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 a pity Tom Daley isn't a decent footballer, he would have added a certain grace to penalty appeals.
Before you read this week’s Story Time, please take the time to watch this rather silly advertisement. Yes, I know last week’s edition of your favourite ill-informed blog was also linked to adverts... sort of... but this is different. Click on the link to see this ad... while you still have the chance.
While I still have the chance? Whatever do you mean, I hear you ask.
Right, first of all, I don't want you to think that thegrambler.com has sold out Toyota and is now being sponsored. Perish the thought.
No, the reason I invite you to watch it is that, soon, you won't be able to see this advertisement. Why not? Because it has been banned.
It has been banned because the 'herd' of cars drives through a river. Sorry pardon excuse me? What is the problem with that, I ask myself. There isn't one, I answer myself. [That's worrying; talking to yourself. Is it? Yes. - Ed.] Oh yes, there is a problem. Apparently, it condones behaviour that is harmful to the environment.
I'm thinking a lot of people must have been very angry to have complained in such numbers that an advertisement has been pulled. How many do you think? Thousands? Lower. Hundreds? Lower. Dozens? Lower. The figure is precisely one. Just one complaint has been filed and the ad which, in my view, sensibly shows that the vehicle in question is excellent on rough terrain, has been axed. Wait a minute, is that not what buyers of such cars want to see? Good off road capabilities?
Nope. Not allowed. Somebody, who has probably never even sat in a ‘working’ vehicle, sees fit to complain about a vehicle being shown doing what a 4x4 vehicle does best and the ad gets taken off the air? Daft, I calls it.
Okay then, what about other ads that should be banned? There are loads, but, it being Christmas, we are into the season of festive adverts. Think of all those ads from supermarkets promoting their wares. Often, we see a table groaning under the weight of enough food to feed a biblical tribe. Surely, that is wrong when half the world's population hasn't got enough to eat. Indeed, half the population of Britain is probably starving given the proliferation of food banks that are now on the go. If nothing else, those laden tables are encouraging gluttony; that’s one of the seven deadly sins, that is. No wonder there are so many obese people in the (so-called) developed world. Ban these ads.
Others promote the message that a certain rotund, bearded gentleman makes his way into children’s bedrooms in the middle of the night and empties his sack at the foot of their beds*. Excuse me? Ban them.
But the advertisement that most demands to be banned is that weird bloody thing from Virgin Media that is on at the moment. It features several cgi’ed goats hang-gliding their way around various mountain passes. What the f*** is going on there? And what the f*** were the advertising execs on when they came up with that as a concept. Goats? Hang-gliding? That is just so damned creepy; the stuff of nightmares. Ban them. Now.
* Apologies to comedian David Mitchell for nicking his joke.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 25th of November? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.
Andrew Carnegie 1835 - Businessman and philanthropist. He is apparently the richest American of all time (except he was Scottish) Worth $10.6 billion, allowing for inflation.
Ahm no an American, awright pal?
Francis Durbridge 1912 - Screenwriter, novelist. Paul Temple, that was his creation.
Shelagh Fraser 1920 - Actress. Jean Ashton in A Family at War.
Louie Ramsay 1929 - Actress. Dora Wexford in The Ruth Rendell Mysteries.
Harry Landis 1931 - Actor. Lou Morris in Friday Night Dinner.
William McIlvanney 1936 - Writer.
Gerald Seymour 1941 - Writer.
Paul Copley 1944 - Actor. Peter Quinlan in The Lakes.
Bev Bevan 1944 - Drummer with The Move and ELO. Have a clip. Here’s Night of Fear.
Robert Wass aka Bobby Knutt 1945 - Comedian.
Alan Rough 1951 - Fitba guy.
Charles Kennedy 1959 - Politician.
Steve Rothery 1959 - Musician. Geetarist with Marillion. A clip? Why, soitenly. Here’s You're Gone.
Blythe Duff 1962 - Actress. Jackie Reid in Taggart.
Dougray Scott 1965 - Actor. Matt Busby in United.
David Kelly 1965 - Peileadóir. Ex-Motherwell, tá a fhios agat.
Dominic Cummings 1971 - He’s a political strategist, apparently.
Eilish McColgan 1990 - Runny bloke.
Alex Bain 2001 - Simon Barlow in Coronation Street.
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Gram Gramblan,
It was so nice to hear the very first single by your group, The Move. We understand that a song by your good selves was the first tune ever played on Radio 1 in 1967. Could you please enlighten us and tell us which song it was?
Yours in anticipation,
How did our last bet with Blodrakes fare? We won. And lost. Again. £1.48 back from our £2.20 stake. It didn’t help that one of the games selected by The Grambler was void. What happened? Read on.
Bristol Rovers vs Fleetwood - Home win
Result - Void
Notts County vs Bradford - Home win
Result - Notts County 4 Bradford 2
Notts County survived a second-half comeback to beat Bradford.
County produced a storming first-half display with David McGoldrick and Dan Crowley netting either side of Macaulay Langstaff's brace, but a Richard Brindley own goal and Jamie Walker strike gave the hosts a nervy finish.
The deadlock was broken in the first five minutes when McGoldrick finished off a neat move down the right before Langstaff fortuitously doubled the hosts' advantage after deflecting John Bostock's goal-bound effort home.
