Saturday 10 February 2024

Post 498 - Another hairy 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...

Do you remember in my last story time I told you that the topic would be continued? I did. At the end. Do you remember? I wrote ‘to be continued’. No? You must have forgotten. I suppose it was rather a long time ago. Three weeks, no less. Anyway, here, finally, is that continuation.

I was commenting on male footballers insistence on wearing ever sillier head toppings known as hair. When I were a lad [Uh oh. Hovis time. - Ed.] men’s hair tended to have a uniformity to it. It would be cut tidily and generally one player’s haircut was similar to another’s. Of course, there were those that couldn’t cope with premature baldness who would try to disguise the fact that they had no hair on top. Even today, a certain dreadful combover style is known as a ‘Bobby Charlton’. Thankfully, such misguided vanity is rare these days.

Any road up, the point I was going to make was that way back then, it was women who had different hairstyles ranging from crop top to long flowing locks. Have you seen a women’s football team these days? They all wear their hair the same. It is longish and tied back in a ponytail. That’s it. The standard style.

It seems that it is now the men, and I’m talking footballers here, who want to spend an inordinate amount of time at a hairdresser. How long does it take for these overpaid and vain primadonnas to get their weird and wonderful hair styles?

One style that I forgot to mention last week was the propensity (That’s a good word; wonder what it means.) of players who have long hair to now have what is known as an undercut. In other words, the hair on the top of the head is kept long, but below a horizontal line just above the ear it is cropped. They then pile the long hair on top of the head in a top-knot.

The first high-profile player to adopt this odd look was Gareth Bale, but I reckon Leeds defender Luke Ayling got there first. In recent times the style has been copied by many others and I doubt if it is because of Bale or Ayling’s influence; I would say that it has been popularised by Manchester City’s goal machine Erling Haaland. Perhaps lesser quality players think they will play better if they adopt his style.

It reminds me of the tale of Samson and Delilah, where he lost his strength when he went to the barber’s. Sorry to tell you lads, but Samson/Haaland’s abilities had/have nothing to do with their long locks; so why don’t you stop looking like a complete tw*t and have a haircut.

There’s more. Some of this following the herd culture seems to have rubbed off onto football managers. Sorry pardon excuse me? Manchester City's Pep Guardiola started it; others have followed. There is now a football manager look. There is. Take a look at a lot of managers out there and you will see it. It is that the head is shaven, but there is a shortish beard.

Last time out, I said that Alejandro Garnacho had an odd hairstyle but, sticking with Manchester City personnel, let’s not forget that individual with perhaps the daftest hairstyle around at the moment: Jack Grealish. What does he think he looks like with that hairband?

The sad thing is that, like the Ronaldo tale I told you, young boys want to copy their hero and are adopting this silly-looking style, complete with hairband.

Either that, or they are just getting in touch with their feminine side. [I don’t think wokedom allows such comments nowadays so, apologies to any touchy buggers who might have been offended by this article. - 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 27th of January? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.

Wolfgang Mozart 1756 - Composer. Known as a child prodigy, here is a piece he is supposed to have composed at the age of six.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll 1832 - Author. Wrote the Alice books. You know, the stories about the little girl who went on some unusual adventures. [More like trips, I reckon. - Ed.]

Edward Smith 1850 - Captain of the R.M.S. Titanic.

George Relph 1888 - Actor. Sam Weech in The Titfield Thunderbolt.

Michael Ripper 1913 - Jobbing actor. Thomas in Butterflies. In a film and TV career lasting some 60 years, he notched up 246 credits on IMDb.

Brian Rix 1924 - Ector-manager, luvvie. Famous for his Whitehall farces and dropping his trousers a lot.


Anyone know where I left my trousers?

Fritz Spiegl 1926 - Musician, journalist, writer, broadcaster and humorist. In fact, a right old smarty boots. Did you know he came up with the Radio 4 UK Theme? Did you care? Well, here it is, anyway.

Michael Craig 1928 - Jobbing actor. Captain John Anderson in 78 episodes of the ill-fated Triangle, a soap-opera based on a North Sea Ferry. [You could say it disappeared without trace. Ha! - Ed.] No, I don’t think I’ll bother.

John Ogdon 1937 - Pianist and composer. Would you like a little clip? Yes? Okay, here is this week’s wee bit cult'yer.

David Yallop 1937 - Writer.

Doug Baillie 1937 - Fitba guy and sports journalist. He was also one of the nicest people I have ever met.

Kevin Coyne 1944 - Musician. Have another clip. Here’s Marlene.

Chester Barnes 1947 - Table-tennisy bloke.

Derek Acorah 1950 - TV spiritual medium. In other words a charlatan. If he wants to sue me for saying that, I will apologise. Otherwise, he remains a charlatan (albeit a dead one).

Alex Norton 1950 - Actor. Eric in Two Doors Down.

