Kenna’s first ‘Silent Bramble’

THE Kenna League treasurer is set to make an appeal after he became the first manager in history to Bramble himself on a silent bid.

The absent manager put forward three strikers among his silent bids before the auction Michail Antonio, Edison Cavani, and Ferran Torres.

Having signed Antonio and Cavani, the treasurer successfully bid for Torres. The error was uncovered with much mirth from managers in attendance.

Cavani, who went on to be signed by the chairman for £21m, was removed from the treasurer’s team to be replaced with Titus Bramble player Jimmy Savile.

Kenna HQ expects an appeal this week.

The first auction in person for two years took on a different dynamic to previous Kenna events.

Just six managers showed up in person, with nine more submitting silent bids. The opening hour of the auction saw five of the managers present try to second guess just how much money each absent manager had placed on their maximum of four players.

From then on it was a case of supply outstripping demand, as those present were faced little opposition to making their preferred signings in a torrent of Neck Oil and Pilsner Urquell.

A record of 117 players will now go through the autofill. With so much talent unsigned those in The Larrik were rightly concerned they could be outdone by a completely autofilled team.

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Defending champion’s auction meltdown

Questions are being asked whether the Young Boys manager can handle the pressure of defending his Kenna League title after a dramatic auction meltdown yesterday (13 August).

Towards the end of proceedings the Young Boys boss took exception to a forfeit by the league treasurer, who lost midfielder Eden Hazard and half of the £33m paid for him.

“Let me say this. I will take this punishment right now, but for the future, for the good of the Kenna and it’s integrity this needs to change!” exclaimed the Young Boys manager as part of 10-minute rant.

The treasurer had been penalised for going over budget. Under the Titus Bramble ruling his most expensive player – Hazard – was removed and replaced with alcoholic Welsh paedophile Mark Bridger.

The Young Boys manager’s argument ran the treasurer would benefit from Brambling so late in the auction, by taking an additional £16.5m into October’s transfer window.

Until 2012 managers losing a player ‘on a Bramble’ received their full value back.

In response to the acrimonious tactical Brambling incident four years ago, league rules changed so half the value of a forfeit player was confiscated. According to the Young Boys manager, this is not discouragement enough.

“Should we all just be tactical Bramblers? What happened? This used to be such a dignified event,” he spluttered amongst much finger waving as the rest of the league quietly waited for it to pass so they could get on with the auction (1 minute in, below).

The Tactical Brambler himself committed the only other significant Bramble of the day, buying two Leicester City players and losing Jamie Vardy.

The striker was replaced by Rose West.

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Police urge wariness of ‘Tactical Cabshare’ scam

By the Still Don’t Know Yet manager

The Metropolitan Police’s specialist anti-fraud division are warning Kenna League managers attending tomorrow’s auction to be aware of a new scam being pushed by notorious criminal figure.

Shortly after the Jean-Alain Boumsong Euros auction in June the evil mastermind known as the Tactical Brambler was seen trying to take advantage of a tired and emotional league member.

Approaching one manager – who was still mentally disorientated after mistakenly thinking Marcus Rashford and Karl Lafferty might make a tournament winning strike partnership – he suggested a Tactical Cabshare.

“We live close together, let’s share a cab home,” ventured the Brambler.

“Don’t you live in Croydon?” the unwitting manager replied, suddenly realising the Brambler’s decision to buy auction stragglers a final round of shots was merely a gambit to confuse them and save on travel money.

“I live in Southfields.”

“That’s close to Croydon.”

“Neither geographically or spiritually is Southfields close to Croydon,” the manager replied.

The Brambler pushed the point a further five times before the manager escaped onto a night bus.

League members are warned to watch out for scams such as these lest they end up abandoned outside the Whitgift Shopping Centre in the early hours of the morning while the Tactical Brambler pockets the change from a greatly reduced cab fare home.

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Winger and wing back value to soar after points change

COMPETITION for marauding full backs at next month’s Kenna League auction is set to be stiff after changes were announced to points scoring.

Defenders and goalkeepers will collect an additional point (now +5 in total) if their side keeps a clean sheet.

The change means those defenders getting goals, assists and clean sheets are likely to attract big bids from managers.

Last season’s top-scoring defender Branislav Ivanovic can expect his value to skyrocket. Just under a year ago the Serb was snapped up by KS West Green for £9m.

Under the new system Ivanovic would have scored an additional 17 points, making him fourth highest scorer behind Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard.

Kenna HQ has also extended the key contribution of +3 points to players winning a penalty. Joining Fat Ladies for £5m before being released in October to spend the remainder of the season unsigned, Ashley Young is likely to enjoy more Kenna kudos this campaign.

