Saturday 20 January 2024

Post 497 - A hair-raising 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


Story Time...

Those of you who are old enough to have lived through the 70s and 80s will probably remember the time when footballers began a trend that has persisted to this day. And what trend is that, I hear you ask. The desire to look ridiculous, I answer. Sorry pardon excuse me? Let me explain. It was around that time, all those years ago that footballers eschewed the fashions of the time to pursue their own ‘style’. Yes, at a time when teenagers and young men ceased to wear their hair long and took on the shorter-haired punk look, footballers kept their long locks. Not only that, they had their hair permed. Yep, think of the style your bubble-bonced granny had; that was what footballers looked like. Without the wrinkles, of course.

Why did they adopt this style? Well, it was in vogue a little bit. Perhaps you remember the Brady Bunch where all the blokes had permed hair for some odd reason. The footy guys can’t all have been fans of a cheesy ‘honey I’m home’ American sitcom, surely. No, the reason was money... and don’t call me Shirley. [It’s a while since you’ve done that old favourite. - Ed.] Having your hair permed cost money. Lots of it. What did footballers have? Money, and lots of it. Why not spend some of this dosh on expensive (but daft-looking) hair-dos.

Since then, footballers have gone through various ‘stylish’ hairstyles. Generally, only a few guys went all out to look outrageous... think Taribo West, Paul Pogba and Barry Venison... but most looked fairly average.

Of course, footballers found other ways to waste their hard-earned dosh; tattoos, for example. Why? I have no idea. However, lately, I have noted that crazy hairstyles have made a serious comeback. Over the past five years, it seemed that huge Brian Blessed type beards were footballers’ means of expressing ‘style’ and looking silly, but now daft hairstyles are back. Yay!

We have the wide Mohican style which, to me, resembles a slightly small forage cap perched on the head. It is popular, certainly, but not particularly odd-looking. No, the crazy footballer fashion of the moment is the desire to have the hair braided. Now, to me, anyone over the age of 12 should not have their hair braided. Even then, only girls aged 12 or less should adopt such a style. Boys? Most definitely not.

So why do footballers now want to look like girls aged less than 12? Money. Again. Having hair braided is a time-consuming, expensive business. Obviously, the footy blokes who are adopting this ridiculous look have no space left for tattoos, so who else can they throw armfuls of money at? Hairdressers... well, hair braiders.

Perhaps they think they are being ‘individual’. The trouble seems to be that every footballer and his brother now want to have braided hair. [I thought you said some had a forage cap. - Ed.] Point taken. But where is any individuality they might crave? Forget it. Take a look in the mirror. You’ve all got the same hairstyle. [Unless they have that other style. - Ed.] All right, you’ve made your point.

Okay, braided hair looks pretty daft in itself, but the daftest of the lot had to be one particular, high-profile, player (his name sounds a bit like Straheem Rerling) whose hair wasn’t quite long enough to be braided. What did he do? He came on to the field of play with... what are those? Surely not. He’s got bloody hair grips in. What a tw*t!

Not everyone has hair that can be braided and perhaps doesn’t want a wide mohican mop. There is still room for the occasional curve-ball hairdo. Remember Ronaldo back in 2002? He looked as if he had started to shave his head and forgot the bit at the front. And do you know what? It was deliberate. He thought, I’ll give the lads at training a bit of a laugh. Unfortunately, he was photographed with his half-finished hairdo and his image went viral. Before he could tell the world it was only a joke, thousands of Brazilian kids, who idolised him, had adopted his ‘new look’. He felt obliged to keep the silly hairdo, if only to appease those kids and, presumably, the parents who had been inveigled into letting them follow the style of their football hero.

Anyway, we have a new crazy haircut guy... Witness, a certain Manchester United player who has obviously based his look on that of a certain 1970s piano-playing singer songwriter.

Alejandro Garnacho

Gilbert O'Sullivan

To be continued...




Birthday honours...

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 13th of January? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.

Alfred Yarrow 1842 - Industrialist who began Yarrow Shipbuilders.

Richard Addinsell 1904 - Composer. Here’s a piece you will perhaps recognise; it was written for the 1941 film Dangerous Moonlight and goes by the title Warsaw Concerto.

Ted Willis 1918 - Screenwriter. Best known for writing the BBC police series Dixon of Dock Green. Mind how you go. Ask your grandad.

Allan Prior 1922 - Screenwriter. Best known for writing the BBC police series Z Cars. Hang on a mo...

John Hewer 1922 - Actor. Never heard of him? He was best known for sailing a ship crewed by young children and paying them only with fish fingers. Called himself Captain Birdseye.

