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…
Do you recall an item I wrote some time ago when I was critical [You? Critical? Surely not. - Ed.] about the way sweet manufacturers Crafty and N'est-ce pas (Do you see what I did there? I don't want any lawyers after me.) had messed about with the sweets I enjoyed when I was a nipper? (See last week's blog for the outcome of that.)
Well I'm going to do it again.
What is your favourite biscuit? I'm talking the cream filled, not chocolate coated, type. Custard cream? Bourbon? Definitely bourbon for me. One that would certainly not be on my list would be that over sickly abomination... let's call it Ureo. They are just horrible. That's my view, obviously. Crafty don't agree and, thanks to some targeted advertising, they have persuaded a lot of the younger generation that it really should be their bikkie of choice.
Twas ever so. Why on earth do we want to drink that horrible cola drink the Americans have foisted on people? Advertising. Pure and simple. If someone were to try and market a failed medical product (it was originally marketed as a patent medicine) as a soft drink nowadays, they would be given short shrift... whatever shrift is. Anyway, it would be very short, indeed. As it is, that foul-tasting soft drink is now sold the world over.
The same goes for a certain restaurant (and I use that word in its broadest sense) chain that sells burgers by the shedload. Its bright yellow logo has defaced thousands of buildings across the planet.
If the good ol' US of A ever wanted to win a war by foul means, a few drops of nasty bacteria in those burgers and soft drinks could disable a nation before they knew what had hit them... diarrhoea probably.
Any road up, back to the plot [Was there one? - Ed.], I mentioned 'oribble ureos and its manufacturer Crafty. Now, Crafty also own Britain's favourite chocolate maker... let's call them Badcurry (close enough?).
Sadly, Crafty has decreed that a nice bar of chocolate isn't enough. They think that it can be 'improved' by the addition of the sh*t* that is popular in the US. My previous rant complained that Badcurry chocolate containing salted caramel pretzels was not acceptable. Since that edition of your favourite ill-informed blog I have spotted several more attempts to sneak unwanted gunge into our already perfect choccy bars. How about chopped jelly beans? In Badcurry chocolate? Shouldn't be allowed.
Another that I've spotted... well, I've already told you... is those awful sugary biscuits, Ureos. Recently, I tried some chocolate coated Ureos. Should be all right, I thought. Wasn’t. I'm sorry, Crafty, the chocolate is completely wasted... now, if it had been a bourbon bikkie, that would have been another matter. [You mean a Penguin. - Ed.] No, although a Penguin biscuit is quite close. But if it had Badcurry chocolate on it... chocolate biscuit heaven. Oh dear, I'm dribbling on my keyboard.
The latest Ureo-based abomination? Cream eggs. Sorry, creme eggs. Honestly. Is nothing sacred? How dare they.
Message to Crafty. Stop messing with our chocolate.
They also own a Swiss company that makes a particular prism-shaped chocolate bar that contains almonds and honey. Not a patch on Badcurry products, so, Crafty, if you want to mess up some chocolate, start (and finish) with that.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 26th of March? Of course there were. Here are some that even I know.
Malcolm III aka Canmore 1031 - The well-known king.
Fred Karno 1866 - Comedian and theatre impressario.
Gerald du Maurier 1873 - Thespian dear leddie. Daph’s dad.
Robert Blackburn 1885 - Aviation pioneer. Not Tony’s dad.
Bill Edrich 1916 - Crickety bloke.
Barry Letts 1925 - Actor and TV producer. He was the producer on 156 episodes of Doctor Who.
John Malcolm 1936 - Jobbing actor. Oberleutnant Kluge [That’s easy for you to say. - Ed.] in Enemy at the Door.
Howard Werth 1947 - Musician. Frontman of Audience. A clip? Indeed. Here’s You're Not Smiling.
Richard Tandy 1948 - Musician. Keyboard player for ELO. A clip? Why not. Here’s Mr. Blue Sky.
David Amess 1952 - Politician.
Paul Morley 1957 - Journalist and record company co-founder.
Richard Coles 1962 - Musician turned vicar. Let’s have a clip from his days in The Communards; here he is tickling the ivories on You Are My World.
Kevin Davies 1977 - Footy bloke.
Seth Lakeman 1977 - Musician. Let’s have a clip. Here’s The White Hare. [Sounds like the name of a pub. - Ed.]