In a lunchtime press conference at the upcoming auction venue, the Hoop and Grapes on Farringdon Road, the chairman explained why the scoring had changed.

“I don’t know where I got the idea from really. It must have come to me in a flash of inspiration,” he said over the remains of a gimlet and a chilli chicken burger.

Aside from a sketchy Talksport article in 2012 – featuring Ashley Young at number two – there is no more recent data on number of penalties awarded to certain players.

Counting the number of clean sheets last term, the following defenders would have benefitted most from the new scoring system:

Terry and Ivanovic +17

Mignolet, Fonte and Lescott +16

Cahill and Azpilicueta +15

Joe Hart, Mertesacker, John O’Shea and Gareth McAuley +14

Koscielny, Neil Taylor, Fabianski, Ashley Williams and Craig Dawson +13

In detail – points changes

Clean sheets – goalkeepers and defenders

In order to earn +5 clean sheet bonus points, your player must complete at least 60 minutes of the match and his team must keep a clean sheet for the entire match (excluding penalty shoot-outs).

If a player is on the pitch for less than 60 minutes and his team keeps a clean sheet for the full match, he’ll score +2 clean sheet points.

While the player is on the pitch, he will not be penalised for the first goal conceded but will lose one point for every goal conceded after that – same as last season.

All players still earn +2 points for being in the starting XI of a match and +1 for coming on as a substitute.

So, for example, if your player starts the match, plays an hour or more and his team finishes the match with a clean sheet – then your goalkeeper / defender will score +7 points.

Key Contributions

There will be some small alterations to the Key Contribution rules. A goalkeeper judged to be punching the ball away will now cancel out a key contribution as opposed to a keeper making a save or parry which may still result in a KC.

A player being fouled for a penalty will now be awarded a KC – we are dropping the requirement that he is in control of the ball when that foul occurs.

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Without a legacy to stand on

THEY came with promises.

Regeneration. Future prosperity. Football benefitting a community.

Now those promises lie as empty as The Prince Albert, a derelict pub on Colombo Street in south London.

For this particular site was a chosen venue of Kenna League between 2007 and 2009.

Four transfer windows, an awards night, a domestic auction and the 2008 John Jensen Euros auction were all held at the Prince Albert, but predictions of increased bar takings and a contagious atmosphere bringing future trade never materialised.

Instead, the pub went into years of decline and has now closed down. An innocent hope. A tragic ending.

A former Prince Albert regular said: “I remember the landlord said he had the Kenna League coming. We were all impressed.

“The organisers told the landlord they’d drink enough to send his kids to university so he offered them a free buffet. He was really disappointed when only a handful of Herberts turned up, gobbled the grub laid on in seconds and sniggered their way through four hours of weak jokes about Titus Bramble. It was disgusting.

“There was this tall, blonde bloke who started coming with them. He was so loud you could have heard his voice the other side of the North Sea, which was the funny thing because a couple of years later I saw him on TV stand trial for killing all these kids in Norway. I knew he was a wrong ‘un.”

The Prince Albert is not the first pub to be so cruelly raped and discarded by the Kenna League. 

The 200-year-old Black Horse in Fitzrovia played host to an auction and two transfer windows between 2007-2008 but soon after the Kenna moved on it closed down and later became a squat.

Since 2010 the Kenna League has enlarged and adopted a policy of moving from one venue to the next. Experts have warned UEFA against copying the format for the Euros tournament, but it would seem to no avail.

Quizzed over legacy issues this morning, an unrepentant Kenna chairman said: “The Prince Albert was an Enterprise Inn, for crying out loud! You know the sort of place, cheap beer that tastes like chemicals and a clientele who haven’t washed for a week.

“There was no place in the Kenna’s strategic direction for such a venue. Football’s a world game and we’re all about bringing fantasy football auctions to those places where it’s needed most, like pubs with craft beer on tap and Arab satellite dishes showing the 3pm games.”

Broken legacy – Kenna events at the Prince Albert and Black Horse

Prince Albert

  • June 2007 awards night
  • February 2008 transfer window
  • June 2008 John Jensen Euros auction
  • November 2008 transfer window
  • February 2009 transfer window
  • August 2009 auction
  • February 2009 transfer window

Black Horse

  • November 2007 transfer window
  • August 2008 auction
  • October 2008 transfer window
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Fadges fingered in cup probe

THE manager of Hairy Fadjeetas could lose his place on the Kenna League committee after an inquiry into amended cup fixtures found he was trying to undermine the chairman.

