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…
Well, it’s been quite a week with people leaving jobs and others taking over. Obviously, there was only one story that took all the headlines... Thomas Tuchel getting the boot as Chelsea manager. Okay, I’m being facetious, but I’ll avoid any mention of the biggest event. Instead, let’s move onto a lighter tale... our impending doom.
Electricity and gas prices are going to rise. How do we know? Because those clever folk in the world of media have told us. They have even given us the figures for the projected increase... or should that be the promised increase? It seems a little odd to me that it is possible to predict a price increase. The only explanation to cynical old me is that the increase has already been planned and the shareholders in these privatised energy companies will be rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of a bumper payout as the profits increase. Or will they?
Think about it. Energy prices will increase so much that everyone will have to use less simply to allow some funds to go towards a few little luxuries like food and clothes.
If that is the case, then energy companies will be selling less, therefore the profits will not be as high as planned. Solution? Bump up the prices again.
Eventually, we will all be unable to afford electricity and gas.
It is ironic that at COP26, last year's gathering of representatives from the world's richest countries, it was agreed that the human race was causing too much damage to this planet we call home and we should all do our bit to use less energy.
Nobody explained that this would be effected by raising prices until nobody could afford to use electricity and gas any more.
My (g)ramble doesn't end there. Recently, Mrs G and I were promised a visit from an engineer who would be fitting a smart meter, a wonderful device that allows you to watch the amount of energy you use as you head into bankruptcy.
For reasons that were never explained, our energy supplier had to cancel the visit. It didn't really matter to me, I've managed up till now without this vital piece of kit.
A few days later, I received a letter from said energy supplier telling me that, because of the inconvenience of them cancelling the engineer's visit, they would give me £30 by way of apology. I felt like writing back to them to tell them what they could do with their £30. [And what would that be? - Ed.]
They could start by cutting the price of the fuel we all have to buy from them. And they could stop giving all their engineers brand new air-conditioned vans. Don't get me started.
There have been plenty of ideas on social media on how to reduce your gas and electric bills. One individual came up with the solution that we should all buy ready meals that wouldn't need to be cooked in an oven. Honestly. I'm thinking that the person who came up with that one works in a retail sector that sells ready meals.
Not a good idea. That can only end in tears... you'd start off with ready meals, sure, but how long till you sink into the microwave meal mire? The reliance on ready-made meals
can only lead to one thing... Pot
There are more sensible ways to save on your fuel bills.
Do you wash dishes in the sink? Don't. Use a bowl. It'd be fun. Pretend you're camping.
Using too many lights? Remove all but one low-wattage bulb from every room. In fact, why not just walk about in the darkness; you'd soon become acclimatised to the lack of light.
Too cold? Don't use your central heating, wrap yourself in a duvet or a onesie. You know, the onesie you bought at the start of the Covid19 pandemic in 2020. You can relive those happy lockdown moments.
You could also not get your hair cut, just as you did(n’t) during the lockdown. The longer locks should help to keep your head warm.
In fact, why not just go to bed? You'd be saving on the telly as well.
Shower too expensive? Don't use it every day. People used to bath once a week in the good old (smelly) days. Save the shower for special occasions. What's wrong with a good stand-up wash in front of the bathroom sink (only half-filled, of course)?
In fact, why bother washing at all? After a while, you will be impervious (That's a good word, wonder what it means.) to the smell.
Kettle costing too much? Well, don't fill it up. If you are making just one cup of tea, measure out enough for that and no more. Or, you could give up hot drinks entirely. Water is a very healthy (and affordable, at the moment) option.
Do you iron your clothes? Well, consider this. You won’t be able to afford to wash your clothes in the first place, so, hey bingo, no ironing required. A double saving.
Hmm... this is not looking too promising. Maybe we should all simply take a leaf out of the animal world's book. Think of those migrating herds of wildebeest and reindeer or the flocks of swallows all heading off to warmer climes. That's it! Do what the animals do.
