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…
Have you been watching the Winter Olympics? I've caught a few moments.
I do pity the team that the Beeb has gathered together to provide commentary. To the BBC anything to do with winter sports is pretty much alien. Apart from one programme tucked away on BBC2 at a Sunday teatime for a few weeks in the winter, the bigwigs at the BBC basically ignore any sports which take place on ice and snow.
So the winter Olympics, while being the biggest world event for winter sports, is a bit of an unknown quantity to the BBC commentary team...
'Right then... Next. And who are you?'
'Steve Cram, like.'
'Ah yes. World famous Geordie middle-distance runner. Let's see now... you've only commentated on athletics events. Is that right?'
'Why aye, man.'
'Hmm. What do you know about curling.'
'Not a lot, like. Me mam used to have a set of coorling tongs, like.'
'No no... curling... the sport.'
'Ohh. That kind of coorling. Is it not a bit like the bools, like?'
'I suppose so. Do you know anything about bools... I mean bowls?'
'Nah. Not really. I used to watch me granda playing when I were a bairn, like. But that's ahll.'
'Aye, man. He were right canny.'
'Excellent. Steve, you're on curling.'
'Aye, that'll be grand, like.'
Apart from the coorling... sorry, curling... most of the sports are utterly bonkers. Have you ever watched the biathlon? Who came up with that concept? You do a bit of cross country skiing, then you stop occasionally and fire a rifle at a target. Very clever, but a strange concept to combine two such contrasting disciplines.
Then there are those sports which involve a person travelling at breakneck speeds. So, not only do you see the sports elite performing brilliantly, you have the bonus of possibly seeing someone being seriously injured.
Some of the sports seem to have been dreamed up by nutters to be undertaken by individuals who are equally nutty.
I wonder how these sports first came to be recognised. Let's be honest, you'd have to be something of a loony to take part in some of them.
The ski jump is one that always intrigues me. No, intrigues is the wrong word. I meant terrifies. Yes, it is wonderful to watch but who came up with that idea?
'You want me to ski down a 45 degree ice hill?'
'Without any ski poles?'
'There is a ramp at the end which completely changes your direction.'
'Yes. Instead of going down, you will suddenly be going up.'
'Oh, I see. I just come to a halt on this ramp.'
'No. Its a very short ramp. You will come off the end and be literally flying. Wherever you hit the ground will be measured and that would determine the places. The competitor who jumps the furthest wins. You might be travelling at a hundred kilometres per hour and fly for over a hundred metres.'
'Let me get this straight. I come down the ramp at a crazy rate of knots, I don’t have any ski poles, but I go flying in the air, finally hitting the ground some time later, possibly in a heap, probably dead.'
Or what about the luge?
'Have you ever been sledging?'
'Of course. '
'Good. Here's a sport you'd be perfect for. It's called the luge. You've seen the bobsleigh run?'
'Well, it would be like that; only, you would be on your own, coming down the run at speeds like one hundred kilometres per hour. '
'Wow! A one man bobsleigh.'
'No. Not quite. You would be on a small sledge like contraption.'
'You know those little plastic sledges you get for little children?'
'Surely not that size?'
'Thank goodness for that. '
'It would be a lot smaller. '
'You must be joking!'
'And you would be lying on your back.'
'So, I would coming down the run at speeds of 100k, on a tea tray, lying on my back and not being able to see where I'm going?'
'That's about the size of it. What do you reckon?'
'You're bonkers in the nut! There are easier ways to commit suicide, you know.'
Yes, like freestyle snowboarding. That really is bonkers.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 12th of February? Of course there were. Here are some that even I know.
Thomas Newcomen 1663 - Inventor.
Charles Darwin 1809 - Naturalist. [What, he went about with no clothes on? - Ed.]
Robert Boothby 1900 - Politician.
Ernest Clark 1912 - Actor. Professor Loftus in Doctor in the House and its many spinoffs.
Eric Barker 1912 - Actor. Oliver Coombs in Compact. There’s an oldie for you.
Paul Hamlyn 1926 - Publisher.