Investigations into whether Kenna HQ was right to amend Canesten Combi Cup fixtures at short notice unearthed damning evidence linked to the Fadges boss.

Aided by a specialist team from the league’s manager experiences department, the inquiry raided the committee member’s office at the club’s Bikini Lane ground on Friday night and found a black box stuffed with detailed plans to topple the Kenna leadership by fomenting discontent among managers.

Frogmarched from the premises in Y-fronts and a Sheffield Wednesday Carlton Palmer shirt, and into the back of a league Bedford Rascal, the Yorkshireman said: “It’s a plant. You won’t lock me out the cockpit!” before being winded by a truncheon blow to the torso.

He is being held in the Kenna HQ ‘Frtizl Suite’ on charges of perverting the course of fantasy football.

The chairman said: “When I promised an open and transparent investigation into the cup fixtures I had no idea such pernicious activity was going on right under my nose, and by God I should have noticed sooner because it turns out those Hairy Fadjeetas really smell.

“Needless to say, we will explore every last inch of these Fadges, and no matter how hard it gets we’ll keep pummelling away until we go as deep as we can.

“I can’t promise it’s not going to get messy. We’re going to be squeezing every last drop of sedition out of our members, so it could get sticky. Some people may end up with something on their faces. But afterwards we’ll have thoroughly washed our hands.”

The Hairy Fadjeetas manager shot to league favour ahead of the 2012 Emmanuel Olisadebe Euros, when his witty live social media reporting of the auction saw him join the committee as director of wry tweets.

However, his light has faded at Kenna HQ ever since the abortive attempt to live blog the 2014 Emerson World Cup auction. Over recent months he has cut a remote figure at league headquarters.

Kenna HQ gazers believe the chairman is using the cup fixture inquiry to purge the committee and strengthen his own position by eliminating threats to his totalitarianism.

The chairman’s biggest critic, the Young Boys manager, is still missing. He was last seen with Mamady Sidibe getting into a dark Mercedes thought to belong the manager experiences department.

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Fadges boss ‘does a Kinnear’

Joe Kinnear Kenna word cloud1
Saxon the beach: A word cloud from the Hairy Fadjeetas manager’s press conference today (courtesy of CiaranJ75)

THE Hairy Fadjeetas manager has launched an expletive-ridden tirade in response to criticism of his approach to tomorrow’s Kenna League transfer window.

Labelling several Kenna figures as a rude word associated with a lady’s part, criticising league rivals and getting several of his players’ names wrong, the Hairy Fadjeetas manager held a press conference the likes of which football has never seen before*.

The pressure of his first genuine Kenna title challenge appeared to have rattled the Fadges manager, whose team was was knocked off the top spot this week by FC Testiculadew.

Despite an underperforming strikeforce of Roberto Soldado and Javier Hernandez, the manager has come under fire from fans and the club for choosing not to release any players ahead of tomorrow’s last chance to make changes before the end of the season in May.

Speaking while on holiday in the Austrian Alps as to how he planned to push for his maiden Kenna title without freshening up his team, the Fadges manager spat out this furious tirade earlier today:

“Don’t you f*ck!ng start. Which one’s the Chairman? You’re a c*nt. And which one’s from Mogadoodoo? You’re out of order. I don’t have to stand for it. Trying to f*cking undermine my position are you? It’s going to my lawyers.

“Transfers? Why do I need to make transfers? Are you trying to say my squad isn’t f*cking good enough or that I can’t get anyone in? We’ve got a great side with that Aaron Ramsden and Gethin Bazzard holding things together. I spend my whole life picking up the phone, talking to Alex Ferguson, week in, week out, what would you do, what would you do? I can pick the phone up at any time of day and speak to Arsene Wenger.

“And you can tell that Tactical Brambler… I’ve kept really quiet, but I’ll tell you something, he went down in my estimation when he did that – we have not resorted to that. But I’ll tell ya – you can tell him now if you’re watching it – we’re still fighting for this title, and he’s got to go to keep Dzeko scoring, and… and I tell you honestly, I will love it if we beat them, love it!

The list of available players for tomorrow’s Kenna transfer window has been published in The Rub.

Managers attending the window will be surprised to see some big names released this week. In particular, the Piedmonte manger, another pushing for his first Kenna title, jettisoned Samir Nasri – who returns from injury in a couple of weeks.

Defending Kenna champions Sporting Lesbian waved toodle pip to Stephen Jovetic.

The Young Boys of Vauxhall manager, looking to escape a relegation first, released six players, including Operation Yewtree’s Rolf Harris.

