Saturday 28 October 2023

Post 489 - Trick or 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



Your letters...


I’ve often heard it asked what the best chat-up line is when you meet a girl. I don’t understand the problem; I just tell them my name, as in ‘Hello, I’m Rich.’ It always seems to go down well.

Yours faithfully,

R. Attenborough (Sir).

Story Time...

Since we are approaching All Hallows’ Eve, I thought I would take a trip back down memory lane. [Hovis time? - Ed.] You betcha.

I’ve told you about my most racist costume that my mother thought was the right thing for me to wear as a halloween costume; an Onion Johnnie outfit that was her idea of what French men wore. I was five at the time so I’d never heard of racism. Wearing jeans, a stripey shirt and beret with a string of onions slung around me meant nothing to me but, my mother assured me, everyone would understand the, I believe the word is, stereotype.

Fast forward a couple of years and mother was at it again. Her seven year old son would not be going out guising dressed as a cowboy or a footballer, like all the other boys in the street. No, I would be going as... wait for it... Little Bo Peep. No, I protested, but my complaints, accompanied by snotty tears, had no effect. Little Bo Peep it was. Had she spent days making the costume for me to refuse to wear it? Answering yes to that was, apparently, the wrong answer. The only concession she would make was that I could keep my own clothes on underneath the dress she had made.

The outfit was topped off with a forerunner of what is now known as a See-you-Jimmy hat. Sorry pardon excuse me? Let me explain. There was an unfathomably popular comedian in Britain in the 1970s called Russ Abbott who would play ‘hilarious’ characters as part of his less than hilarious act. [I’m guessing you’re not a fan. - Ed.] One of these characters was supposed to be a Scotsman wearing a tartan bunnet (Trans: hat) over ginger hair while shouting, in a poor attempt at a Scottish accent, ‘See you, Jimmy.’ Oh how we laughed. Okay, I didn’t, but plenty of people did and some smart maker of cheap seaside tat realised that, by making a tartan hat with ginger hair already attached, a lot of money could be made selling these to holidaymakers in Blackpool (and other salubrious resorts). Probably the sort of punter who would in former times have bought a ‘Kiss-me-quick’ hat. The entrepreneur even pinched Russ Abbott’s line to market them as the ‘See-you-Jimmy’ hat. So now you know.

Any road up, the bonnet which I was to wear with this ensemble also had the hair attached to it; only this hair was meant to be ringlets. Ye gods!

Luckily, the ringlets weren’t too well attached and promptly fell off the hat when I was putting this laughable get up on. I don’t know how they fell out; they just did. ‘Too late to fix them now,’ I said innocently.

My mum had also spent a while fashioning the accessory which would accompany the dress. I was supposed to be Little Bo Peep, remember. She had made a crook, a long-handled cane with a loop for a handle. Think of the big stick a bishop might carry - his crozier; like that, only less ornate. She had gone to a lot of trouble with this and had even tied some of the dress material around it.

'You look lovely,' my mother announced. 'Aye, well,' I replied.

I was going to go guising with my mate, George, who lived a few doors away and grumpily headed to his house to get him.

His dad opened the door. ‘You look... lovely,’ he announced. I think I could spot sarcasm even at that age. 'Aye, well.'

My mate came out of the house dressed as a cowboy. You see, mother? That’s what seven year old kids should dress as. ‘You look like a right fanny,’ opined my pal. ‘Aye, well,’ I muttered.

Now, before I get too far into this tale of embarrassment, I did start the evening looking quite tidy in my outfit and the crook was most definitely not broken. I would, however, have to explain to my mother later in the evening why my crook ended up in several pieces.

After visiting a few houses, I realised that sulking was not the best way to impress people. I decided I needed to lighten up and just make the best of it. George and I decided to sing a little ditty that had been played on ‘Singing Together’ that week. That should bring back memories to those of you of a certain age. Singing Together was a radio programme, aimed at schools, that went out on the British Broadcorping Casteration’s Home Service one afternoon each week. Each term, a new Singing Together song booklet was issued and (depending on whether or not your school was participating) primary age school children all over Britain would be belting out such classics as Michael Finnegan, Botany Bay or the one which George and I chose, Bumping Up and Down in My Little Red Wagon.

So the evening progressed. Our carrier bags were filling up nicely with sweets, apples and occasionally dosh and George and I decided to head home with our hard earned goodies.

As we headed home, I’d almost forgotten what a tw*t I must have looked. The evening had gone quite well. Anyway, as always seemed to happen, you would meet other guisers and you would compare notes... ‘Huv ye been tae number 21? They’ve nae sweets left, they’ve only goat money.’ That sort of thing.

In the last group of fellow halloweeners that we met, there was one bigger kid who was looking at me rather quizzically. Finally, he asked me, ‘Ur you a boey or a lassie?’

I told my mother I’d dropped the crook.



Birthday honours...

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 28th of October? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.

Arthur Wharton 1865 - Footy bloke.

Elsa Lanchester 1902 - Actress. Mary Shelley and The Monster’s Bride in Bride of Frankenstein.