Jack Watling 1923 - Actor. Don Henderson in The Power Game. Ask your grandad again

Ron Tauranac 1925 - Engineer and racing car designer. Co-founded the Brabham constructor team with Jack.

Michael Bond 1926 - Writer. Creator of Paddington Bear.

Ian Hendry 1931 - Actor. Dr. David Keel in The Avengers. Ask the old’un again.

Carol Cleveland 1942 - Actress. Famous for being the only female member of the Monty Python team.

John Lees 1947 - Musician who formed the band Barclay James Harvest back in 1966. The band is still active. Actually, that’s not strictly true. The two surviving members, Lees and Les Holroyd, have parted company, but both still tour with bands using the BJH name. In the red corner, we have John Lees’ Barclay James Harvest and in the blue corner, we have Barclay James Harvest featuring Les Holroyd. I’m guessing the two don’t get on these days. Anyway, history lesson over; let’s have a clip. Here’s their ‘tribute’ to the Beatles called Titles.  I'm guessing that was written with tongue firmly in cheek.

Malcolm Storry 1948 - Actor. ‘Dogfood’ Dan Milton in Dogfood Dan and the Carmarthen Cowboy. Er... It was a sitcom about lorry drivers in the days of C. B. radio. Doesn’t make much sense as a title nowadays.

Alex Brychta 1956 - Who? He is an illustrator famous for the Oxford Reading Tree series of books featuring the characters Biff, Chip and Kipper. Apparently, this learn-to-read series is used in 80% of British primary schools.

Mike Bullen 1960 - Screenwriter. Cold Feet, that was his biggie.

Graham McPherson aka Suggs 1961 - Singer/songwriter. Famous as being frontman with the Band, Madness. Here’s his solo number 6, Cecilia. Yes, that was Chris Eubank, the well-known boxy bloke, introducing him.

Mark ‘Bill’ Bailey 1965 - Comedian, musician and actor.

Tom Bradby 1967 - TV journalist and newsreader.

Stephen Hendry 1969 - Snookery bloke.

Orlando Bloom 1977 - Actor. Will Turner in the various Pirates of the Caribbean films.

William Ash 1977 - Actor. Caleb Miligan in Emmerdale.

Katy Brand 1979 - Comedienne, actress and writer.

Des Clarke 1981 - Comedian and radio presenter.

Ruth Wilson 1982 - Actress. Alison Bailey in The Affair.

Matt Stokoe 1989 - Actor. Raoul Moat in The Hunt for Raoul Moat.

Now then, what about the 20th of January? Anyone famous born on that day? Let’s have a look...

Henry Cromwell 1628 - Lord Deputy of Ireland. Ollie’s lad.

Finlay Currie 1878 - Actor. Magwitch in Great Expectations (1946).

Tudor Owen 1898 - Actor. He was in all sorts of things in the fifties and early sixties, but I remember him as a voice artist. Yep. He was Towser in 101 Dalmations.

Clarice Cliff 1899 - Potter.

Colin Clive 1900 - Actor. Henry Frankenstein in Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

Fabia Drake 1904 - Actress. Countess of Midlothian in The Pallisers.

Joy Adamson 1910 - Naturalist. She wrote Born Free which was made into the film of the same name.

Roy Plomley 1914 - Radio broadcaster. He is credited with creating Desert Island Discs, a radio programme that has been running since 1942. In that time it has had only five presenters; Plomley running the show from its inception until 1985. He might have carried on, but his death intervened.

Tony Shryane 1919 - Radio producer... He produced programmes, not radios... I’ll get me coat.

Dick Hern 1921 - Race-horse trainer.

Graham Stark 1922 - Comedian, actor, writer and director.

Henry Woolf 1930 - Actor. I recall him from Rutland Weekend Television.

Richard Coleman 1930 - Actor. David Redway in ...And Mother Makes Five.

Gerry Monroe 1933 - Singer. He tended to take old classic songs and, quite frankly, murder them. Here’s an example, the old Gracie Fields classic, Sally.

Tom Baker 1934 - The Doctor.

Frances Shand Kydd 1936 - Princess Diana’s mam.

Neville Buswell 1943 - Actor. Ray Langton in Coronation Street.

Eric Stewart 1945 - Musician. A quarter of 10CC [Two and a half CC, then. - Ed.] A clip? But of course. Here’s the biggie, I'm Not In Love.

Christopher Martin-Jenkins 1945 - Cricket commentatory bloke.

Liza Goddard 1950 - Actress. Victoria in Take Three Girls. It had this rather nice theme song from Pentangle called Light Flight.