Frank Skinner 1957 - Comedian.

Phil Cunningham 1960 - Musician who gets wheeled out and given a rub down with an oily cloth every new year to play his accordian. You want a clip? I’ll see if there is anything out there in the ethernet. This’ll make you think you are at a funeral, here's Abide With Me.

Gillian Gilbert 1961 - Musician. Best known as the keyboardist with New Order. Let’s have another clip. Here’s Confusion.

Mark Moraghan 1963 - Actor. He’s been on loads of stuff like Coronation Street, Holby City and The Bill, but you (or your children) will know him best as the narrator on Thomas and Friends. As an aside, I find it amusing that he recently narrated what I’m guessing is a piss take on his previous train-based voiceover work called Stuff with Talking Trains.

Robbie Earle 1965 - Footy bloke.

Alan Cumming 1965 - Actor. Sebastian Flight in The High Life. That was before he became a favourite luvvie in the States.

Mark Owen 1972 - Singer/songwriter. One fifth, then one quarter and now one third of Take That, a boyband whose members’ ages range from 52 to 55. Hmm. Middle-aged manband doesn’t sound quite right, does it? A clip? Here’s a solo hit called Four Minute Warning.

Lucy Porter 1973 - Comedienne.

Andi Osho 1973 - Comedienne.

Ian Stirling 1988 - Comedien... comedian.

Morgan Gibbs-White 2000 - Footy bloke.

And now... the 3rd of February.

Flora MacLeod of MacLeod 1878 - Clan chief.

Doris Speed 1899 - Actress. Annie Walker in Coronation Street.

Edward Sinclair 1914 - Actor. Mr. Yeatman (the verger) in Dad’s Army.

Frankie Vaughan 1928 - Singer. Known as ‘Mr Moonlight’ because of Give Me The Moonlight. That’s what used to pass for entertainment. Ye gods!

Molly Parkin 1932 - Artist and self-publicist.

Alex Young 1937 - Fitba guy.

Eric Haydock 1943 - Musician. The original bass guitarist in The Hollies. Let’s have another toon. Here’s I'm Alive.

Royston Vasey aka Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown 1945 - Comedian, it says here.

Stan Webb 1946 - Musician. Frontman of Chicken Shack. Have another clip. Here is one of the first records I ever bought, Tears In The Wind.

Dave Davies 1947 - Musician. A Kink and the first member of that band to have a solo hit and here it is, Death of a Clown.

Tim Friese-Greene 1955 - Musician. He worked with 80s band Talk Talk before working under the name Heligoland. Here is a clip of a more recent work, Melodic Apoptosis, (produced under his own name now) Les Voiles Tournent Encore.  Niiice.

Kirsty Wark 1955 - Journalist and TV presenter.

Lol Tolhurst 1959 - Musician. Founding member of The Cure. A clip? I should say. Here’s the band’s first record to chart... but only in Australia and New Zealand for some reason, Boys Don't Cry.

Paul Venables 1962 - Actor. Jamie in May to December.

Gary Webster 1964 - Actor. Took over from Denis Waterman in Minder, playing the new ‘minder’, Ray.

Nick Hawkins 1965 - Musician. He was a member of Mick Jones’ band Big Audio Dynamite II. I think a clip is in order. Here is The Globe.

Tim Flowers 1967 - Footy bloke.

Darren Peacock 1968 - Footy bloke.

Matt Johnson 1969 - Musician. Keyboardist with Jamiroquai. Let’s have a clip from them. Here’s an early hit, Too Young to Die.

Warwick Davis 1970 - Actor and TV presenter. Willow in Willow (the film and the TV series).

Jayne Middlemiss 1971 - TV and radio presen’er, laik. That was meant to be a Northumbrian accent written down. [Doesn’t really work. - Ed.]

Ben Turner 1981 - Actor. Before heading west to the States, he played Jay Faldren in Casualty.

Maurice Ross 1981 - Fitba guy.

Marcus Tudgay 1983 - Footy bloke.

Peter Pawlett 1991 - Fitba guy.

Adam Reach 1993 - Footy bloke.

And now... the 10th of February.

Samuel Plimsoll 1824 - Politician, but more famous for devising the line on a ship which indicates the maximum safe draught. Would you like a factoid? Canvas sand-shoes are sometimes known as plimsolls. This has nothing to do with the man, but is tenuously connected to the Plimsoll line. The name for the shoe came about because the coloured horizontal band where the upper joins the sole resembles the line on a ship. [How very interesting. Yawn. - Ed.]

George Muff 1877 - Politician. I’ve never actually heard of him but my schoolboy sense of humour came to the fore and I had to include him.

Harold Macmillan 1894 - The well-known prime minister who assured us that we had never had it so good and, do you know what? When I see the current state of Britain, I think he was right.

