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
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…
You may have noticed that there is a Saturday evening programme on at the moment called Strictly Come Dancing. Frankly, the only way you could have avoided the fact is if you have not watched TV, read a newspaper or looked at a computer... In which case, why am I writing this; you won’t see this either. No, I’ll carry on regardless. [One of the earlier films of the series. - Ed.] Honestly, it seems to be the most important news these days. The newspapers and news programmes are full of stories about people dropping out because they’ve torn a ligament or are self-isolating because they’ve been in contact with covid [I wish they’d all self-isolate. - Ed.]
You may also have noticed that I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here is also on our screens; weather and food-poisoning permitting.
There are many other celebrity shows on television: The Masked Singer, Dancing On Ice, Celebrity Masterchef to name just three. These shows have the nation talking as one whenever the programme makers announce those taking part, because I would be willing to wager that everyone’s reaction is the same: Who?
Admit it, when was the last time you recognised more than just a couple of celebs on these programmes? It is more likely that a person would be more famous after appearing in one of these programmes... though that isn’t a given.
The only one I recognised from I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here (known as simply I’m A Celebrity, these days) was Richard Madeley, a man who hasn’t had his own show on television since 2008, being only a ‘relief’ presenter these days. [I suppose if anyone took over from Phillip Schofield, that would be a relief. - Ed.] As for Strictly Come Dancing (known as Strictly), I only knew Adam Peaty and he’s a swimmer. I wouldn’t class a sportsman as a celebrity, but I’m guessing anyone is considered these days. I recognised someone else’s face; I believe they present an early morning news programme, but I couldn’t be certain.
Quiz shows are at it too. Catchphrase, Tipping Point, The Chase, they all have their celebrity editions. Those involved seem to be very minor celebrities, indeed. Occasionally somebody really famous will crop up. Usually it is someone who hasn’t been seen on TV for a long long time. I say famous; I’m talking Christopher Biggins/Timmy Mallett fame here.
The makers of one celebrity quiz show at least put their cards on the table. That programme is Pointless. The rest all stick the word celebrity in front of the usual title; Pointless is refreshingly different by telling it like it is: Pointless Celebrities. None of this pretending that these individuals are anything but worthless or past it.
If they are struggling for moderately famous people now, what will it be like in the future? I can just imagine Alexander (Zarnder) Armstrong introducing the guests...
‘Hello and welcome to Pointless. Let’s meet our Pointless celebrities. Couple number one!’
‘Hi, my name is Rodney Chuffington and I played the front end of the pantomime cow in ITV’s Christmas panto in 1987’
‘And I’m Hugh Jaxie and I played the back end.’
‘Couple number two!’
‘Hello, my name is Molly Toothache and I played the little girl who asked her grandfather for a Werther’s Original.’
‘Hi, my name is Eric Pervert and I played the grandfather giving her one.’
‘Couple number three!’
‘Hello, my name is Benjamin Cucumberpatch and I played the man who stares open-mouthed as Michael Crawford whizzes by on roller skates in Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em, the man who stares open-mouthed as Compo whizzes by in a tin bath in Last of the Summer Wine and the man who stares open-mouthed as Hyacinth Bucket climbs a fence and ends up sitting on his prize cucumber in Keeping Up Appearances.’
Hi, my name is Olive Coalman and I played his, equally open-mouthed, wife.’
‘Couple number four!’
‘Well, hello dahhhlings. I’m Christopher Biggins.’
‘And I’m Timmy Mallett.’
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 4th of December? Of course there were. Here are some that even I know.
Thomas Carlyle 1795 - Writer, teacher, mathematician, historian, translator, literary critic, philosopher, novelist, essayist, literary historian and linguist... In fact, a right old smarty boots. He was born in Ecclefechan. There is a sign on the M74 saying ‘Thomas Carlyle was born here’. Funny place to be born; on the grass verge beside a motorway.
Edith Cavell 1865 - Nurse. Tended soldiers from both sides in WWI. After helping 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium, she was found guilty of treason and executed by firing squad.
Harry Wingfield 1910 - Illustrator. If you read Ladybird Books Key Words Reading Scheme (featuring Peter and Jane) when you were a nipper, you will know his work.
Michael Bates 1920 - Actor. Blamire in Last of the Summer Wine.
Ronnie Corbett 1930 - Comedian.
James Cossins 1933 - Jobbing actor. His face seemed to be in every British drama in the 1960s through to the 80s. 145 IMDb credits.
Chas McDevitt 1934 - Musician. He had a hit back in the 1950s. Let’s have a clip. Here’s Chas whistling away while Nancy Whiskey sings on Freight Train.