*Disclaimer: football may have seen a press conference like this before

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Rooney space mission upsets St Reatham FC plans

Persian monkeys
Substitute: Wayne Rooney (left) was sent into space instead of the original cosmonaut.

By the Hairy Fadjeetas manager

ST REATHAM FC’s weekend preparations were thrown into turmoil as club star striker Wayne Rooney was sent into space by the Persian Mafia.

Rooney, who has bagged 81 points for the mid-table outfit, missed key training sessions due to the unscheduled rocket ride but was said to have returned ‘in perfect health’.

It’s rumoured that Rooney and St Reatham were approached by the Persians after their first choice cosmonaut overdosed on bananas. It’s thought he was allowed to take his own life after he embarrassed state officials by sending an unconvincing stand-in to a scheduled photo call with the world’s media.

The St Reatham boss was unavailable for comment this afternoon with the club’s press office informing journalists that ‘he has not fled to Switzerland to avoid difficult questions about an incident on Chobham Common – that’s just speculation’.

England manager Roy Hodgson was also unavailable for comment.

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River Thames pub crawl: Greenwich to Tower Bridge

Cutty Sark outside
Boat drinks: Crawlers came prepared with suitable refreshments for the voyage

A BOAT. A pub crawl on a boat. In London. On the River Thames. Would that work?

Following up the success of October’s number 38 bus route pub crawl would be difficult.

Many have walked the well trodden paths of Thames pub crawls along the banks at Hammersmith, around Greenwich and even through Bermondsey, but the decision was made to give a unique, edgier take on this old cliché.

A plan was resolved upon: three pubs in Greenwich, a short ride on board a Thames Clipper and a stroll through Southwark up to Tower Bridge.

On Saturday 13 April 2013 a group of determined souls met in Greenwich just after 1pm with the itinerary below. Photos have been anonymised to avoid reprisals.

  1. The Cutty Sark Tavern, Greenwich
  2. Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich
  3. The Gipsy Moth, Greenwich (followed by a boat trip up the river)
  4. Wibbly Wobbly, Surrey Quays
  5. The Ship and Whale, Rotherhithe
  6. The Clipper, Rotherhithe
  7. The Blacksmith’s Arms, Rotherhithe
  8. Old Salt Quay, Rotherhithe
  9. The Mayflower, Rotherhithe
  10. The Angel, Rotherhithe
  11. The Anchor Tap, Tower Bridge

Thames pub crawl map
Treasure map: The walking crawl included a short boat trip between The Gipsy Moth and Wibbly Wobbly

The crawl

1. The Cutty Sark Tavern, Greenwich

Pub profile page on Beer in the evening

The Cutty Sark Tavern
The Cutty Sark Tavern: The outside the pub group photo was back

Agreement was never reached on whether the Georgian architecture of this pub warranted the amount of money charged for sausage rolls.

There was a good crowd, a few families, enjoying lunch and the beamed interior at 1pm. Picnic tables outside by the Thames proved adequate seating underneath the greying sky.

The starting five of the 38 bus route crawl were present – Fat Peter Sutcliffe, Vicki the bus spotter, the Vasco De Beauvoir manager, Binksy and Palts the Balt – plus a few other stragglers.

Binksy had one hanging on him and reports came through before his arrival that he was sick running for the train. Crawlers were quick to point this out when he turned up.

Crawlers’ pub comments

Fat Peter Sutcliffe said: “Pretentious and expensive menu (no burgers!) but tidy bar staff.”

Vicki the bus spotter said: “Do we get to go on a bus on this crawl?”

2. Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich

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The Trafalgar Tavern:
Trafalgar Tavern: Potato wedge fortress

The Trafalgar sits like a fortress on the banks of the river. Fortunately, it was penetrable and offered wooden floors, views of the river and what an estate agent would call a ‘well-appointed’ interior.

Lots of photos of an historic British naval theme inside. Admiral Nelson features heavily. A French provincial would enjoy this place as much as Nick Griffin would enjoy taking Napolean in his mouth.

Plenty of punters early in the afternoon. The Wandsworth Window Lickers manager and Dynamo Charlton manager joined the crowd.

Crawlers’ pub comments

Fat Peter Sutcliffe said: “Pretentious (but nice) potato wedges took too long to arrive.” One gets the feeling Sutcliffe would find eating with a knife and fork ‘pretentious’.

Vicki the bus spotter said: “I’ve been mis-sold this crawl. I thought there would be buses.”

3. The Gipsy Moth, Greenwich

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The Gipsy Moth
The Gipsy Moth: You haven’t got the power, you haven’t got the touch

The epicentre of Greenwich? The throng of people in here probably more due to its location between the market and the rebuilt Cutty Sark rather than its strengths as a pub.