Annette Crosbie 1934 - Actress. Margaret Meldrew in One Foot in the Grave.
Ralph Bates 1940 - Actor. John Lacey in Dear John.
Norman Josiffe aka Norman Scott 1940 - Model. Aye, right.
Norma Major 1942 - John’s missus.
Gareth Thomas 1945 - Actor. Roj Blake in Blake’s 7.
Alex Totten 1946 - Fitba guy.
Nicholas Soames 1948 - Politician.
Steve Hackett 1950 - Musician. Let’s have a bit of Spectral Mornings followed by Clocks.
Simon MacCorkindale 1952 - Actor. Harry Harper in Casualty and all its spinoffs.
Brian Robertson 1956 - Musician. Here he is during his time with Thin Lizzy with Jailbreak. [Daft lyrics. Tonight there’s going to be a jailbreak, somewhere in this town? That’ll be the jail, then. - Ed.]
Michael Fenton Stevens 1958 - Actor. Simon Swann in Ballot Monkeys.
Hermione Norris 1967 - Actress. Karen Marsden in Cold Feet.
Steve Backley 1969 - Stick thrower.
Naseem Hamed 1974 - Boxy bloke.
Jenni Falconer 1976 - Presenter.
Gethin Jones 1978 - Presenter.
Paul Anderson 1978 - Actor. Arthur Shelby Jr. in Peaky Blinders.
Jennie McAlpine 1984 - Actress. Fizz in Coronation Street.
Joe Gill 1994 - Actor. Finn Barton in Emmerdale.
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Steve Gramblett,
Marvellous to hear those two wonderful tracks from your Spectral Mornings album. I remember that you were in a number of bands as well as performing solo. I recall Genesis, GTR and your collaboration with Chris Squire from Yes which was called Squackett. I, at one time, had a copy of the Squackett album A Life Within a Day. Was there ever a single taken from it?
Yours in expectation,
How did The Grambler’s predictions fare last time? Not very well, I’m sorry to say. We won some money. 78 pees from a £2.20 bet isn’t very good, though. What happened? Read on.
Charlton vs Wimbledon - Home win
Result - Charlton 3 Wimbledon 2
Ethan ‘Chippy’ Chislett opened the scoring when he finished from 10 yards after Charlton goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray dropped the ball after coming off his line to try and claim Will Nightingale's header.
Charlton equalised in the 18th minute. Ryan Inniss made a near post run to meet Albie Morgan's corner - with Wimbledon midfielder Anthony Hartigan appearing to get the final touch on the goal-line.
Conor Washington put the hosts in front after 31 minutes. A superb pass by substitute Diallang Jaiyesimi sent the Northern Ireland international through on goal and he confidently finished past Nik Tzanev.
But Wimbledon responded within five minutes, again from a Hartigan free-kick, as Ben Heneghan produced a diving header across MacGillivray.
The visitors looked vulnerable from corners all afternoon and Akin Famewo powered in Morgan's delivery on the hour mark to give Charlton the win.
MK Dons vs Lincoln - Home win
Result - MK Dons 2 Lincoln 1
John Marquis had opened the scoring for Michael Appleton's side with his third goal in as many games, but Dons defenders Harry ‘Wendy’ Darling and Warren O'Hora both found the net either side of half-time as the Dons snatched victory.
Lincoln took an early lead when Anthony ‘Hugh’ Scully's cross found John ‘Mary’ Marquis unmarked inside the hosts' six-yard box.
Lincoln drew level five minutes before the break when Imps keeper Josh Griffiths parried Theo ‘Jeremy’ Corbeanu's shot, only for Darling to rise highest and nod in the rebound for his fifth goal of the season.
The hosts turned the game on its head immediately after the restart through the unlikely Warren O'Hora, who found the net with an emphatic close-range.
Shrewsbury vs Fleetwood - Home win
Result - Shrewsbury 1 Fleetwood 1
Ooh! ’It the bar!
Ryan Bowman went close early on for the hosts when his low drive was superbly saved by Fleetwood goalkeeper Alex Cairns.
Fleetwood struck in the 21st minute when Callum Johnson's sweet cross was headed home confidently by an unmarked Anthony Pilkington.
