Shropshire Star

Shropshire pubs looking forward to bumper business for England v France

Pubs and clubs the length and breadth of Shropshire are looking forward to a bumper day when England take on France in the World Cup.

James Gregory-Cork and Harvey Howell cheering on England at the Salopian, in Shrewsbury

The Three Lions lads are hoping to overcome their continental opponents and emulate the success of the Lionesses by going one stage further than the Euros final to win the World Cup.

And as excitement builds towards Saturday's lip-smackingly enticing quarter-final one publican is daring to dream of winning the whole thing at the final in Qatar on December 18.

Ollie Parry, joint owner of the Salopian bar in Smithfield, Shrewsbury, said: "I think they can win it, for the first time in my lifetime I think they have got a chance of winning the whole thing.

"I think it is all looking good for Saturday. [Kylian] Mbappe is the best in the world but if they can mark him I don't think the French have as much in the rest of their team as England.

"From a business point of view I hope it goes to extra time, penalties and ends with an England win. But from a supporter's point of view I hope England win it in 90 minutes."

The Salopian will be opening at 11am on Saturday and will not be selling any tickets to get into the 400-capacity venue, meaning that it is first-come first-served. The match kicks off at 7pm and is set to end after 9pm.

"I have got to think of the regulars," said Ollie. "If I started selling tickets for the football, I will never see them again. This way, everyone knows it is first-come first-served."

And unlike with big Premier League clashes when chanting is discouraged, this time everyone is set to support England in a carnival atmosphere.

It has been a great World Cup so far at The Salopian, where every single game has been shown on 14 big screens and has attracted a crowd.

But on Saturday it will be packed with 400 England supporters who are keen to raise the roof to back Gareth Southgate's boys.

Unlike the Salopian, the Crown in Albrighton is a food pub, but manager Tina Hodgkins is looking forward to Saturday's titanic clash despite not being a football supporter.

Dan Coppins with Sy Foulger, Steve Adey, Ed Hudson at The Crown in Albrighton

"The World Cup has been a good time for us," said Tina. "The football has made a big impact for us. We are fully booked for Saturday and the capacity is 80 to 100."

Tina added that she "does not understand football" but from a business point of view it has been an excellent time, especially for England games.

And if/when Harry Kane leads out the lads, hopefully at the semi-final and at the final to end 56 years of hurt, the tills will be ringing to an ever-louder tune of It's Coming Home.