That's exactly what I am going to do...hibernate through the winter months.
Wake me up when the warmer weather comes.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 3rd of September? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.
Matthew Boulton 1728 - Industrialist. Business partner of James Watt.
Cecil Parker 1897 - Actor. Claude in The Ladykillers.
Jimmy Delaney 1914 - Fitba guy.
Bill Dean 1921 - Actor. Harry Cross in Brooookside.
Larry Parnes 1929 - Pop manager and impressario. Exploited many of the acts he managed by employing them rather than simply representing them. The BBC described as a ‘beat Svengali’. The British press called him ‘Mr Parnes, Shillings and Pence’. He made many of his acts adopt raunchier names: Ronald Wycherley became Billy Fury, Roy Taylor became Vince Eager and Clive Powell became Georgie Fame. Joe Brown would not adopt a new name, so did not become Elmer Twitch.
Pauline Collins 1940 - Actress. Shirley Valentine in Shirley Valentine.
Steve Jones 1955 - Musician who has done a bit of acting. He will, however, be better remembered as the guitarist with The Sex Pistols. A clip? Indeed. I’ve given you this one before but, it’s a good un... Pretty Vacant.
Stephen Woolley 1956 - Film producer. The Crying Game, that was one of his.
Dick Strawbridge 1959 - Television personality with a moustache.
Derek Redmond 1965 - Athleticky bloke.
Raymond Coulthard 1968 - Actor. Miles Edgerton in Mr Selfridge.
Gareth Southgate 1970 - Footy bloke.
David Bingham 1970 - Fitba guy.
Kim Tiddy 1977 - Actress. Heidi Costello in Hollyoaks.
Tiffany Chapman 1978 - Actress. Rachel Dixon in Broooooookside.
Fearne Cotton 1981 - DJ and TV presenter.
Jesse Quin 1981 - Musician. Bass player with Keane. Another clip? Aye, go on then. Here’s Somewhere Only We Know.
Lisa McGrillis 1982 - Actress. Rachel Coles in Inpector George Gently.
Scott Carson 1985 - Footy bloke.
Chris Fountain 1987 - Actor. Tommy Duckworth in Coronation Street.
Faye Brookes 1987 - Actress. Kate Connor in Coronation Street.
Jake Quickenden 1988 - Actor, singer and reality TV star. A clip? Indeed, here is Blindfold.
Now then, what about the 10th of September?
Henry Purcell 1659 - The well-known composer. Let’s have a clip. Here’s the snappily titled Dido and Aeneas, Z. 626: When I am laid in earth, 'Dido's Lament'.
Mortimer Wheeler 1890 - Archaeologist and TV celebrity.
Beryl Cook 1926 - Artist.
Johnny Keating 1927 - Musician, composer and arranger. He had a hit with the Theme from Z-Cars in the early sixties, a tune that was adopted by Everton and still gets played on matchdays. But, since I’ve given you that one in a previous edition of this blog, I’ll give you a different clip, Listen. [I am doing. - Ed.] No, it’s called Listen.
Gwen Watford 1927 - Actress. Mabel Maple in Don’t Forget to Write.
David Hamilton 1938 - Radio presenter.
Cynthia Lennon 1939 - John’s first missus.
Don Powell 1946 - Drummer with Slade. Let’s have a clip. Here’s the band’s last top ten hit Run Runaway.
Judy Geeson 1948 - Actress. Pamela Dare in To Sir, with Love.
Barrie ‘Barriemore’ Barlow 1949 - One time drummer with... can you guess? Yes, I knew you’d get it... Jethro Tull so let’s have a clip. [Any excuse. - Ed.] Here’s Locomotive Breath.
Freddy Marks 1949 - Musician and writer. Famous as one third of Rod, Jane and Freddy, the resident music act on Rainbow. Here’s a clip of them singing Beat of Your Heart.