John Black 1895 - Businessman who ran the Standard Car Company in its years of profitability.

Charles Victor 1896 - Jobbing actor. One of those faces that seemed to be always cropping up in British films of a certain era. Often played unnamed roles such as Customer in Night Club, Garage Owner or, my favourite, Aircraft Spotter on Works Roof.

Rachel Thomas 1905 - Actress, isn’t it. If ever you wanted someone to play a stereotypical Welsh mother or granny, Rachel was your girl. Mrs Nicholas in How Green Was My Valley.

Joyce Grenfell 1910 - Comedienne, singer and actress.

Norm McCabe 1911 - Animator. Worked on the Merry Melodies and Looney Tunes cartoon series. Not all his work would be acceptable nowadays, especially his wartime work such as The Ducktators, Confusions of a Nutzy Spy and Tokio Jokio.

Phyllis Dixey 1914 - Singer and erotic dancer. Don’t ask me how I know of her, I just do.

Danny Blanchflower 1926 - Foody blook, so he was.

John Ringham 1928 - Jobbing actor. Mr Warrender in Just Good Friends. 204 credits on IMDb.

Gordon Pirie 1931 - Long-distance runnery bloke.

Barrie Ingham 1932 - Actor. Joe Hine in Hine. Ask your dad.

Donald Burton 1934 - Actor. Ackerman in Big Breadwinner Hog. Ask your dad, again.

James Alexander Gordon 1936 - Radio broadcaster. Famous for reading the classified football results every Saturday at 5pm.

Joss Naylor 1936 - Fell runnery bloke.

Peter Purves 1939 - Actor and TV presenter. Most famous as a presenter of Blue Peter.

Mary Rand 1940 - Runny bloke.

Hamish Imlach 1940 - Folky. Here’s a song for smokers.

John Hampshire 1941 - Crickety bloke.

Michael Apted 1941 - TV and film director. He directed such gems as Gorillas in the Mist and The World Is Not Enough, but did you know he learned his trade on Coronation Street back in 1967?

Clifford T. Ward 1944 - Singer/songwriter. Have a clip. Here’s Home Thoughts From Abroad.

Michael Keating 1947 - Actor. Vila Restal in Blake’s 7.

Nicholas Owen 1947 - TV and radio presenter.

Jimmy Rimmer 1948 - Footy bloke.

Nigel Olsson 1949 - Drummer. He has drummed for Elton John since 1971 and has played over 2000 concerts in that time. It sounds a lot but it averages out at around 40 per year; not a bad way to make a living. He’s made a few solo records too. Here’s Say Goodbye to Hollywood.

Carol Royle 1954 - Actress. Laura Collins in The Cedar Tree. Ask your mum this time.

Briony McRoberts 1957 - Actress. Sam Hagan in Take the High Road.

Billy Thomson 1958 - Fitba guy. Ex-Motherwell, you know.

Michael McKell 1959 - Actor. Dr. Nick West in Doctors.

Robert Addie 1960 - Actor. Mordred in Excalibur.

Alan McInally 1963 - Fitba guy.

Philip Glenister 1963 - Actor. DCI Gene Hunt in Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes.

Andrew Carthy aka Mr. Scruff 1972 - Record producer and DJ. Let’s get a move on.

Helen Willets 1972 - TV meteorologist.

Claire Goose 1975 - Actress. Amelia Silver in Waking the Dead.

Keeley Hawes 1976 - Actress. Barbara Stonehouse in Stonehouse.

Michael Hart 1980 - Fitba guy.

Andrew Johnson 1981 - Footy bloke.

Barry Sloane 1981 - Actor. Chris Fischer in The Bay.

Holly Willoughby 1981 - TV presenter.

Max Brown 1981 - Actor. Michael Summerton in Nolly.

Adam Armstrong 1997 - Footy bloke.





I’ve received a letter...

Dear Mr. Grambluff,

I have always been a great fan of your music and have listened to everything you have recorded. Here’s a question for you. What was the very first track on your first album and is its title suitable for a play on my name?

Unreally yours,

C. Mammal.





Gramble time...

How did our last bet with Blorkdaes fare? We won... and lost. Again. Even worse than last time. 76 pees back from our £2.20 stake. Two pees down on our last gramble. Dearie me. What happened? Read on.


Swansea vs Southampton - Away win

Result - Swansea 1 Southampton 3


Che Adams put Southampton ahead from close range only six minutes in.

Will Smallbone tapped in the second goal before Swansea responded against the run of play through a Jamie Paterson header.

But Southampton quickly re-established their control of the contest as Flynn Downes' 20-yard drive deflected into the net.

Swansea rallied in the closing stages as substitute Jerry Yates and Paterson both hit the woodwork, but their failure to take the late chances allowed Southampton to hold on for three points with comfort.