Ian Hill 1951 - Musician. He is the longest-serving member of Judas Priest having been there at the start back in 1969. He’s been playing bass with them for 55 years for goodness sake! Would you like a clip? Of course you would. Here’s a song that reached number four in the U.S. of A. but didn’t even get into the Yuk top 40, You've Got Another Thing Comin'.

John Robertson 1953 - Fitba guy.

Janey Godley 1961 - Comedienne.

Chris England 1961 - Writer and actor. He co-wrote An Evening with Gary Lineker.

Sophie Thompson 1962 - Actress. Sheila Seymour in Detectorists.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex 1965 - The well-known royal bloke.

Heather Small 1965 - Singer with a very distinctive voice. Here she is with M People getting a bit Excited.

Colin Calderwood 1965 - Fitba guy.

Nicky Wire 1969 - Musician. Bassist with Manic Street Preachers, but here is a solo track called I Killed the Zeitgeist. [Ooh, I like that one.  Bob Marley... I killed the zeitgeist, but I did not shoot the deputy... - Ed.] No, not that one.

Mitch Benn 1970 - Musician and comedian.

Gary Barlow 1971 - Singer and songwriter most notably with Take That. Shall we have a clip? Yes, why in heaven’s name not. Here’s a newish track, Windows.

Zac Goldsmith 1975 - Politician and journalist, apparently.

Joel Pott 1979 - Musician and songwriter. Frontman for Indie band Athlete but nowadays is better known for his songwriting; for George Ezra among others. Let’s have a jolly toon from his Athlete days. Here’s El Salvador.

Will Young 1979 - Singer, songwriter and actor. Here’s a recent song, Why Does It Hurt.  Probably because you won't stop picking at it.

Owen Hargreaves 1981 - Footy bloke.

Joe Swash 1982 - Actor. Mickey Miller in Eastenders you slaaaag!

Mark Wright 1987 - TV personality it says here.

Paul Hanlon 1990 - Fitba guy.

Tom Cairney 1991 - Footy bloke.






I’ve received a letter...

Dear Eric Gramblart,

Oh, it was so lovely to hear your lovely song about not being in love. I do recall that your lovely group had a lovely record that reached number before that one, but I can’t remember. It would be lovely if you could remind me.

Yours lovely-ly,

Rob R. Bullits.

PS. - That was some of the worst miming I've ever seen.





Gramble time...

How did our last bet with Borkdales go? We won... and lost. Again. Even worse than last time. 78 pees back from our £2.20 stake. A whole £1.42 down. Oh dear oh dear. What happened? Read on.


Cheltenham vs Portsmouth - Away win

Result - Cheltenham 2 Portsmouth 1

Oh dear. Bad start.

Portsmouth were on top for much of the first half, with Abu Kamara a major threat.

But they failed to seriously test goalkeeper Luke Southwood, who made comfortable saves from Sean Raggett and Marlon Pack.

Kamara had the ball in the net before half-time but the whistle had already been blown for a foul on him and it was ruled out.

Paddy Lane's cross was helped on by Raggett and Tom Bradbury deflected it into his own net under pressure from Colby Bishop to put Pompey ahead.

Portsmouth led for less than two minutes, with Will Ferry's long throw-in hooked in by Liam Sercombe in the 51st minute.

The winner came when George Lloyd dispossessed Conor Shaughnessy in the 54th minute, allowing Sercombe to smash into the roof of the net.


Exeter vs Carlisle - Home win

Result - Exeter 2 Carlisle 1


The hosts gave a debut to Luke Harris and he twice went close in the first five minutes, while Jordan Gibson was high with a long-range effort for Carlisle.

The best chance of a tame first half fell to Carlisle's Josh Emmanuel, but with only Vili Sinisalo to beat, Zak Jules got back to make an outstanding goal-saving block.

After the break, Exeter's Jack Aitchison saw a shot spilled by Gabe Breeze, but Sonny Cox could not finish off the rebound.

However, the Grecians finally got the goal their play deserved after 57 minutes when Harris' cross fell kindly for Reece Cole and he smashed the ball in from 12 yards.

City were on top now and the second goal duly arrived in the 77th minute when Aitchison's shot struck the base of the post and Cox reacted quickest to turn in the loose ball.

Luke Armstrong hit the post from close range for Carlisle before Dan Butterworth smashed in from 20 yards to give the Cumbrians hope, but despite nine minutes of added time, the Grecians held firm for the win.


Barrow vs Tranmere - Home win

Result - Barrow 1 Tranmere 0

Yay again!

Barrow’s Elliot Newby laid off a ball for midfielder Dean Campbell to curl the ball left-footed into the top corner from 18 yards out.

Barrow, however, suffered a later scare before the three points were confirmed when Josh Hawkes struck an upright with a stoppage-time effort.

However, they survived and had a last-minute Kian Spence effort disallowed for offside.