Gipsy Moth
A quick meal break in front of the Cutty Sark

Walk through the front bar and it opens out into semi-conservatory style area.

It’s a pity to think this kind of boozer is the image of a traditional London pub many tourists take home.

Crawlers’ pub comments

Fat Peter Sutcliffe said: “Pretentious (i.e. small) macaroni cheese.”

Vicki the bus spotter said: “Binksy had to go on to the bloody Mary the cure the hangover.”

The boat queue, Greenwich

Boat queue
Queue rum: A miscalculation of ferry times resulted in a wet wait

Thames Clippers run regularly, but as the mantra goes ‘no one every plans to fail, they only fail to plan’. It turned out rather than bowling on board, London Oyster cards had to be used to buy tickets from a booth.

To cut a long story short, a 20-minute wait in the drizzle was overcome with the boat drinks.

The boat, River Thames

On the Thames Clipper
“They are all having far too a good time to notice if one of those girls disappears,” mused the sinister man at the back of the boat.

The boat trip from Greenwich to Greenland Pier takes around 10 minutes. Ample time to have a drink and hack off all the other passengers…

On the Thames Clipper2
“That photographer looks like a fat Peter Sutcliffe. Pervert,” she reasoned.

4. Wibbly Wobbly, Surrey Quays

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Wibbly Wobbly note
Wibbly Wobbly: What a pair of charity collection tins

If a sign outside a pub says ‘No work wear’ then it’s safe to assume there are building sites nearby. So what conclusions can be drawn of the surrounding community’s socio-economic make up if the sign says ‘Tops must be kept on inside the bar’?

Wibbly Wobbly Dave the Rave
Karaoke with Dave the Rave – every Sunday from 3pm

The growing inclemency of the weather meant all tops were on, but did little to dampen the spirits in this welcoming boozer on board a boat moored in Surrey Quays.

The ceiling around the bar was covered in foreign currency, Binksy’s cue to show off his exotic trillion dollar bill. The barmaid smiled for the camera and afterwards asked him to pay in sterling.

Crawlers’ pub comments

Fat Peter Sutcliffe said: “Nice Cockney boozer. Probably best to avoid on Millwall match days.

Vicki the bus spotter said: “Nice maps on the ceiling! Rough as hell but very amusing. We all kept our tops on.”

5. The Ship and Whale, Rotherhithe

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Ship and Whale
The Ship and Whale: Five o’clock and all’s well

A short walk from the boat bar, the Ship and Whale is an enticing pub tucked away on a backstreet.

Ship and Whale outside
It would be the last energetic thing he’d do all day

Light, airy and many interesting photos on the wall, there’s little to hold against the place.

Everyone appeared to be holding it together too, although the volume knob of conversation had been tweaked up.

Crawlers’ pub comments

Fat Peter Sutcliffe said: “Classy back street boozer with photo of a famous visitor behind bar (can’t remember who though).”

Vicki the bus spotter said: “Much nicer than the last pub! Good beers on tap.”

6. The Clipper, Rotherhithe

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The Clipper
The Clipper: Get clipped

When a pub plays Heart radio from a late 90s television, one can expect all the other trappings of a proper London locals’ boozer, such as a man in a flat cap playing the fruit machine and the dip in conversation when a bunch of half-cut strangers enter.

Plenty of regulars were in early doors and a convivial atmosphere quickly resumed.

The Spartak Mogadishu manager finally arrived with an excuse that will go down in the annals of history: “I forgot where south London was.” Quite how his fellow countrymen command such terror on the high seas is anyone’s guess.

Crawlers’ pub comments

Fat Peter Sutcliffe said: “Fags behind the bar for £8.50. Don’t look anyone in the eye.”

Vicki the bus spotter said: “Dodgy pub – nice maroon carpet. A bit like the Duke of Sussex in Waterloo. The Spartak Mogadishu manager finally managed to grace us with his presence.”

7. The Blacksmith’s Arms, Rotherhithe

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Blacksmiths Arms
The Blacksmith’s Arms: What the panel said

Tudor building, possibly mock, with wood pannelling and an island bar. A big screen showing something we could have never planned for: Millwall in an FA Cup semi final.

Some of the initial party were starting to struggle with pints, evidenced by the switch to shorts in areas of the round.

Grumblings about the price were heard.

Crawlers’ pub comments

Fat Peter Sutcliffe said: “Surprisingly posh (and expensive). Used to have a beer garden but now full of junk.”

Vicki the bus spotter said: “£5.45 for a pint of Peroni!”

