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 been watching the Euros? I have tried to watch most of the games and, by and large, they have been enjoyable. Let's not think too much about Scotland's performances. They only seemed to come alive for one game, but they still couldn't fashion a win out of it. A famous draw doesn't sound as good as a famous win. And don't mention the goalie on the half way line. As you all know, I like to watch Motherwell... somebody's got to do it... and while I don't generally shout when I'm watching, the one thing that makes me give voice is when the goalkeeper ventures too far out of the box. Then you will hear me screaming, 'Get back on your line you stupid cu... [Steady. - Ed.] goalkeeper!', which is exactly what I was shouting at the TV moments before Czech Republic scored their second goal.
Once again, as in every tournament of this nature there is a massive spoiler for me... the commentators. Every game has to have an English link somewhere, according to them.
The most exciting games were, for me, the last group games where Portugal were leading France and Turkey were beating Germany. At various times during the games the group 'as it stands' information was displayed on the screen. At one moment Germany wouldn't qualify, then, as another goal got scored, Portugal would be the team that wouldn't qualify. In the end, it was Turkey that failed to get through to the next round.
Okay, those of you with little interest in the beautiful game are perhaps bored with me imparting such information but, bear with me [Behhh. - Ed.] ahem... this does lead somewhere.
When these informative details were shown on the screen, the commentators and 'match summarisers' (For match summariser, read annoying ex-footballer who likes to talk about how things have changed since his day.) spent the time not really bothering about which teams would qualify for the next stage, instead talking at some length about which team England would meet in the next round.
The information details are barely up for half a minute, but they managed to talk about whether it would be better for England to face France, Portugal or Germany for the next five minutes or so when they should have been telling us, the viewers, what was happening in the match we were watching... a match where England were not even bloody involved!
As I mentioned earlier, there is always that England link which must be crowbarred in somewhere. A fact such as the German player who grew up in England and had English parents, but was born in Germany and chose Germany over England when it came to representing a country.
If any of the footballers play for an English club, that has to be mentioned, of course. During one of the matches it was speculated that a particular club might be 'interested' in a player. Why is that of any blibbing importance?
One commentator even thought it important to tell us that the man in charge of VAR for a particular game was an Englishman.
It really doesn't matter how trivial a fact might be, if there is any minute snippet of information linking a foreign player to England, the commentators will find it and tell us about it...
'An interesting fact about this player is that his mother once went out with someone from Rotherham.'
'His great aunt once visited Sidcup.'
'His great great grandmother on his father's side once shook hands with a man from Uttoxeter.'
Okay, I may have made those up, but they do illustrate how tenuous some of the associations with England are.
Sadly, as we now know, England faced Germany in the last 16. I say sadly, because it meant that the commentary team had a ball referring to 1966 every few minutes. Well, I'm assuming they did because, after the first few minutes of jingoistic tub-thumping, I couldn't take any more and had to turn the sound off.
Sadder still, England beat Germany. You know what that means, don't you? Barry Longacre, Alien Shearing and the rest of the pundits will be hailing this England squad as the greatest team ever and won't stop telling us about it from now until they get beaten. And if they do get beaten, you can bet that everything other than the team will be blamed... poor refereeing, dirty tackles from the other team, VAR not working properly... If only an English ref had been on VAR duties.
Honestly, I have nothing against the team; if they play well and win a game or two, then that is great. I just can't stand the crowing from the media.
I opened my (least) favourite newspaper, the Maily Dail, today to find that not only was the England/Germany game occupying most of the sports pages, but the first six pages were also filled with articles with headlines such as 'England erupts as we beat old foe at Wembley - ending 55 years of hurt'. Or, how about 'England Joy as Dam Finally Bursts'? The wartime references of beating Jerry are clear for all to see. If the newspaper could play the Dambusters March at this point it surely would. Jeez! No wonder the EU were glad to see the back of us. We were also told to head to pages 4 and 5 with the line 'Misery for Germans'... Cue Winston Churchill, 'We will fight them on the beaches, etc.'
