Saturday 23 December 2023

Post 495 - Lonely this gramblemas

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


Story Time...

At this time of year, we all get a bit nostalgic for Christmases past, when there was always snow on the ground... Well, according to Irving Berlin there was... When everyone was happy and smiling and just enjoying this, as Andy Williams assured us, most wonderful time of the year.

Bollocks, says I.

I like to give you a Christmas memory or two as we approach the big day and this year is no exception. Last year, I told you about my earliest Christmas memory. This year, I will tell you about my least satisfactory Christmas. Indeed, I would go as far as to call it a sad occasion.

I’m not talking about recent times. 2013 will forever be my saddest Christmas; the first without Stewart (the founder of this, the world’s greatest ill-informed blog). Instead, I am talking about a Christmas from my childhood which was just... miserable. It was also the Christmas when I, at a very early age, realised something had to change.

I have, in the past, told you how a favourite Christmas tradition of my brother and I was to lug our pillowcases full of pressies through to Mum and Dad’s bedroom and climb in beside them in bed to open our gifts. The Christmas I am recalling for this year’s trip down Christmassy memory lane was the last one prior to beginning that happy ritual.

This must have been when I was about five or six years old. As always, my brother and I had gone to bed early on Christmas Eve. For some reason, unlike every other night of the year, I was desperate to go to bed. Can’t think why. It must have annoyed my big brother no end, because it meant that he had to go at the same time. Why? Because he was a decoy. Sorry pardon excuse me? To explain; he is a few years older than me and no longer... how can I put this?... as excited that Santa Claus might pay a visit. I, on the other hand, was utterly hyper at the prospect. My brother and I shared a bedroom and he was encouraged to go to bed at the same time to try and calm me down a bit.

That was more easily said than done. He had a smart tactic, though. He would say that Santa wouldn’t leave anything for anyone who wasn’t asleep and, wait a minute, was that bells he could hear? I would listen and convince myself that I, too, could hear them. I would close my eyes tightly shut, feigning sleep. After a while, I would actually fall asleep.

My brother probably went back through to the living room to report that he had succeeded in his task. I have no idea; I was fast asleep.

The next morning, I awoke when it was still dark outside. This was before the pillowcase idea had taken hold, so there was nothing to see at the foot of the bed. I wandered sleepily through to the living room. There, alone and in the dark, I opened my presents and began playing with a clockwork train set (that year’s ‘big’ present) wishing that there was somebody there to share these moments of... What? I certainly wasn’t experiencing any feelings of joy. Quite the reverse. I was feeling quite depressed. Yes, I had some nice presents, but didn’t feel I could enjoy them. Not on my own.

I’m guessing that I then wandered back to the bedroom and got back into bed. I do recall that my thoughts at that moment were that I had just ruined Christmas. And I had. That was the moment I decided that, in future, I would never again open my presents alone.

I must have fallen asleep because, when I got up, it was light outside. I went into the living room to get Christmas cuddles from Mum and Dad. By golly, I needed them. I probably cried thinking that I had spoiled Christmas for everyone thanks to my antics during the night. I hadn’t, of course, but a five-year-old child doesn’t realise that.

Other than that, I recall nothing else about that particular Christmas. I do know that the pillowcase idea was mooted by Mum and Dad in order to prevent me pulling that stunt again.

So, there you have it, my most disappointing Christmas. Not a particularly jolly story for this time of year, but it does touch on the sadder aspect of loneliness at Christmas. With all the adverts on TV showing families tucking into festive meals, it must be a very sad time for those living alone.

Oh dear, this is becoming a bit depressing. Let’s lighten things a bit with some Christmas cracker jokes. Here are this year’s top ten. In Christmas colours, too.

Did you hear about the Christmas cake on display in the British Museum? It was Stollen.

Why is Elon Musk's Christmas dinner so awkward? He can't stop talking about his X.

Why isn't Barbie having turkey for Christmas dinner this year? Chic-Ken is enough.