8. Old Salt Quay, Rotherhithe

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Old Salt Quay
Old Salt Quay: Probably better enjoyed on a hot summer’s day

Huge. The rest of London now considered the time of day suitable for drinking, so this massive pub was bursting with trade.

There’s an upstairs, downstairs and views of the river. Crawlers nestled in a corner near the bar to enjoy the franchise.

The rain was now steady drizzle.

Crawlers’ pub comments

Fat Peter Sutcliffe said: “Aircraft hangar size and Wetherspoons style pub with all the character of something made in China.”

Vicki the bus spotter said: “I think this one was that massive pub.”

9. The Mayflower, Rotherhithe

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The Mayflower: Quite unprepared for our kind of party

Everyone was looking forward to this place, and the pub itself didn’t disappoint. Curious articles on the wall and a decked terrace right over the river make it a must visit.

Crawlers found a big table to sit around and, as more had joined the ranks, one by one gave a short introduction of themselves.

When it turned out that two of the girls both had freakish long tongues, the day’s refreshments turned into open raucousness.

Three times were the party told to ‘keep it down’, which marred the visit but the not the mood.

Mayflower panoramic
Nights of the rowdy table

Crawlers’ pub comments

Fat Peter Sutcliffe said: “Full of grumpy locals and landlord who kept asking us to keep the noise down on a Saturday night. WTF?”

Vicki the bus spotter said: “Best pub of the day. Very cute but we did get shushed a lot.”

10. The Angel, Rotherhithe

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The Angel: Blaxploitation’s answer to Harry Potter photobombed

When it turned out the Angel had a fireplace and wand-like poker, one crawler’s scarf was pressed into action for Harry Potter impressions. Don’t judge, if it wasn’t for the photos no one would have remembered it.

The Angel outside
Talk about a rabble…

Lord alone knows what the assembled locals thought, but when the Spartak Mogadishu manager spilled his drink everywhere the landlord made him clean it up, much to general amusement.

Crawlers’ pub comments

Fat Peter Sutcliffe said: “Sam Smith’s and landlord makes the Spartak Mogadishu manager clean up his own spillages.”

Vicki the bus spotter said: “Do like a Sammy Smith’s pub!

BONUS PUB: The Old Justice, Bermondsey

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The Old Justice
The Old Justice: Battered seafood and rice wine. Appalling, but free

On the Sunday morning recce a few weeks beforehand the Old Justice had looked shut for years, but as crawlers stumbled along the river towards Tower Bridge it was open and it seemed churlish not to pop in for one.

Tower Bridge
Palts the Balt pauses for a quick tourist snap of Tower Bridge

Without a doubt the strangest pub all day. The staff consisted of a landlord and hoardes of Asian women, who served our drinks and then gave us plates and plates of battered seafood and a free shot of rice wine.

No one was entirely sure what was happening, but everyone was glad to move on.

Crawlers’ pub comments

Fat Peter Sutcliffe said: “Oriental money laundering front with hookers out back on request (POA). Free room temperature scampi, onion rings and salmonella washed down by nasty rice wine.”

Vicki the bus spotter said: “Cold battered fish and odd sake!”

11. The Anchor Tap, Tower Bridge

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Rum round
The Anchor Tap: Rum all round

We made it! The last of 12 pubs between Greenwich and Tower Bridge. Everyone was so excited that change was pooled and 15 shots of rum were ordered.

The bar staff didn’t share our joy, having to cater for the rowdy bunch just before closing time and fetch another bottle of rum from the cellar.

Crawlers’ pub comments

Fat Peter Sutcliffe said: “Hazy memories of this one. Sawdust on floor and Sam Smith’s cheap booze.”

Vicki the bus spotter said: “Rough rum shots.”

The after party: Village East, Bermondsey


Village East
A bus stop on Old Kent Road: I’d like to ass you a few questions

Forever dedicated to exploring new pubs the crawlers went on to enjoy more cheer at Village East on Bermondsey Street.

Recollection is sparse. Afterwards it was marveled at how we got into this marginally upmarket bar.

Life tasted good. We were pioneers of the first ever recorded pub crawl from Greenwich to Tower Bridge, and it included a maritime adventure. We were proud descendants of our country’s finest naval heroes. We were Sir Francis Drake singeing the King of Spain’s beard at Cadiz. We were Admiral Nelson smashing through the French at Trafalgar. We were… desperately trying not to fall asleep on the night bus home.

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London 38 bus route pub crawl

New 38 bus
Any excuse: The new number 38 bus.

ONE QUESTION was only the start of it. How could we ride the new model number 38 bus?

