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…
What's wrong, I hear you ask. Am I in pain?
No, I'm not in pain. Not any physical pain, anyway. I have been trying to upgrade my broadband/TV/telephone package. So... Aaarrgh!
As all you regular readers know, I have been a Beardyman customer for many years. Many many years. Well over 20, apparently. Doesn't time fly?
Any road up, old beardy's phone company only gives contracts which last a year or 18 months. My last 18 month contract has just come to an end. Time to renew.
One phone call to beardy later I appear to have signed up for an all-singing, all-dancing account that gets me all sorts of goodies to (not) watch on the TV, plus my mobile phone bill will be included in the price... I should blibbing well think so, given that I will be paying about 30 quids extra each month.
The deal does give me a few more goodies like Netflix being included... I was paying 11 quids a month to (not) watch that. I will also be able to use 5G. Woo! Erm... 5G? What the flip does that mean?
Even better, I could keep my old phone number so didn't have to inform all my contacts of a change. Excellent.
So, a few days ago, I received a shiny new sim card to put into my, not so shiny, old phone. I followed the setup instructions to the letter and was pleased to see that all my contact details were intact and I didn't have to manually type in all the names and numbers again. All seemed well... until...
Three days have passed and though I have been making phone calls, nobody has been calling me. [That ought to tell you something. - Ed.] What is going on, I thought to myself. Well, I actually thought, f*** this for a game of soldiers! I've paid 30 quid and can't get calls! They're not on!
After a bit of experimenting, I discovered that I actually didn't have the same number, even though I was assured that my old number would be continued.
All together now... Aaarrgh.
It was the one thing that had bothered me...
'Will I be able to keep my old number?' I had asked.
'Yes,' Mr Beardy's sales person assured me.
'Good, because that is the one thing that bothers me.'
I think these sales folk will say anything to get a sale. [Get away! Never! Who would stoop to such a devious practice? - Ed.]
What was I to do? Phone Mr Beardyman again, that's what.
The first problem manifested (That's a good word. Wonder what it means.) itself immediately. I dialled the contact number for Beardy and got the message that I had dialled an incorrect number. Sorry pardon excuse me? Now, what could I do? The landline hasn't changed (I hoped) so I could try using its Beardyman hotline. I got through. Yay!
No not yay; according to the agent speaking to me, my mobile phone was no longer the responsibility of Beardy? I'm sorry. What? Apparently, I was now a No Too customer. Eh?
Thanks for telling me, I thought.
Okay, so could I have my old number back? Yes I could and I could get it by just holding on for a minutes. Well, perhaps that is progress, of sorts. After three choruses of Simply the Best (No you’re not, Beardy.), the agent spoke to me again. I would need to be transferred to another number. Oh well, I thought, I can wait. At least I didn’t have to listen to Simply The Best again; some other dirge was playing. When I finally got transferred to the No Too agent, further problems ensued. The first was trying to understand the lady on the phone line... let's just say she wasn't from these parts... The second was trying to remember my password. Was it my first pet or my mother’s maiden name? Eventually, after about 40 minutes, it was confirmed that I now had my old number back. Yay!
No, not quite yay. Because, I didn’t quite have my old number back. It'll be sorted tomorrow, I was assured... well... probably. Definitely the next day.
The next day came. What happened? I could not make any calls as I was now not registered on any network.
Thus, from being able to make, but not receive calls, I now couldn't receive or make calls. Something's not right, I thought. Throughout the day, I kept trying to phone people. Nothing.
At least I could still use What Zap using WiFi. Wrong. I couldn't even do that any more. My phone was now totally fu... not working.
Time to call Mr Beardy again.
As I said at the start... Aaarrgh!
I'll keep you posted... by letter, probably, as it’s the only way I can contact anyone at the moment.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 15th of October? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.
Marie Stopes 1880 - Campaigner for women’s rights. Yay! Campaigner for eugenics. Boo!
P.G. Woodhouse 1881 - Author. Creator of the characters Bertie Wooster and Jeeves.
C.P. Snow 1905 - Another author... and civil servant.
Godfrey Winn 1906 - Yet another author... and journalist and occasional actor.
Michael Darbyshire 1917 - Actor. Hubert Davenport in Rentaghost.
