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…
You may have been observing the furore (That's a good word. Wonder what it means. Few? Not many. Roary? Erm... lions roar, don't they? They can be quite noisy. Not many noisy lions? That can't be right.) over a certain sports programme presenter commenting on Twitter about the government's plan to stop migrants crossing the English Channel from France to Britain on inflatable plastic ducks. For making his views public, he was suspended from his job of fronting the UK's most watched football highlights programme. The bigwigs at the channel he worked for just assumed that another presenter would simply step in to replace him. That didn't happen. Instead, all those involved with the programme 'downed tools' in sympathy and a hastily revised programme was aired in its stead.
Now, I don't wish to comment on the political side of the matter, but I was rather pleased that this jug-eared sports presenter was dropped from the programme. How uncharitable of me, I hear you protest. Please bear with me on this and let me explain.
It's not that I dislike the crisp-munching millionaire... I've nothing against the guy. Granted, I have made comments about him in this blog before and not particularly complimentary ones at that. I believe he makes a better football pundit than football programme presenter, that's all, and I stand by that.
This current situation, now resolved, saved me a heck of a lot of bother the other Saturday (and Sunday). How so, I hear you ask. [You hearing voices again? - Ed.]
In the absence of any presenters, the Broadcorping Casteration that makes the show inadvertently stumbled upon the perfect Premier League highlights programme. See if you agree.
How do you like to view your football highlights programmes? I'm talking about any show, not just the one in question. I would wager that a great many of you do as I do; record the programme and watch it later so that you can fast forward through the chat aka boring parts of the show.
I go one step further, I even turn the sound down so that I don't have to listen to the dreadful commentaries that accompany the football. End of game? I fast forward through the interviews with out-of-breath players and the interviews with the sick as a parrot/over the moon (You never hear those wonderful football comments these days. I wonder why not. Discuss.) managers. I carry on fast forwarding through the so-called experts' 'analysis' of the game just shown. I have just watched the game, why would I want to hear three people tell me what I have just seen?
When the next game starts, I watch it, then repeat the above process through the chat.
On Saturday and Sunday a couple of weeks back, with the programme in question obviously being off air, a different type of highlights programme of the day's Premier League action had to be cobbled together... There was nobody to introduce it, just a title caption. The games' highlights began immediately. There was no commentary and, at the end of each game, there were no annoying interviews and none of that totally unnecessary match analysis; instead, another game began.
It was perfect. It even saved me the hassle of having to fast forward through the bits I don't want to see.
In all, the programme lasted no more than half an hour instead of the hour and a half or more that it takes usually. Actually, it lasted exactly as long as it does when I do my fast forwarding.
And the best bit? No dreadful pun from the sparsely bearded presenter to end the show.
Should he have got his job back? Obviously; he hadn’t done much wrong. Should he have been suspended at all? Probably not. The words mountain and molehill come to mind.
I just know that normal service has now been resumed and I am back to pressing buttons on my TV's remote controller as always.
Footnote: Last week, when he was supposed to resume his programme presenting duties, the presenter in question called in sick, so to speak. His excuse was that he had lost his voice. I'm not surprised after tweeting so much the week before. [I'm guessing that you don't understand how Twitter works. - Ed.]
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the18th of March? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.
John Smith 1824 - Brewer. Yes, that John Smith.
Charles Chaplin 1863 - Music hall entertainer. Charlie Chaplin’s dad.
Neville Chamberlain 1869 - The well-known prime minister.
Nellie Wallace 1870 - Music hall star, actress, comedian, dancer and songwriter... In fact a right old smarty boots.
Wilfred Owen 1893 - Poet.
Robert Donat 1905 - Actor. Hannay in The 39 Steps.
Jackie Milburn 1908 - Foo’y blurk (in my best Geordie accent).
Henry Longhurst 1909 - Golf writer and commentator.
Eric Halsall 1920 - Author and TV presenter.
Frank Searle 1921 - Loch Ness monster hunter.
James Pickles 1925 - Judge.
John Fraser 1931 - Actor. Colin in Repulsion.
Kenny Lynch 1938 - Singer, songwriter and actor. Did you know he wrote this song?
Ron Atkinson 1939 - Footy bloke.
Richard Longman 1946 - Car racey bloke.
Nicholas Le Prevost 1947 - Actor. Michael in Up the Garden Path.
Barry ‘BJ’ Wilson 1947 - Drummer with Procol Harum between 1967 and 1977. Shall we have a clip? Yes, let’s. Here’s Homburg.
David Lloyd 1947 - Crickety bloke.
Patrick Barlow 1947 - Actor, comedian and playwright. Half of The National Theatre of Brent. Bob Birch in Is It Legal?
Alex Higgins 1949 - Snoogery blook.
Paul Barber 1951 - Actor. Wesley McGregor in The Brothers McGregor.
