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It turns out that the popularity of Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts extends across the Atlantic Ocean. (Photo: Getty Images)

Spoor Blog: After some searching, we finally found 'our spot'

Print News's Mark Spoor and friends didn't need a road map to locate the perfect place for a pint, good food and good conversation. All it took was one lucky turn.

By Mark Spoor, PGATOUR.COM Coordinating Producer

"Here, sports is not a business. It's a way of life." -- My new friend Kayren

SOUTHPORT, England -- I have a friend back home who is originally from England. I always used to tell him that one of my life's goals was to get to his home country. He'd always tell me that if I ever did, one of the first things I should do when I got there is find a pub. Not just any pub, he'd say, but someplace you could call "your spot."

We found our spot Monday night.

After leaving Royal Birkdale on Monday evening, the group of us that made the trek from Atlanta to Southport had no plans, so we figured we'd just drive around downtown until we found a place to eat and hang out.

We used a really scientific method, too. It went something like this:

"Where should we go, left or right?"
"Left looks good"
"OK, left it is."

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Eventually, we stumbled upon this place called simply "The Park." From the outside, it looked upscale, but not too upscale, comfortable. Personally, I was drawn in by the sign that hung just under the main sign. It said, "All the sporting games on the big screen or plasma."

Sounds like the place for us.

We had a nice dinner -- and learned a few things. For example:

Chicken fingers are called "chicken chunks" here. They look nothing like fingers, more like thumbs of wood shop teachers. Still, they are insanely good.


Fries, or "chips" as they are called here, need salt. A lot of it.


When you order chicken wings here, don't assume that they will be Buffalo style. They were simply wings. Very tasty, just not what you'd expect.

I know what you're thinking. "You're in England. What the heck are you doing ordering chicken fingers, chicken wings and French fries?"

Relax. That was just the appetizer.

Three of us, including myself, ordered British Steak and Ale pie. For those not familiar, think of a chicken or turkey pot pie with beef instead, a great dark sauce and vegetables on the side. Good times.

Then came the main event.

I went up to the bar to order a round for us, when a spike-haired guy who looked like he could play defensive tackle for the Indianapolis Colts told me, "Here's a drink for you and your mates to try."

Since I thought he could crush me like a bug if I upset him, I happily accepted his offering. He handed me a pint of this stuff called "Bulmers." It's a hard cider. Not an apple cider, but a pear cider.

Yeah, it's pretty good.

Turns out, the guy's name was Kayren. If he weren't the size of a refrigerator, I probably would have made fun of him for it, but enjoying being in one piece as I do, I kept my sense of humor in check just this once.

Anyway, he was there with his cousin, Paul, a thin, blond guy donning a Manchester United jersey who looked like he would feel at home writing computer code. Apparently, they're regulars there.

As soon as Paul found out I was an American, he excitedly told me his plans to go to Orlando for his honeymoon and then to
Las Vegas in April. He asked me how much you had to pay for drinks in Vegas. I told him you don't pay for drinks in Vegas as long as you are gambling.

I honestly believe at that moment I could have given him a million pounds and he would not have been as happy.

The rest of our group joined me at the bar and we began talking American sports. Turns out, Kayren is quite a fan of the NFL and also of the Indianapolis Colts. He has family in Indianapolis, so that figures. We talked of Brett Favre's impending un-retirement, which led to a discussion about whether winning a Super Bowl makes you a great quarterback. Kayren says no.

"Just look at that quarterback from the Ravens when they won," he said. "I can't even remember his name."

That'd be Trent Dilfer.

"Ah, yeah."

He's also quite a fan of baseball. He told me stories of his two trips to Wrigley Field and wasted no time clowning me for being a Yankee fan.

"You guys like buying things, don't you?" he asked.

I can't get away from it -- not even across the Pond.

Quick aside: I learned a new term for "clowning" from Kayren. He calls it "caning," as in, "he'll get caned for taking that new contract."

Just struck me as funny.

Paul is a hockey fan, and obviously, a Manchester United football fan. He's also quite knowledgeable in MLS, which surprised me because my hometown Englishman always told me he couldn't stand MLS.

"They have a lot of great players there. People should check it out," Paul said.

Kayren then told us the one thing that upsets him about American sports is all the trades and how players switch teams so frequently.

"Here, sports is not a business, it's a way of life," he said. "You don't leave teams here, you'll get caned. It's all about loyalty."

A refreshing thought. I think we'll be loyal to "The Park" this week.

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