Evelyn Waugh 1903 - Writer, journalist and book reviewer. Brideshead Revisited, that was one of his.

Pearl Hackney 1916 - Actress. She appeared in 21 episodes of an early 1950s show called The Eric Barker Half Hour. She didn’t use her married name which was Barker... Now, there’s a coincidence.

Cliff Hanley 1922 - Writer, journalist and TV presenter.

Cleo Laine 1927 - Singer. Shall we have a clip? Here she is with John Williams performing Cavatina. [Wasn't that replaced by the Ford Sierra? - Ed.]

Bill Rodgers 1928 - Politician who wanted his own party.

Joan Plowright 1929 - Ectress. Played Jean Rice in The Entertainer with that lovely luvvie Larry Olivier. She didn’t use her (soon to be) married name of Olivier.

Bernie Ecclestone 1930 - Business magnate.

Jack Hedley 1930 - Actor. Lt. Col. John Preston in Colditz.

Carl Davis 1936 - Composer. He wrote this sombre piece which you may recognise.

Graham Bond 1937 - Musician. Not a lot of footage available, but here he is with Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and Dick Heckstall Smith (and sporting the oddest looking moustache ever) singing Hoochie Coochie Man.

David Dimbleby 1938 - Commentator and presenter.

Howard Blake 1938 - Composer. He wrote many works (not just the music for The Snowman) and here is a piece called Exhibition in Piccadilly.  That was worth listening to just to watch the accompanying film.

Hank Marvin 1941 - Musician and rhyming slang. Have a clip. Here’s The Savage.

Alastair McDonald 1941 - Musician. Have a clip. Here’s The Wee Kirkcudbright Centipede.  There you go; you now know how to pronounce Kirkcudbright.

John Hallam 1941 - Actor. Thomas Mallen in The Mallens.

Jimmy McRae 1943 - Car racey bloke.

Glyn Ellis aka Wayne Fontana 1945 - Singer. A clip? Why soitenly. Here here is with his Mindbenders performing The Game of Love.  Can you spot the young Eric Stewart, who later found fame with 10CC?

David Dixon 1947 - Actor. Ford Prefect in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

John McGovern 1949 - Fitba guy. He played in the first game I ever went to.

Peter Hitchens 1951 - Journalist and author.

Mark James 1953 - Golfy bloke.

Jeff Stewart 1955 - Actor. PC Reg Hollis in The Bill.

Sandy Clark 1956 - Fitba guy.

Stephen Morris 1957 - Musician. Drummer with Joy Division and New Order, among others. Shall we have another clip? Yes, let’s. Here’s Regret.

William Reid 1958 - Musician. Co-founder of The Jesus and Mary Chain. Here’s a song from 2017 called Always Sad. Did I tell you he comes from Polomint City? [Probably. - Ed.]

Jason Watkins 1966 - Actor. Roger in Hold the Sunset.

Alan Smith 1980 - Footy bloke.

Matt Smith 1982 - Actor. Doctor Who number 342.

Joe Thomas 1983 - Actor. Simon Cooper in The Inbetweeners.

Eden Taylor-Draper 1997 - Actress. Belle Dingle (Oh how we laughed.) in Emmerdale.








I’ve received a letter...

Dear William Gramblereid,

It was nice to hear a song from your band, The Jesus and Mary Chain which wasn’t the obvious one. You know, the only one of your records to actually make the top ten... the name of which I’ve completely forgotten. Can you help?

Yours absent-mindedly,

A. Prill-Skighs.





Gramble time...

How did our last bet with Darkbloes fare? We didn’t lose... much. In fact, it was a big improvement on our previous bet. We got £1.86 back from our £2.20 stake. What happened? Read on.


Brentford vs Burnley - Home win

Result - Brentford 3 Burnley 0


Bryan Mbeumo steered Neal Maupay's pass into the top corner just past the hour mark to double the hosts' lead after Yoana Wissa had broken the deadlock in the first half.

Saman Ghoddos completed the scoring with three minutes remaining, arrowing a powerful shot into the far corner from the edge of the penalty area.

Brentford got the opener their early dominance deserved when Wissa turned in Mbeumo's low cross at the far post.

Maupay thought he had given the hosts an eighth-minute lead when he nodded home Nathan Collins' cutback from a tight angle, but the Frenchman's header was controversially disallowed for offside against Kristoffer Ajer.

Burnley improved in the second half and should have pulled a goal back when Lyle Foster teed up Luca Koleosho with the score at 2-0, but the teenager somehow scuffed his shot past the post with the goal at his mercy.

Clarets defender Connor Roberts picked up a second yellow card late on after dragging Wissa to the floor, before Ghoddos put the seal on a comfortable Brentford victory.


Nottm Forest vs Luton - Home win

Result - Nottingham Forest 2 Luton 2

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Elijah Adebayo's excellent late goal helped Luton come from two goals down to claim a draw against Nottingham Forest.

The Hatters were trailing 2-0 until the 83rd minute when Forest failed to deal with a routine free-kick and Chiedozie Ogbene fired home the loose ball.