Carol Decker 1957 - Actress and singer. Remember T’Pau? [Is that a group from Yorkshire? - Ed.] She was (still is) their singer. Have a clip. Here’s Heart and Soul.
Mark Mardell 1957 - Journalist and radio presenter.
Siobhan Fahey 1958 - Singer and songwriter. A bit of Bananarama and Shakespears Sister. A clip? Here’s Bananarama’s Shy Boy.
Helen Pearson 1959 - Actress. Frankie Osborne in Hollyoaks.
Colin Firth 1960 - Actor. George VI in The King’s Speech. [I prefer nectarines, myself. - Ed.]
Guy Ritchie 1968 - Filmmaker.
Adam Stansfield 1978 - Normally, I would simply write ‘Footy bloke’ in here but, I wish to tell you a little more about this footballer who should be celebrating his 44th birthday today. Sadly, he died in 2010 aged just 31 from colorectal or bowel cancer. He was diagnosed in April of that year but died in the August. I don’t know too many details, but I am thinking that his illness played out much as Stewart’s. Perhaps doctors considered he was too young to get bowel cancer and just didn’t deal with it properly. Whatever the case, please go to Never Too Young | Bowel Cancer UK for some shocking statistics.
After he died, his old club, Exeter, retired the number nine shirt. It is fitting that last weekend, nine years on, a striker made his debut for Exeter City wearing number nine. His name? Jay Stansfield, son of Adam.
Alex Horne 1978 - Comedian and writer. He is the brains behind the Channel 4 show Taskmaster.
Stephen McManus 1982 - Fitba guy. Ex-Motherwell, you know.
Luke and Harry Treadaway 1984 - Actors.
David Clarkson 1985 - Fitba guy. Ex-Motherwell, you know.
Matt Ritchie 1989 - Footy bloke.
Hetti Bywater 1994 - Actress. Lucy Beale in Eastenders.
Jack Grealish 1995 - Footy bloke.
Greg Docherty 1996 - Fitba guy.
Sam Hart 1996 - Footy bloke.
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Gram Blowell,
It was great to hear you bashing away at the drums on Run Runaway. We were big fans of Slade back in their heyday of the seventies. Can you answer a question for us? What was the last original Slade song to enter the charts?
How did The Grambler’s predictions fare last time? We won... a little bit. 70 pees back from our £2.20. Oh dear. What happened? Read on...
Blackpool vs Bristol City - Home win
Result - Blackpool 3 Bristol City 3
Ooh! ’It the bar!
Theo Corbeanu came off the bench to score a 90th-minute equaliser as Blackpool salvaged a thrilling 3-3 draw with Bristol City at Bloomfield Road.
Nahki Wells crashed a first-minute effort off the post for the Robins before a deflected shot from Josh Bowler wrong-footed Daniel Bentley at the other end to put the hosts ahead just six minutes later.
Tommy Conway prodded home a deserved leveller for Bristol City just before the break, meeting an Alex Scott cross at the near post for his third goal in three league games.
Jerry Yates' close-range flicked finish from a corner put the Seasiders ahead early in the second half, only for Antoine Semenyo to level for the Robins 20 seconds after coming off the bench in the 63rd minute.
City then took the lead for the first time in chaotic fashion, with Kal Naismith testing Daniel Grimshaw with a free-kick, only for Wells to then pounce and head onto the bar before Marvin Ekpiteta directed the ball into his own net.
That had looked like being enough to seal all three points before Corbeanu struck late on.
Middlesbrough vs Swansea - Home win
Result - Middlesbrough 2 Swansea 1
First-half goals from Riley McGree and Matt Crooks secured a win for Middlesbrough at home against Swansea City.
The Swans were behind after 14 minutes when McGree beat Andy Fisher after a poor pass from Cameron Congreve was intercepted.
Middlesbrough continued to dominate, and doubled their lead after half an hour when Matt Crooks got in front of his man to tap in Ryan Giles' low cross from close range.
