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…
I take exception to the Manchester City player, Erwin Haarland, being hailed as the greatest ever footballer. Surely there are many other players worthy of the accolade.
K. Dalgleish (Sir).
After last week’s revelations about the crossdressing Grambler, this week’s story might be a bit of a letdown for you.
I thought I would give you some tales of the British tradition of bonfire night or Guy Fawkes Night. It is an annual custom that takes place on the 5th of November, a date we Brits are encouraged to remember. It celebrates the failed gunpowder plot of 1605 when a group of 13 individuals tried to assassinate King James the 6th of Scotland, aka James the 1st of England, by attempting to blow up the House of Lords during the state opening of parliament. Without going into the reasons of why the event took place... it is all to do with Catholicism vs Protestantism... I will add that all the conspirators were either shot or executed.
The odd thing for me is that we remember Guy Fawkes, rather than the leader of the revolt, Robert Catesby. I suppose Robert Catesby Night wouldn’t have the same ring to it.
The way we celebrate the event is to build bonfires and burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes on it. How sick is that? The daft part of it is that Guy Fawkes was not put to death in this gruesome way; he was, slightly less gruesomely, hanged.
He was actually meant to be hanged, drawn and quartered, but avoided the horrific drawing and quartering by dying from the hanging part of his ‘sentence’.
Why the bonfire? I honestly don’t know. Why Guy Fawkes? Ditto. I just know that on the 5th of November every year anyone with pyromaniac tendencies gets free rein to set fire to things. Those things being not just bonfires, but fireworks, which make more sense than bonfires given that they contain a modicum of gunpowder. Fireworks are now sold (legally) only to adults, but it wasn’t always the case...
When I were a lad [Uh oh, Hovis time. - Ed.] anybody could go into a shop from about September onwards and buy fireworks. Even small children. Strangely, newsagents stocked fireworks; at least, my local newsagent did. That was where, as an eight-year child, I would buy penny bangers. They did what it said on the tin. They exploded. Loudly. I could even, as an eight-year-old, buy the matches to set light to these miniature bombs. You are probably thinking that a penny banger couldn’t have been dangerous in any way if they were being sold to juveniles. Not true. They could be very dangerous, especially if they exploded near flammable material.
Any road up, this eight-year-old was savvy enough to know the rules about fireworks... light the blue touch paper and retire immediately. The terminology was a bit strange to me, but I knew what it meant... light the thing and get to fu... get as far away as possible, but obviously not so far away that I couldn’t hear the bang.
My initial use of bangers followed those rules. I always retired to a safe place and I also was wise enough to know that I should never return to a firework that hadn’t ‘gone off’. However, as I got older, I got more gallus (trans: bold) and would do things like lighting the touch paper while I held the banger (Stupid, I know.) and throwing the lit firework into a place where its noise might be amplified. Disused garages, bins, even (I’m ashamed to say) into the lobby of a block of flats. Mind you, that did create one hell of a noise.
It so happened that my parents had a small caravan on a site near Inverary. The site is still there, but is totally different to the way it was when I was small. Then, there were a few dozen ‘vans scattered about an old army camp from WWII. Behind the caravans was overgrown weeds and woodland. This was the playground for me and friends I had made at the caravan park. These friends all enjoyed the end-of-season rituals of setting bonfires on the beach, using driftwood and anything we could carry from the woods.
We also had a huge supply of bangers and, as this had been an army camp there were many disused buildings dotted about the wooded areas. Here, we would have mock battles where we would split into two groups which would each set up camp in one of these outbuildings. We then had to try and ambush the other group’s building by chucking a lit banger, grenade like, through one of the broken windows. If, however, they spotted your approach, a banger lobbed in your direction meant that you were ‘dead’.
The other group would be trying the same tactic. The winner was the first to successfully throw a banger into the opposition’s hideout. Very childish, but great fun to a group of 11 to 13 year olds. Very childish and very dangerous, as these buildings often contained a lot of flammable material and, as the buildings were weatherproof, such material was tinder dry. A recipe for disaster. Did we understand that? Probably not. Did we care? Nah. We lived to tell the tale and I don’t recall anyone ever being injured.
