Friday 30 September 2022

Post 460 - A hefty gramble


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 (

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.

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


Story time...


I was on a bus the other day. [Really? How very interesting. Yawn. - Ed.] Hang on. Don't yawn. It was the first time I had ever been on an electrically powered vehicle. So it was interesting in that respect. Actually, although the power unit was silent, the journey was still full of the creaks and groans that you get from all buses, so it really wasn't a particularly quiet journey.

Something did intrigue me about this particular brand-spanking-new bus; over each front wheel were two seats, one facing forward, one backward. So far, so boring. What caught my attention about these seats was their width. They weren't quite wide enough to seat two people but far too wide for one. Seats designed for two children? Then it dawned on me, these are bariatric seats designed to suit obese people.

Now, that really annoyed me. You all know my view on obesity. It is this: you only get one life, give yourself a chance. If you are starting to put on a few pounds, try and lose those pounds before it gets out of hand. I think of obesity in the same way I think of those other addictions: drugs, alcohol and fags.

Once you are addicted to something, your health is going to suffer. Instead of being addicted to drugs, obese people are addicted to unhealthy food.

They say a little of what you fancy does you good. The odd ciggie, an occasional drink... not so sure about recreational drugs... are okay. The same goes for food. Eat the good stuff like veg and fruit and reserve the bad foods like chocolate and cakes for an occasional treat.

Smokers are treated like lepers these days and are made to stand outside buildings to indulge in their habit. I think the same should happen to anyone who eats too much. I don't mean force them to stand out in the rain to eat a bar of chocolate; that would be daft. No, as life has been made uncomfortable for smokers, the same should happen to obese people.

We are told what our weight ought to be; in my view, anyone who is well over that recommended weight should be 'persuaded' to get down to that size. How? Money. We should be charged extra if we are overweight. I've alluded to this before by suggesting that aeroplane passengers be charged extra not only for excess baggage, but also for excess weight. Well, I would like to see the same approach adopted wherever possible.

Would it encourage people to lose weight? Possibly, possibly not; maybe they would be more likely to get depressed and eat more chocolate than ever to cheer themselves up.

How about this scenario?

Imagine a restaurant where a portly individual has finished their main course...

Diner: 'Excuse me, could I see the dessert menu?'

Waiter: 'Don't you think you have had enough, sir?'

Diner: 'I beg your pardon?'

Waiter: 'I think you've had enough; you really should go home.'

Diner: 'But I want a dessert.  I demand a dessert!’

Waiter: ‘I’m afraid your meal so far has exceeded the daily allowance for an adult male, I can’t allow you to eat any more. More than my job’s worth.’

Or how about all ‘naughty’ foods being hidden behind a blind in supermarkets, the way cigarettes are now (not) displayed? On any package containing sweets or biscuits or any such ‘treats’ there should be no picture other than, again like cigarettes, a view of the dreadful things that can happen to you if you consume the product. It could be accompanied by a government warning about all the diseases attributable to eating such unhealthy food.

Too much? Maybe. One thing that definitely should not happen (in my view), is that we pander to obesity and that means getting rid of those seats on the bus. Ditto the wide wheelchairs that are now provided for hospital patients. Ditto the wide seat that podiatrists have to provide. It's all wrong.

Yes, I'm being anti woke. Yes, I think obesity is wrong. But come on you fatties out there, lose some weight. You know it makes sense.

I will finish with my favourite fattist (Is that a word?) joke. It's an oldie that I remember seeing on Naked Video from around 30 years ago. It was just Elaine C. Smith to camera...

'I'm not really fat. It's glandular. I've got a gland that makes me a greedy bastard.'

It wouldn’t be allowed nowadays, but I liked it.





Birthday honours...

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?

Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 24th of September? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.

A. P. Herbert 1890 - humorist, novelist, playwright, law reformist, and Member of Parliament. In fact, a right old smartyboots. He wrote Misleading Cases in the Common Law for Punch magazine. In 1967, these were adapted for television as A. P. Herbert’s Misleading Cases. [What an imaginative title. - Ed.]

Bessie Braddock 1899 - Politician. She is reported to have had the following exchange with Winston Churchill.

BB: “Winston, you are drunk, and what’s more you are disgustingly drunk.”

WC: “Bessie, my dear, you are ugly, and what’s more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be disgustingly ugly.”

It was supposed to have taken place one night in 1946 when Churchill was leaving the House of Commons. Did it happen? It’s doubtful, because it was a gag that had been doing the rounds as far back as 1880, way before Braddock and Churchill’s time. It’s a story you just want to be true, though, because it was such a good riposte from old Winnie.

