Sir Ian McKellen played the role of Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. | Photo: LOTR/New Line
Ahead of tonight’s World Cup soccer semi-final which will see England go up against Croatia, actor Ian McKellen invited fans to watch the game at his London pub.
The openly gay British thespian and national treasure is among the owners of The Grapes, a cozy pub on the north bank of the Thames. It will screen the match at 7pm.
An official invite from Ian McKellen
McKellen tweeted to his followers this morning, encouraging them to go and watch the match at the pub. Furthermore, he proved his hashtag game to be particularly strong.
— Ian McKellen (@IanMcKellen) July 11, 2018
‘We’ve set up a Colour (!) TV at the bar,’ the tweet reads enthusiastically. Perhaps a cheeky, vintage hint to the 1966 World Cup, the last time the World Cup was hosted by England? The Three Lions won that time around, so McKellen’s time-traveling tweet might be good luck.
It’s Coming Home
The hashtag #ItsComingHome is also a shout out to England’s football team. The refrain of Three Lions, a 1996 song by the Britpop band Lightning Seeds, ‘It’s coming home’ referred to England hosting the UEFA Euro Cup on that year and literally bringing the football back home for the first time after 1966.
It has become a popular slogan during football competitions ever since and fans may howl it tonight at McKellen’s pub.
— Ian McKellen (@IanMcKellen) April 27, 2015
The match at The Grapes
Established in 1583, The Grapes is located in a Grade II listed building in Limehouse, East London. To add to its quirky history, Victorian author Charles Dickens’ described the pub in the opening chapter of his novel Our Mutual Friend written in 1864-65.
More than 150 years later, the pub will be among the preferred venues for Londoners to watch the World Cup.
Croatia v England
Tonight’s game at Luzhniki Stadium is crucial. If they lose, England will play Belgium for the third place position on 14 July. If England wins, however, the team will go straight to the final against France on 15 July. It will be their first appearance in a World Cup final since 1966.
As much as we would love to watch anything with Sir Ian McKellen – whether in black and white or in technicolor – we must warn you: he might not be there. Although he has been spotted serving his customers the occasional pint and bowl of chips from time to time, there is no guarantee the Lord of the Rings actor will be at The Grapes tonight. It will be up to the fellowship of his most loyal fans to find out.