Jeff Stelling 1955 - Sports presenter.
David Mach 1956 - Artist.
James MacPherson 1960 - Actor. Mike Jardine in Taggart.
David Westhead 1963 - Actor. Neil Reid in W1A.
Courtney Pine 1964 - Musician. Have a clip. Here’s Misty. Niiice.
Paul Elliott 1964 - Footy bloke.
Peter Jones 1966 - One of those rich blokes on Dragons’ Den.
Patrick Harvie 1973 - Politician.
Charlie Miller 1976 - Fitba guy.
Alex Jones 1977 - TV presenter.
Danny Murphy 1977 - Footy bloke.
Jake Hastie 1999 - Fitba guy. Ex-Motherwell, you know.
Now what about the 25th of March?
John Laurie 1897 - Actor. Pte. Frazer in Dad’s Army.
A. J. P. Taylor 1906 - Historian and broadcaster.
David Lean 1908 - Film director and producer.
Dorothy Squires 1915 - Singer. Have a clip. Here’s Say It With Flowers. Now we know where Shirley Bassey got her style.
Davy Kaye 1916 - Actor and comedian.
Patrick Troughton 1920 - Actor. Doctor Who number two.
Sylvia Anderson 1927 - Television and film producer, writer, voice actress and costume designer.
Kenneth Haigh 1931 - Joe Lampton in Man at the Top.
Humphrey Burton 1931 - TV producer.
Peter Walker 1932 - Politician.
Wee Willie Harris 1933 - Singer with an unfortunate name.
Kim Woodburn 1942 - Cleaning lady. Very good rates.
Richard O’Brien 1942 - Actor, writer, musician, and television presenter.
Duncan Browne 1947 - Musician. Here’s a clip for you, a toon called Fauvette.
Brinsley Schwarz 1947 - Musician. Founder member of Brinsley Schwarz (the band). A clip? Why, of course. Here’s (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding.
Elton John 1947 - Musician. How about a clip? What shall we have? Will this do you? One of my favourites, B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets.
Lynn Faulds Wood 1947 - TV presenter.
Steve Gould 1950 - Musician. Singer and bassist with prog band Rare Bird. Here’s Beautiful Scarlet.
Angela Wynter 1954 - Actress. Yolande in Eastenders you slag.
Matthew Garber 1956 - Actor. Michael Banks in Mary Poppins. Sadly, he died of pancreatitis aged just 21.
John Jeffrey 1959 - Rugby guy.
Steve Norman 1960 - Musician. Multi-instrumentalist with Spandau Ballet. Another clip? Aye, go on then. Here’s an early hit, The Freeze.
Cathy Dennis 1969 - Singer and incredibly successful songwriter. What? A clip? Another? Here’s Touch Me (All Night Long). Ooer missus!
Phil O’Donnell 1972 - Fiba guy. Ex Motherwell.
Finley Quaye 1974 - Musician. A clip? Here’s Even After All.
Darren Edwards 1974 - Chwaraewr rygbi.
Melanie Blatt 1975 - An All Saint. Have a clip. Here’s a very early toon, Silver Shadow. That was from the pre-Appletons era.
Tony Grey 1975 - Musician. Have another clip. Here’s Chasing Shadows.
Scott Sinclair 1989 - Footy bloke.
Ryan Porteous 1999 - Fitba guy.
Jadon Sancho 2000 - Footy bloke.
How did our last bet with Radblokes fare? We won! Again! Two weeks running. Wahey! We won £11.80 from our £2.20 stake. Woo hoo! What happened? Read on...
Bolton vs Ipswich - Away win
Result - Bolton 0 Ipswich 2
George Hirst and Cameron Burgess scored as Ipswich beat Bolton 2-0.
Hirst netted a stunning first goal for the Tractor Boys from Wes Burns' cross a minute before half-time to put the visitors on the road to victory.
Bolton wasted a great opportunity to level five minutes into the second half.
A foul by Burgess on Conor Bradley gave the hosts a penalty but Dion Charles' effort was saved by Christian Walton.
The visitors ensured victory when Burgess scored, rising unchallenged to convert Leif Davis' corner after 68 minutes.
Oxford vs Derby - Away win
Result - Oxford 2 Derby 3
Again I say Yay!
The U's opened the scoring with Sam Long heading in James Henry's free-kick at the back post after 14 minutes.
Derby took just nine minutes to equalise with Korey Smith firing in a low cross from the left that Sibley converted high into the net.
Sibley netted again five minutes before the break with a right-footed shot from 15 yards finding the top-right corner.
County sealed the points with a third just after the hour mark when James Collins headed in Jake Rooney's right-wing cross, the ball going in off defender Long's back.
Substitute Kyle Joseph pulled one back with a precise left-footed shot at the death but it was not enough for any points to head Oxford’s way.