Why aren't any schools allowed to put on a nativity this year? They couldn't find a stable building.

What impact will the 20mph speed limit in Wales have on the charts this year? Chris Rea will be driving home for Easter.

What happened to Mark Zuckerberg's novelty jumper when he had a cage fight with Elon Musk? He was left with nothing but Threads.

What's the difference between The Polar Express and HS2? One's a fantasy about a train and the other's a film with Tom Hanks. [The old switcheroony, there. - Ed.]

What did Robert Oppenheimer get Barbie for Christmas? Atomic Kenergy.

Why are the train drivers on the naughty list this year? Because they've already had three strikes!

How does Margot Robbie decorate her Nativity scene? With 3 wise Ken.

[They are the best? Jeez, I’d hate to see the runners up. - Ed.]





Birthday honours...

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 23rd of December? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.

Richard Arkwright 1732 - Textile entrepreneur.

Maurice Denham 1909 - Jobbing actor. Rawley in Porridge. 207 credits on IMDb.

Noel Dyson 1916 - Actress. Ida Barlow (Ken’s mum) in Coronation Street.

Peggy Fortnum 1919 - Illustrator. Famous for illustrating Paddington Bear in Michael Bond’s stories.

Charlie Williams 1928 - Comedian. Famous for his broad Yorkshire accent... And being totally useless as a presenter of TV gameshow, The Golden Shot. Prior to being a stand-up, he was a professional footballer, playing 171 times for Doncaster Rovers.

Ee - I've had some laughs

Fred Heath aka Johnny Kidd 1935 - Singer/songwriter. Had a few hits with his Pirates. Let’s have a clip. Here’s Please Don't Touch.

John Nightingale 1942 - Actor. Tom Seaton in When the Boooat Comes In.

John Sullivan 1946 - TV scriptwriter. Citizen Smith, Just Good Friends and Only Fools and Horses were his best-known creations.

Luther Grosvenor aka Ariel Bender 1946 - Musician. Part of Mott the Hoople. I was never too certain about that name. Is a Hoople called Mott? In that case, where is the comma after Mott. Or is it an instruction to do something to a hoople? How, exactly, do you go about motting it? I think we should have these things explained. Anyway, would you like a clip? Of course you would. Here’s Honaloochie Boogie.

Graham Bonnet 1947 - Singer/songwriter. Here’s an early hit by The Marbles that you might recognise, Only One Woman.  Factoid: Bonnet was approached by the members of Sweet to replace Brian Connolly, but chose to join Rainbow. The rest, as they say, is history.

David Davis 1948 - Politician.

Anthony Phillips 1951 - Musician. Genesis’ original guitarist who left the band, not for musical differences but, because of his stage fright. Another clip? Indeed. Here’s Deep in the Night.

Dave Allen 1955 - Not the comedian, but the musician who once played bass for Gang of Four. Let’s have a clip. Here’s Damaged Goods.

Dave Murray 1956 - Musician. He has been a guitarist with the band Iron Maiden since its formation in 1975. Crikey! Nearly half a century with the same band. That’s what you call a job for life. Shall we have a clip? I do believe we shall. Let's Raaawwwk! Here’s Stratego.

Nej Adamson 1958 - Actor. Ali Osman in the early years of Eastenders... you slaaag!

Smiley smiley Carol Smillie 1961 - TV presenter.

Nick Moran 1969 - Actor. Eddy in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. 111 credits on IMDb.

Karine Polwart 1970 - Singer/songwriter. Let’s have a clip. Here’s Daisy.

Tara Palmer-Tompkinson 1971 - Famous woman who was famous for... you tell me.

Matt Baker 1977 - TV presenter.

Jodie Marsh 1978 - See Tara Palmer-Tompkinson.

Gavin Strachan 1978 - Fitba guy. Gordon’s lad.

Frazer Wright 1979 - Fitba guy. Fae Polomint City, by the way.

Kenny Miller 1979 - Fitba guy.

Aidan David 1981 - Actor. James ‘Arnie’ Arnold in Grange Hill.

