Wednesday, September 19The Voice of London

Arsenal squander chance to go top. A view from the pub.

Arsenal and Tottenham draw at the Emirates, they sit in fourth and fifth place. A 1-1 draw today spoiled Arsenal’s hope to go top of the table in the Premier League. Voice of London watched it in a pub a mile away from the Emirates stadium and you should’ve too.

Reporter: Sajid Hassan | Sub-editor: Daniel Khalili-Tari

Sunday’s Premier League opener was made to be a cracker. A north London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham at the Emirates promised to be an entertainer. Both Spurs and Arsenal played mid-week with different fortunes. Arsenal won against Ludogorets 3-2 in spectacular fashion, with Özil’ late stunner deciding the game. While Tottenham suffered a debilitating loss to Bayern Leverkusen 1-0 at home in Wembley.

For those who watched it at the Emirates, it must have been an anticlimactic end to a match that promised so much. However watching it from a pub in Islington was the opposite. A fifteen-minute bus ride from the Emirates, the Fox on the Green was buzzing before kick-off. An Arsenal fan, said: “I watch games here because of the better atmosphere.”

It proved to be a match to forget. It finished 1-1. Spurs’ Kevin Wimmer scored in his own net from Arsenal pressure just before the end of the first half. Talisman Harry Kane returned today, playing his first match since mid-September. Once again he was called upon and proved his worth –  scoring the equaliser in the 51st minute. Arsenal looked to press Tottenham’s defences. But, that pressure dropped off and they paid for it.

The Fox on the Hill, Islington. Sports bar and pub
The Fox on the Green, Islington. Sports bar and pub

The majority of fans said they “prefer” to watch matches in a pub, rather than at home alone. The sense of comradery replicates the feeling of watching the game at the stadium. You can hear the anxious fans tapping the floor with their feet, in anticipation as their side progress down the wing. The punters cheer and shout at every close opportunity. The highs and lows are felt by everyone. Seriously.

One fan said: “I talk to new people just like you and me. When I’m at home I just watch it by myself, I don’t really enjoy it that much compared to when I’m watching it here. It’s not the same.”

With rising ticket prices and passes, the next option which offers a similar experience is a pub.

Upon leaving the Fox on the Hill, fellow pub goers showed a sense of unity. Maybe, it was because of the alcohol. But regardless, the passion was clear.

Next time, don’t exhaust yourself by forking out thousands a season to watch football. Instead, consider watching from your local pub.