Pubs are feeling the strain as football fans opt to watch the World Cup at home.
Local boozers say cheap supermarket deals are killing trade and tempting more and more punters to relax in front of the TV with cans of beer.
But The News – in the spirit of its Love Your Local campaign – is urging supporters to pack their pubs for tonight’s clash between England and Uruguay, which kicks off at 8pm.
Stuart Ainsworth, landlord of The Leopold Tavern in Albert Road, Southsea, said he unfortunately hadn’t seen a boost in takings – but is urging customers to pile in their local for the game.
‘I’ve spoken to a lot of pubs, and we’ve all said it’s been rubbish,’ he said.
‘The England game against Italy was a damp squib.
‘A few people came in for it but an awful lot of people preferred to stay at home.
‘We can’t compete with supermarkets. They are offering 24 cans for £10, plus the weather is nice and everyone is having barbecues.
‘People should watch the football at their local pub because you get an atmosphere.
‘Everyone is in the pub together supporting one common goal, and that’s England.
‘It’s not often you get everyone on the same page.
‘Whether you are a Pompey fan sat next to a Manchester United or Bournemouth fan, you have got that one common aim and cheer on the national team.’
Barry Kewell, landlord of the Northcote Hotel, in Francis Avenue, Southsea, said he was lucky to have had guests for an engagement party in to watch England’s last match.
‘I had quite a crowd in here for an engagement party, but in terms of the football, only an extra 12 to 15 people turned up to watch it,’ he said.
‘We can’t sell beer at the prices supermarkets do.
‘People are buying beer in the supermarket and watching the World Cup at home, and that’s something we can’t do much about.
‘You get a better atmosphere in a pub.
‘It always used to be the way of doing things.
‘I go back a few years and remember the places being absolutely packed with fans.’
Sue Lampon, landlady of the Queen’s Hotel, in Queen’s Road, Gosport, said there wasn’t a lot publicans could do when customers have little cash to spend.
‘We can’t compete with the supermarkets,’ she said.
‘We have had some people in here for the World Cup, but when your customers haven’t got the money, it’s very, very difficult.’
Extra reason to celebrate
WHILE some pubs are feeling the pinch during the football season, one is seeking to donate money it raises from sales towards a good cause.
The Farmhouse in Burrfields Road, Portsmouth, has decided it will donate an item of food to a food bank every time a goal is scored in this summer’s World Cup. And with more than 35 already netted, the pub is set to give a sizeable donation.
Manager Alex Jeffery said: ‘We have been trying to find ways to give back to our community and came up with the idea of giving an item of food to our local food bank for every goal scored during the World Cup.’
Matt Brown from Hungry Horse which owns the pub , said: ‘The Farmhouse has come up with an excellent idea for an admirable local cause and, provided not too many of them are scored against England, I will be cheering each goal knowing the good that they will be doing.’