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 The Grambler’s Kick Cancer’s Backside (cancerresearchuk.org).
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…
Do you remember 'Five Boys' chocolate? [You must be incredibly old. - Ed.] You may recall the five faces were of a small boy in various states of emotion - Desperation, pacification, expectation, acclamation and realization (with a zed) it's Frys.
This week's edition covers all those emotions (probably) plus a few more... possibly including a few of the seven deadly sins.
What am I prattling on about, I hear you ask. I am talking about my first Christmas memory [Uh oh. Hovis time. - Ed.] Indeed. Cue harp strings and wobbly picture as I transport you back to a Christmas from long, long ago, some time in the last century where a three-year-old child (me) is opening his Christmas presents...
There I was sitting on the floor surrounded by all my Christmas goodies and working out what my favourite present was. Well, it turned out to be two presents, actually. I had been given two identical cars (I was already turning into a petrolhead) made of chocolate. Sorry pardon excuse me? Yep. Two gigantic (to a three-year-old anyway) chocolate cars wrapped in silver paper, which was coloured so that wheels, doors and windows were all realistic (to a three-year-old). What's not to like? (as the Americans might say) imagine it... a car I could play with and then eat. Not one, but two. Wow! I was one lucky three-year-old.
While I was brum brumming away with my chocolaty cars there was a knock at the door.
I was vaguely aware of the conversation from the hallway between my mum and Mrs Thickpenny (Yes that really was her name.)...
'Oh thank you. He will be pleased. Just a minute.'
My mother then came into the room where I was playing and, having a quick look around at my gifts, swiped one of my chocolate cars and whispered, 'It's for your friend Roger; I forgot to give him a present.'
Before I could say, sod Roger; he's not getting one of my chocolate cars, she was back at the front door lying through her teeth that she had bought this specially for Roger.
She came back into the room with a larger nose... I’d seen Pinocchio, I knew what happened if you told lies. She carried a parcel and tried hard to placate her inconsolable three-year-old nipper, not knowing that the tears were my way of expressing anger.
'I gave him the car because you had two (And your point is?) and I knew you wouldn't miss one. (What? I had two. One has gone. Of course I miss it.) You couldn't have eaten two. (I didn't get the chance to try, did I?)
She then presented me with the parcel which I probably said I didn't want, but, as with any three-year-old, curiosity got the better of me. The parcel was huge (to a small child), cylindrical and it rattled. Hmm... interesting. I opened it to reveal a gigantic (to a small child) tube of Maltesers. At least 10 times bigger than the wimpy tubes you get these days. Wow! It was even bigger than a pack of Pringles (to a small child). More like the canister a malt whisky bottle is presented in (Okay, I’m getting carried away now). Put it this way, it was big. I absolutely loved Maltesers to boot.
And I still had my chocolate car to eat. Yay! Win win!
So there you have it; my earliest Christmas memory of a greedy little bas... so and so who couldn't even spare a gift for his friend. I like to think of myself as being a bit more generous these days.
Just don't try and snaffle any chocolate off me. Especially if it's in the shape of a car.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 17th of December? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.
Humphry Davy 1778 - Chemist. Famous for his lump. I’m sorry, I’ll type that again, his lamp.
Herbert Beerbohm Tree 1852 - Ector, dear leddie. [Was his acting a bit wooden? Do you get it? A bit wooden. Tree. Oh, please yourselves. - Ed.]
Cyril Bird aka Fougasse 1887 - Cartoonist remembered for his wartime propaganda posters such as ‘Careless talk costs lives’.
Robertson Hare 1891 - Actor. The Archdeacon, The Venerable Henry Blunt in All Gas and Gaiters. Think of it as a less anarchic version of Father Ted... Maybe the Father Ted writers saw this and thought... wait a minute...
For the last time, I am not Father Jack
Ray Noble 1903 - Bandleader, writer, composer, arranger, radio comedian and actor. In fact, a right old smarty boots. Here’s his signature toon, The Very Thought of You.
Walter Greenwood 1903 - Novelist, best known for Love on the Dole.
Stephen Lewis 1926 - Actor. Inspector Cyril Blake in On the Buses. Factoid: Lewis was also a playwright and wrote Sparrers (or Sparrows) Can’t Sing.
Robert Robinson 1927 - TV presenter, game show host, journalist and orfer.
Jacqueline Hill 1929 - Actress. Lexa in Doctor Who.
Ray Wilson 1934 - Footy bloke.
