By Avery White – The pub is the lifeblood of English society. A patron can learn the latest news and opinions, catch up on the royals, and of course talk football during a quick stop for a pint or some fish and chips. And while the discussion is very much the same on the first 2 topics at any pub, it varies greatly on football depending on the neighborhood and the local team.
The Stanford Arms is one such pub. Located in the south Kensington, it is less than a mile from Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea Football Club, and only a couple of miles farther away from Craven Cottage, the home of Fulham Football Club, so it is not hard to figure out where passions lie with the regulars.
Since touching down in London just over 3 weeks ago, I have made the Stanford Arms my second home. It was initially a matter of convenience as the pub is located down the street from my flat but with time has become a part of my routine, especially on soccer matchdays.
As the weekend fixtures for Chelsea and Fulham draw closer, the anticipation grows among the regulars. The owner understands the passion and desire to cheer on your team in a communal atmosphere and works to create this feeling by bringing in a large screen projector TV for weekend matches.
As the first whistle approaches, fans of Chelsea or Fulham depending on which game is about to kick off start filling the pub. The fans are ready for the match with most decked out in an official jersey of their team and a large number with a team scarf on hand as well.
The Stanford Arms is also ready with plenty of London Pride beer, the local favorite, on hand to keep patrons happy for the full 90 minutes. The standing room only atmosphere during the match is electric. Every opportunity is met with silence, every goal with loud cheers. Once the full time whistle blows, the fans discuss the big moments during the match but slowly return to their regular conversations over a final pint before dispersing.
But they will be back. They always return during the week and especially on game days.
Avery White is a sophomore at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He is an intern for World Soccer Shop while studying in London through May 2015. His column ‘London Times’ will highlight his soccer experiences while in England.