The visitors were handed a lifeline when Darragh Lenihan was penalised for handball in the box and Joel Piroe slotted home to set up a grandstand finish.
But Ben Cabango, who was already on a yellow card, was given his marching orders with two minutes remaining after shoving Isaiah Jones to the floor in a rash moment.
Millwall vs Reading - Home win
Result - Millwall 0 Reading 1
Naby Sarr powered home a first-half header from a Tom Ince free-kick inside the first quarter of an hour and the Royals defended that lead impressively.
Tom Bradshaw went close on a couple of occasions and the Lions had a Jake Cooper goal ruled out for offside.
The Royals should have wrapped up victory in the closing stages, but misses by Jeff Hendrick and Shaun Long did not prove costly.
Rotherham vs Birmingham - Home win
Result - Rotherham 2 Birmingham 0
The Millers outplayed Blues in the first half and Conor Washington went close before Richard Wood's headed opener, while Chiedozie Ogbene also shot wide as they looked for a second.
Blues offered almost no attacking threat before the break, managing no attempts on target and not forcing a single corner.
They improved marginally after the interval, but Rotherham continued to look the better side, with Dan Barlaser missing a penalty before Wood's close-range effort made it 2-0 for a deserved victory.
Watford vs QPR - Home win
Result - Watford 2 QPR 3
Substitute Albert Adomah scored the winner for Queens Park Rangers taking just nine minutes to seal the entertaining win at Vicarage Road, crashing the ball home off the woodwork.
Ilias Chair had given QPR a deserved lead with a fortuitous finish from 30 yards, which took a huge deflection off Francisco Sierralta on the way to finding the bottom corner.
Ken Sema restored parity with a calm finish after battling through Rangers' defence, only for Chris Willock to finish a fine team move to put QPR ahead once more.
Watford striker Joao Pedro hit the bar with a 40-yard effort and eventually equalised with a powerful low finish before Adomah sealed QPR's second win of the season.
The Hornets did have the ball in the back of the net late on, but Edo Kayembe's effort, and what proved their last chance of rescuing a draw, was ruled out for offside in the build-up.
There are no predictions this week as all weekend fixtures have been postponed... for obvious reasons.
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 Dublin in 1980. A striker, I began my senior career at Wolves. After a few moves, I moved to Spurs where I played almost 200 games and scored 80 goals. I then moved to Liverpool for a season, but returned to Spurs for a second spell in 2009. A couple of loan spells later, I moved to the US to play for LA Galaxy in 2011. Over the next five years, I played 125 games and scored over 80 goals. I was capped 146 times for my country, an Irish record.
Answer - Robbie Keane
2. Which Chinese player has made the most Premier League appearances?
Answer - Sun Jihai (123)
3. Which Scottish player was capped 121 times and scored 116 goals?
Answer - Julie Fleeting [Sneaky. - Ed.]
4. Name the coach who managed - Motherwell, Hibernian, Rangers, Scotland (twice), Birmingham City, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Genk and Zamalek.
Answer - Alec McLeish
5. Which club plays at the Suit Direct Stadium (aka Victoria Park)?
Answer - Hartlepool United
All right, let’s have five for this week.
1. Who am I?
I was born in Walthamstow in 1993. I began my senior career at Tottenham Hotspur and in 285 appearances have scored 188 goals. I have been capped 73 times scoring 50 times. I hold the record of scoring the most Premier League goals for a single club.
2. Erling Haaland has scored two Premier League hat tricks already this season, who is the only Norwegian to have scored more?
3. Name the coach who managed - Preston North End, Everton, Manchester United, Real Sociedad, Sunderland and West Ham.
4. Which German player has made the most Premier League appearances?
5. Which club plays at the Gtech Community Stadium?
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 over £60,000.
And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. A Horne who (with his Horne Section) provides this week’s finishing link, a suitably British take on the old YMCA song and associated 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.