It was accepted that the ‘hop-on, hop-off’ routemaster-style bus only runs around once an hour on one bus route – the number 38.

Despite its meandering path through the boroughs of Hackney, Islington, Camden and Westminster – taking in some of the most iconic sights in London – there was one problem: none of us ever used it.

All of a sudden the answer was clear: a number 38 bus route pub crawl.

The curious mix of order and chaos that happened on Saturday 20 October 2012 is chronicled below. Where applicable comments about the route, the pubs and learning points have been noted. It is hoped these will instruct, inform and entertain both the crawl aficionado and the casual drinker.

Talk to the pint

Photos are courtesy of World of Tim, and in some cases have been anonymised to mitigate backlash from AA sponsors. Maps have been pinched from the rather excellent Transport for London website.

The plan

A little research found that despite the best efforts of the valiant Bob fabled therein, the last recorded effort along the same route two years previously had mostly fizzled out around halfway along the seven-mile route.

We immediately determined to make the excursion as achievable, fun and damaging to the liver as possible. We had three considerations:

Number of pubs – Circle Line or Monopoly board pub crawls have two flaws, there are too many stops to take in surroundings, and everyone drink halves. We decided on visiting 10 pubs, so we could comfortably spend 38 minutes in each one.

Direction of travel – this was simple, start in north east London and travel south west to Victoria. No one wants to be without their wits in Clapton Pond on a Saturday night, an area on a stretch of road commonly referred to as ‘The Murder Mile’.

38 bus route
38 bus route pub crawl: Top right to bottom left (almost).

Pub locations – establishments should be chosen at even intervals along the route, and as much as possible on the same side of the road as convenient bus stops. This second point would prove invaluable in the later stages.

A Sunday morning bicycle ride two weeks beforehand identified a number of suitable boozers, rubber stamped by a kangaroo committee. The route would not be followed to its absolute end because, as any Londoner will tell you, there are no decent rub-a-dub-dubs in Victoria.

Here’s the list:

  1. The Clapton Hart, Clapton Pond
  2. The Cock Tavern, Hackney Central
  3. The Duke of Wellington, Ball’s Pond Road
  4. The George Orwell, Essex Road
  5. The Old Queen’s Head, Islington
  6. The Old Red Lion Theatre, Angel
  7. The Exmouth Arms, Exmouth Market
  8. The Old Crown, New Oxford Street
  9. The Marquis of Granby, Cambridge Circus
  10. Ye Grapes, Mayfair

The crawl

Each pub name links to it’s location on Google maps. The nearest bus stop is also included.

1. The Clapton Hart, Clapton Pond

Clapton Hart
10-pub club: Only five crawlers (avec double chins) visited all the pubs.

Clapton Pond
1. Clapton Pond

At 1pm a handful of intrepid souls, including Vicki the Bus Spotter, fat Peter Sutcliffe and the athletic frame of the Vasco De Beauvoir manager, met near the Lea Bridge Roundabout. The weather was overcast, but not inclement.

The Clapton Hart has an airy, pleasant feel with respectable staff, and for a moment the social depravity of the surrounding neighbourhood was forgotten, until a regular ambled in with a dog on a string.

Lunch was adequate, but had that fairtrade, made-of-recycled-principles taste about it and the cauliflower was purple. In hindsight, three pints was excessive.

A couple of new 38s idled in the middle of the Lea Bridge Roundabout, but the clock was ticking. There’d be plenty of time for that.

2. The Cock Tavern, Hackney Central

Beer pumps
Trendy Cock: More pumps than you could shake a vintage cardigan at.

Hackney Central Station
2. Hackney Central Station

A few minutes ride on a boring old Wirght Gemini 2 and we discovered that Jesus was wrong: the meek did not inherit the earth. The meek grew up and moved to east London to work in digital marketing and stay up since last Thursday banging meow meow. A trio of such specimens scratching around the Cock early doors hinted at the clientele, but by thunder did the place stock ale.

After a quick beer we emerged to see… Not already? No, it couldn’t be? It was the new 38!

In a moment not unlike an episode of long-running ITV police drama series The Bill, we crashed along the pavement towards the bus stop, except instead of chasing drug dealers through a notorious Sun Hill housing estate, we were trying to take pictures of an arriving bus. And what a bus it was.

Vee the Bus Spotter
At the end of the route it took three bus drivers to get her off.

Decadent maroon soft furnishing tastefully intertwined with the luxuriant caramel glow of the hand rails. The step entrance was pristine, yellow trim shining, with not a drop of chewing gum, blood or urine tarnishing its surface. The ‘new car smell’ was yet to be overpowered by half-eaten boxes of fried chicken and old people.

