Staff Writer

PORTLAND – His face turning red and veins bulging, Alan Pugsley shot ramrod from his bar stool and waved his first like a madman.

“Get in there! Get the hell in there. Christ!”

Pugsley, otherwise known as the mild-mannered brewmaster for Shipyard Brewing Co., joined several dozen boisterous mates at G&R DiMillo’s Bayside on Preble Street to watch the World Cup soccer match between the United States and England on Saturday afternoon.

An Englishman, Pugsley left no emotion on the table. Seated in front of a TV at this friendly sports bar, Pugsley stood and gloated, absorbing the barbs and taunts of his barroom brethren when England advanced the ball and pressured the U.S. team.

“Come on, lads. Come on, lads!” he urged them on.

When the U.S. scored to tie the game, Pugsley threw his head back in disgust, clenched his eyes closed and let loose a disgusted sigh.

His visual discontent said it all: Bad goal.

Behind him, Lance Brown of Portland let loose a cheer loud enough to shake the bricks and mortar below his feat. “YEAH!”

Later, as U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard added to his save total, Pugsley quietly dropped his head on the bar, knowing that his team’s best opportunities were slipping away.

With the World Cup in full swing, G&R DiMillo’s has become the center of attention for Portland soccer fans. Pugsley, Brown and others gather here regularly for Premier League games, said bar owner Gene DiMillo. But the intensity is heightened with the World Cup.

Guys who once cheered alongside each other now are cheering against one another.

“Most of the guys in here are here three or four times a week watching English football, and most of them like Manchester. This is definitely a Manchester room,” said DiMillo, noting the Manchester team logo mounted on the wall behind the bar, alongside the Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics and Boston Red Sox.

“But right now, they’re all split and are cheering for their respective countries.”

That was in evidence on the rail. Pugsley, wearing the red of Manchester, was seated alongside Rick Petaccia of Portland, wearing the colors of Italy. Next to him, a guy wearing a U.S. jersey.

Petaccia wasn’t surprised to see the bar filled to standing for Saturday’s afternoon game. It was overcast and gray outside — a perfect day to go the bar and watch soccer. Of course, these guys would have been here if it were 90 and sunny outside.

Petaccia has played soccer most of his life, and sees the sport growing in mainstream acceptance in the United States. “I’m kind of biased, because soccer is one of my favorite sports. But soccer is getting bigger as far as being a popular sport. This can only help. The World Cup is a big deal.”

DiMillo thinks so, too.

He’s offering World Cup specials to keep fans happy, and also is opening early for all the games. In addition to $3 Guinness and Shipyards, he’s also added a breakfast pizza to the menu to accommodate the morning crowds.

Pugsley likes it here because DiMillo allows him to express himself freely. He doesn’t have to worry about offending anybody, although he tries to mind his manners as best he can.

“Gene lets me scream at the TV,” he said during a half-time respite. “As long as I don’t use any profanities, things are OK.”

For the next week or so, Pugsley will absent from his spot at the bar. It so happens, Shipyard business will take him to England, enabling him to watch the games in his home country.

Pure coincidence, or a case of creative scheduling on Pugsley’s part? He’s not saying, but he can’t wait to go.

“If we were in England right now, we wouldn’t be able to have this conversation,” he said. “The pubs are going crazy. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

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