Cheers! Shropshire pubs looking forward to World Cup business boost
As World Cup fever grips the nation, pubs across Shropshire are hoping for a bumper month of trading.
The build up to the four-yearly feast of football has been slow but the last week has seen excitement over the tournament hitting fever pitch.
It is expected that around 14 million more pints than normal will be drunk during the group stages of the World Cup, with the British Beer and Pub Association saying that the increase could boost the economy by as much as £42 million.
As the timings of England matches suit pubs and fewer fans are travelling to the tournament to watch games, the pub is set to be the most popular place to watch the action from Russia, said BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds.
She said: “When it comes to watching England at the World Cup, only being at the game itself can compare with being in the pub. Millions of England fans will be going to the pub to cheer on the team with their friends, which is both great for the local pub and great for the England team. Let’s hope the England team do us proud!”
Today sees the competition kick off with hosts Russia taking on Saudi Arabia and Dave Mann landlord of the Plough Inn, in King Street, Wellington, said the increasing expectations over the England team could lead to more people going out to celebrate.
He said: “I’m looking forward to the World Cup. I’m hoping it will lift trade for all pubs.
“I think there is more anticipation this time because it’s a young squad. If we make it to the later stages we’’ll probably see more customers coming out to the pubs and we’ll be putting on some deals.
“So folks will have some good reasons to get behind their local pub and the national team especially if the weather stays dry and bright.”
Cathy Haddock, manager of the Charles Darwin pub in Shrewsbury, said: “Football is always popular at the pub so we’re hoping the World Cup will bring in a lot of trade for us and the town generally.
“We are showing all the games and to celebrate we’re doing themed foods depending on which country is playing and we’ve got a sweepstake too.”
England's World Cup fixtures:
- England’s first World Cup match is against Tunisia on Monday, June 18, at 7pm, showing on BBC One
- The Three Lions then play Panama on Sunday, June 24, at 1pm, also on BBC One
- England play Belgium on June 28, at 7pm, which will be on ITV
- And after that . . .
Huw Roberts, who runs the bar at Oswestry Cricket Club, said they have number of plans in place to mark the competition, and that it always proves a great money spinner.
He said: “For us the World Cup is always a great time and provides increased revenue for us.
“It is always a great atmosphere, we get a lot of people down and dress the place up to really get in the spirit of things.”
Mr Roberts said the club had prepared barbecues, fun days and family days throughout the month.
Christian Haigh, pub manager at the Thomas Botfield, a Telford Wetherspoon pub near the shopping centre, said that even though his is not a sports pub, he is still expecting a boost in trade.
He said: “We will be showing every game, it is classed as the biggest sporting event of the calendar year.
“I do expect us to have some kind of increase in business, although we are not an out and out football pub.
“We are very food-driven but we’re hoping for an upturn of some kind.”
John Corbett, who has run the Horseshoes pub in Ketley for 41 years, and has shown football tournaments in the bar for decades added: “Sometimes it does bring more people in and sometimes it doesn’t.
“It all depends on which teams are playing, which supporters come in. We are wishing for an increase anyway.”
One landlord is looking forward to the event but said it could be a double-edged sword in terms of trade.
Andrew Barber said he expects an increase in the number of drinkers coming to his Ludlow pub to watch the games, but he fears there may be a drop off in the number of food orders, particularly for the Sunday matches when fans will be keen to have a barbecue.
The Squirrel on Foldgate Lane, Ludlow, is part of the Wetherspoon chain and Andrew is expecting between 30 to 50 people watching each match.
He said: “The flags are up and we will have a TV.
“We are not going massive on it as I want to keep the regulars but I do expect to have between 30 to 50 people in to watch the games.
“I think food orders may be down, particularly on a Sunday with our lunches.
“But it is all exciting stuff and I just hope England can progress through the tournament.”