He scored his second six minutes later after being slipped in by Crowley, who then made it 4-0 with a fine curling effort.
But the visitors came out fighting in the second half and Alex Gilliead's strike deflected off Brindley to reduce the deficit, before Walker fired beyond Sam Slocombe to set up a tense ending.
Langstaff almost completed his hat-trick late on, with visiting striker Andy Cook also seeing a header saved on the line, as County kept (ex-Motherwell manager) Graham Alexander waiting for his first win as Bradford boss.
Accrington vs Wrexham - Away win
Result - Accrington 2 Wrexham 0
Paul Mullin hit the crossbar but Tommy Leigh's penalty after the break put Accrington ahead.
Rosaire Longelo sealed Stanley's win, netting close range after Arthur Okonkwo failed to hold on to Jack Nolan's shot.
Mullin's stoppage time penalty struck the underside of the crossbar.
Barrow vs Crawley - Home win
Result - Barrow 1 Crawley 0
Dom Telford scored a second-half goal to earn Barrow victory against Crawley.
Telford fired in after 46 minutes. But Crawley believed the striker's match-winner should have been disallowed for a foul on Will Wright by Emile Acquah early in the build-up.
Referee Seb Stockbridge ignored the protests, however.
The Bluebirds should have been in front before the break. Acquah hit an upright and also missed a one-on-one with Luca Ashby-Hammond, while Elliot Newby also twice went close to breaking the deadlock.
The visitors dominated possession but created fewer chances. However, Barrow were grateful to keeper Paul Farman saving from Klaidi Lolos and Kellan Gordon, who shot wide with just the keeper to beat a minute from time.
Harrogate vs Swindon - Away win
Result - Harrogate 1 Swindon 1
Ooh! ’It the bar!
The visitors took a first-half lead courtesy of striker Jake Young's goal.
Young had threatened twice before opening the scoring in the 25th minute - hitting the roof of the stand with a long-range effort and firing across the face of the goal after bursting past home defenders Rod McDonald and Anthony O'Connor down the right flank.
But his third effort - a thumping 25-yard strike following Dan Kemp's forward pass - gave goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell little chance as it rocketed into his top-left corner.
An open first half also saw two Sam Folarin efforts and Abraham Odoh force Murphy Mahoney into smart saves at the other end.
After the break, Odoh went close again before Jack Muldoon levelled midway through the second period.
The 34-year-old drilled a low edge-of-the-box drive in off Mahoney's left-hand upright after Folarin had exchanged passes with Odoh.
Folarin should have gone on to win the game late on, but shot weakly at Mahoney after racing clear on the away goal.
That was last week; what has The Grambler randomly predicted for us this week?
Game - Result - Odds
Burnley vs West Ham - Away win - 21/20
Luton vs Crystal Palace - Away win - 21/20
Plymouth vs Sunderland - Away win - 21/20
Portsmouth vs Blackpool - Home win - 11/10
Swindon vs Mansfield - 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
Oh dear, that’s a bit too whopping for my liking. Nice if it comes off, though.
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 Utrecht in 1964. A striker, my career was split between two clubs, Ajax and AC Milan. I scored 128 goals for Ajax and 91 for Milan. I was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1992. I won the Ballon d’Or three times. In 1992 I was the first player to score four goals in a Champions League match. I was capped 58 times and helped the Netherlands win UEFA Euro 1988, where I also won the Golden Boot. My career was cut short by an ankle injury and I retired aged just 28.
Answer - Marco van Basten
2. Which Italian player has scored the most Premier League goals?
Answer - Paolo Di Canio (66)
3. Who was the first footballer to receive a knighthood?
Answer - Stanley Matthews
4. Which club plays its home games at the Keepmoat Stadium?
Answer - Doncaster Rovers (the stadium is now named after the club sponsor, so is also known as Eco-Power Stadium.)
5. Here’s another anagram. Who was this English player?
VAR FITS CORNER
Answer - Trevor Francis
Shall we have five for this week? Yes, let’s...
1. Who am I?
I was born in Santo Domingo, Equador in 2001. A defensive midfielder, I began my senior career at Independiente del Valle, before moving to Brighton. I recently moved to Chelsea for the highest ever transfer fee between British clubs.
2. Which country has qualified for the UEFA European Championships in 2024 for the first time in its history?
3. Who is the last man to have won the FA Cup as both a player and a manager?
4. Aston Villa has plans to upgrade Villa Park. Its current capacity is 42,530; what is the planned capacity for the stadium after redevelopment.
5. Another anagram? Why not. Here’s an English footballer...
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 quoted is miles out of date. The total now stands at...
And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, no funnies this week. What? No funnies? No, because today sees a couple of sad anniversaries and, this being (supposedly) a football blog, I feel I ought to mention them. Two of the world’s greatest ever footballers died on this day... 15 years apart, granted, but both died on the 25th of November. Both were most definitely in the ‘flawed genius’ category. They were legends on the park, but their off-the-park activities tended to overshadow their greatness. One was a serial womaniser and alcoholic, the other a serial womaniser and drug addict. Is there a link between footballing skills and sexual impropriety/substance abuse? Discuss.
The names of these two footballing giants? George Best who died on this day in 2005 and Diego Maradona who died in 2020.
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.