London pubs are a key part of the Kenna.
Starting with the very first auction in 2005, every auction and transfer night has been held on licensed premises.
Traditionally, the pre-season auction takes place in early August, and the two transfer nights in October and February. Closing bids are hazy.
Players can only be bought on these occasions, so Kenna managers have the rest of the campaign to visit as many bars and discotheques as they please without the nonsense of having to make transfers and pick captains each week.
In October 2012 several Kenna managers took part in a number 38 bus route pub crawl under the flimsy pretense of wanting the ride the new-design routemaster bus.
The pub crawl’s success led to the league organising a spring event visiting boozers along the River Thames in April 2013. Another autumn crawl was held along the Northern line’s Charing Cross branch in November 2013.
The Kenna London Pub Guide
Find below a brief description of some Kenna boozers of the past and how they shape up as auction venues.
Kenna HQ are always on the lookout for new boozers to host league events.
If you know a pub that could host a good auction in the future, please email [email protected].
The Union Tavern (Lloyd Baker Street, WC1)
The upstairs bar of this impressive, high-ceilinged Victorian boozer was the scene of the Emerson World Cup auction in June 2014 and the biggest-ever Titus Bramble forfeit of all time. Held to coincide with the opening match between Brazil and Croatia, 18 managers enjoyed a good selection of ales and premium lager in front of a flat screen TV.
The Enterprise (Red Lion Street, WC1)
An excellent single-room Victorian pub with high ceilings, a good range of premium lager and a smoking patio. In February 2014, Kenna managers gathered around two tables pushed together at the back of the pub to take part in the season’s second transfer window.
The Three Stags (Kennington Road, SE1)
A splendid upstairs exhibition space with its own smoking balcony hosted the October 2013 transfer window. Charlie Chaplin’s dad used to drink here so fortunately for the league the pub is used to comedy acts. Great food and good choice of beers.
The Two Chairmen (Warwick House Street, SW1)
Packed into the back of the first floor of this narrow boozer, all but two managers turned out for the February 2013 transfer window. Treacherous staircase almost claimed a couple of victims.
The Roebuck (Great Dover Street, SE1)
When the Spartak Mogadishu manager woke up with a bag full of salt and pepper shakers after the October 2012 transfer window, pub restaurant stock controllers everywhere held their breath. Luckily for them the only perverse precedent set that night was dropping 50 pence pieces in other managers’ drinks. As a result the airy upstairs bar of the Roebuck witnessed one of the most monumental Brambles of all time as the Pikey Scum manager lost £30m Gareth Bale. Also the scene of the monumental 2013 summer auction.
The Golden Fleece (Queen Street, EC4)
The cellar bar of this City haunt hosted the August 2012 auction. Staff very welcoming and technology allowed the latest pre-season news to filter through on the big screen, but the buffet didn’t last long. The phrase ‘Bramble Hour’ was first coined. Definition: two hours into the auction when everyone’s had a few and the forfeits come thick and fast.
The Albert (Gladstone Street, SE1)
The atmosphere of this splendid little boozer with comfy feel and good range of beers was tarnished by most ungentlemanly conduct at the Emmanuel Olisadebe Euros auction in May 2012. Sadly, the photographer had gone home by the time it went up, so in the pictures it all looks very calm.
The Salisbury (St Martin’s Lane, WC2)
February transfer night in 2012 was not only the first held on a Friday, but also the first ‘standing’ event. Busy pub with amazing gin palace decor and plenty of choice at the pumps. The landlord put on a free spread.
The Stage Door (Webber Street, SE1)
Very welcoming landlord ensured managers at the 2011 summer auction had space and attention, and enjoyed splendid fare. Situation right in the middle of the pub ensured ready access to the bar, but also a lot of ambient noise.
The Edgar Wallace (Essex Street, WC2)
To many managers the place where the lairy dwarf turned up halfway through an auction and started shouting: “What’s this? The Antiques Roadshow?” Great beer, nice food and handy upstairs seating area. The Edgar served well for the 2010 Doctor Khumalo World Cup and 2010 domestic auctions. It will always have a place in Kenna folklore (mainly because of the dwarf), but it was time to move on.
The Prince Albert (Colombo Street, SE1)
More sport than you can shake a big screen telly at, but pub and clientèle dingy at best. They used to offer a free platter for reservations of over 10 people, although some managers reported queasiness the next day.
The Black Horse (Rathbone Place, W1)
The quieter upstairs seating area and acceptable food and beer became a favourite with the Kenna for some time. Sadly for the pub and wider society, it closed down and a bunch of half wits moved in.
The One Tun (Goodge Street, W1)
Dark and cramped, the 2006 auction used The One Tun for its big screening of an England friendly. Big mistake. Managers distracted by abject performance and unhelpful environment.
The Old Bank of England (Fleet Street, WC2)
The birthplace of the Kenna has an high ceiling, island bar and impressive interior. For the founding eight managers there was plenty of room to avoid buying Tomas Repka, but too small to hold the league in recent years.