Pub landlords are gearing up for a boom in trade this summer as football fever begins to set in across the region.
Beer lovers are expected to pack their locals to watch England in Euro 2016 on Saturday, where they play their first game of the tournament against Russia, and during the rest of June.
Steve Hudson, landlord of the Shepherd’s Crook in Fratton, The Milton Arms and The Old Barn in Portsmouth, said he was expecting big crowds in the coming months.
‘While we do generally get busier when the weather gets better, the Euros is definitely going to bring a massive increase in trade. Everyone is going to pile in to watch England play with their flags and England shirts.
‘Whether if it will continue if England don’t do as well as hoped I don’t know, so fingers crossed they pull it out of the bag.’
The same can be said for Paul Saynor, co-landlord of The Rose in June in Copnor, who said he has had a lot of interest from his customers in showing the games throughout the month.
He is expecting quite a crowd for the England v Russia game, as it is England’s first and one of the first of the much-anticipated tournament.
‘We’re getting ready for everyone to come in for the games, and we have dressed the pub up in England flags.
We’re providing a big barbecue, which will entice people.
‘We are usually pretty crowded in the summer anyway because of our pub garden, but the month of the Euros will be the busiest.’
One landlord in Fareham is taking advantage of the buzz for the football and running a ‘blind’ knockout competition with his customers.
Neil Matthews, landlord of The Delme Arms, said he has had 72 people sign up. Gamblers are given their team by sealed envelope and they won’t know who they have selected until after the final on the July 10.
Neil said: ‘We have essentially guaranteed 70 customers to come in and watch every game, because they will so invested in case their team is winning and they don’t want to miss it. Everyone was keen to get involved with it, and the competition will definitely increase the atmosphere in the pub.’
The winner will receive £160 and the runner up will get £80.
‘We’re quite a football crazy pub anyway.
‘We always get Pompey fans coming in before and after the local games on a Saturday and I definitely think that the buzz from Pompey doing so well is going to carry straight on through to the Euros this year.’