David Bailie 1937 - Actor. Cotton in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
Richard Meade 1938 - Horsey bloke.
Gemma Jones 1942 - Actress. Minnie in Finding Alice.
Eileen O’Brien 1945 - Actress. Maddie Wright in Merseybeat.
Terry Woods 1947 - Musician. One time member of Steeleye Span. Here is their version of the traditional song The Blacksmith.
Jock Stirrup 1949 - Don’t ask.
Barry Blue 1950 - Singer. Here’s one of his two top ten hits, Do You Wanna Dance. [Not particularly. - Ed.] Factoid: He only managed to get a hit record after he adopted his stage name of Barry Blue. His real name is Barry Green.
Philip Hammond 1955 - Politician.
Paul McGrath 1959 - Footy bloke.
Anna Walker 1962 - Television presenter.
Thomas Craig 1962 - Actor. Inspector Brackenreid in 229 episodes (and counting) of Murdoch Mysteries.
Scott Hastings 1964 - Rugby guy.
Nicholas Barnes 1967 - Former actor, now an orfer.
Adam Tinley aka Adamski 1967 - DJ, musician. Have a clip. Here’s N-R-G.
Ian Baraclough 1970 - Footy bloke. Ex-Motherwell manager, you know.
Justin Welch 1972 - Drummy bloke. Played with Suede... the group not the material... before helping to form Elastica. Have a clip. Here’s their best-performing single, Waking Up.
Kate Rusby 1973 - Singer songwriter known as the Barnsley Nightingale. [Any idea where she comes from? - Ed.] Here’s a nice version of the Cure favourite, Friday I'm In Love.
Amar Latif 1974 - Actor/director. What do you mean you’ve never heard of him? He reached the semi-final of Celebrity Masterchef. That’s how famous he is. See above.
Danny Murphy 1982 - Footy bloke. Ex-Motherwell player, you know.
Nathan Stewart-Jarrett 1985 - Johnny Edgecombe in The Trial of Christine Keeler.
I’ve received a letter...
It was lovely to hear your single N-R-G, but something bothers me. Didn’t you have a number one single after that? I seem to remember it featured a singer who went on to have a glittering solo career. He went by only one name. Sting? No, it couldn’t have been him. Bonio? No, he’s not done any solo stuff. No matter. It was very good, I remember that. I’m rubbish at remembering names... I can’t even remember the name of the song. Can you help?
How did The Grambler’s predictions fare last time? Surprisingly, we were actually in profit. Three out of five predictions were spot on and we won £3.96. Woo hoo! A profit of £1.76! What happened? Read on...
Bournemouth vs Coventry - Home win
Result - Bournemouth 2 Coventry 2
Ooh! ’Hit the bar!
There was a degree of luck about Jaidon Anthony's opener on the stroke of half-time as his cross evaded everyone to find the far corner, but he put in a fine centre for Philip Billing to prod home the second.
However, last man Jefferson Lerma received a straight red card for pulling down Sky Blues striker Matty Godden, who pulled one back 17 minutes later by firing home a loose ball in the box.
Todd Kane equalised with a lofted cross-shot over Mark Travers in the fifth minute of added time to earn Coventry a point.
Swansea vs Reading - Home win
Result - Swansea 2 Reading 3
Jamie Paterson put Swansea ahead only for Tom Dele-Bashiru to level within a minute.
Andy Carroll scored before Ryan Manning's fine finish made it 2-2.
But Reading responded 70 seconds later as Danny Drinkwater swept in the winner.
Burton Albion vs Doncaster - Home win
Result - Burton Albion 2 Doncaster 0
Second-half goals from Tom O'Connor and Daniel Jebbison eased Burton to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Doncaster.
Both sides struggled to create opportunities in the bitter and windy conditions but Albion started briskly.
In a frustrating half it was Rovers keeper Pontus Dahlberg who was twice called upon to keep his side level as defenders Tom Hamer and Ryan Leak both tested him from scrappy situations inside the Doncaster penalty area.
Albion continued to press and they got their reward 10 minutes after the break when O'Connor's curling free-kick evaded everyone inside the six-yard box and ended up in the back of the net.
Dahlberg denied Jonny Smith, who then saw an effort bounce back off the inside of the post, before Jebbison made it two acrobatically firing in from close range.
Forest Green vs Bristol Rovers - Home win
Result - Forest Green 2 Bristol Rovers 0
Jamille Matt opened the scoring in the first half and added a second from the penalty spot late on despite Udoka Godwin-Malife's red card reducing the hosts to 10 men just after the hour.
Forest Green bossed the game from the start and finally unlocked Rovers as Ben Stevenson's pass released the scampering Matt, who ran through to plant the ball under James Belshaw.