You’re no’ bad looking, hen (Hic!).


Renee Roberts 1908 - Actress. Miss Ursula Gatsby in Fawlty Towers.

Peggy Spencer 1920 - Dancer.

John Moffatt 1922 - Actor. Lord Merlin in Love in a Cold Climate.

Hugh Cross 1925 - Actor. Mr Brown in Just William, the one with Bonnie Langford thcreaming and thcreaming until she was thick.

Geoffrey Wheeler 1930 - Broadcaster. Questionmaster on Top of the Form.

Mike Parkes 1931 - Racey car bloke.

Stanley Lebor 1934 - Actor. Howard Hughes in Ever Decreasing Circles.

Robert Lang 1934 - Actor. Sir Roland White in Old Boy Network.

Maurice Colbourne 1939 - Actor. Tom Howard in Howard’s Way.

Mike Berry 1942 - Actor and singer. Mr. Spooner in Are You Being Served? He also had a few hit records. Here’s his first, a record which was banned by the Beeb Beeb Ceeb for being too morbid, A Tribute to Buddy Holly.

Gerry Marsden 1942 - Musician. Had a few hits with his Pacemakers. Here’s a slow one you can sing along to, Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying.

Sandra Payne 1944 - Actress. Janet Cooper in The Newcomers.

Pat Pocock 1946 - Crickety bloke.

Nigel Watson 1947 - Musician. He worked with Peter Green after he left Fleetwood Mac and helped Green form the Peter Green Splinter Group. Here’s an early collaboration, Beasts of Burden.

Harvey Bainbridge 1949 - Musician. One-time keyboardist with Hawkwind. Would you like a clip? Here’s a short piece he wrote called Shade Gate.

Phil Boersma 1949 - Footy bloke.

Harriet Walter 1950 - Actress. Veronique in This Is Going to Hurt. She’s a dame, apparently. I’d have thought she was too serious to be in panto.

Martin Sixsmith 1954 - Author, journalist and broadcaster.

Helen Lederer 1954 - Comedienne.

Murdo MacLeod 1958 - Fitba guy.

Jack Dee 1961 - Comedian.

Mike Phelan 1962 - Footy bloke.

Ally McCoist 1962 - Fitba guy. Polomint City’s most famous son.

Jaye Griffiths 1963 - Actress. Elle Gardner in Casualty.

Gary McSwegan 1970 - Fitba guy.

Peter Salisbury 1971 - Drummy bloke with The Verve. Let’s have a clip. Here’s an early single, All In The Mind.

Craig Burley 1971 - Fitba guy.

Finty Williams 1972 - Actress. The voice of Angelina Mouseling in Angelina Ballerina and its various spinoffs. Daughter of Judi Dench and Michael Williams. I wonder what made her enter the business of show?

Carl Hutchings 1974 - Footy bloke.

Steven Meo 1977 - Actor. Grant in Grownups.

Victoria Pendleton 1980 - Bicyclist.

Anna Calvi 1980 - Singer/songwriter. Have a clip. Here’s Desire.

Richard Brittain 1983 - Fitba guy.

Now then, what about the 1st of October?

Henry III 1207 - The well-known king.

Stanley Holloway 1890 - Actor, comedian, singer, poet and monologist. In fact, another right old smarty boots. His career began in a show that would, nowadays, be considered as politically incorrect as it is possible to be. This was in 1910, though, and the show was called The White Coons Show. Oh dear. Luckily, it wasn’t banned and Holloway’s career blossomed. In 1928, he began performing monologues featuring the character called Sam Small, beginning with Sam, Sam, Pick oop thy Musket. Would you like a little clip? Of course you would. Let’s have one that didn’t feature Sam, Recumbent Posture.

Michael Goodliffe 1914 - Actor. Jack Barraclough in Sam.

Sandy Gall 1927 - Journalist and news presenter.

Laurence Harvey 1928 - Actor. Joe Lampton in Room at the Top.

Geoff Stephens 1934 - Songwriter and record producer. He formed The New Vaudeville Band in 1966 to record his novelty song, Winchester Cathedral.

Julie Andrews 1935 - Actress and singer. She became a big star on Broadway when she performed the role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. Here’s a clip of her singing Wouldn't It Be Loverly in 1961.

Duncan Edwards 1936 - Footballer. One of Manchester United’s ‘Busby Babes’, he was one of eight players who died as a result of an aircrash at Munich-Riem Airport in 1958.

