Watching football in a bar at 11:30am raises some questions. For a start, do you meet up with friends for breakfast before the game? We decided not to. But then do you drink throughout the proceedings? Those of you who know me best know there is only one answer to that, though we genuinely kidded ourselves otherwise for a short time.
Colin and I knew just one bar in San Francisco that we could definitely both find, and that was the one we got chatting in a couple of nights earlier. So all was well right?
We met outside the door at 10:30am. Outside the locked door. Foley’s on
I should stress that Colin is Irish and as such a
We took our seats at a table a few metres from a giant wall mounted screen. The orange juice and tea lasted about ten minutes and we had finished our first pints before
As we drank our first pints and watched Steve McManaman and Roberto Martinez talk about the game in store, we were joined by others. Colin’s girlfriend arrived after her short but impressively productive shopping trip. A couple of middle aged women had pulled up chairs alongside us all. And a German chap with a lot of hair had introduced himself and joked that the
And so to the goal. The passing was excellent, the finish perfect, and around a third of the bar jumped up and cheered. There was noise, excitement, and a lot of
Or at least it would have done, but with
And then came Rob Green’s mishap. Now this may have been calamitous for us English. It could have meant going on to lose a game we should have won. It may also be the effective end of his world cup. But it was also manna from heaven in
None of them expected to win. None of us expected them to win either; at least not after our opener. But that goal inspired hope. Suddenly every move forward triggered intakes of breath and cheers of “C’mon!”
At the other end there were yelps of “No!” every time
The atmosphere grew until the last ten minutes when we all became resigned to the draw in front of us.
And when the game ended every American, local or otherwise, commented that that was the end of Green this world cup.
As far as they were concerned, Green was done for. The British press would tear him apart. There would be no mercy. He would be the scape goat and his career would now suffer.
They were of course all pleased with a draw, and commiserated me despite my sanguine take on the group stage. But all day long they continued to comment on our goalie and how unfair it was that he would be destroyed and hated for that one mistake.
And they were right. This was not a matter of insight but a simple matter of fact to Americans. Football isn’t special or specialist. It is just football and the assumption was that we all knew how such things worked. Especially us English with our horrible press.
Sadly for Rob Green, if they are wrong, it will only be because of timing. Had that been a knock-out game his best next move would be to cancel his ticket home. As it is he might hope that it will be long forgotten as he sits on the bench and lets another keeper try to do better.