I said I wanted England to do well, but I've just thought of something awful that would happen if they do win... that awful Three Lions song by Frank Skinner and David Baddiel would get to number one. Again.
Come on the
Sorry, I meant Denmark.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 3rd of July? Of course there were. Here are some that even I know.
Robert Adam 1728 - Architect.
Doris Lloyd 1896 - Jobbing actress. 203 IMDb credits. Wow!
Ludwig Guttmann 1899 - Neurologist. Never heard of him? He is the man who came up with the concept of the paralympic games.
George Sanders 1906 - Actor. If ever a posh scoundrel was needed, George was your man. Voiced Shere Khan in 1967’s Jungle Book.
Michael Barrington 1924 - Actor. Governor Venables in Porridge. Him.
Ken Russell 1927 - Film director.
Robert Robertson 1930 - Actor with unimaginative parents. Dr. Stephen Andrews in Taggart. Him.
Tom Stoppard 1937 - Playwright.
Gary Waldhorn 1943 - Actor. David Horton in The Vicar of Dibley. Him.
Paul Young 1944 - Actor. Shug in Still Game. Him.
Gavin Richards 1946 - Actor. Terry Raymond in Eastenders. Him.
Susan Penhaligon 1949 - Actress. Prue Sorenson in Bouquet of Barbed Wire. Her.
John Verity 1949 - Musician. Here he is fronting his own band, Verity, with Rescue Me.
Andy Fraser 1952 - Musician. Began his career as bassist with Free, but here is a later solo track, Fine Fine Line.
Kate Fitzgerald 1956 - Actress. Loretta Chase in Benidorm. Her.
Poly Styrene 1957 - Singer with X-Ray Spex. Here’s their biggie, Germ Free Adolescents.
Sian Lloyd 1958 - Weather lady.
Charlie Higson 1958 - Actor, comedian and orfer.
Julie Burchill 1959 - Journalist, writer and broadcaster.
Graham Roberts 1959 - Footy bloke.
Vince Clarke 1960 - Musician. Keyboard wizard with Depeche Mode, Yazoo, The Assembly and Erasure. Let’s have a bit of Yazoo, here's Don't Go.
Tim Smith 1961 - Frontman with The Cardiacs. Have a clip. Here’s Is This The Life.
Mark Cotgrove aka Snowboy 1961 - Bandleader. Here’s a bit of... Latin jazz? It’s The New Avengers
Suzanne Dando 1961 - Gymnasticky bloke.
Tracey Emin 1963 - Artist, it says here.
Joanne Harris 1964 - Orfer. Chocolat, that was one of hers.
Tommy Flanagan 1965 - Actor. Filip ‘Chibs’ Telford in Sons of Anarchy. Him.
Alain Whyte 1967 - Musician. Known as Morrissey’s main songwriting partner. Co-wrote this one, Irish Blood English Heart.
Arlene Foster 1970 - Norn Airsh politician.
Benedict Wong 1971 - Actor. Mr Wickfield in The Personal History of David Copperfield. Him.
Julian Assange 1971 - Namedropper.
Mathew Bose 1967, 1973 or 1977 (depending on which information source you use) - Actor. Paul Lambert in Emmerdale. Him.
Emma Cunniffe 1973 - Actor. Sydney in Roadkill. Her.
Dan Clark 1976 - Actor, writer and comedian. Wrote and starred in How Not to Live Your Life.
How did The Grambler’s predictions fare last week? Well, the first two games went according to The Grambler’s predictions, but then just went to pot. So, a little bit of dosh back. 74 pees to be precise. What happened?
