Say what you like about Champions League football but it does draw people into pubs. At the risk of sounding like an old man, the modern younger football fan is likely to support one of the ‘big teams’ who play countless European fixtures on the TV during the course of a campaign.
Last night it was arguably the biggest commercial enterprise of the lot – I know this because where I work in Derbyshire is full of young Manchester United fans telling me how they are good because they spend more money than other clubs (although clearly not Manchester City Martin).
However Whitwick, and other suburbs of Leicester might be a slight anomaly as the Foxes won the Premier League two years ago (hard to believe I know) so they are still classed as quite cool in the classrooms of Leicester.
Therefore, when I ventured into 176 – White Horse LE67 5DT I wasn’t sure if the group of twentysomethings were supporting Manchester United or, as is the current trend amongst English fans, anyone but the English team.
The good news was that this small boozer was pretty full for a Tuesday night at 8pm with three definite groups and, whilst it is in the centre of Whitwick, it felt more like an estate pub than any other pub I’d been into this year.
(a strange looking horse?)
Alan Winfield would be in his element and I like all pubs but there was a definite edge to this one. Perhaps it was the gaggle of younger lads who were noisily enjoying the craic, or the older boys playing pool with a real intensity or the quieter group with a chunky dog who were throwing a ball for him to chase around the pub (!) but it was edgy.
It wasn’t unpleasant although no one acknowledged me in the 30 minutes I was there watching Jose Mourinho’s boys labour unsuccessfully against Seville only to be told by Gary Lineker and co that it would be OK in the second half after a couple of substitutions (more insightful punditry).
On the positive side it was great to see a mix of ages and we often comment how younger lads aren’t going into pubs any more but they clearly are in The White Horse in Whitwick as the demographics of this place were predominantly early twenties.
The conversation was fruity as well with one of the lads regaling his pal with the tale of one of his mate’s whose “new step dad had knifed his old step dad..” you get the picture!
Nonetheless, they were having fun and even took their array of empties back to the bar to help the barmaid out and departed en masse for a fag break as the half time whistle blew.
I had a good pint of TBC (Thwaites Best Cask) (Thwaites) for £2.95 and whilst this place is clearly a pub I noted that with around 25/30 people in it was pretty packed so, in some senses it was like a Micropub.
St Patricks’ Day paraphernalia was everywhere and I reckon Sunday could be lively in this boozer and it was a place that was well kept and played to its audience well with a dart board as well as SKY & BT Sports.
There are lots of houses in close proximity to this boozer and most people would walk here I guess and it can only be a positive to have so many young people in the pub playing football or watching sport, as they are all drinking.
After my previous visit to Whitwick (pub 109 – The Black Horse) I can unofficially confirm that it is the swearing capital of Britain. This was confirmed as I went into the Co-Op directly opposite the pub to buy a loaf afterwards. A bloke and his other half were having a mild domestic regards who should have paid for dinner and whilst they were at the counter he effed and jeffed in two minutes to almost record breaking proportions but the checkout girl didn’t bat an eyelid!
A pub that’s open all day every day, selling decent ale, showing sport and full of local punters can only be a positive as I saw two other pubs boarded up on the main road out of the village.
It’s not rocket science, find a target audience, keep prices reasonable and people will come and spend their hard earned cash.
I never did find out if the lads were supporting Manchester United, Seville or Leicester but there was enough terrace style comments to suggest the ‘Premier League Big team brand’ has even reached Whitwick despite Jamie Vardy having a party two years ago.