Tommy Steele 1936 - Entertainer. Had a few hit records including this novelty song, Li uh wa boo.
Rosemary Martin 1936 - Actress. Mrs Bulstrode in Middlemarch.
David Harman aka Dave Dee 1941 - Singer. Frontman of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich. A clip? Why not, here’s Hold Tight.
Christopher Cazenove 1943 - Actor. Ben Carrington in Dynasty.
Bernard Hill 1944 - Actor. Captain Smith in Titanic.
David Mallet 1945 - Music video director. You may not know his name, but he was a most prolific director of videos and concerts in the 1980s, 90s and beyond. Here’s a short video you might recognise, Games Without Frontiers.
Simon Bates 1946 - DJ.
Martin Smith 1946 - Drummer with Simon Dupree and the Big Sound and the follow-up band Gentle Giant. Let’s have a bit of prog, here’s Alucard.
Darryl Way 1948 - Musician. He has worked with several bands in his long career including (Joy of joys!) Jethro Tull. So here’s a track from them, with Way on violin, Acres Wild.
Fr*d T*lb*t 1949 - TV presenter and n*nc*.
Paul Rodgers 1949 - Singer. Here’s an early hit for his band, Free, All Right Now. [Yes, thanks. - Ed.]
Patrick Murray 1956 - Actor. Mickey Pearce in Only Fools and Horses.
Owen Brenman 1956 - Actor. Dr. Heston Carter in Doctors.
Hattie Hayridge 1959 - Comedian. Played Holly in Red Dwarf for a while.
Sara Dallin 1961 - Singer. A bit of Bananaramarana. Have a clip. Here’s one that reached number one in the U.S., Venus.
Ginger Wildheart 1964 - Musician. Frontman of The Wildhearts. Let’s have a clip. Here’s I Wanna Go Where The People Go.
Juliet Aubrey 1966 - Actress. Gloria Woodrow in The Constant Gardener.
Ian Kelsey 1966 - Actor. Howard Bellamy in Doctors. He’ll know Owen Brenman, then.
Mick Quinn 1969 - Musician. He was a founder member of Supergrass, so here’s a track from 1997, Richard III.
Desmond Askew 1972 - Actor. Richard in Grange Hill.
Paula Radcliffe 1973 - Runny bloke.
Andrew Lawrence 1979 - Comedian.
Simon Ramsden 1981 - Footy bloke. Ex-Motherwell, you know.
Steven Frayne aka Dynamo 1982 - Magician.
Greg James 1985 - DJ.
Thomas Law 1992 - Actor. Peter Beale in Eastenders you slag!
I’ve received a letter. How sweet...
Dear (the late) Dave Grambledee,
I did enjoy your band Dave doo, Dopey, Bonky, Mac and Tosh. I know you had a number one with The Legend of Xanadu, later covered by ELO and Oliver, Newton and John, but did you ever have a record that nearly made number one but not quite? I seem to remember one that was a bit like Zorba the Greek.
Yours with kindest regards,
[That is definitely number two material. - Ed.]
How did The Grambler’s predictions fare the last time we had a gramble? Erm... We won. Sort of. £1.50 back from our £2.20 stake. What happened? Read on...
Middlesbrough vs Luton - Home win
Result - Middlesbrough 2 Luton 1
Matt Crooks' stoppage-time winner saw Middlesbrough beat 10-man Luton Town.
The game came to life when Jordan Clark fired in an impressive opener, but the lead lasted just five minutes as Chuba Akpom headed Boro level.
Tom Lockyer missed a great chance to put Luton in front just after half-time, before Akpom hit the angle of post and bar a few minutes later.
Luton had Amari'i Bell sent off for a second yellow card inside the final 20 minutes, and after a barrage of chances substitute Crooks volleyed home in the 92nd minute.
Millwall vs Wigan - Home win
Result - Millwall 1 Wigan 1
Ooh! ’It the bar!
Will Keane's low strike just after the 30-minute mark opened the scoring for Wigan, his eighth goal of the season.
Zian Flemming equalised seven minutes later with a storming volley from the edge of the box.
Danny McNamara saw a shot fly narrowly over the crossbar for Millwall and Keane also headed just over, as both sides tried in vain to find a winner through the second-half.
Exeter vs Sheffield Wed - Away win
Result - Exeter 1 Sheffield Wed 1
Ooh! ’It the bar!