Patricia Jessel 1920 - Actress. Sally Brass in an early TV adaptation of The Old Curiosity Shop.
Nigel Green 1924 - Actor. Captain Tardinaux in Clochemerle.
Tony Hart 1925 - Artist and TV presenter.
Jeannette Charles 1927 - Actress. Often played the Queen due to her resemblane to her maj.
Keith Fordyce 1928 - DJ.
Billy Smart Jr. 1934 - Circus performer and owner.
Dick McTaggart 1935 - Boxy guy.
Chris Andrews 1942 - Singer songwriter. Here’s his biggest UK hit, Yesterday Man.
Tony Bastable 1944 - TV presenter.
David Trimble 1944 - Politician.
Chris de Burgh 1947 - Musician. He had a number one with Lady in Red... but we don’t want to give you that. Here’s the all together darker, Don't Pay the Ferryman.
Peter Richardson 1951 - Director, screenwriter, comedian and actor... not forgetting musician. Oh yes. Anybody remember Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias, the comedy punk band? Just me then. Here’s Gobbing on Life.
Peter Alexander 1952 - Actor. Phil Pearce in Emmerdale.
Alex Paterson 1959 - Musician. A bit of The Orb. Would you like a clip? Of course you would. Here’s their biggest hit, Toxygene.
Steve McCall 1960 - Footy bloke.
Stephen Tompkinson 1965 - Actor. Damien Day in Drop the Dead Donkey.
Dougie Vipond 1966 - Musician. Drummy bloke with Deacon Blue. A clip? I should think so. Here’s their first single, which, surprisingly, didn’t chart on its first release, Dignity.
Dave Stead 1966 - Musician. Drummy bloke with The Beautiful South. Here’s their first hit, Song for Whoever.
Craig Chalmers 1968 - Rugby guy.
Dominic West 1969 - Actor. Prince (now King) Charles in The Crown.
Andy Cole 1971 - Footy bloke.
Chris Geddes 1975 - Musician. Vocalist and keyboard player with Belle and Sebastian. Methinks another clip is called for. Here's Funny Little Frog. Factoid: The band name comes from a 1965 TV series.
The real Belle and Sebastian.
Russell Kane 1975 - Comedian.
Gary Mason 1979 - Fitba guy.
Paul Robinson 1979 - Footy bloke.
Jessie Ware 1984 - Singer/songwriter. Here’s her biggest hit, Night Light. I say biggest; it reached number seven... in Belgium.
Christopher Smith 1984 - Actor and cinematographer. Robert Sugden in Emmerdale.
Owain Tudur Jones 1984 - Pêl-droediwr.
Anthony Joshua 1989 - Boxy bloke.
Shall we have a look at those born on the 22nd of October? Yes, let’s.
Lord Alfred Douglas 1870 - Poet. Better remembered as Oscar Wilde’s lover.
Ethel Baxter 1883 - Jam maker.
Joan Fontaine 1917 - Actress. Lina McLaidlaw in Suspicion.
Harold Goodwin 1917 - Jobbing actor. Horace Martin in United! 182 credits on IMDb.
Jimmy Hanley 1918 - Actor. P.C. Andy Mitchell in The Blue Lamp.
Doris Lessing 1919 - Authoress.
Blake Butler 1924 - Another jobbing actor. Mr. Wainwright in Last of the Summer Wine.
James Grout 1927 - Yet another jobbing actor. Chief Superintendent Strange in Inspector Morse.
Sheila Allen 1932 - Actress. Cassie Manson in Bouquet of Barbed Wire and Another Bouquet.
Gordon Jago 1932 - Footy Bloke.
John Blashford-Snell 1936 - Explorer, it says here.
Alan Gilzean 1938 - Fitba guy.
Derek Jacobi 1938 - Ectaw, dear leddie. Alan in Last Tango in Halifax.
George Cohen 1939 - Footy guy.
Charles Keating 1941 - Actor. Rex Mottram in Brideshead Revisited.
Paul Reaney 1944 - Footy bloke.
Kelvin MacKenzie 1946 - Newspaper editor.
Mike Hendrick 1948 - Crickety bloke.
Lawrie Sanchez 1959 - Footy bloke.
Mark Falco 1960 - Footy bloke.
Craig Levein 1964 - Fitba guy.
Paul McStay 1964 - Fitba guy.
