“It will be a real boost” - Pubs in Calderdale hoping Euro 2020 will provide welcome increase in trade from football fans

Pubs across Calderdale are hoping to score a big boost in trade thanks to this month’s European Championships.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 11:50 am
Ben Watson and Joe Wood celebrate the opening of their new sports bar, Bourbon St Social, and the start of the Euros, Broad Street Plaza, Halifax

The tournament is expected to provide a welcome financial boost to pubs throughout the borough by attracting fans through the doors, and several businesses are busy preparing for the influx of football fans.

Joe Wood, general manager of Bourbon Street Social, at Broad Street Plaza, said: “Because there’s such a big football following in this country, we’re going to get a lot of people in for the England games, but also because there’s a game every day, the general competition’s going to bring a lot more people in over that period.

“We’ve got the big screens but also some booths which we’re going to give out as packages.

Gearing up for the Euros at Todmorden Cricket Club

“They fit six people and they have their own personal television, so they can have some good food and have their own area watching it between themselves.

“It’s like the first big event since lockdown stopped so I think it’s going to be good for everyone just to get out and support your country.”

Mark Gledhill, owner of The Old Cock Inn, Halifax, said: “It will if the restrictions are being lifted, if not then it’s not really going to help and it’s just going to cause more issues because we’re at full capacity on a lot of days as it is inside, and it’ll just mean having to turn more people away.

“But if the restrictions are lifted then it’ll be massive because you’ll have the Euros and you’ll be combining that with the euphoria of being able to come out again and see their mates, so at that point it’ll be a massive point.

All geared up for the Euros, the team at The Old Cock, Halifax

“On the England game days I can see it quadrupling or maybe five times the takings.

“The restrictions lifting will be a massive boost anyway, it almost seems a bit of a waste. We could have done with the tournament coming at the back end of the summer, when people might have burned themselves out a bit.

“It’s almost two things at once.

“All our staff will be dressed in football kits, there’ll be daily promos. Each month we pick a charity to support, so we’ll combine raffles and draws during the matches for that charity.”

All geared up for the Euros, Linda Senior, Matt Green and James Crawshaw, at the Murgatroyd, Skircoat Green, Halifax

Kelly Greenwood, from The Commercial Railway Inn, Brighouse, said: “I think a lot of people have got used to drinking at home, so whether that changes, I don’t know.

“If you can’t get a big crowd into a small room to watch the television, I don’t know how it’s going to work, so it’s a bit of a paradox really.

“We’ve got separate rooms so we can have one room for the football and another room not for football.

“We’ll be showing the games, but it’s down to how the customers feel about sitting in a crowded room.

“We cater mainly for the older end and we’ve noticed that a lot of our customers are scared about coming back out and being in a crowded place.

“It’s all a bit hit and miss, I don’t know what’s going to happen.

“Is it going to be the same as previous ones? You’d get some games on and we’d be full for that two hours, but I don’t know whether that’s going to happen again.”

Stuart Priestley, from Todmorden Cricket Club, said: “We have a function room which has a 75 inch TV and we normally fill it when the football’s on, normally about 50 people.

“It depends on social distancing what we can do.

“We’ve actually done quite well since we re-opened, I think we took £11,500 in the first week, we’ve got a big marquee outside as well.

“We’re thinking of trying to get an outside TV if needs be, but at the moment we’re just going to show it inside in both bars.

“We have food on for every game, but we’re always up for doing a bit of something extra depending how far England get.”

Linda Green, landlady at The Murg in Skircoat Green, can’t wait to welcome footy fans to her pub for the Euros.

She said: “We always show all the games, we’ve got three televisions so we can show more than one game if we need to.

“We always do a food and a pint offer too.

“I think it’s a real pity that the Scotland game is on June 18, and not June 22!

“The Croatia game on Sunday lunchtime will be busy, and the game on the Friday night will be busy.

“I’m hoping for the game on the 22nd that we won’t have any restrictions so we can have vertical drinking. All being well, that should be quite a crescendo.”

Linda reckons the tournament could boost her takings by up to an an extra 20 per cent.

“It’s a community pub, families come in, multiple generations, we don’t have fans screaming at the telly,” she said.
“The first two games will have to be table bookings.

“And after the Euros of course, you’ve got the Olympics, the rugby and the Ryder Cup, which we all show, so it will be a real boost.

“And it will give a boost to confidence as well.

“When the last Premier League games were on, and the Champions League final and the Europa League final, we were busy.”

Linda has also recently taken over The Standard of Freedom pub, which is due to re-open on June 21 and create five or six new jobs.

She said: “My son and I bought the freehold of the Murg in May 2018, and we’ve doubled the trade and more since then.

“We’re at 40 per cent capacity but even with that, we’re only down about 10 per cent on where we were in 2018/19.

“The food’s about 15 per cent up, we’ve got a great following for our food.

“So when we heard that Mick was coming out of the Standard, Matthew, my son, said ‘why don’t we get it’.

“It had metal shutters on it for over six months, Mick left in November, and we took the keys on June 1.

“We’ve got great plans, we’re going to extend the drinking area at the front, put in planters and make it look a lot better, we’ve got contractors in renovating it and we have a hog roast booked for July 2 to launch it.

“It’s a great opportunity, it’s a stunning pub, a very strong, local community pub.

“Many of our customers use it quite regularly, it’s a slightly older clientele from The Murg.

“It doesn’t serve food but we will do some sort of bar snacks.

“It was an obvious bolt-on for us because a lot of our customers go up there in the summer because of the views and the outside area.

“My plan is to get a number of pubs and grow a chain of 10, 15.

“I was MD of pubs and worked for Scottish and Newcastle for a long time as MD of some of their pub divisions.

“I wasn’t going to be landlady of the Murg, although that’s what’s happened!

“It’s been a good experience for three years, we recruited a new manager with the intention of branching out and hopefully it will be the first of many.

“I have looked at a number of others in the local area that, for one reason or another, haven’t worked out.”