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…
Footballers have always been known for their (less than) sartorial elegance. Who can forget the curly perms of the 1970s or the head-sized tie knots of the 80s?
More recent attempts at trying to be at the height (depths) of fashion have been the curly top hairstyle which resembles a broccoli floret... indeed, there is a current player who has even had his fluffy mop of hair dyed a bright green hue, obviously spotting the similarity... and also legs/arms/torsos/necks (and probably other places we'd rather not know about) being plastered with tattoos.
If there is a (lack of) style to be followed, rest assured, footballers will follow it. I do feel that their susceptibility (That's a good word; wonder what it means.) to adopt anything that is a bit different sometimes gets a bit silly. I reckon there are a few unscrupulous (Another good word; I'm full of them this week.) types who take advantage of their gullibility (There goes another one.)...
You want me to wear pink football boots? What? They're the height of fashion? Gimme gimme.
Black leggings/tights to wear under my shorts? And I definitely won't look like Mickey Mouse? Yep, I'll have some of those.
Gloves like my nan used to knit to keep my hands warm on cold days? Count me in.
A bra? Surely, that's a step too far. Oh, Cristiano Ronaldo wears one. That's all right, then.
Sometimes, there is a sensible bit of science behind these means of separating footy players from their hard-earned millions. Gloves keep you warm, that goes without saying. Ditto tights. The bra? Apparently, there is something sciency about that, but I have never stopped laughing for long enough to look it up.
The latest must-have footy fashion accessory has me stumped as to why it was deemed necessary.
Apparently, ordinary football socks can compress the calf muscles. Okay, no problem, wear baggier socks. As long as there is a bit of elastic at the top to hold them up, they'd be fine. Agree?
The other week, at the Motherwell vs Aberdeen game, I noticed that a few of the Dons players were wearing rather unusual socks. I can only describe them as being knee-length socks (so far, so boring) with a dirty great hole in the back where the calf muscle is. Sorry pardon excuse me? The hole was a gaping 6” x 4” elipse. They still had elastic holding them at the top, so just what was the point?
I have even gone online to find these socks so that I can try to understand the science behind them. Guess what. I drew a complete blank. Nothing.
I am wondering if some salesman has duped the players into believing the socks had special properties...
SHOPKEEPER: Oh no! That stupid supplier of mine has sent me a load of damaged socks. Look at them! The backs haven’t been sewn up properly I’ll have to send them back. [Door opens and in walks an Aberdeen footballer who is intrigued by the socks.] Unless... How can I help you, sir? Are you looking to buy some socks? These are the very thing, sir. Absolutely the latest thing in football gear, these socks. Yes, they are a bit expensive, aren’t they? But then, surely it is worth paying five times the usual price for a pair of magic socks. Yes, you heard that correctly - magic socks. Wear these and you won’t get cramp. You will be able to run for longer periods. You will add at least ten percent to your speed. They will actually act as a ball magnet so that you can better intercept passes. And as for leaping to head the ball... you’ll manage at least a foot higher. If you are not 100 percent satisfied I won’t fail to not give you your money back. And you can’t say fairer than that. Five pairs, sir? Yes, indeed. Thank you. A pleasure doing business with you. You won’t be disappointed (I hope)... What’s that, you say? These? No no no, you can’t have these. These are magic beans. Well, if you insist...
Actually, maybe they did work; they cuffed Motherwell 2-1. They still looked like they were wearing suspenders like you see in old comedy films, though.
This is the best image I could find, a still from the game. I’ve cropped the image to spare the individual player’s blushes.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 29th of October? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.
Edmond Halley 1656 - Astronomer. Had a hit with Rock Around the Clock.
James Boswell 1740 - Biographer and diarist. Wrote a biography of Samuel Johnson.
Wilfred Rhodes 1877 - Crickety bloke.
Marcus Lipton 1900 - Politician.