Bradford vs Crawley - Home win

Result - Bradford 2 Crawley 4

Oh dear, oh dear

Crawley scored twice in stoppage time to clinch a dramatic 4-2 win at Bradford.

The visitors had been trailing 2-1 before Adam Campbell's 85th-minute equaliser.

They went on to complete a remarkable comeback as Danilo Orsi scored his second goal of the game from the penalty spot after Nick Tsaroulla was tripped by Jon Tomkinson.

Then substitute Klaidi Lolos made it a six-goal thriller with a well-struck finish into the top corner.

Orsi had nodded Crawley ahead after 12 minutes from Tsaroulla's cross.

Corey Addai made a good save in a one-on-one with Tyler Smith to preserve their lead at half-time.

But Bradford's increasing pressure after the break was rewarded when Liam Ridehalgh scored with a chipped cross that floated in at the back post.

The home side then went in front when Addai looked to have saved Andy Cook's penalty but, with Cook steaming in to score the rebound, contrived to push the ball into his own net.

But Campbell equalised from Harry Ransom's cross before the double strike in time added on secured the win for Crawley.


Swindon vs Colchester - Home win

Result - Swindon 2 Colchester 2

Ouch! ’It the bar!

Bradley Ihionvien snatched a stoppage-time equaliser to rescue a point for Colchester as they came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Swindon.

Swindon were awarded a penalty after just 17 minutes when Udoka Godwin-Malife was hauled to the ground in the box and Charlie Austin stepped up and blasted his shot down the middle.

Swindon grabbed their second goal before the break as Austin's header went into the path of Tom Brewitt, who smashed the ball into the roof of the net from one yard out.

Matt Jay pulled Colchester back into the game in first-half stoppage time when he met a near-post cross and flicked it into the far corner of the net.

Three minutes after the break, Jay fired a low effort beyond Lewis Ward, but Liam Kinsella blocked the shot on the line.

With almost the last kick of the game, Ward fluffed a punch and allowed Ihionvien to turn home and salvage a draw for the visitors and leave the home fans and The Grambler furious.


Right, come on Grambler, give us some decent predictions...

Game - Result - Odds

Swansea vs Southampton - Away win - 4/6

Stoke vs Birmingham - Home win - 20/21

Plymouth vs Cardiff - Home win - 5/4

Blackburn vs Huddersfield - Home win - 3/4

Lincoln vs Derby - Away win - 7/10


I don’t feel confident. I do not. Nevertheless, 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


Average whoppingness, there.




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 Rio de Janeiro in 1998. A midfielder, I began my senior career at Vasco da Gama before signing for Manchester City on a five-year contract, but never played a game for them. I was loaned out to Girona supposedly for one season, but the loan spell was continued because the UK Home Office denied me a work permit. I signed to my current club Aston Villa in 2019 and finally received my work permit.

Answer - Douglas Luiz Soares de Paulo, but you can call him Douglas Luiz

2. The UEFA European Championship began in 1960; which four nations took part?

Answer - Czechoslovakia, France, Soviet Union and Yugoslavia

3. Which recently retired football manager has coached the following clubs - Gainsburgh Trinity, Burton Albion, Scarborough, Notts County, Torquay United, Huddersfield Town (twice), Plymouth Argyle, Oldham Athletic, Bury, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace (twice), QPR (twice but caretaker manager on the second occasion), Leeds United, Rotherham United, Cardiff City and Middlesbrough?

Answer - Neil Warnock

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

Answer - Rotherham United. For sponsorship purposes it is also known as the AESSEAL New York Stadium.

5. Which club lost the FA Cup Final against Chelsea in both 2007 and 2018?

Answer - Manchester United

Shall we have five for this week? Yes, why not.

1. Who am I?

I was born in Coventry in 1992. A striker, I began my senior career at Coventry City where I scored 22 goals in 49 appearances. In 2014, I moved to AFC Bournemouth, scoring 61 in 171 appearances. In 2020, I moved to my current club, Newcastle and have, so far, netted 45 times in 89 appearances. I have also been capped for England nine times.

2. Which player was sold by Chelsea in 2019 for £89 million?

3. Which club lost the League Cup Final against Liverpool in 1983 and 2003?

4. Who is Leeds United’s all-time highest goalscorer?

5. Which English club plays its home games at Gresty Road?

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. B. (or is it M?) Bailey. I have enjoyed Bill Bailey’s style of comedy since I first saw him on his own BBC Scotland show, Is It Bill Bailey? back in 1998. It was surreal and different. Who else mixed music and comedy in the same way? Victor Borge, maybe? So, to finish this week, let’s have a selection of Bill's comedy.





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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