Keira Knightley 1985 - Actress. Elizabeth Swann in The Pirates of the Caribbean films.
Stephen Fletcher 1987 - Fitba guy.
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Richard Grambly,
I really enjoyed listening to ELO performing Mr Blue Sky. It came from your album Out of the Blue, I recall. I believe it nearly reached number one. The next album definitely did hit the top spot, but I can’t remember what it was called. Can you help?
How did The Grambler’s predictions fare last time? We actually made a slight profit... an incredibly slight profit. How much? Two whole pees. Yep, tuppence. [Woo! Whatever will you treat yourself to? - Ed.] Well, at least we didn’t lose. What happened? Read on.
Swansea vs Birmingham - Home win
Result - Swansea 0 Birmingham 0
Ooh! ’It the bar!
Birmingham were held by Swansea City at the Swansea.com Stadium with the visitors missing several opportunities to win a match they largely dominated.
Birmingham missed two golden chances in the first half with Juninho Bacuna and Tahith Chong both failing to hit the target from close range.
Maxime Colin rattled the crossbar in the second half, with Swansea dominant in possession but creating few chances.
Joel Piroe had their best efforts, but Swansea never looked like scoring.
Cambridge Utd vs MK Dons - Away win
Result - Cambridge 0 MK Dons 1
Warren O'Hora scored the only goal for MK Dons in a 1-0 win at Cambridge United.
Dons grabbed the decisive goal on the hour mark when Cambridge failed to deal with Dan Harvie's long throw and the ball fell to defender O'Hora to fire past Dimi Mitov.
The visitors could have gone ahead early on but Troy Parrott could only fire over following Kaine Kesler-Hayden's pull back from the right.
Cambridge were denied by a brilliant double piece of defending in the eighth minute. Jamie Cumming turned Harvey Knibbs' effort onto the bar and Joe Ironside's rebound header was somehow hooked off the line by Conor Coventry.
Knibbs missed a great chance in first-half stoppage time when he guided a shot wide from close range after Cumming had stopped Harrison Dunk's initial effort.
After O’Hora’s goal, Cambridge looked to respond but Ironside could only stab Dunk's delivery wide six minutes later.
Scott Twine dragged a shot wide but the visitors held onto their lead.
Cheltenham vs AFC Wimbledon - Home win
Result - Cheltenham 3 Wimbledon 1
Late goals from Callum Wright, George Lloyd and Alfie May earned Cheltenham a 3-1 home win over AFC Wimbledon.
The Dons led for nearly an hour after Jack Rudoni's first-half strike.
Rudoni found the net in the 26th minute, seconds after Will Boyle saw a header bounce back off the bar after Elliot Bonds' cross for Cheltenham, who were then undone on the break.
Wimbledon created the first chance of the game when Ayoub Assal raced through on goal, but with only goalkeeper Owen Evans to beat, he scuffed wide of the left post after 15 minutes.
Cheltenham dominated possession after the break, but they struggled to find a way past a well-organised Dons side, with Nik Tzanev untroubled until the 81st minute.
Aaron Ramsey saw a shot blocked and it fell for Wright to tap in.
Less than two minutes later, Matty Blair's cross from the right was nodded in by Lloyd from close range and May added the third in the second minute of time added on to complete the turnaround.
Plymouth vs Accrington - Home win
Result - Plymouth 4 Accrington 0
Panutche Camara, Joe Edwards, Niall Ennis and Ryan Hardie were on the scoresheet as Argyle claimed the win.
Stanley threatened first when Michael Nottingham headed Sean McConville's 10th-minute corner onto the bar.
However, it was the Pilgrims who opened the scoring when, two minutes after that let-off, Danny Mayor's cross into the box was knocked down by Jordon Garrick for Camara to fire home.
Accrington had dominated possession during the first half but they were unable to take advantage and found themselves 2-0 down in the 37th minute.
Skipper Edwards created and finished the goal, going on a mazy run before losing the ball, which came back to him off a home defender and allowed him to continue his charge before finding space to slot past Toby Savin.
The outcome of the match was settled in a four-minute spell midway through the second half when Plymouth notched their third goal and Accrington lost goalkeeper Savin to a red card.