Matty Stevens then nodded onto the bar from a Stevenson cross as Forest Green turned up the heat.
Rovers started the second half with intent and were given hope when Godwin-Malife received a second yellow for a push on Harry Anderson.
Matt bagged his second of the day and 10th of the season from the spot with 13 minutes left, drilling beyond Belshaw after Antony Evans was adjudged to have handled Ebou Adams' strike.
Port Vale vs Hartlepool - Home win
Result - Port Vale 2 Hartlepool 0
Ben Garrity and Tom Pett scored Port Vale's goals as they comfortably beat visitors Hartlepool.
Both sides struggled to trouble their opponents' defences in the opening half-hour, with long-range shots from Vale's David Worrall and Hartlepool's Nicky Featherstone, both of which comfortably cleared the bar, all they could muster between them.
But, after that incident-free start to the game came the first goal. The menacing David Amoo got to the by-line and sent a teasing ball across goal where Garrity's scuffed finish was enough to bundle the ball past Ben Killip and over the line.
The hosts went close to doubling their lead midway through the second half when a fine passing move resulted in Pett volleying over the bar.
James Gibbons and Dan Jones forced good saves out of Killip while Hartlepool were unable to register a single shot of note on target at the other end.
And, with time ticking down, Pett skipped past some weak challenges before drilling in the second to secure the Valiants' victory.
Okeydokey, how about some predictions for this week? Can The Grambler make it a profit for two weeks running? [Unlikely, I would say. - Ed.]
Game - Result - Odds
Nottingham Forest vs Peterborough - Home win - 8/11
Aberdeen vs St Mirren - Home win - 10/11
Queen of the South vs Partick - Away win - 17/20
Albion vs Forfar - Away win - 19/20
Cowdenbeath vs Stirling - Away win - 19/20
The bets have been placed - Ten 20 pee doubles plus a single 20 pee accumulator. If the results go as predicted by The Grambler, the Bobby Moore Fund will be richer to the tune of a whopping
Hmm... Getting a bit too whopping now.
Yay! How did you get on with last time’s five questions? Here are the answers.
1. Who am I?
I was born in 1976 in Dakar, Senegal. I began my senior career at Cannes before moving to Milan. I then moved to Arsenal for nine years before moving to Juventus, then Inter Milan and, finally Manchester City. I was capped for France 107 times. I now manage a Premier League side.
Answer - Patrick Vieira
2. Who is the longest-serving manager in the Premier League?
Answer - Shaun Dyche. 9 years.
3. Jimmy Armfield spent his entire playing career with which club?
Answer - Blackpool
4. Which club plays at the Peninsula Stadium, Moor Lane?
Answer - Salford City
5. Name all the teams with ‘Town’ in their name that have played in the Football League (from 1888 to date)... there are 19 in all.
Answer - Walsall Town Swifts, Rotherham Town, Luton Town, Chesterfield Town, Huddersfield Town, Swindon Town, Swansea Town, Merthyr Town, Northampton Town, Halifax Town, Mansfield Town, Ipswich Town, Shrewsbury Town, Macclesfield Town, Cheltenham Town, Yeovil Town, Crawley Town, Fleetwood Town and Harrogate Town
Phew! How about another five for this week?
1. Who am I?
I was born in Singapore in 1958. I am 6’ 4” tall and played as a defender. I spent most of my playing career with Ipswich Town before moving to Rangers in 1986. I was capped for England 77 times. After retiring as a player, I moved into club management and have spent the bulk of my managerial career in Scotland.
2. Which team won the league and FA Cup double in 1971?
3. Which club was originally known as Thames Ironworks FC?
4. Which club has a Yorkshire Terrier on its club crest?
5. Jack Charlton spent his entire senior playing career with which club?
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)? Have fun testing your mates down the pub (as long as you are socially distanced).
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. The amount raised is a little out of date, though. Check the Justgiving page link given at the beginning of this blog to see the current figure.
And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. R. Corbett who provides us with this week’s closing item. Ronnie Corbett was one of Britain’s best-loved comedians, it says here, and when he was working with Ronnie Barker in a show titled, appropriately enough, The Two Ronnies he used to have a solo spot each week where he sat in a big chair and told a joke. Is that it, I hear you ask. His only solo spot and he told a joke! Not much of a solo spot, more a solo pimple. Anyway, his style was that he would ramble on for several minutes trying to get round to telling it. The joke, itself, was usually quite feeble, but the laughs came from his round-about way of telling it. Here, have a look, this will help you to understand what I mean... Ladeez and genullum, I give you the (exceedingly un-woke) parrot joke.
Well, I thought it was funny.
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.
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