By Christian Rose-Day
The Ultimate World Cup Pub Crawl trundles on, as do the transport issues getting to the venues. This time it’s because of weekend engineering work being done on the Northern Line. We arrive at the Football Manager Believe in Brick Lane just in time to see the Australians score.
Although this isn’t strictly a pub, restaurant, club or bar, we’ve decided to add it to our World Cup journey because we love the Brick Lane area, and because we know it’ll have a decent atmosphere.
It’s essentially a large, open, outdoor warehouse with acres of space. It’s therefore advised to bring a coat. It can get a little nippy. The set up is a tad ramshackle and makeshift (portaloo toilet facilities) and it’s one step removed from watching the beautiful game at The Walkabout.
But that shouldn’t matter because there are three huge screens, plenty of picnic bench seating, a small standing terrace at the rear, and it’s only £5 to get in for all England, Australia and New Zealand games. All other games are free, but will no doubt become more expensive as the rounds progress. Not that England, Australia and New Zealand will get that far, though. There are roughly 100 people there when we arrive, mainly Aussies. A third of which are women. And it looks like when England are playing they offer free face painting.
It’s also BYOB, with all booze emptied into jugs as you enter. Ideal for those trying to save a few pennies. I’d recommend buying beers near home before getting on the tube, as the Brick Lane off licences take the piss with their prices (a can of Red Stripe = £3.50). I’d also recommend buying a bag full of yummy lamb samosas if you do walk down Brick Lane because the food available at the game is not really worth the effort (hot dogs).
The game is being played in Rustenburg’s Royal Bafokeng stadium.
20 minutes - a good save by Schwarzer, the girls cheer.
23 minutes - Harry, Harry Kewell, Harry, Harry Kewell is off! A clear handball on the goal line. And the Aussies are already without Tim Cahill. Uh-oh. The resulting penalty is slotted away. It’s all gone very quiet.
43 minutes - another good save around the post by Schwarzer. He’s keeping the Aussies in this match. Somehow it’s been called for a goal kick though. Pity, I’m sure he would’ve wanted to claim that one.
Why are Ghana shooting from so far out? They have a man advantage, they should be exploiting the wings.
65 minutes - Chipperfield subbed on. “C’mon Scottie” someone shouts. He makes an immediate impression. His first touch, a header. is a rare Aussie attempt on goal. Australia are getting close.
67 minutes - The Australian goalscorer, Holman, is taken off in favour of a tall striker, Josh Kennedy (the Aussie Peter Crouch). The crowd is getting excited. They fancy their chances here.
The games ends 1-1 though and nearly everyone stays on to finish their beers. Myself and my compatriot exit and head round the corner to Big Chill Bar for a few loseners. And some warmth.