Shrewsbury vs Morecambe - Home win
Result - Shrewsbury 3 Morecambe 1
And again... Yay!
First-half goals from Luke Leahy and Rob Street gave the Shrews the advantage before Dan Crowley pulled one back for the Shrimps in first-half stoppage time.
Morecambe were denied a leveller when Farrend Rawson's 64th-minute header was ruled out for offside and Chey Dunkley completed the scoring with a header six minutes from time.
Leahy gave Shrewsbury the lead in the 33rd minute from the penalty spot after Crowley was adjudged to have handled a Tom Bayliss corner and Street doubled the lead with a close-range tap-in after Matt Pennington had flicked on another Bayliss set-piece.
Crowley pulled one back with a fine-placed finish from the edge of the box but the Shrimps' comeback hopes were dashed with Dunkley's late header.
Grimsby vs Rochdale - Home win
Result - Grimsby 1 Rochdale 0
Once more I say unto thee... Yay!
George Lloyd settled the contest with a well-taken winner 22 minutes from time.
Chances were few and far between during the opening exchanges as Rochdale took first aim through captain Ethan Ebanks-Landell who nodded over.
Michee Efete dragged wide at the other end with 25 minutes on the clock but it was Rochdale who were on top at that particular stage.
Grimsby defender Luke Waterfall cleared off the line from Devante Rodney after he rounded the goalkeeper while Lloyd was on hand to intervene similarly when Jimmy Keohane rose highest from a corner.
Rochdale had appeals for a penalty turned down shortly after the restart as Rodney then forced Max Crocombe into a low save.
Grimsby survived that spell and conjured up a winner when Harry Clifton picked out Lloyd with a long pass and the striker made no mistake with his calm touch and finish.
Stevenage vs Walsall - Home win
Result - Stevenage 3 Walsall 1
I think a woo hoo is called for... Woo hoo!
Stevenage were ahead after just seven minutes when Josh March got in behind the Walsall defence off Max Clark's long ball before hammering past Owen Evans.
The hosts' lead was soon doubled when Kane Smith got in behind down the right and his low ball across the face of goal was turned in by Luke Norris.
Walsall looked to be back in the game when Manny Monthe pounced to score after an unfortunate bounce off Smith, but March quickly restored Boro's two-goal cushion with a superb overhead kick.
March almost completed a hat-trick in first-half stoppage time when his header from Jordan Roberts' cross was just about kept out by Evans before Stevenage comfortably saw out the second half.
Wow! 100 per cent two weeks on the bounce. Can The Grambler make it three in a row? [Don’t talk so daft! - Ed.]
Game - Result - Odds
Exeter vs Accrington - Home win - 8/11
Shrewsbury vs Bristol Rovers - Home win - Evens
MK Dons vs Morecambe - Home win - 4/5
Portsmouth vs Port Vale - Home win - Evens
Hartlepool vs Leyton Orient - Away win - 7/10
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
Not quite as whopping as last 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 Chuncheon, South Korea in 1992. That’s probably as much as you need to know. Need more clues? I currently play for Tottenham Hotspur. Got him yet? I have scored 98 goals (and counting). I have been capped for South Korea 108 times.
Answer - Son Heung-Min
2. Who is Fleetwood Town’s manager?
Answer - Scott Brown
3. Whose transfer fee in 2000 is still a record paid by any Scottish club?
Answer - Tore André Flo (12 million smackeroonies)
4. Mo Salah last week broke Robbie Fowler’s record for the number of Premier League goals scored for Liverpool, but who is Liverpool’s most prolific scorer of all-time?
Answer - Ian Rush (346 goals in 660 appearances)
5. Which club plays its home games at the Falmer Stadium?
Answer - Brighton & Hove Albion
Shall we have another five for this week? Yes, let’s...
1. Who am I?
I was born in Glasgow in 1928. I joined Celtic in 1947, playing only nine games during my two years with the club. I then moved to Preston North End, playing 324 games for them before moving to Arsenal and, finally, Chelsea. I was capped 25 times. I am remembered more for my managerial career; in a 27 year career I managed (deep breath) Chelsea, Rotherham, QPR, Aston Villa, Porto, Scotland, Manchester United, Derby County, QPR (again), Sydney Olympic, Preston North End, South Melbourne, Sydney Olympic (again), Wolves and Altrincham.
2. Who is Arsenal’s all-time top scorer?
3. Who is Forest Green Rovers’ manager?
4. Gianluigi Buffon has won the most Italian caps with 176, but which Italian outfield player has the most caps to his name?
5. Which club plays home games at Broadhall Way?
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 Messrs P. Barlow and J. Broadbent who entertain us with their National Theatre of Brent production The Messiah. I thought that was an apt ending for this week's edition as Easter approaches. From 1984? Nearly 40 years ago. I can remember watching that. Blimey!
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.