One escapade could have caused injury to all of us. On this occasion, I will blame my older brother who didn’t take part in our silly war games, but was aware of what was going on. Probably because I told him.
What did he do? He thought our playing with piddling little bangers was all a bit trifling. He came up with an idea that none of us younger ones had even heard of... a Molotov cocktail. What, you may ask, is a Molotov cocktail. It is better known as a petrol bomb.
So, we all did our bit to make this actual weapon of war. A glass bottle was required. Easy. There were loads in those dens in the woods. A piece of rag was also needed. No problem. Again, a den in the woods had something amongst the rubbish. Finally, we needed the petrol itself. This was surprisingly easy to obtain, because many of us had our own dinghies and some were lucky enough to have an outboard motor. What do they need to operate? Yes indeed. Petrol. We each syphoned off a little from our engines’ little fuel tanks... without parents’ knowledge, I hasten to add. I don’t know what excuse we would have given if we had been caught.
Any road up, we made our bomb; a bottle full of petrol with a rag ‘wick’ stuffed in the top. Now, where could we deploy it? About half a mile from the site was a piece of wasteland. It was probably still part of the wartime army camp, but it looked as if all the buildings had been destroyed. Deliberately? Who knows. All that was left at this part was a long wall about six feet high. Nothing else, other than concrete bases. It was the ideal spot for our bomb. It was away from our parents’ gaze and it was well away from anything flammable.
My brother must have looked like the Pied Piper as he led a group of laughing kids several years younger than him, out of the caravan site, along a disused road to the wall in question.
Firstly my brother ensured that us younguns were standing well back from the wall. Then, he set the rag in the neck of the bottle alight. Without waiting too long for the whole thing to explode in his hand he chucked the bottle with its flaming wick at the wall. Even from our vantage point well back, we could feel the heat as the now flaming petrol engulfed the wall.
Though we were all whooping with delight at what we had seen, I think we were all a bit frightened by the experience. We probably curtailed our mock battles from that time onwards.
Maybe my brother’s bomb-making exercise had all been aimed at teaching us a valuable lesson... or did he just enjoy scaring us sh*tl*ss?
To end this week’s story, I am reminded of something said by the founder of this august blog when his knowledge of world history deserted him. He and his good lady wife were heading to the good old U. S. of A. at the beginning of November for their honeymoon. He said he was looking forward to going to the States for the 5th of November, because Americans always do fireworks so well. I think it might have been his missus who pointed out that there weren’t likely to be any fireworks on that night... Why would Americans celebrate a crazy, uniquely British custom? They’ve got their own crazy customs at other times of the year.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 4th of November? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.
Henry V 1470 - The well-known king (of England, not Scotland).
James James 1832 - Welsh composer (whose parents had little by way of imagination). You may not have heard of him, but you may well have heard his most famous composition, Hen Wlad fy Nhadau aka Land of my Fathers.
Marguerite Patten 1915 - TV chef.
Richard Bryce aka Dickie Valentine 1929 - Singer. A clip? Here’s one to put you the mood for the next big celebration, Christmas Alphabet.
Ian Harrison aka Clinton Ford 1931 - Singer. Here’s a song that reached number 22 in 1962, Fanlight Fanny.
Joyce Blair 1932 - Hoofer. Lionel’s sis.
Derek Johnstone 1953 - Fitba guy.
Chris Difford 1954 - Musician. A bit of Squeeze. Another clip? Why not. Here’s a Squeeze song for which he provided lead vocals, Cool for Cats.
James Honeyman-Scott 1956 - Musician. Founding member of The Pretenders. I think another clip is called for. Here’s the band from 1981 performing Louie Louie. No, not that one.
Kim Taylor aka Magenta Devine 1957 - TV presenter and journalist.
Lena Zavaroni 1963 - Singer. Have a clip. Here she is aged just 13 singing a medley of songs on the 1976 Royal Variety Show.
