By Lisa Wilton
CALGARY — If you’ve been to the Ship & Anchor, you’ve no doubt passed some time waiting for your turn to order a pint by looking at the dozens of soccer scarves pinned up above the bar. The Ship has a long, storied history as a go-to venue for Calgary European football fans as anyone who has stood in line to get into a World Cup showing can attest. Footie fans Adrian Anderson (AA), Garrett Price (GP), Dave Porteous (DP), Cindy De La O, Joel Diemer (JD), Greg Holmes (GH), Steve Richardson (SR) sat down one Saturday afternoon after a Premier League game to talk about the camaraderie they’ve found at Ship.
BR: When did you start coming to Ship for the footie games?
AA: I came here when I first moved to Calgary from D.C. six years ago. I was looking for a soccer bar where I could watch my team, Chelsea FC. I Googled it and found the Ship.
GP: I’ve been coming here for about 20 years and back then we just had those giant satellite dishes, so our options were here or the Rose & Crown. The parking lot here was better to drink beer in before the game.
DP: Back then you could maybe get the match of the week. It’s not like now where there are a lot of channels that show games. Fifteen years ago you didn’t have a choice of what game you were going to watch. You’d just show up at the Ship early in the morning and watch whatever game was on. It’s nice these days because Nicola will put up a list of which games will be shown on which days.
AA: These days, I can watch it at home and then go to the pub and rub it in everyone’s faces. If my team loses, there’s no way I’m showing my face. I’m staying away for the weekend.
GH: I’ve got at least 10 years on all these guys. I started coming here when it opened. I wasn’t a follower of any team or even football at all until I started hanging out with the English ex-pats. Their passion for it is amazing. They would show up, hung over, at 7 a.m. to watch a team they didn’t even support because it tasted like home to them. It was fun and I got hooked.
BR: You all seem to have a great camaraderie despite being fans of different teams.
SR: These guys are a bunch of assholes.
GP: Every single person at this table hates the team I support. But every single person at this table is also a good friend of mine. It’s very different than in Europe. It’s a community even if we cheer for different teams.
JD: The bar isn’t club specific. They show every match from every league as much as they can. You’d hang out with fans of other clubs and everyone got along just fine.
AA: I call it a non-denominational bar when it comes to footie. Everybody comes in here for the banter. We trash talk each other, even when we’re losing.
BR: Why go to the Ship when you can watch the footie in your jammies?
GP: Because I live next door.
DP: Simply said, it’s way more fun to watch it with friends and have a pint than sit at home with your wiener dogs.
GH: It’s home for a lot of us because we’ve been coming here for 20 years.
GP: And the owners of the pub are supporters. One of them is a Chelsea fan, two or three or Tottenham fans. They’re invested in the games as much as we are.AB, Alberta, footie, Ship & Anchor, Ship & Anchor 25 years, Ship & Anchor regulars