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Storytime With Harry - The London Experience

Harry Gagnon Storytime - The London Experience

The London Experience

I had a wonderful time in London being a representative for Odds Shark and working with some great guys while providing some fantastic material. On Thursday night, I met Joe Osborne, Andrew Avery (also known as “Ninja”), Craig and Alec at the hotel and within an hour or two we were off to the Standard Liege/Arsenal soccer match.

We were trying to grab a drink at a bar nearby, but it wasn’t so easy to get into a pub near Arsenal’s stadium. We found out that first, the bouncers had to make sure you had a ticket to the game and then if your seats were in the visiting area, you were not allowed in the pub. WOW!!  Even though we qualified to enter, according to the 300-pound Arsenal bouncers, we decided to just get to the stadium and have a drink there.

The stadium was beautiful, and we had a drink but then when the match started, we realized the English do things a “little” differently than in the United States and Canada. Alcohol was not allowed to be consumed during the match, but at halftime at the lounges around the stadium, they were actually giving out free beer. Yes, you heard me right, they were giving out free tap beer which we took full advantage of! But once the second half started, beer was not allowed again to be drunk inside the stadium and sales totally stopped. The match was won by Arsenal 4-0 and they scored three in the first 25 minutes. We had a fun time but that was something we did not expect.

The next day we did a Friday Football edition of Guys&Bets where Joe and myself gave out our locks which just happened to all win (always a good thing) while I was shirtless in 48-degree temperatures just ’cause I felt like it.

Later that day we took the subway to Oxford Circus which is a beautiful area of London where Big Ben and the jumbo Ferris wheel is, plus a kid's carousel where Joe and I decided to be kids at heart and rode it just for the hell of it. We got back to the hotel where I think we illegally somehow streamed the Major League Baseball playoffs so we could watch the playoffs since it was not on at any pub, nor was pro or college football – just to let you know.

On Saturday, we ventured into a betting parlor where you can bet the lotto, horses, soccer and the NFL. I tried to bet a parlay but apparently the ticket writers had never heard that term before and called it an accumulator. However, they still couldn’t get it correct so for the whole trip I went wagerless (what were the odds on that).

Poor Ninja couldn’t get lucky with his soccer plays but Craig, our video producer, was simply on fire with his soccer plays. After that, we went to a pub to interview West Ham United fans as West Ham was playing Crystal Palace later in the day. We met some characters who were very nice people and diehard fans.

First, we came into contact with a superfan named Perry who knew just about every bit of West Ham trivia we threw at him. Then there were a couple more fans we chatted and drank with, but a sweet lady who was also a superfan made mine and the guys’ day with her spectacular gambling stories.

This woman’s name is Ruth and she was a riot, to say the least. She was a season ticket holder to West Ham and traveled six hours roundtrip to watch their home games. She then went on to tell me how she loves to bet on blackjack, roulette, the ponies, and her fantasy soccer and hockey leagues. I then asked her if she had a bookie and she made a face at me like I had asked her the dumbest question ever.

Her response was “of course I do and my nickname for him is Twat” and his for her is Tinkerbell because we all know bookies don’t go by their given names, that’s gambling 101. Yes, and to reiterate her nickname for him was indeed Twat. Her and I had a couple of pints and a ton of laughs – if you happen to read this, Tinkerbell, I just want to say thanks for a wonderful afternoon.

We then went to the stadium where we did another live show where Joe and I continued to give out more winners and West Ham was upset by 3-1 underdog Crystal Palace. After the game, we had to stop at the legendary West Ham pub, Carpenters Arms, for another pint and hang with the diehard Hammer fans. We were starving at this point and no place was open so believe it or not in London on a Saturday night we settled for Domino’s pizza at midnight. That is kind of sad, but it was literally our only option and it actually hit the spot.

Then the culmination of our trip happened as we traveled to Tottenham Stadium to do another Guys&Bets show just before watching the Chicago Bears (Monsters of the Midway) take on the (Silver and Black) Oakland Raiders.

Joe and I both gave out the UNDER in the game which we thought we had until the Bears gave up a game-winning drive, but we had a blast otherwise and still ended up going a combined 9-3 ATS for the entire trip.

The fans at the game were in support of their favorite teams as there were jerseys and different outfits galore. I also want to give a shoutout to a fan of my Against All Odds podcast, a guy by the name of Jazz who recognized me (somehow??), called out my name and asked for a picture which was very cool. Jazz gave us an interview in which he bet with his heart (as many Bears fans do) and not his head and lost money on an adjusted -9.5 line on Chicago.

We were fortunate to see one of the more entertaining games of the day in an electric atmosphere and it was a complete pleasure to share that experience with Joe, Alec, Craig and Ninja.

Thanks again guys and Odds Shark for this opportunity, where’s the next trip, guys?