Shaun Williamson 1965 - Actor. Barry Evans in Eastenders.
Malandra Burrows 1965 - Actress. Kathy Glover in Emmerdale.
Tim Vincent 1972 - Actor and TV presenter.
Louise Rednapp 1974 - Singer. One time member of Eternal. Here’s her most successful solo effort, 2 Faced.
Robbie Winters 1974 - Fitba guy.
Kevin McDonald 1988 - Fitba guy
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Chris Grambleford,
It was nice to hear a song from your band, Squeeze. I was told that your last album, The Knowledge, has a song on it that has the same title as an old Fleetwood Mac hit. Which one? Man of the World, maybe? Go Your Own Way, perhaps? Can you enlighten me, please?
Yours labelled with love,
How did our last bet with Arkblodes fare? We didn’t lose. Yes we did. I don’t call a return of 78 pees from our £2.20 stake a win. What happened? Read on.
Barnsley vs Fleetwood - Home win
Result - Barnsley 2 Fleetwood 2
Ooh! ’It the bar!
Corey O'Keefe salvaged a late point as Barnsley twice came from behind to draw with Fleetwood.
Junior Quitirna scored either side of (ex-Motherwell player) Devante Cole's first leveller before O'Keefe's last-gasp effort earned a share of the spoils.
The visitors broke the deadlock in the third minute when Jack Marriott broke forward down the left, crossing to Quitirna who fired past Tykes goalkeeper Ben Killip.
Barnsley were awarded a spot-kick four minutes later when Cole was brought down by Fleetwood goalkeeper Jay Lynch.
Cole stepped up himself and saw his penalty saved, but reacted quickly to score the rebound.
Lee Johnson's side regained the lead in the 34th minute when Quitirna placed a 25-yard free-kick into the top-left corner.
Herbie Kane almost pulled his side level two minutes before the break. Receiving a pass from Nicky Cadden, the midfielder struck the woodwork from the edge of the box as he aimed for the top-right corner.
Barnsley pushed for an equaliser and their pressure paid off two minutes from time when Kane's cross found O'Keefe to head beyond Lynch.
Oxford Utd. vs Wycombe - Home win
Result - Oxford Utd. 2 Wycombe 2
Ooh! ’It the bar! Again!
Cameron Brannagan's stoppage-time penalty salvaged a point for Oxford against local rivals Wycombe at the Kassam Stadium.
In a dramatic match featuring three second-half penalties, substitute Brannagan put away the crucial final spot-kick in the sixth minute of time added on after Luke Leahy had tripped Mark Harris just inside the area.
Furious Oxford boss Liam Manning had earlier been shown a red card by referee Sebastian Stockbridge after Wanderers came from behind to lead thanks to two contested spot-kicks.
Ruben Rodrigues fired the U's in front in the 25th minute with a volleyed first-time finish from Marcus McGuane's cutback.
Wycombe levelled 11 minutes into the second half when Leahy planted his penalty into the bottom-right corner after McGuane had slipped inside the box and his hand knocked the ball.
Wanderers turned the game on its head when Brandon Hanlan drew a foul from keeper James Beadle on 81 minutes, and Leahy stepped up to convert his second penalty in almost the same place.
But Oxford were not to be denied as Brannagan made no mistake deep into stoppage time.
Port Vale vs Cheltenham - Home win
Result - Port Vale 1 Cheltenham 2
A brace from captain Sean Long secured the Robins’ victory.
After a cagey opening 20 minutes, Cheltenham began to apply some pressure and Vale goalkeeper Connor Ripley was forced into making a good save from Rob Street's attempt.
But it was the hosts who went ahead in the 32nd minute, when Alfie Devine found the net with an acrobatic effort after skipper Nathan Smith guided a header from a corner to the back post.
Their lead lasted only 10 minutes though, with Long blasting home after latching onto a loose ball in the penalty area.
Elliot Bonds nearly put Cheltenham in front within moments of the second half starting, but his dipping long-range shot hit the crossbar.
