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Published on June 15th, 2016 | by Alastair Gilmour

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Come on my ssons

A summer of sport will be dominated by Euro 2016 – which our pubs are gearing up to take full advantage of

The UEFA European Championships kick off on June 10 in Paris and run for a month. This means that a full 31 days featuring some of the world’s greatest footballers showing us why we hang on to their every dribble should spell bonanza for our pubs.

Spain have won the last two Euros – in 2008 when Austria and Switzerland co-hosted the tournament and four years later when Poland and Ukraine shared the event. Can they make it a hat-trick? Will the potential of this England squad be fully realised at last? Will the Kanes, Laffertys, De Bruynes and Ronaldos thrill and delight or frustrate and annoy? Could Iceland do a “Leicester City”?

Pubs should be able to take full advantage of the competition with many pulling out all the stops to entice customers, which won’t be difficult for England’s matches against Wales and Russia, or Northern Ireland v Germany – but Romania playing Albania and Austria against Hungary might be more challenging for British fans. However, who’s to say they can’t be crackers of football matches? With a handful of exceptions, the vast majority of the 51 matches involving 24 nations over 31 days are being played with sensible pub-time kick-offs – 5pm and 8pm. But when England and Wales get down to the job on June 16, the 2pm kick-off might just provoke a snowstorm of sicknotes.

Bosses have been urged to allow staff to take time off so they can watch those Euro 2016 football matches. Conciliation service Acas has launched new guidance to help business leaders prepare for potential issues and avoid workers being given a red card for sloping off to catch the afternoon games.

The ingenuity that people display to be excused work means Acas might as well hiss against the wind.

Nineteen pubs across England – including The Three Bulls Heads in Newcastle – have been renamed as part of a campaign ahead of the Euro 2016 tournament. Carlsberg, the official beer of the tournament, has singled out the pubs as part of a series of “pubstitution” activities designed to generate a roaring trade by calling them The Three Lions.

The Three Bull’s Heads hanging sign has been replaced for the duration of the tournament by one showing England players Wayne Rooney, Gary Cahill and Joe Hart.

The Centurion on Neville Street has also been singled out for special Carlsberg treatment.

Beer-wise, Houghton-le-Spring brewery Maxim has produced Euro Stars, a 4.2% abv pale ale made with a variety of European hops to give a balance and slightly dry truffle flavours on the palate.

What are going to be the Euro 2016 highlights? Every one of the Iceland’s team’s names ends in “son” or “sson” – so say hello to Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Arnason, Bjornason, et al. The tournament’s “group of death” – the one than nobody wants to be in – is Group E which involves the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Belgium and Sweden.

The Golden Boot, awarded to the tournament’s top goal-scorer, could fit several players’ feet, from Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Will Grigg of Northern Ireland who scored 28 goals for Wigan Athletic in the season just gone.

Then, what about the Scottish fans among us who have nobody to cheers on during the tournament? They could do worse than get behind Ukraine – their strip is a rather natty take on tartan.

And, talking about Scotland, Glasgow-based West Brewery’s Courtyard bar will be showing every Germany game on a big screen – West is owned by German-born Petra Wetzel and as an adopted Scot and shrewd businesswoman, she knows how to milk an occasion.


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Alastair Gilmour



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