because the pundits won’t stop mentioning things like ‘1966’ or ‘Geoff Hurst’.
Why do I mention this? Well, the best viewing for the drinking game now seems to be news bulletins. Politicians are forever using the word ‘robust’, or ‘choices’. Last year we had no end of terms that could have caused serious liver damage. ‘Unprecedented’ whenever the pandemic was being discussed. See also ‘PPE shortages’, ‘NHS heroes’, ‘Captain Tom’ and ‘Astra Zenica’
This week, with all the mud sticking to a certain Mr Bozza, there is a new word that all the politicians are spouting at us constantly; ‘transparent’ or ‘transparency’. Come on you educated politicians (apparently, there are some) think up something original to say. What is wrong with frankness, openness, candour, truthfulness? [You swallowed a thesaurus? - Ed.]
Speaking of the news, I've had a dig or two at the British Broadcorping Casteration's news coverage during this pandemic. Well, I'm going to do it again.
This time it is nothing to do with all the moaning about anything and everything that we are having to deal with through the crisis.
Instead, I want to consider the miserable news reporters and the fact that we, Joe public, get treated as if we are utterly thick.
First off: gloomy reporters. We have all had to deal with Orla Guerilla (Do you see what I did there?) for a few years now. She's the one that reports from war zones, so it's understandable that she won't exactly be a barrel of laughs. However, there is a new kid on the block. Her name is (not quite) Sarah Porker. And she really is a misery guts. She is just so depressing. She makes old Orla seem like Ken Dodd. Everything this corker says is done at a slow, mournful drawl. She's probably turned to TV journalism because she was considered too depressing to be a funeral director.
I also said that we, the viewers, are being treated like we were idiots. How so, I hear you ask. Have you seen Fergal Belch and his amazing computer wall? [What the devil are you talking about? - Ed.] Let me explain. Computer graphics are remarkable these days, I think you'll agree. And those folk in the news room who are tasked with providing the panels that give relevant information when a reporter is giving his or her spiel are having a whale of a time.
The presenter may be walking by a shop and the wall of the building is being viewed from an angle; and the artistic graphics folk give us an information panel that is at that same angle; it will even have the same perspective so that as the wall tapers away into the distance, so too does the graphic display. All very clever... and a bit showy offy, if truth be told. Yes, aren't you having fun.
So what of Fergie and his magic wall? Most reports that health correspondent Findus Wash gives have him standing in front of the same breeze block wall and up come his information panels. Now here's the treating us like morons bit. We know it's only a display that can be seen on our TV screens. We are perfectly aware that there is nothing projected onto that wall. It is just a convenient white space. We are also aware that Mr Welsh can't see anything on that wall. So why the f*** does he look towards the wall as if he is reading what he is saying? Pillock!
They all do it, not just Furby Whelk. Sometimes, they even use his bit of wall. I mean, the cheek of it. That's Fungus’s wall, not yours Mr Huge Pin.
Sadly, I can no longer watch a news report without getting annoyed at the clever-dick computer graphics.
There might be a lamppost which a reporter is standing beside. Sure enough, up will come the graphics. And sure enough, they will look as if they are wrapped around the lamppost showing that it has a tubular construction. Yes, very bloody clever. And sure enough, the reporter will look at, or even point at, the lamppost to make us think that there is actually something there. Arrgh! Stop it!
And another thing... Don't stop me now, I'm on a roll... when the news bulletin begins, there is Clyde Wiry, or whatever he is called, sitting at his desk. Next, he has to go and stand in front of a big TV screen. Then, he has to sit down again. Why? Why does the news reader have to leave his or her desk. It doesn't do anything to assist us viewers. All it does is let us know that they've got legs.
‘Look I've got legs. Aren't they nice? Right, I'll sit down again, now that you've seen my lovely pins.’
Please do us all a favour and stop trying to be clever. Just read the news. It’s what you are paid to do. That’s it.
Phew. I feel better for that.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 1st of May? Of course there were. Here are some that even I know.
Emsley Carr 1867 - Newspaper editor. Was in charge at the News of the World for over 50 years. Better remembered nowadays as the name behind the Emsley Carr Mile, an annual invitational race run over... can you guess how far?
Jane Cain 1909 - Who? She was a telephonist. And? Hers was the original voice of the speaking clock. You had to dial 846, to get the correct time. Why those numbers in that order? Those numbers spelled out T-I-M.
James Copeland 1918 - Jobbing actor. 96 credits on IMDb. Here’s a thing... I’m not sure if there was a shortage of Scottish character actors in the 1960s, but between 1962 and 1970 he appeared in nine episodes of Dr. Finlay’s Casebook, playing eight different characters.
Marne Maitland 1920 - Jobbing actor. Perhaps his name isn’t that well-known, but if you were a TV exec in the 1950s, 60s, 70s and beyond, looking for a swarthy skinned type to play a villain, Marne was the go-to guy. He has 164 credits on IMDb of a screen career lasting from 1947 to 1990.
