Here we go! Pubs ready to roar on England as Russia World Cup begins
The greatest show on earth kicks off today – with the Black Country gearing up for a multi-million pound World Cup bonus.
Pubs and supermarkets are preparing for record sales as football fans get set for a month of action from the tournament in Russia.
Experts say pubs could rake in as much as a week’s takings on a single night when England are playing.
Russia kick off today against Saudi Arabia in Moscow at 4pm after a ceremony starring Staffordshire’s Robbie Williams.
Pubs have taken on extra staff and fitted giant screens ready for a mass influx of customers, with England’s opening game against Tunisia on Monday (7pm) expected to get the tills ringing.
Pub trader expert Chris Edger, from Birmingham City University, said: “This is a multi-million pound event for pubs across the West Midlands and the further England go, the more money they will make.
“On an England game night, pubs will be looking to increase trade eight-fold. It’s massive business for pubs and could be a real shot in the arm for the industry.”
In Wolverhampton the excitement has reached fever pitch with landlords hoping the feel-good factor from Wolves’ Championship title win carries on into the World Cup.
Kate Williamson, manager of the Dog and Doublet in North Street, said the pub has put on a special World Cup-themed menu and is giving away a free shot for every goal England score in the tournament.
“We’ll have our flags up to push and support England,” she said.
“We’re hoping to recreate the atmosphere of Wolves home games for when England play. If we get through a few rounds we’re aiming to put a big screen up in the beer garden.”
David Morris, manager of The Royal London, said games would be shown on nine screens – including two giant projector screens, while staff will also be giving away Panini World Cup stickers with every pint.
Hogshead manager Nigel Moore said he expected his city centre pub to be busy for the duration of the World Cup.
Steve Turvey, who runs The Pitch Sports Bar & Grill in Bridge Street, Walsall, said many pubs were seeing it as a way to boost profits during a difficult time.
“The World Cup gets everyone out into the pubs and it is a real opportunity for us to put on a show,” said Mr Turvey, whose bar has more than 50 giant screens.
Peter Towler, boss at Mad O’Rourke’s Pie Factory in Tipton, said: “All the flags are up and we are raring to go.
“I’m a Welshman but even I will be supporting England this year.”
The pub on Hurst Lane has even added a special Tunisian pie to its menu to mark England’s opening match.
In Stourbridge the Britannia Sports has 15 big screens, a huge marquee and the newly renamed Red Square Garden – as well as a replica World Cup sitting on the bar.
Manager Lisa Sutherland, said: “The whole place is covered in flags. The tournament will be fantastic for business.”
Supermarkets hope to build on a sales surge spurred on by warmer weather, the FA Cup final and the Royal wedding.
Consumer specialist Chris Hayward said the upwards trend was expected to continue.
“The World Cup will attract more visits and boost shopper spend,” he said.