Michael Chopra 1983 - Foo’y blurk. That’s supposed to be Geordie.

Harry Judd 1985 - Musician and Strictly Come Dancing winner. He is the drummer with McFly. Would you like a clip? Of course you would. Here’s a new track from the band, God of Rock & Roll.

Danny MacAskill 1985 - Bikey bloke.





I’ve received a letter...

Dear Dave Grambly,

It was lovely to hear a fairly recent song from your band Iron Maiden. I have a question for you: what was your band’s first single to reach the top ten in the charts?

Yours heavy-metally,

Ron Tudor-Hills.





Gramble time...

How did our last bet with Blordkaes fare? We won... and lost. £1.94 back from our £2.20 stake. Oh no. 26 pees down. What happened? Read on.



Hull vs Cardiff - Home win

Result - Hull 3 Cardiff 0


The hosts found the breakthrough they deserved when Aaron Connolly met Liam Delap's low cross for an easy finish.

Hull doubled the lead 10 minutes into the second half, Scott Twine's free-kick finding the top corner.

And the Tigers scored their third three minutes later as Ozan Tufan chipped the ball over Jak Alnwick into the back of the Cardiff net to seal victory.

Bolton vs Bristol Rovers - Home win

Result - Bolton 1 Bristol Rovers 2


First-half goals from John Marquis and Antony Evans condemned 10-man Bolton to a 2-1 defeat.

Rovers grabbed a 10th-minute lead when Grant Ward crossed for Marquis to score.

The visitors' fortunes increased when Bolton captain Ricardo Santos was sent off for tripping Aaron Collins 12 minutes before half-time.

The Gas went 2-0 up as Collins set up Evans for his goal.

Nathan Baxter kept Bolton in the hunt when saving from Collins, Evans and Connor Taylor before Wanderers rallied.

George Thomason forced Matt Cox into his first save of the game after 66 minutes and the goalkeeper made a more spectacular effort to deny Jon Dadi Bodvarsson with 20 minutes left.

Defender Eoin Toal's late consolation could not prevent the Trotters' defeat.

Barnsley vs Charlton - Home win

Result - Barnsley 1 Charlton 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Adam Phillips opened the scoring for the home side, with Corey Blackett-Taylor providing the second-half equaliser.

Blackett-Taylor broke through the Barnsley defence in the seventh minute, but he could only find the side-netting as the angle drew tighter.

Barnsley midfielder Herbie Kane looked to have found the top corner from 25 yards out in the 20th minute, but Charlton keeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer tipped over.

The hosts broke the deadlock in the 24th minute under controversial circumstances when Kane battled well to retrieve the ball in the left corner, driving inside to find Phillips who slotted home.

Maynard-Brewer and head coach Michael Appleton were booked in the aftermath of the goal, with the Addicks arguing the ball had left the field of play in the build-up.

Blackett-Taylor scored the equaliser for Charlton in the 70th minute. Driving in from the left and beating several defenders before firing past Liam Roberts.


Shrewsbury vs Portsmouth - Away win

Result - Shrewsbury 0 Portsmouth 3


Two goals from Abu Kamara and another from Marlon Pack gave Portsmouth an emphatic win.

Just before the half-hour mark, Paddy Lane cut the ball back to Kusini Yengi in the heart of the box, but the Pompey forward blasted it over the bar.

The visitors took the lead on the stroke of half-time. Pack launched a long throw to the back post and Kamara bundled the ball into the net.

Pompey doubled their lead in the 62nd minute when Lane cut in from the left to reach the near post and lay the ball off to Pack, who poked it in from close range.

Shrewsbury came close to pulling a goal back with under 20 minutes remaining. Mal Benning fed a ball into fellow substitute Max Mata in the box. The striker held off a defender before shooting, but his effort went over.

Kamara completed the scoring with six minutes remaining, after being played through on goal by Christian Saydee, rifling the ball into the net.