Callum Paterson struck a stoppage-time equaliser to extend Sheffield Wednesday's unbeaten run to nine games with a draw at Exeter.
Wednesday started well with Josh Windass forcing Jamal Blackman into saving his early free-kick, while Exeter saw a Cheick Diabate header cleared off the line.
Mark McGuinness headed narrowly wide of the Exeter goal, while Tyreeq Bakinson - on as an early substitute for the injured Barry Bannan - fired just over the crossbar after a lovely Wednesday move.
The Grecians looked far sharper after the break and broke the deadlock in the 56th minute. Exeter wing-back Jake Caprice cut onto his right foot and let fly with a fine shot from 25 yards that flew across the face of goal and went under goalkeeper David Stockdale, who will feel he could have done better.
Jay Stansfield could have made it 2-0 in the 79th minute when Stockdale's awful pass went straight to him, but the goalkeeper redeemed himself with a good save.
Wednesday offered little as an attacking threat after the break but in stoppage time, Callum Paterson's curling, side-footed shot from 18 yards into the far corner earned the Owls a point.
Morecambe vs Charlton - Away win
Sutton vs Colchester - Home win
Result - Sutton 1 Colchester 0
Colchester lost midfielder Alan Judge with a serious-looking leg injury and also finished with 10 men after Ossama Ashley was sent off early in the second half.
The visitors were the brighter of the two sides in the first half, with Junior Tchamadeu embarking on a fine run, but he could only fire wide of the mark.
At the other end, Kieran O'Hara produced a good save to deny Omar Bugiel.
The hosts were awarded a penalty by referee Peter Wright just before half-time when Craig Eastmond was fouled by Ashley in a goalmouth scramble.
However, due to the injury to Judge, who was hurt in the incident, Rob Milsom waited nearly 10 minutes before he hammered the spot-kick home.
Ashley was shown his second yellow card for hauling down Bugiel in full flight seven minutes into the second half.
O'Hara made a great save to keep out Ali Smith and also denied Eastmond and Harry Beautyman before Tom Dallison squandered a late chance to earn Colchester a draw when he fired over.
What about some predictions for this week? Well, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there are none. That’s not strictly true. The Grambler has made his/her/its predictions, but Mr. Bet-Free-Six-Foive (in my Ray Winstone voice) won’t accept the bet. Just think how much they are losing... There’s my £2.20 bet and all your £2.20 bets; that means they are losing in the region of... erm... well, £2.20 anyway.
Yay! How did you get on with the five teasers set last time? Here are the answers.
1. Who am I?
I was born in Opole, Poland in 1978. A striker, I made 137 international appearances for Germany and hold the record as the highest scorer with 71 goals. I also hold the record for scoring the most goals at FIFA World Cup finals with 16.
Answer - Miroslav Klose
2. Who was the first player to be shown a red card at the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals.
Answer - Wayne Hennessey (Wales)
3. Which two players captained England the most times?
Answer - Billy Wright and Bobby Moore (90)
4. Who has won the most International caps for Spain?
Answer - Sergio Ramos (180 - in my darts presenter voice)
5. What is unusual about Qatar’s Stadium 947?
Answer - It was fully built from recycled shipping containers and the structure can be removed entirely after the World Cup. Presumably, it could then be rebuilt somewhere else.
What about five for this week? As I write this, I know that the World Cup final is between France and Argentina. So...
1. Who am I?
I was born in Paris in 1998. A forward, I began my senior career at Monaco before moving to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 for a fee of 180 million euros, making me the most expensive teenager to be transferred. I have played 65 games (and counting) for France and have scored 33 goals (and counting).
2. Which Argentinian has made the most Premier League appearances?
3. Which Frenchman has scored the most goals at World Cups?
4. How many times have Argentina been runners up at the World Cup?
5. Argentina last won the World Cup in 1986; who won the ‘Best Player of the Tournament’ award?
There you have it; five teasers to test you. As always, try and answer them before shouting out Hey Googly, Syria or Alexis. Please feel free to pass on the link to your pals so that they can enjoy The Grambler’s footy teasers too.
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 (the already mentioned) Never Too Young | Bowel Cancer UK
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; it is now sitting at...
And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. M. Barratt or Mr. S. Stevens for this week’s concluding item. Anyone who has stuck with the blog over the years knows that Stewart (the founder of this wonderful blog) had a particular favourite Christmas song and it is this... Merry Christmas Everyone. [Hear hear. - Ed.] That video still looks a bit dodgy, though.
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.