Geoffrey Whitehead 1939 - Actor. 135 credits on IMDb from 1962 to the present day. Geoffrey in Not Going Out.

Rob Davis 1947 - Musician and songwriter. He was guitarist for Mud. Have a clip. Here’s Tiger Feet. Rob’s the one with the crazy dress and earrings... Was this an early example of gender fluidity?

Martin Turner 1947 - Musician. Founding member of Wishbone Ash. Here’s an early toon, Hometown.

John Hegley 1953 - Poet and musician. Here’s a little toon, Eddie Don't Like Furniture.

Theresa May 1956 - Politician. Turns out she wasn’t such a bad Prime Minister, after all... compared to those that followed.

Martin Cooper 1958 - Musician. He was a member of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark from 1980 to 1989. He co-wrote this one, Souvenir.

Paul Walsh 1962 - Footy bloke.

Eric Black 1963 - Fitba guy.

Harry Hill 1964 - Comedian.

Abigail Thaw 1965 - Actress. Dorothea Frazil in Endeavour.

Mark Durden-Smith 1968 - TV presenter. Son of Judith Chalmers and Neil Durden-Smith.

Charles Edwards 1969 - Actor. Martin Charteris in The Crown.

Richard Oakes 1976 - Musician. Bernard Butler’s replacement in Suede. Would you like a clip? Of course you would. Here’s the first single that featured Oakes on guitar, Trash.

Rupert Friend 1981 - Actor, screenwriter, director and Lyricist. Another right old... Vasily in The Death of Stalin.

Emerald Fennell 1985 - Actress, film maker and writer. Nurse Patsy Mount in Call the Midwife.

Lionel Ainsworth 1987 - Footy bloke. Ex-Motherwell, you know.

Mason Greenwood 2001 - Footy bloke.

Jade Mulvaney 2002 - Actress. Amy Barlow in Coronation Street.









I’ve received a letter...

Dear (the late) Grambley Marsden,

It was interesting to hear the song Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying, a record that wasn’t even released as a single in Britain. Apparently, it reached the lower reaches of the US charts. Here’s a teaser for you: which song reached number 1 in Canada, number 9 in Australia and number 14 in the US but only reached number 15 in the UK?

Yours knowledgably,

Albie Thair.




Gramble time...

How did The Grambler’s predictions fare the last time we had a flutter (They can’t touch you for it.)? Not very well. 64 pees back from our £2.20 stake. What happened? Read on...

Burnley vs Bristol City - Home win

Result - Burnley 2 Bristol City 1


The Clarets only needed four minutes to go in front when Manuel Benson drilled in from just inside the area.

But Bristol City soon found an equaliser.

Kal Naismith's corner was not cleared and the ball reached Nahki Wells, who scored from barely a yard out.

There was a good flow to the match as Robins goalkeeper Dan Bentley denied Ian Maatsen at one end and Aro Muric kept out Rob Atkinson and Wells at the other.

For Burnley’s second, substitute Johann Berg Gudmundsson delivered the cross and there was Jay Rodriguez with a pinpoint header into the far corner.

Joe Williams almost had a second equaliser for City, stopped only by another save from Muric.


Middlesbrough vs Rotherham - Home win

Result - Middlesbrough 0 Rotherham 0

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Duncan Watmore went closest to scoring for the hosts soon after the break, clipping a shot against the post which rolled agonisingly along the goalline to safety.

Isaiah Jones should have done better than steer a low effort into the side netting when teed up by Watmore in the best chance of the first half.

The Millers failed to muster a singe shot on target throughout the game.


Accrington Stanley vs Cheltenham - Home win

Result - Accrington Stanley 1 Cheltenham 0


Sean McConville's goal after just 30 seconds gave Accrington Stanley victory over Cheltenham Town.

The Robins kicked off but Stanley got the ball, Tommy Leigh flicked it on and Shaun Whalley crossed for McConville to tap home.

The Reds had chances to increase their lead but Liam Coyle fired a shot inches wide and the unmarked Whalley was denied by the legs of goalkeeper Luke Southwood.

It was all Stanley in terms of first-half chances and, towards the end of the half, McConville's strike found Harvey Rodgers and the ball came back off the woodwork.

McConville had a header kept out by Southwood at the start of the second half but Cheltenham looked livelier after the break and Ryan Broom's effort was deflected wide.

The Robins put their record goalscorer Alfie May on and Doug Tharme headed a May shot off the line in the final minutes.


Forest Green vs Morecambe - Home win

Result - Forest Green 1 Morecambe 2


A Connor Wickham moment of magic handed Forest Green the lead on the half-hour.