Billy Steele 1923 - Fitba guy.
Dennis Main Wilson 1924 - TV producer. I don’t mean he... [Don’t. Just, don’t. - Ed.] Spoilsport. From the 1950s up to the 80s, he seemed to work with most of the stars of British light entertainment. Here is just a sample: Charley Chester, Eric Sykes, Lance Percival, Bernard Cribbins, Roy Castle, Terry Scott, Eleanor Bron, Dick Emery, John Bird, John Fortune, Marty Feldman, Barry Humphries [He’s Australian. - Ed.] and Spike Milligan.
Una McLean 1930 - Actress, often in comedies. Still Game; she made a guest appearance in that.
Julian Mitchell 1935 - Orfer. Writes a lot of telly stuff. Inspector Morse; he wrote a few of those.
Ray Smith 1936 - Actor. George Barraclough in Sam. That was him.
Una Stubbs 1937 - Actress. Rita Rawlins in Till Death Us Do Part. Her. Not Cherie Blair’s mum.
Cyd Hayman 1944 - Actress. Nina in Manhunt. Her.
Joanna Lumley 1946 - National treasure darling. Ken Barlow’s girlfriend in Coronation Street.
Archie Knox 1947 - Fitba guy.
Tim Hodgkinson 1949 - Musician. A clip? Here’s a track from his first band, Henry Cow, Amygdala.
Danny McGrain 1950 - Fitba guy.
Anthony Worrall-Thompson 1951 - TV chef.
Rob Spendlove 1953 - Actor. Lt. Michael Stubbs in Soldier Soldier. Him.
Charles Green 1953 - He is described on Wikipedia as a ‘venture capitalist’. Hmm. I only include him here because he is a former Chief Executive of Rangers F.C.
Donna Hartley 1955 - Afflete. She married Robert Wass, better known as comedian, Bobby Knutt. She called herself Donna Hartley-Wass, but I think Donna Knutt would have sounded better.
Nick Feldman 1955 - Musician. He was in Wang Chung. A clip? Why not. Here’s Everybody Have Fun Tonight.
Paul Gardiner 1958 - Musician. Bassist with Tubeway Army. Here is Down in the Park.
Owen Paul 1962 - Musician. A clip? Here’s his hit, My Favourite Waste of Time... but not the original. Oh no. And definitely not the embarrassing Pebble Mill broadcast; that would just be cruel. No, this is a lockdown version featuring a few famous faces.
Lady Sarah Chatto 1964 - Betty’s niece, Chas, Annie, Andy and Ed’s cousin.
Anthony Child aka Surgeon 1971 - DJ. Let’s have some Trance; here’s Pet 2000.
Tamzin Malleson 1974 - Actress. Penny Neville in Teachers. Her.
Nina Hossain 1975 - Newsreader.
Sacha Dhawan 1984 - Actor. Most recently seen as Orlo in The Great.
Stevie Appleton 1989 - Singer, songwriter and producer. Here he is wondering what he’s supposed to do.
Bevis Mugabe 1995 - Footy bloke. Plays for Motherwell. Just thought you might like to know that.
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Joanna Grambley,
Good to hear Wang Chung again. They were more popular in Canada than the UK. In fact, did they ever have a record get into the Top 40. I think there may have been one, but can’t remember what it was called.
How did The Grambler’s predictions go last week? I can’t quite believe this... we won. Five out of five! Woo hoo! What happened? Read on...
Barnsley vs Rotherham - Home win
Result - Barnsley 1 Rotherham 0
The hosts went ahead in controversial fashion when Carlton ‘Desmond’ Morris headed in but caught Millers goalkeeper Viktor ‘Scarlett’ Johansson with his elbow in challenging for the ball, forcing the Swede off injured.
Rotherham responded well, with Tykes keeper Brad ‘Phil’ Collins denying Freddie Ladapo when clean through and Callum ‘Great’ Brittain blocking Michael Smith's goalbound effort.
Chiedozie Ogbene drew another save from Collins, while replacement Millers keeper Jamal ‘Honor’ Blackman then denied Daryl ‘Dickvan’ Dike
Blackburn vs Huddersfield - Home win
Result - Blackburn 5 Huddersfield 2
Again I say, Yay!
Adam ‘Stretch’ Armstrong scored his second hat-trick of the season as Blackburn swept aside Huddersfield.
First-half goals from Armstrong and Ben Brereton put Rovers in the ascendancy, although a Ryan Nyambe own goal gave Huddersfield hope before the break.
But Blackburn struck three times in seven minutes early in the second half, with Armstrong completing his treble either side of Sam Gallagher's finish.
Huddersfield got a consolation through Josh ‘Toyota’ Koroma's fine left-footed strike.