Vivian Ellis 1903 - Composer. Famous compositions include Spread a Little Happiness (probably pronounced heppiness) and Over My Shoulder. Here’s a railway-themed tune, Coronation Scot.
Desmond Bagley 1923 - Orfer.
Robert Hardy 1925 - Actor. Siegried Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small. Did I ever tell you the time I saw him in Inverary? [Probably. - Ed.] I didn’t speak to him, though. He was too busy filling his car with four star.
Paul Daneman 1925 - Actor. Cmdr. Ryan in Spy Trap.
Tony Stratton-Smith 1933 - Rock band manager and founder of Charisma Records.
Peter Watkins 1935 - Director. A pioneer of docudrama (I hate portmanteau words like that).
Michael Jayston 1935 - Actor. Neville Badger in A Bit of a Do.
Hugh Futcher 1937 - Jobbing actor. Hedgehog in Orlando.
Jack Shepherd 1940 - Actor. Played Wycliffe in... erm... Wycliffe.
Norman Hunter 1943 - Footy blurk lake. (That was meant to be Geordie.)
Denny Laine [there is a barber showing photographs... - Ed.] Do you mind!? 1944 - Musician. Here’s an early one, Go Now.
Mick Gallagher 1945 - Musician. Keyboard player with The Blockheads. A clip? But of course. Here’s a very early one, Inbetweenies.
Peter Green 1946 - Musician. I was a Fleetwood Mac fan before they went all AOR (Yes, I am that old) and, to me, Greeny was Fleetwood Mac. Here’s Man of the World.
David Paton 1949 - Musician. Had a few hits with his band, Pilot. Let’s have a clip. Here’s a song that still gets sung by fans at footy matches (and this is, ostensibly, a footy blog), with different words admittedly, Magic.
Tiff Needell 1951 - TV petrolhead.
Lee Child 1954 - Orfer. Jack Reacher. One of his creations.
Yasmin Le Bon 1964 - Simon’s missus.
Paul Stewart 1965 - Racey car guy. Son of Jackie.
Ian Durrant 1966 - Fitba guy.
Rufus Sewell 1967 - Actor. Will Ladislaw in Middlemarch.
Roni Size 1969 - DJ and record producer. Had a few hits with his drum & bass group Reprazent. How about a clip? Here’s their biggest hit, Who Told You.
Toby Smith 1970 - Musician. One-time keyboardist with Jamiroquai. You’d like a clip? Why not. Here’s a track penned by Smith, Alright.
Michael Vaughan 1974 - Crickety bloke.
Stephen Craigan 1976 - Foody blook (That was meant to be Northern Irish.). Motherwell hero.
Janet Montgomery 1985 - Actress. Madeline/Little Swan in Black Swan.
Andy King 1988 - Footy bloke.
Now then, what about 5th of November?
Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh 1865 - Artist.
John Alcock 1892 - Royal Navy and later Royal Air Force Captain who, with navigator Lieutenant Arthur Brown, piloted the first aircraft to make a non-stop flight across the Atlantic. He died in an aircraft accident six months later aged just 27.
Douglas Muir 1904 - Actor. Mr Appleyard in The Appleyards.
Vivien Leigh 1913 - Actress. Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind.
Willoughby Gray 1916 - Jobbing actor. Sir John Stevens in The Onedin Line.
Alan Tilvern 1918 - Jobbing actor. R. K. Maroon in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Kenneth Waller 1927 - Actor. Grandad in Bread.
Lester Piggott 1935 - Horse racey bloke.
Peter Noone 1947 - Singer. Once best-known as Herman of Herman’s Hermits. Here is his best-performing solo single, an improvement on David Bowie’s version [You're on dangerous ground saying that. Bowie fans will not be happy. - Ed.], Oh You Pretty Things.
Peter Hammill 1948 - Musician. Frontman of Van der Graaf Generator. Let’s have a bit of prog... Here’s a track called Wondering.