Stoke vs Birmingham - Home win

Result - Stoke 1 Birmingham 2


Jay Stansfield's fine one-on-one finish came after a strong Stoke opening and the hosts continued to dominate possession and pose a considerable threat against the Brummies.

But although Blues keeper John Ruddy had to make a couple of fine saves, the Potters' finishing lacked precision and quality and they were made to pay soon after the restart when Juninho Bacuna found the top corner from 25 yards.

Jordan Thompson pulled a goal back with 20 minutes remaining, the defender tapping the ball in at the far post from Wouter Burger's assist, but persistent pressure could not help Stoke.

Substitutes Tyrese Campbell and Nathan Lowe both spurned decent chances and Ryan Mmaee fired a shot over the bar, but Blues stood firm under the relentless pressure.


Plymouth vs Cardiff - Home win

Result - Plymouth 3 Cardiff 1


Ryan Hardie scored twice as Plymouth Argyle came from behind to deservedly beat Cardiff City 3-1 at Home Park.

Hardie's double either side of half-time turned the game as he guided the ball home from close range and then powered a finish past Cardiff City goalkeeper Ben Alnwick.

Morgan Whittaker made the points safe as Hardie turned provider and Whittaker slammed the ball home emphatically.

Defender Perry Ng's close-range effort had put Cardiff ahead on 10 minutes.


Blackburn vs Huddersfield - Home win

Result - Blackburn 1 Huddersfield 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Defender Michal Helik scored to cancel out Adam Wharton's early opener for the Lancashire side.

Rovers got off to a great start courtesy of a gift from Terriers centre-back Jonathan Hogg, who gave the ball straight to Adam Wharton to finish expertly with seven minutes on the clock.

The home side sought to drive home the advantage as Sam Gallagher saw a shot deflected into the side netting.

Huddersfield, however, took advantage. Rhys Healey tested Rovers goalkeeper Aynsley Pears and from the resulting Sorba Thomas corner Helik glanced his header into the far corner of the net.

Gallagher appealed loudly for a penalty as he ran through onto a Sammie Szmodics pass and had his heels clipped, but it was the visitors who missed the best chance to grab all three points as a swift counter-attack saw Josh Koroma run through and square for Jack Rudoni, who sliced his shot from five yards out.

Pears had to be sharp to deny Bojan Radulovic, David Kasumu dragged his shot wide after another counter had exposed Blackburn's leaking defence and then Helik almost bagged another with a fine volley that looped across the box and narrowly past the far post.

Lincoln vs Derby - Away win

Result - Lincoln 0 Derby 0

Ooh! ’It the bar again!

Rams goalkeeper Josh Vickers produced a string of fine saves to deny the hosts a win.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing came closest for Derby in the early stages as he fired into the side-netting.

Ethan Hamilton forced Vickers into a good save to tip his strike past the post while at the other end, Lukas Jensen did well to keep out James Collins' effort at the near post.

Vickers again needed his wits about him to deny Reeco Hackett-Fairchild.

After the break, the visitors were indebted to Eiran Cashin as he cleared Joe Taylor's effort off the line after Vickers got a touch on it.

Taylor was again thwarted by the inspired County keeper as the spoils were shared.


Hmm... Not so good. Can The Grambler come up with anything better, this week?

Game - Result - Odds

Luton vs Sheffield - Home win - 8/11

Spurs vs Brighton - Home win - 3/4

Wolves vs Brentford - Home win - 21/20

Lincoln vs Fleetwood - Home win - Evens

Blackpool vs Oxford - Home win - 19/20


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


A bit more whopping than recent weeks.




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 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.

Answer - Callum Wilson

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

Answer - Eden Hazard

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

Answer - Manchester United

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

Answer - Peter Lorimer (238)

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

Answer - Crewe Alexandria (I wonder how many fans use it’s new sponsor-led name of Mornflake Stadium)

How did you get on? Five out of five? Brilliant. How about five more for this week?

1. Who am I?

I was born in Redbridge, England in 1999. I am a right back and have been at Chelsea throughout my senior career, apart from a loan spell at Wigan Athletic. I have been capped for England 16 times. A big clue to my identity is that I am currently Chelsea’s captain.

2. Which current Premier League club beat the cup holders Arsenal in the League Cup Final of 1988?

3. Which Scot was named Middlesbrough player of the year in 2010 and 2012?

4. Which Nigerian has made the most Premier League appearances?

5. Which club plays it’s home games at Sixfields Stadium?

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 Ms. J. Grenfell who provides us with this week’s final item. Joyce Grenfell was one of the first comedians I knew as a child. At the age of four I laughed at her comedy nursery teacher telling George not to do that. At that age, I had no idea what George was doing to be continually told not to; I just found it hilarious. Still do, over 60 years later (Yes, I am that old.). Any road up, it’s a month or two too late, but here is her take on a nativity play.





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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