For a few intense, heady minutes at the front of the top deck we sailed along Graham Road and over Dalston Junction. Then it was time for another drink.

3. The Duke of Wellington, Ball’s Pond Road

Coca cola
Coked up: Some struggled to keep the pace on alcohol alone.

Balls Pond Road
3. Ball’s Pond Road

Charming island bar and abundance of natural light aside, the Duke always feels brittle, as though ordering a round of Jägerbombs for the whole pub would reduce it into a delicatessen. One notable feature is the former doorway turned into a cosy corner which still boasts the original floor mosaic bearing the pub’s name.

At this point latecomers – including Anders Breivik doppleganger the Judean Peoples’ Front manager – swelled our numbers and the throng dutifully moved onto pub number four. Vicki the Bus Spotter was beside herself: at the next bus stop we took another new 38.

4. The George Orwell, Essex Road

George Orwell
Anders Breivik (left) and Peter Sutcliffe were overheard comparing atrocities.

Essex Road
4. Essex Road

Orwell famously treatised of the perfect London pub where the punters were friendly, barmaids affable and beer well served. When visiting his namesake establishment in Canonbury the dream the author weaves, like Boxer the horse in Animal Farm, takes an ugly one in the knackers. Not quite Room 101, but a bit more Down and out than Moon Under Water.

More joined the ranks, with even a one-year-old child putting in a shift.

5. The Old Queen’s Head, Islington

Baby pint
Baby P: My part in his downfall

Whether the Old Queen’s Head is an accurate representation of what’s going on inside the monarch’s noggin is uncertain, but if years of wet paint fumes have finally got to the old girl then why not retro furniture, a slim fit crowd and a baby seeing off a pint of bitter?

Packington Street
5. Packington Street

6. The Old Red Lion Theatre Pub, Angel

Old Red Lion
Contrary to popular opinion, the outside-the-pub group photo didn’t get boring.

St John Street
6. St John Street

Middle-aged men in turtle neck sweaters using the shallow cover of literary drama to crack onto impressionable, young girls awkwardly asserting their creative independence having thrown off the shackles of a sheltered, suburban upbringing – is what you expect to find in a theatre pub. We found Norwich City Football Club fans. Loads of them.

A Canary army had descended on the Old Red Lion to watch their team play Arsenal in the dim red glow of the pub’s quasi ghost train decor. Some crawlers had something to eat. It could have been chips.

7. The Exmouth Arms, Exmouth Market

Downing a pint
The Exmouth Arms: Peter Sutcliffe rips through a pint of bitter, Yorkshire style.

Mount Pleasant
7. Mount Pleasant

At the introduction of the 50p game in the Exmouth Arms events spiralled out of control. For the uninitiated, if a 50p piece is dropped into your glass while you’re holding it, you must immediately drink its contents. The coin is then yours with which to cause mischief.

Many of the unsuspecting crawl were seven pints to the good and, as it would go on to do a week later, the game caused no little degree of mayhem.

8. The Old Crown, New Oxford Street

Girl guides
The Old Crown: “And this one time – at band camp – we woke up in the boot of a mark II Astra.”

Small. Really small. The Old Crown was the next boozer on the 38 route of any claim. A small claim. A small claims court. Girl Guides. Lots of 50ps.

Museum Street
8. Museum Street

9. The Marquis of Granby, Cambridge Circus

The Cambridge: So bad there’s only one answer.

Cambridge Circus
9. Cambridge Circus

Composure regained, we found the Marquis of Granby was shut – a common symptom of central London pubs on weekends. Panic spread through the camp, but it turned out there were lots of other pubs nearby and everyone realised they weren’t really that fussed anyway.

We went to the Cambridge. A horrendous place that only exists to convince thousands of tourists every year who know no better that they’ve been to a traditional English public house. The former Young Boys of Kilburn manager ordered a large glass of red wine thinking it would be exempt from the 50p game.

10. Ye Grapes, Mayfair

Ye Grapes: “10 pubs? Pathetic.”

Green Park Station
10. Green Park Station

Ye Grapes is also the last pub on the official Monopoly pub crawl, which meant they were used to people wandering in on the sharp end of 14 pints. This was fortunate, as through a consequence of bizarre, delayed trauma to having their childhood television memories recently besmirched in the media, some crawlers were singing the theme song to Jim’ll Fix It.

A fair amount of leering at the barmaid took place, people bought poppies and the Lokomotiv Leeds manager took it upon himself to neck pints with astonishing speed.

So there it is: 10 pubs, one bus route. Easy.

A spring offensive is on the drawing board…

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