Cardiff vs Wycombe - Home win
Result - Cardiff 2 Wycombe 1
And again, Yay!
Wycombe fell behind to Kieffer Moore's superbly-taken goal before captain Joe Jacobson levelled with a penalty before half-time.
Moore struck his second after the break to earn Cardiff victory.
QPR vs Norwich - Away win
Result - QPR 1 Norwich 3
One more time... Yay!
The Canaries' attacking threat was in evidence from the kick-off, with the influential Emi Buendia pouncing on a Jordy de Wijs back-header and lobbing Seni Dieng, only for the ball to sail just wide.
Kieran Dowell also tested Dieng twice, but the goalkeeper was found wanting in the 32nd minute as Buendia set up Xavi Quintilla, whose 25-yard drive squirmed through his gloves and bobbled over the line for a goal.
QPR threatened an immediate equaliser when Ilias ‘Hi’ Chair played Lyndon ‘Drystone’ Dykes through, but Tim Krul blocked the shot to preserve the visitors' lead.
The Dutch keeper produced another crucial stop with his legs 10 minutes after the restart, denying Dykes from the spot after Grant ‘Jenny’ Hanley had felled Chris Willock.
Max Aarons quickly doubled his side's advantage, meeting Kenny ‘Una’ McLean's far-post cross with a volley that whistled beyond Dieng.
However, Rangers substitutes Albert Adomah and Charlie ‘Chummy’ Austin combined for Dykes to halve the deficit from close range - and Austin then spurned a chance to equalise, nodding Adomah's pinpoint cross wide.
Buendia wrapped up the points eight minutes from time, with McLean again providing the assist for the midfielder to steer into the net.
Watford vs Millwall - Home win
Result - Watford 1 Millwall 0
And for the last time this week, YAAAAYYYY!
Ismaila Sarr's composed 11th-minute penalty, after the Senegal winger was brought down in the box by Billy ‘Phil’ Mitchell, proved enough for the Hornets.
Mitchell drew a save from home keeper Daniel Bachmann before the break with a shot from outside the box before Mason ‘Gordon’ Bennett saw his follow-up effort clip the top of the bar.
Bachmann clawed away a close-range effort from a corner as Millwall pressed for an equaliser in the second half, but Watford held on to secure the win.
So, well done The Grambler. Can you do the same again this week? [I doubt that very much. - Ed.] What has he/she/it come up with?
Game - Result - Odds
Millwall vs Bristol City - Home win - 19/20
Norwich vs Reading - Home win - 4/7
Plymouth vs Sunderland - Away win - 4/7
Shrewsbury vs Oxford - Away win - 5/6
Bradford vs Scunthorpe - Home win -
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...
£9.14, eh? Can The Grambler do it two weeks in a row? [In a word, no. - Ed.]
Yay! How did you get on with last week’s five questions? Here are the answers.
1. Who am I?
I was born in 1938 in Motherwell. I began my senior career at Motherwell, scoring 105 goals in just 144 appearances. I famously scored a hat-trick against Hibs in 2 minutes 30 seconds, one of the fastest ever recorded. In 1961 I moved to Liverpool and played 425 games for them over the next ten years. After my playing career ended, I managed Motherwell and Portsmouth, and was assistant manager at both Sheffield Wednesday and Coventry City. I later moved on to TV work and became half of a famous double-act.
Answer - Ian St John
And talking of hat-tricks...
2. Which player scored four Premier League hat-tricks for Southampton?
Answer - Matt Le Tissier
3. Let’s stick with hat-tricks. Who scored the first Premier League hat-trick?
Answer - Eric Cantona
4. Which player has scored the most Premier League hat-tricks?
Answer - Sergio Agüero (12)
5. Which player has scored the most Scottish Premiership hat-tricks?
Answer - Leigh Griffiths (5)
Okeydoke, how about some for this week?
1. Who am I?
I wasv born in 1973 in Suriname. I began my senior career at Ajax where I played 106 games and scored 20 goals. I was a defensive midfielder and nicknamed ‘The Pitbull’ because of my hard-tackling, aggressive style of play. I was capped 74 times for Netherlands. I was easily recognised on the pitch because I wore protective goggles due to glaucoma.
2. What Premier League feat has been achieved by Andy Cole, Alan Shearer, Jermain Defoe, Dmitar Berbatov and Sergio Aguero?
3. What nationality is Manchester city player Zack Steffen?
4. What is the only French club to have won the Champions League title?
5. Which two English players have each scored two Champions League Hat-Tricks?
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26HWQXMalX4
And finally, Cyril...
And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to a Mr B. Cribbins for our final link of the week. He received a brief mention in the birthday honours, but this particular item is included solely because of the current rumpus of Bozza’s decorating bill and who did, or didn’t, pay for the work. I wonder if this lot were involved in the refurbishment... No wonder it cost so much.
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.