Linda Regan 1949 - Actress. April in Hi-de-Hi!
Mike Score 1957 - Musician. Frontman of A Flock of Seagulls. Here’s a bit of new romantic for you... I Ran (So Far Away).
Tilda Swinton 1960 - Actress. Cissie Crouch in Your Cheatin’ Heart.
Tamzin Outhwaite 1970 - Actress. Mel Owen in Eastenders. You slag!
Chris Addison 1971 - Comedian, writer, actor and director. In fact, a right old smarty boots.
Jonny Greenwood 1971 - Musician. Lead guitarist and keyboard player with Radiohead [How does that work, then? - Ed.] Let’s have a clip. He writes a lot of film scores, so let’s have Catch Hold from Phantom Thread.
Alison Sheppard 1972 - Swimmy bloke.
Daniella Westbrook 1973 - Actress and TV personality, it says here. Sam Mitchell in Eastenders. Who’re you calling a slag?!
Lisa Scott-Lee 1975 - A Step. Let’s have a clip. Are all you line-dancers ready? Here we go... 5, 6, 7, 8.
Alex AJ Pritchard 1994 - Ballroom dancy bloke.
I’ve received a letter, which is nice...
Dear David Grambleton,
It was wonderful to hear a track from your group, Pilot. Tell me, am I right in thinking Pilot once had a number one single? If so, what was it called?
Thanking you in anticipitipation,
How did The Grambler’s predictions fare the last time we had a gramble? We won... Only kidding. We got the sum of just 72 pees back from our £2.20 stake. What happened? Read on...
Exeter vs Fleetwood Town - Home win
Result - Exeter 2 Fleetwood Town 1
Exeter started well and Cheick Diabate headed a great chance wide when he was left completely unmarked from a corner, but Fleetwood grew into the game and went in front in the 28th minute.
Carlos Mendes Gomes tried his luck from distance and the ball took a huge deflection to leave Jamal Blackman wrongfooted.
However, Exeter hit straight back when Jay Stansfield won the ball in midfield, broke forward and fed Sam Nombe. He crossed back to Stansfield, who finished from close range.
Stansfield was denied a second at the start of the second half when his header was saved by Jay Lynch in the Fleetwood goal, while Drew Baker saw a shot deflect just wide at the other end.
Lynch palmed a Tim Dieng free-kick around the post as Exeter chased a winner, before the Fleetwood goalkeeper denied the Frenchman again from the resulting corner.
However, in the third minute of stoppage time, Exeter won it when Josh Key did brilliantly on the right and crossed to the near post where Nombe was on hand to turn the ball in from close range.
Forest Green vs Portsmouth - Away win
Result - Forest Green 0 Portsmouth 1
Winger Owen Dale sent over a corner from the left and Sean Raggett jumped unmarked eight yards out to plant a downward header into the far corner of the net.
Forest Green goalkeeper Luke McGee produced a superb save in the ninth minute when he turned striker Colby Bishop's point-blank 12-yard effort onto the top of the bar.
And Joe Pigott nearly added a second when he prodded inches wide from 10 yards out after a goalmouth scramble in the 36th minute.
Rovers striker Armani Little flashed a low shot across the face of goal and inches wide in the 64th minute
Morecambe vs Barnsley - Away win
Result - Morecambe 1 Barnsley 0
Kieran Phillips scored from close range six minutes before the break after Barnsley had failed to clear their lines following a Ryan Cooney long throw.
Barnsley started the game the better with Nicky Cadden seeing an early effort well saved by the legs of Connor Ripley and Tom Edwards forcing a fine defensive block from Liam Shaw.
As the half came to a close Morecambe defender Cooney produced a vital far-post clearance to deny Cadden a tap-in.
The Tykes stepped things up after the break with Josh Benson drilling a long-range shot inches wide and the same player forcing a flying save from Ripley with a shot from distance looking set for the top corner.