Substitute Adebayo then cushioned a long ball on his chest before stroking his finish past Matt Turner to level the game in the second added minute.

Earlier, Chris Wood had put Forest in front two minutes into the second half and added a second after 76 minutes to seemingly set them on course for victory before Luton's stunning late fightback.


Middlesbrough vs Birmingham - Home win

Result - Middlesbrough 1 Birmingham 0


Morgan Rogers scrambled in an 89th-minute winner, just 13 minutes after coming off the bench.

Boro keeper Seny Dieng did keep out an early effort from Krystian Bielik, the hosts repeatedly got in behind the Blues back line.

Isaiah Jones was flagged for offside after having the ball in the net, while young striker Josh Coburn dragged his shot wide.

And Blues keeper John Ruddy had to make two key second-half saves from Hayden Hackney and Matt Crooks.

But Crooks was then involved in the move that led to Boro making their late breakthrough.

After Rogers set Crooks free out wide, when the low return pass came back to him, he managed to prod the ball inside Ruddy's near post 



Watford vs Sheff Wednesday - Home win

Result - Watford 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0


Watford substitute Yaser Asprilla snatched a late winner to deny Sheffield Wednesday a point.

The Colombian had only been on the pitch for four minutes when he cut in from the right and rifled his finish across Cameron Dawson.

Dawson had barely been tested up to that point, with the visitors largely keeping Watford at bay and creating the better chances.


West Brom vs Plymouth - Home win

Result - West Bromwich Albion 0 Plymouth Argyle 0

Ooh! ’It the bar!

West Bromwich Albion and Plymouth Argyle played out a dismal goalless draw at The Hawthorns.

The visitors came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half through chances from Ryan Hardie and Kaine Kesler-Hayden.

After the break, Grady Diangana prospered from Nathaniel Chalobah dispossessing Argyle before he saw his effort deflected wide by the visitors.

Albion continued to improve and almost sealed a late winner when Jayson Molumby's corner sailed in but Semi Ajayi and (ex-Motherwell man) Cedric Kipre failed to connect.



That was last week. Only a couple of ’It the bars spoiling our chances of a clean sweep. Ne’er mind, eh. What has The Grambler come up with this week. Five games all played at 3pm on Saturday the 28th of October and here they are.

Game - Result - Odds

Barnsley vs Fleetwood - Home win - 4/5

Oxford Utd. vs Wycombe - Home win - 19/20

Port Vale vs Cheltenham - Home win - 4/6

Reading vs Portsmouth - Away win - 21/20

Wigan vs Shrewsbury - Home 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


That’s more like it.



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 Artigas, Uruguay in 1999. A striker, I began my senior career at Peñarol, before moving to Almeria, Benfica and, my current club, Liverpool. I have been capped 20 times.

Answer - Darwin Núñez

2. Which Danish player has scored the most Premier League goals?

Answer - Christian Eriksen

3. What record is shared by Wolves, Burnley, Preston North End, Portsmouth and Sheffield United.

Answer - They have all been champions of each of the top four English divisions. Pre-Premier League days.

4. Which club plays its home games at the MKM Stadium?

Answer - Hull City

5. Another anagram? Why not. Can you name this famous footballer?


Answer - David Beckham

Shall we have five for this week? Of course we shall.

1. Who am I?

I was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire in 1959. A defender, I began my senior career at Barnsley, before moves to Manchester City, Celtic, Lyon and finally Millwall. I was capped for Ireland 57 times. As a coach, I have managed (deep breath) Millwall, Rep. of Ireland, Sunderland, Wolves, Ipswich, Rep. of Ireland (again), APOEL, Cardiff City and Blackpool.

2. Talking of Ireland, which Irish player won Manchester City’s player of the year award for four seasons running?

3. Which Swedish player has scored the most Premier League goals?

4. Which club plays its home games at the Toughsheet Community Stadium?

5. Another word jumble? Why not. Here’s another footballer from the past.


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 quoted is miles out of date. Thanks to the good folk at Memories Tea Room, Burnbank, the total raised for the Bobby Moore Fund now stands at...





And Finally...

And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. J. L. Lewis who died exactly one year ago on the 28th October 2022. I thought it might be a nice tribute to the rock and roll legend, Jerry Lee Lewis aka The Killer. Goodness gracious, what could I possibly use as a clip?

Any road up, I had already made my mind up when I read a little into his private life. Hmm... not quite the legend, it would seem. He was married seven times, sometimes bigamously. I knew he had married very young, being only 16 when he married his first wife. I also knew that he had married his cousin when she was aged just 13. I’d assumed that she was his first wife. I was wrong. She was his third wife who he married when he was 22. His story gets seamier by the minute. She was only 14 when she gave birth to a son.

Perhaps his rock and roll legend status isn’t quite up there with Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins, but he’s certainly on a par with G*ry Gl*tt*r, M*ch**l J*cks*n and R*lf H*rr*s.

Mind you, he still produced a damn good toon to end this week’s edition. Ladeez and genullum here’s Great Balls of Fire. [He should have had his lopped off. - Ed.]


Goodness gracious, you look old






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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