It’s an emotional moment for the chairman.
After 15 years of visiting London pubs as a local, I now stand on the brink of visiting them as a tourist.
Nevertheless, living in Oxford will be no barrier to coming to the Kenna.
I’ve been reflecting a lot recently on my first experience of football and pubs as a Londoner
I got a bar job in the Prince of Wales in Brixton during Euro 2004.
Euro 2004 of course is well known for two things:
- It was the last time Wayne Rooney played well for England.
- And it was the last major tournament not to have a leading London pub-based fantasy football auction attached to it.
Anyway, back in the Prince of Wales, closing up after England’s exit to Portugal I found a man smoking crack in the gents.
I was quite shocked. I’d come from the country. I’d never seen anyone doing crack before. Sleeping with their cousins maybe…
As I kicked him out I thought: ‘I’m sure London has very few pubs where people do drugs in the toilets.’
The Kenna was founded a year later.
It was August 2005. A summer of unprecedented tumult.
The London Bombings. England winning the Ashes after 17 years. Michael Owen going to Newcastle for £17m.
And out of that defiance, triumph and disappointment the Kenna was born.
The rest is history.
Now there have been many mistakes over the years. But mistakes are there form which to learn.
I’d like to share a three lessons I’ve learned:
- If your single tactic is to buy Sergio Aguero no matter the price, don’t overspend by paying £19m for Fabio Borini
- If you want to pass a doping test, don’t put the vice chairman in charge of the auction.
- On a cold winter’s evening such as this never cross the channel in a Piper-Malibu aircraft. And if you do plan to make a late-night channel crossing in a private aircraft, talk to Sol Campbell.
But overall, when I look back at London and the Kenna, I can’t but feel the world is a lot more complicated than it was for those eight co-founders in the Old Bank of England all those years ago.
We have to legislate for tactical Brambling. We have to legislate for absenteeism. We run auctions over Periscope where Silver gets racially abused for being from Pakistan.
Sometimes I can’t help but look back with nostalgia on those days of innocence.
Euro 2004. Rooney playing with youthful abandon. Someone smoking crack a pub toilet.
There’s a new game tonight. It’s called…