Jack Aitchison was unfortunate to see a late shot hit his own player in the area but the Morecambe defence held firm.
Crawley Town vs Mansfield - Away win
Result - Crawley Town 3 Mansfield 2
Crawley made the perfect start after only a minute when striker Ashley Nadesan scored with a low shot across goalkeeper Christy Pym after being set up by captain Tom Nichols.
The Reds' fast start continued after 13 minutes when Nichols headed in a free-kick from Jack Powell.
Mansfield reduced the deficit three minutes later when Nichols was penalised for handball and Jordan Bowery stepped up to send goalkeeper David Robson the wrong way from the penalty spot.
The Stags were back on level terms after 27 minutes when George Lapslie made it 2-2 by heading home at the far post from a cross by Elliott Hewitt.
Mansfield almost turned the game around by the interval when Will Swan shot just wide following a spell of pressure.
Nadesan struck again to put the Reds back in front within a minute of the restart by racing onto a through ball by Nichols to beat Pym with a low shot from just inside the area.
The thrills continued with Swan being denied by Crawley stopper Robson before Nadesan had a shot blocked at the other end.
Stags substitute John-Joe O'Toole put a shot on the turn wide deep into stoppage-time as Crawley held on for a vital win.
Stevenage vs Northampton - Home win
Result - Stevenage 2 Northampton 3
Shaun McWilliams snatched all three points for Northampton as they claimed a dramatic win over Stevenage at the Lamex Stadium.
Louis Appere stepped up to convert an early penalty to give Northampton the lead but Stevenage levelled before half-time through Danny Rose.
In a pulsating final 10 minutes, Kieron Bowie's thunderbolt made it 2-1 to the visitors before Alex Gilbey appeared to have snatched a point for Stevenage when he equalised four minutes later.
However, McWilliams had the final say with an 87th-minute winner as the Cobblers, who lost Danny Hylton to a late red card, took the points.
Ho hum, what has The Grambler come up with this week?
Game - Result - Odds
Blackburn vs Huddersfield - Home win - 5/6
Middlesbrough vs Bristol City - Home win - 4/5
Millwall vs Hull - Home win - 5/6
Swansea vs Wigan - Home win - 10/11
Rotherham vs Norwich - Away win - 19/20
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
Hmm... that might be a whop too far.
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 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.
Answer - Nicolas Anelka
2. Which UK team has won the most European Cup/Champions League competitions?
Answer - Liverpool with six
3. Which country has qualified for the World Cup Finals Tournament for the first time in 64 years?
Answer - Wales, isn’t it
4. Name the coach who has managed - Watford, Reading, Swansea City, Liverpool, Celtic and Leicester City.
Answer - Brendan Rodgers
5. Which current Premier League side has the stadium with the smallest capacity?
Answer - AFC Bournemouth (11,364)
What about another five for this week? Here goes...
1. Who am I?
I was born in Madrid in 1981. A goalkeeper, I began my senior career at Real Madrid working my up from Real Madrid C, then B, before becoming the first choice keeper for the club. Between 1999 and 2015, I made 510 appearances for them. After 16 seasons at Real, I moved to Porto. I hold a couple of records: I played for Spain 167 times making me the most capped Spanish goalkeeper and I was the youngest goalkeeper to win the Champions League title four days after my 19th birthday.
2. Which coach has managed... deep breath... AFC Bournemouth, Gillingham, Bristol City, Portsmouth, Stoke City, Plymouth Argyle, Stoke City again, Crystal Palace, West Bromwich Albion, Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday?
3. Which French player has made the most Premier League appearances?
4. Which club plays at The Hawthorns?
5. Which clubs in the four top English leagues have a bird on their crest?
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...
And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr C. Addison who provides our finisher for this week. You may remember him as Ollie Reeder in The Thick of It or you may have seen him on Mock the Week. He is at his best as a stand-up comedian, in my opinion, so let’s end this week with a short clip of him talking about joining a gym.
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.