After weeks of hype, I was ready for the match. My beloved Tottenham Hotspur were to take on Real Madrid, the storied “Galacticos” and perhaps the world’s grandest sports club, in the UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals. It was the biggest match the club has seen in a generation. We were in Manhattan early to do some research for the American Public House Review and then end our day watching the game somewhere downtown. I had my Spurs shirt on and was prepared for anything, but one can never truly be prepared for disaster, and a 4-0 loss is nothing short of a soccer cataclysm.
After finishing our research, my plan was to head uptown a few blocks and watch the match at Nevada Smith’s, Manhattan’s most famous football pub. Americans and ex-patriots from all over the world pack into this pub on game-day in what can usually be described as a festive atmosphere. But after seeing roughly ten minutes of play I knew the team was in for a failure of epic proportions. So rather than stay at Nevada Smith’s and listen to the gleeful cheers of the Real Madrid faithful we decided to make the best of a bad situation and head up to my absolute favorite pub in all of Manhattan, Molly’s Shebeen.
At Molly’s we had the pleasure of sitting alongside a couple of British ex-patriots and longtime lovers of the beautiful game. And though they were not Tottenham Hotspur supporters they took no pleasure in watching me suffer. Like most fans of football, they too have seen their respective clubs suffer at the hands of the world’s sporting giants, and even occasionally at the hands of a minnow or two. Neither supported one of England’s big clubs, so we listened attentively and laughed often as they waxed poetic of the glory days on the great rain-soaked pitch of their childhood.
If I were at home I probably would have been fit to be tied, but thanks to Molly’s, and the company of her staff and regulars, the days was a great one. I suppose the moral of the story is this is what makes a great pub. Atmosphere and conversation are just as important, if not more so, than food and drink. And even in your darkest sporting hours, the company of a few friends at a pub can always pull you through. Cheers gentlemen, and may Leicester City once again return to the Cup Final. Only this time, I know they will finally lift the trophy!
By Dave McBride