The visitors kept patiently probing and got their reward in the 66th minute as Long's deflected effort looped over Ripley and into the net.
Reading vs Portsmouth - Away win
Result - Reading 2 Portsmouth 3
Yay! (At last)
Lewis Wing and Charlie Savage had given Reading a shock lead with two goals in the space of four minutes midway through the first half.
Tino Anjorin, on loan from Chelsea, reduced the deficit before top-scorer Colby Bishop levelled things up at 2-2 in the ninth minute of first-half stoppage time.
Terry Devlin then struck home what proved to be the winner just before the hour.
Reading had stunned the visitors with goals in the 23rd and 27th minute through crisp finishes from first Wing and then Savage.
But Anjorin tucked home a cross from Paddy Lane soon after and, in stoppage time, Bishop knocked in his ninth league goal of the season.
Pompey grew frustrated early in the second period, before Devlin secured the points with a clinical strike after Bishop's clever nod-down at the far post.
Wigan vs Shrewsbury - Home win
Result - Wigan 2 Shrewsbury 0
Goals in either half from Stephen Humphrys and Callum Lang gave Wigan a 2-0 win as 10-man Shrewsbury were seen off in comfortable fashion at the DW Stadium.
The visitors had been on the back foot for the entire game after seeing centre-back Chey Dunkley sent off inside four minutes for hauling down Thelo Aasgaard on the edge of the box.
After that, it was only ever a question of when and not if Wigan would break through.
It was Humphrys who opened the scoring after 35 minutes when he was given too much time and space 20 yards from goal.
After Shrews defender Mal Branning hit his own post, Humphrys inexplicably headed wide just after the hour mark from a yard out, before Jordan Jones cut inside and smacked a shot against the Shrewsbury crossbar.
But the respite was only temporary as Lang nodded home fellow substitute Callum McManaman's cross in the 66th minute - less than 60 seconds after both men had entered the fray.
Reports supplied by PA Media
Oh well, not the best week for The Grambler. Let’s see what he/she/it has randomly selected this week. All matches take place at 3pm on Saturday the 4th of November.
Game - Result - Odds
Birmingham vs Ipswich - Away win - 10/11
Plymouth vs Middlesbrough - Away win - 5/6
Millwall vs Southampton - Away win - Evens
Arbroath vs Partick - Away win - 6/5
Cove Rangers vs Hamilton - Away win - 4/5
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
Ooer! A bit too whopping now.
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 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.
Answer - Mick McCarthy
2. Talking of Ireland, which Irish player won Manchester City’s player of the year award for four seasons running?
Answer - Richard Dunne
3. Which Swedish player has scored the most Premier League goals?
Answer - Freddie Ljungberg (48)
4. Which club plays its home games at the Toughsheet Community Stadium?
Answer - Bolton Wanderers
5. Another word jumble? Why not. Here’s another footballer from the past.
POSH LIP MONTH
How did you fare? Too easy? Well try this week’s, then...
1. Who am I?
I was born in North Richmond, New South Wales in 1972. A goalkeeper, I played 366 games for Middlesbrough and 172 for Fulham and hold the record for the most Premier League appearances of any Australian. I was capped for Australia 109 times over a 20 year period.
2. Which Nigerian has scored the most Premier League goals?
3. Who is the only player to have been capped for his country more than 200 times?
4. Which club plays its home games at the Ashton Gate Stadium?
5. Another anagram? Why not. Here’s a Scottish 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, I am indebted to a Mr. G. Byrne who gives us this week’s finishing link. Sort of. Gay Byrne is the man in question and he died on the 4th of November 2019. He was a respected Irish interviewer who hosted The Late Late Show for 37 years. He was a radio and TV legend in his native Ireland. In 1993, he had the honour of presenting a group of singers(?) to the world for their world premiere. It is clear what Mr Byrne thinks of the group. Please be prepared to cringe at Boyzone’s first ever TV appearance.
Uncle Gay aka Gaybo aka Uncle Gaybo
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.