But Kieran Phillips levelled the game up on the stroke of half-time before Farrend Rawson popped up at the death.

The Shrimps came close to breaking the deadlock on 19 minutes when Phillips' mesmerising run ended with the ball hitting the underside of the bar and bouncing into the gloves of Luke McGee.

The game was crying out for a moment of quality and Wickham delivered it, scoring on the angle from 25 yards over the floundering Ripley from Corey O'Keeffe's assist.

Before the break, Rawson drew a save from McGee and then Phillips brought the best out of the Rovers keeper, who was seconds later left flailing as Phillips restored parity.

McGee's fingertip save from Cole Stockton's fizzing strike and then Ripley's block from Wickham were part of an electric start to the second half.

Moments later, Regan Hendry's ball into the box found the head of Dom Bernard, who was thwarted by Ripley.

The game appeared to be fizzling out, but Rawson pinched it for the Shrimps, nodding in from a Jensen Weir free-kick on 93 minutes.


Oxford Utd vs M K Dons - Home win

Result - Oxford Utd 1 M K Dons 2


Will Grigg stepped off the bench to clinch a battling away win for MK Dons at Oxford.

The striker netted from the penalty spot having been fouled in the box by Simon Eastwood six minutes from time.

Matt Smith's right-footed strike had put the visitors ahead a minute before the break with a smart finish.

But it was Grigg who sealed the result late on with his clinical finish from the spot, before John Mousinho bagged an 89th-minute consolation.

Cameron Brannagan went close to snatching a draw in the fifth minute of stoppage-time, but his shot from the edge of the box flew over.


Rubbish or what. Let’s see what The Grambler has come up with this week. Oh no! He/she/it has randomly selected away results for all five games. We’re doomed, Captain Mainwaring, doomed.

Game - Result - Odds

Crystal Palace vs Chelsea - Away win - 10/11

Blackpool vs Norwich - Away win - 17/20

Port Vale vs Sheffield Wed - Away win - 19/20

Crawley Town vs Stevenage - Away win - 5/6

Hamilton vs Dundee - Away win - 10/11

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


Now, you know I like occasionally equate that sum to its equivalent year. Yes, I know it’s silly. I like doing silly. Any road up, while looking for an event from 1190 I found that a German nobleman died that year. [And? - Ed.] His name was Dedi III. [Your point is, caller? - Ed.] I thought it was apt for this week’s topic; he was known as Dedi the Fat.




Teaser time...

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 Leeds in 1986. I am versatile, having played as a midfielder, winger and full-back. I began my senior career at Leeds, making my first-team debut at 16 and, at the time, was the youngest player to score in the Premier League. Apart from a brief loan spell at Swindon Town, all my career has been in the Premier League. After Leeds, I made moves to Newcastle, Aston Villa, Manchester City and, my current club, Liverpool.

Answer - James Milner

2. What do Mario Zagallo, Franz Beckenbauer and Didier Deschamps have in common?

Answer - They have all won the World Cup as both a player and a manager.

3. Name the coach who managed - East Stirlingshire, St. Mirren, Aberdeen, Scotland and Manchester United.

Answer - Sir Alex Ferguson

4. Which Australian player has made the most Premier League appearances?

Answer - Mark Schwarzer

5. Which club plays at Banks’s Stadium?

Answer - Walsall

Shall we have five for this week? Yes, let’s...

1. Who am I?

I was born in Perugia, Italy in 1968. A striker, I began and ended my career at my local club Perugia Calcio but, in between, I played for nine other clubs: Avelino, Casertana, Reggiana, Juventus, Middlesbrough, Marseille, Lazio, Derby County and Dundee. I was capped 22 times for Italy. I was nicknamed ‘The White Feather’ because of my prematurely white hair.

2. What do André Villas-Boas, Antonio Conte, Glenn Hoddle and José Mourinho have in common?

3. Name the coach who managed - AFC Bournemouth, West Ham, Portsmouth, Southampton, Portsmouth again, Tottenham Hotspur, QPR, Jordan and Birmingham City.

4. Which South African player has made the most Premier League appearances?

5. Which English club plays at the New York 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: The amount raised is a little out of date; it is now sitting at over £60,000.





And Finally...

And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr H. Hill for our final item of the week. Or should that be Dr. Hill? Prior to his career in comedy, birthday boy Harry Hill was a medical doctor. In this clip, he reveals why he didn’t feel that he was making the right career choice.



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 where you can also catch up on any previous editions you may have missed.


Happy grambling.


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