Pilkington threatened again 10 minutes later when his shot was deflected narrowly off target.
Just before the break Shrews defender Matthew Pennington almost put through his own net when trying to clear Andrew's whipped-in cross.
The Shrews levelled from the penalty spot three minutes after the restart.
Luke Leahy slotted home after Zak Jules had clumsily bundled over Dan Udoh.
Midway through the second period Pilkington fired an arrowing low strike just wide of the target.
Orient vs Colchester - Home win
Result - Orient 0 Colchester 1
Freddie Sears' early goal earned Colchester a 1-0 win at Leyton Orient.
The goal came in the fourth minute, straight after U's goalkeeper Sam Hornby had punched clear a powerful header from Orient striker Aaron Drinan.
The ball was eventually played out to Corie Andrews, who crossed into the penalty area where Sears fired an unstoppable volley into the net.
Orient posed little threat, but the visitors did look dangerous through the pace of Junior Tchamadeu and Andrews.
Sears had a fine opportunity to double the lead shortly before the break but his shot was blocked by the outstretched leg of goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux.
The visitors continued to control affairs after the break, although the hots spurned a great opportunity to level in the 68th minute when Matt Young picked out Drinan with a through ball but Hornby raced out and spread his body to block the striker's effort.
Colchester were good value, though, and only superb saves by Vigouroux to deny Owura Edwards and then Brendan Wiredu prevented them from extending their advantage.
Hibs vs St Mirren - Home win
Result - Hibs 0 St Mirren 1
Connor Ronan capitalised on some slack play from Jake Doyle-Hayes to blast past Kevin Dabrowski. That’s it.
Okay, that was a poor result for us. Can The Grambler redeem his/her/itself this week? [I wouldn’t bank on it. Notice I said bank and not bet. A few 20p bets isn’t excessive. I still wouldn’t bank on it, though. - Ed.]
Game - Result - Odds
Blackpool vs Bournemouth - Away win - 10/11
Hull vs Fulham - Away win - 4/7
Reading vs Coventry - Away win - 17/20
Queen of the South vs Arbroath - Away win - 19/20
Cowdenbeath vs Forfar - Away win - 7/10
Uh oh, The Grambler’s predicting all away wins this week. It can only end in tears. Any road up, 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
Oh dear. That is decidedly unwhopping.
Yay! How did you get on with the five teasers set in the last edition? Here are the answers.
1. Who am I?
I was born in Lanarkshire in 1922. During my playing career, I played over 200 games for Albion Rovers and 100 games for Celtic. I am better known for my career as a manager; I managed Celtic for 13 years and Scotland for seven.
Answer - Jock Stein
2. Which manager has won the F.A. Cup the most times?
Answer - Arsene Wenger (seven times)
3. Who was the youngest manager to win the Premier League Title?
Answer - Jose Mourinho (42 when he guided Chelsea to the top)
4. Who was the only African to win Chelsea’s Player of the Year Award?
Answer - Michael Essien
5. In what country was Raheem Stirling born?
Answer - Jamaica
How did you fare? Too easy? Let’s have some for this week.
1. Who am I?
I was born in St. Asaph, boyo, in 1961. I began my senior career at Chester in 1978. I moved to Liverpool in 1980, the first of two spells there. In total, I played 469 games for The Reds, scoring 389 goals. I was capped 73 times for Wales.
2. Which manager has been in charge of the most games in the English and Scottish leagues?
3. How many major European titles have Manchester City won?
4. What statistic is shared by Queen’s Park, Birmingham City, Crystal Palace and Watford?
5. Which Spanish player has been capped more than any other?
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 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. M. Edwards who provides us with our finishing clip this week. Who is M. Edwards, I hear you ask. Well, Michael Edwards is better known as Eddie the Eagle. In 1988 he became the first British ski jumper to take part in a Winter Olympics in 60 years. Sadly, he came last but, in the process, he became a hero and a bit of a star, even having a film made of his exploits (Think Cool Runnings with only one bloke as the hero.). So, take it away, Eddie.
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.