Adrian Whitbread 1971 - Footy bloke.
Billy McKay 1988 - Footy bloke.
Sharon Rooney 1988 - Actress. Sophie in Two Doors Down.
Mason Holgate 1996 - Footy bloke.
Sam Smith 2009 - Not the Sam Smith, a Sam Smith.
I’ve received a letter, which is nice...
Dear Alex Gramblerson,
We both love your work with The Orb. We always viewed you more as an album band, but realise that you had the occasional hit single. Toxygene was obviously your biggest hit, but what was your first top ten single success?
How did The Grambler’s predictions fare the last time we had a gramble? We won... sort of. £1.92 back from our £2.20 stake. [So, normal service resumed. - Ed.] What happened? Read on...
Newcastle vs Brentford - Home win
Result - Newcastle 5 Brentford 1
A resounding YAY!
Bruno Guimaraes put Newcastle ahead with a flying header before Jacob Murphy doubled the advantage shortly after following an error from David Raya.
Ivan Toney scored against his old club via a penalty, but Guimaraes netted again less than two minutes after.
Miguel Almiron and an Ethan Pinnock own goal completed the scoring.
Forest Green vs Bolton - Away win
Result - Forest Green 1 Bolton 0
Connor Wickham pounced on 32 minutes to secure the win for Forest Green.
It was Forest Green who conjured the first meaningful chance on 12 minutes. Reece Brown and Kyle McAllister opened the Trotters up (Ooer. Sounds painful.), but Armani Little fluffed his lines - firing into the feet of goalkeeper James Trafford.
Chances were at a premium but Rovers got their noses in front before the break - Corey O'Keeffe's run and cross from the by-line found the predatory Wickham lurking inside the box to thump in his goal beyond the helpless Trafford.
Bolton cranked up the heat after the break and were a whisker from a 58th-minute equaliser, but Luke McGee's sharp reflexes denied Dion Charles.
It was Charles who should have snatched a point for the Trotters with six minutes to go, but he drilled the ball into McGee.
With a minute of normal time to go, Bolton substitute Kieran Sadlier volleyed wide with just McGee to beat as Rovers held out.
Grimsby vs Crawley Town - Home win
Result - Grimsby 3 Crawley Town 0
Another resounding YAY!
Anthony Glennon opened the scoring at Blundell Park with a stunning early free-kick before goals from Gavan Holohan and Ryan Taylor sealed the three points in the second half.
Grimsby could hardly have wished for a better perfect start as Glennon curled his shot into the top corner inside four minutes and Harry Clifton soon went close to doubling that advantage.
At the other end, Caleb Chukwuemeka headed over from a corner before striking another effort straight at Grimsby goalkeeper Max Crocombe.
Crawley pushed and probed for a leveller as Chukwuemeka took aim, yet again, but while Dom Telford did put the ball in the net it was eventually ruled out for offside.
Holohan then put Grimsby in control after 52 minutes when he made it 2-0 with a low finish after combining with Otis Khan, who slotted his teammate through with precision.
Khan saw a long-range attempt charged down in the closing stages before Taylor made his mark with an 85th-minute strike from an Aribim Pepple lay-off.
Stevenage vs Swindon - Home win
Result - Stevenage 2 Swindon 0
A not quite so resounding YAY!
The home side took the lead when Jordan Roberts stooped at the back post to nod home Danny Rose's hooked cross after the visitors failed to clear their lines.
Stevenage used that goal to their advantage as they continued to pile on the pressure from then on, creating several other chances, but failed to add to their advantage.
The best response the visitors could manage before the interval came from a couple of scuffed shots from midfielder Ronan Darcy.
The visitors did briefly threaten after half-time, but it was the home side that got the game's crucial second goal on the hour.
Roberts tapped in from a yard out, after Jamie Reid had drilled the ball across the box following Alex Gilbey's interception.
Livingston vs Ross County - Home win
Result - Livingston 0 Ross County 1
The hosts pinned County back deep in their own half from the outset. The first clear-cut chance fell to Kurtis Guthrie, but he could only shoot wide from close range after Cristian Montano and Dylan Bahamboula combined.
The quick feet and slick interplay of Livingston's attacking players continued to create chances, but Ross Laidlaw was relatively untroubled in the away goal. All 11 of their shots in the first half were off target.
