Arsenal Fans and Friendly Wagers Turned My Friend into an Anglophile

Recently my colleague Gary was in London for three weeks for a work project. In short order he turned from a somewhat stereotypical Californian to an almost rabid Anglophile.

As someone who enjoys the UK, I understood his attraction but was surprised by the scope of his attraction; especially since he is now actively campaigning for the company to allow him to transfer to the London branch.

It took a bit of probing on my part but I finally discovered the genesis of his newly found “perfect home.”

Gary is one of our company’s best researchers; his grasp of facts and figures is truly amazing.  One of his favorite pastimes is, somewhat surprisingly, gambling.

According to Gary on his third day in London he met Ian and Chris at a pub. Since both were wearing Arsenal gear and Gary became a soccer fan when David Beckham moved to LA, he started up a conversation.  Evidently as the night progressed they not only regaled him with stories of the football club’s triumphs and prowess but they proposed friendly wagers on nearly everything.  The held his own in darts evidently, lost at pool and table football, and did so badly at quiz games that he ended up drinking scrumpy (which from his description  is the perfect drink for someone that losses a challenge.)

Ian and Chris told him about the London arcades, the casinos both live and online, and promised to take him on a tour of some of the better local pubs.  They also gave him a true crash course in football.

From this chance meeting, Gary decided that football fans love to gamble, know the best pubs, and that level of competition and fan involvement with football is far greater than will ever be found in “American football” as he now calls NFL games.

Once he returned to LA, Gary’s research side kicked in. Some of it was practical, like where to live, banking and other necessities.  He studied football to decide on which club to follow.

The lists he has compiled are truly masterpiece of research that border on obsessive. Here are just a few of the bookmarks he showed me.

  • The best pub games in London – From his excursions with his Arsenal friends, Gary has come to the conclusion that London pubs are far more entraining than American bars.
  •  Ten famous London places in James Bond films – Gary has always been a Bond fan.
  • The best card games for sports fans – His informal pub research convinced him that sports fans are drawn to strategic played casino games.
  • The best walking tours in London – Unlike LA, people walk a lot in London. Since he wouldn’t have a car, Gary plans on doing every walking tour available. Evidently the Jack the Ripper one is highest on his list.
  •  The best open air and street markets – Gary says that the Portobello Market will be one of his regular stops, but he says there are lots more.
  • Football blogs – In an effort to not be a “typical American” he is studying football, a lot.  He did mention that he tried studying cricket, but game us.
  • Lists of English terms – This one is the most practical in my opinion, unless he starts talking about his car’s “bonnet” before he moves.

    Figure 1 Best london humour

I was glad that Gary did go to the British Museum during his three week stay, and that he had dinner at Rules one night.  I’m pretty sure that due to randomly meeting two Arsenal fans in a pub, my friend will be moving to London.  This makes me happy as that means I can have a place to stay and a friend to show me around the next time I visit the UK.

Thanks Arsenal.

Reference: “best London hunour” photo credit: www.effingpot.com/slang.shtml

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