James Wilson put substitute Ennis in on goal to make it 3-0 in the 64th minutes and then Savin saw red after fouling Argyle's top scorer Hardie on his way to goal. Savin was replaced by substitute keeper Liam Isherwood.
Edwards’ thundering drive came back off the upright after 77 minutes as Argyle piled on the pressure, and they added a fourth soon after when Mayor's cross from the left was helped home by Hardie.
Gillingham vs Sheffield Wed - Away win
Result - Gillingham 0 Sheffield 0
Ooh! ’It the bar!
The Owls had the majority of possession but failed to break down their hosts at Priestfield.
Gillingham squandered some great chances to secure a win, Charlie Kelman going close as he headed wide in the first half.
Moments later Bailey Peacock-Farrell produced a fine double save to keep out both Kelman and Vadaine Oliver.
At the other end, Jordan Storey should have done better when he headed Barry Bannan's cross wide.
The hosts went close seconds after the restart when Kelman forced Peacock-Farrell into another quality stop.
Bannan then started to pull the strings, forcing a decent save out of Aaron Chapman before firing a shot just over the bar.
Lee Gregory almost stole it for the Owls with seven minutes left but his effort was cleared off the line.
Oh well, close but no cigar. Let's have a look at what The Grambler has come up with this week...
Game - Result - Odds
Accrington Stanley vs Gillingham - Home win - 17/20
AFC Wimbledon vs Cambridge Utd - Home win - 21/20
Doncaster vs Charlton - Away win - 10/11
Ipswich vs Plymouth - Home win - 4/5
Shrewsbury vs Lincoln - Home win - Evens
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
Did you know that 1314 was a significant year in the history of Scotland? It was an' all. It was the year in which Edward II’s troops were defeated by Robert the Bruce’s men in what became known as The Battle of Bannockburn. Time for a song methinks. All together now... Oh flower of Scotland... That's the original version, beautifully sung. Take note all you Scottish rugby and football fans.
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 Camos, Spain in 1986. A defender, I began my senior career at Sevilla Atlético in 2003. After a brief spell at Sevilla, I moved to Real Madrid, making 469 appearances over a 16 year period. I have been capped 180 times making the most capped Spanish player ever.
Answer - Sergio Ramos with 180
2. Sticking with Spanish players, which Spaniard has scored the most Premier League goals?
Answer - Fernando Torres with 85
3. Which player made the most Premier League appearances for Liverpool?
Answer - Jamie Carragher with 508
4. Which club has won the French League Championship the most times?
Answer - St. Etienne have won ten titles. You would also have been correct if you had said Marseilles who have one nine times in the professional era and once as amateurs. Hope that didn’t cause too many fights in the pub.
5. Which club plays at the Valley Parade stadium?
Answer - Bradford. The stadium is actually now known as the Utilita Energy Stadium for sponsorship reasons.
What about five for this week? Indeed.
1. Who am I?
I was born in Sauchie, Clackmannanshire in 1955. I began my senior career as a defender at Partick Thistle in 1973. In 1977 I moved to Liverpool making 434 appearances before my retirement in 1991. I had two spells as club captain. I was capped 26 times for Scotland. After retiring from the game, I became famous as a football pundit for the BBC.
2. Which player has made the most Premier League appearances for Everton?
3. Which Scot has won the most Premier League winners medals?
4. Which club plays at Recreation Park?
5. How about a daft one? How many teams in the English and Scottish senior leagues have Albion in their name?
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 F. Westcott who, in a way, provides us with this week’s finishing item. Fred Westcott was better known by his stage name of Fred Karno. As well as being a comedian, he was a theatre impressario in the days of the British Music Hall. Many comedy stars of the silent era and later were given their first chance by Karno. He changed the style of comedy at that time and is credited for many of the gags later used in silent films. Custard pie gag? Fred Karno. Slapstick humour? Fred Karno. And those acts that were given their first break by him? How about this for a line-up? Stan Laurel, Will Hay, Sandy Powell, Max Miller, Frank Randle and Billy Bennett; all huge stars in their day. He also provided a start for arguably the most famous film star of all time. Who could that be, I hear you ask. None other than the man who provides us with this week’s final clip, Charlie Chaplin. Ladeez and genullum, please enjoy from the 1925 film The Gold Rush - the oceana roll dance.
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.