At the other end, Owura Edwards had County's only shot of the opening 45 minutes - indeed, their only touch in the opposition box - but he sliced his shot well wide.
The game continued in the same vein after the interval, with County sitting deep and Livingston controlling things without really troubling Laidlaw. Jason Holt, Joel Nouble and Scott Pittman all saw chances come and go.
Ayo Obileye was then presented with the best opening of the game by far, but could only shoot straight at Laidlaw with the goal at his mercy. Martindale looked bemused and, just five minutes later, County made the hosts pay for their profligacy (That’s a good word; wonder what it means.).
Jordy Hiwula latched onto a poor clearance and raced through one-on-one with Sheldon George. His shot thundered back off the crossbar, but Edwards was on hand to head home the rebound.
The visitors then saw out the win with relative ease, as Livingston continued to fire shots high and wide.
Okey dokey, that was last time, but what has The Grambler randomly selected for us this week?
Game - Result - Odds
Exeter vs Fleetwood Town - Home win - 10/11
Forest Green vs Portsmouth - Away win - 17/20
Morecambe vs Barnsley - Away win - 10/11
Crawley Town vs Mansfield - Away win - 3/4
Stevenage vs Northampton - Home win - 17/20
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
I wonder if anything interesting happened in 1166. The problem is that most of the info we have from that time refers to monarchs. For example, King John was born that year... you know, him that signed the Mango Carter.
Another snippet that caught my eye was that William I of Sicily died. Aww! He was known as William the Wicked (though it seemed harsh as he wasn’t that bad).
His son William succeeded him and he was referred to as William the Good. It was only after he died that he was given this soubriquet, because his reign was seen as relatively calm when wars were the order of the day for his successor, Tancred who, basically, seized the throne. He was not the best-looking of individuals apparently and his critics dubbed him The Monkey King.
Hmm... I wonder if history will give our ex-prime minister the title of Boris the incredibly sensible and truthful after the mess his successor made of things.
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 Sheffield in 1993. A centre-back, I began my senior career at Sheffield United, before moving to Hull City. I then moved to Leicester City before being transferred to my present club for £80 million, a world record for a defender. Within six months I was appointed team captain. I have been capped for England 48 times.
Answer - Harry Maguire
2. Which Premier League club has won the UEFA European Cup twice, but won the League One (as it was at the time) Championship only once?
Answer - Nottingham Forest
3. Name the coach who managed (deep breath) - Vancouver Royal Canadians, Fulham, Ipswich Town, England, PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Porto, Barcelona, PSV Eindhoven again and Newcastle.
Answer - Bobby Robson
4. Which West Ham player has scored the most Premier League goals?
Answer - Michail Antonio
5. Which club plays at what is now known as the Select Car Leasing Stadium?
Answer - Reading (It was formerly known as the Madejski Stadium)
How about five to test you this week?
1. Who am I?
I was born in La Chesnay, France in 1979. A forward, I began my senior career at Paris Saint-Germain before moves to (deep breath) Arsenal, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain again (including a loan spell at Liverpool), Manchester City, Fenerbahçe, Bolton Wanderers, Chelsea, Shanghai Shenhua (including a loan spell at Juventus), West Bromwich Albion and (finally) Mumbai City. My transfer fees over my career amounted to £114 million. I also represented my country 69 times.
2. Which UK team has won the most European Cup/Champions League competitions?
3. Which country has qualified for the World Cup Finals Tournament for the first time in 64 years?
4. Name the coach who has managed - Watford, Reading, Swansea City, Liverpool, Celtic and Leicester City.
5. Which current Premier League side has the stadium with the smallest capacity?
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 £62,000.
And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. R. Kane [Arcane? Surely some mistake. - Ed.] who provides us with our finishing item. Russell Kane who celebrated his birthday last week may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I find his brand of comedy quite thought-provoking and I do hope you enjoy this clip of him on Live at The Apollo. WARNING: If you are easily offended do not click on the link. I repeat, do not click on the link. Okay? You’ve been warned. Don’t blame me. It was on the Beeb, so it must be fine. Mustn’t it? Hmm... Perhaps you should click on it. That’s it. Ignore the warning and make your own mind up. I enjoyed it; I hope you do too. Go on... Click click click.
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.