Crawley vs Mansfield - Away win

Result - Crawley 1 Mansfield 3


The Stags, pegged back by a penalty from Danilo Orsi after Baily Cargill's opener, stepped up their game in the second half to clinch their first victory in three league matches.

Scott Lindsey went into the contest believing Crawley have come a hell of a long way since he took over as boss 11 months ago. ‘They’ve come a hell of a long way since I took over as boss 11 months ago,’ he said.

However, the hosts suffered an early blow when defender Cargill gave Mansfield the lead after 12 minutes with a thumping header from a fierce cross by Rhys Oates.

Stags goalkeeper Christy Pym went down bravely to claim a dangerous cross by Kellan Gordon before Oates wasted a quick Mansfield counter-attack by hastily firing over from a good position.

Crawley equalised nine minutes before the break when Orsi powered home his 11th goal of the season from the penalty spot. He made no mistake after referee Scott Simpson had ruled that Lucas Akins had fouled Adam Campbell.

Mansfield had a let-off 10 minutes into the second half when a rasping drive from Will Wright struck the post.

However, the Stags took the lead a minute later when Davis Keillor-Dunn netted his 12th goal of the season from close range following a cross by substitute Stephen Quinn.

George Maris wrapped up the points in the 64th minute with a first-time shot from the edge of the area after good work by Akins.

The hosts were reduced to 10 men in the 69th minute when defender Jay Williams picked up two yellow cards for fouling Quinn and then showing dissent. What a tw*t!


So, three yays, a boo and an ’it the bar meant we weren’t in profit last time, can The Grambler come up with the goods this week? [Doubt it. - Ed.] Let’s see what he/she/it has randomly predicted.

Game - Result - Odds

Fulham vs Burnley - Home win - 8/11

Tottenham vs Everton - Home win - 4/6

Sunderland vs Coventry - Home win - 5/6

QPR vs Southampton - Away win - 3/4

Blackpool vs Bristol Rovers - Home win - 3/4

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


9-30? My bedtime.




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 Aliança, Brazil in 1996. An attacking midfielder, I began my senior career at Brazilian club Sport Recife before moving to 1899 Hoffenheim, although I was loaned out to Rapid Wien for much of my time there. I currently play for Newcastle United. I have been capped for Brazil five times.

Answer - Joelinton

2. Who is the current manager of Aston Villa?

Answer - Unai Emery [Dick’s lad? - Ed.]

3. Similar to last week’s question 3, who has won the English First Division title, F.A. Cup, League Cup and the Scottish League Cup as both player and manager?

Answer - Kenny Dalglish

4. Who has scored the most goals as a West Ham player?

Answer - Vic Watson with 326

5. Another anagram for you. Who is this English player from the past?


Answer - Dixie Dean

Here are some to test you over Christmas.

1. Who am I?

I was born in Coventry, England in 1996. An attacking midfielder, I began my senior career at Coventry City before moving to Norwich City. I was signed out on loan to Coventry and Aberdeen before Leicester City bought me for around £20 million. I currently play for Tottenham Hotspur who bought me for about £40 million. I have been capped five times for England.

2. Philippe Clement has proven to be a steady manager at Rangers, but which team did he coach immediately before moving to Glasgow?

3. Which club plays its home games at the Bet365 Stadium (formerly known as the Britannia Stadium)?

4. Scotland has qualified for Euro 2024; when was the team’s debut appearance in that tournament?

5. Would you like some anagrams? Okay, this week, since it is Christmas, here are not one, not two, not even five anagrams, but twelve, yes twelve, to test your knowledge of footy grounds in England and Scotland.













There you have it. Have fun trying to work that lot out. 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. The total raised for the Bobby Moore Fund now stands at...





And Finally...

And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am grateful to a Mr. D. MacAskill for this week’s finishing link. Danny MacAskill is a famous mountain/stunt cyclist from Skye. He has made films of his rides all over the world, but we are going to go to the Isle of Skye for our link. Ladeez and genullum, please be astounded by The Ridge.




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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