Italy vs Austria - Sat/8pm - Italy to win - Corretto/Richtig
Belgium vs Portugal - Sun/8pm - Belgium to win - Correct/Corrigir
France vs Switzerland - Mon/8pm - France to win - Erreur/Erreur
England vs Germany - Tues/5pm - Germany to win - Wrong/Falsch
Sweden vs Ukraine - Tues/8pm - Sweden to win - Orätt/Неправильно
Okay how about some predictions for this weekend’s Euro games? Uh oh. We’re at the quarter finals stage. Only four games to choose from. I know, let’s go for all possible bets on the four. Sorry pardon excuse me? Yes, we’ll have singles, doubles, trebles and the four game accumulator. Fifteen bets in total. Yes, I know that means upping the amount we bet from £2.20 to £3 but, come on, it’s the Euros. It won’t happen again... Well, not until the World Cup next year. So, what has The Grambler randomly selected?
Game - Day/time - Result - Odds
Switzerland vs Spain - Fri/5pm - Spain to win - 8/13
Belgium vs Italy - Fri/8pm - Italy to win - 11/8
Czech Rep. vs Denmark - Sat/5pm - Denmark to win - 11/10
Ukraine vs England - Sat/8pm - England to win - 2/5
Spain to beat Switzerland? Italy to beat Belgium? Hmm... Any road up, if they all go as predicted by The Grambler, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to win the grand sum of...
Hardly grand. Just, okayish. [You won’t win; save your money. - Ed.]
Okay, as this week’s blog is somewhat late, we already know the results of these games. They all went as predicted by The Grambler. Yay! No, not yay. Spain took too long over it. You what? You see, the bets were based on the result after 90 minutes. The Spain Switzerland game went to extra time and, ultimately, penalties. That meant that the bet failed. Boo! However, the other three games won us some dosh. Yay! How much? Erm... £4.92. Thus, from our £3 bet we won... now, let me see... no, don’t rush me... £1.92. Better than a slap in the puss.
Yay! How did you get on with last time’s five questions? Here are the answers.
1. Who am I?
I was born in Bayonne in 1968. I was a defensive midfielder and played the bulk of my senior career at Nantes, Marseilles and Juventus, making over 100 appearances for each club. I was capped more than 100 times for my country. I captained them for both a World Cup and a Euros title. I am currently manager of a team which is in Euros 2020.
Answer - Didier Deschamps
2. Which country has featured in the top eight placed teams the most times without ever being champions?
Answer - Engerland
3. Which country has appeared in the finals the most times without ever progressing beyond the group stage?
Answer - Scotland
4. How old was Norway’s Martin Ødegaard when he played in a qualifying match against Bulgaria in 2016?
Answer - 15 years 300 days, making him the youngest ever player in a qualifying match.
5. How many stadia [Show-off! - Ed.] have been used as venues for this years tournament?
Answer - 11. Do you want me to list them? No? Good.
What about a few for this week?
1. Who am I?
I was born in 1976 in Dvirkivshchyna which at that time was in the Soviet Union. I played for Dynamo Kyiv at the start of my senior career before moving to Milan and Chelsea. I returned to Dynamo to end my career. In all, I played 704 games and scored 343 goals. I scored a total of 176 times for Milan making me the second most prolific player in the club’s history. After my playing career, I tried politics before moving into football management.
2. Which club was represented by the most players at the Euro 2020 finals?
3. Where will Euro 2024 be held?
4. Which team has appeared in the finals eight times and has always progressed from the group stages?
5. Which player has appeared in the most consecutive finals?
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
[I hope you don’t give us another silly football name gag. - Ed.]
Oh go on, let me.
[Weeeell... - Ed.]
‘Ay up, did you hear my lad, our Daniel, was to get a new company van?’
‘Aye, I’d heard that he wanted a Transit.’
‘Nay, he couldn’t have a Transit, he’s been told he had to buy British... well, English.’
‘Well, that’s not fair; not when your Dan picked Ford.’
[Are you going to do one, then? - Ed.]
That was it.
[What was it? - Ed.]
Your Dan picked Ford... Jordan Pickford. Do you get it?
[Oh, the goalkeeper. I see. Feeble. - Ed.]
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.