Excitement begins for Leeds pubs and venues ahead of England v Italy Euros 2020 final

Excitement is brewing for the city's venues ahead of the Euros 2020 final this weekend - with some punters planning to camp outside the pub in order to bag a good spot for the match.
The crowd at multistories celebrating an England goal.The crowd at multistories celebrating an England goal.
The crowd at multistories celebrating an England goal.

Southgate's England squad are taking on Italy in the much-anticipated final match on Sunday, July 11.

Kick off starts at 8pm, but with reduced capacity and high demand, people in Leeds are expected to be headed to heir local pub much earlier.

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Aire Bar owner Chris Howard is operating a walk-in only service.

He said he's had hundreds of calls from people asking him how early they should get down to the bar.

Chris Howard, of Aire Bar, said: "We're massively excited.

"It's something that might not happen again in my lifetime so we have to enjoy and embrace it.

"It's really all about football but obviously we can't 100 per cent focus on that as we've got to keep one eye on sticking to the rules and everything.

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Mr Howard added: "We've had a lot of people phoning up and asking when we think we'll get busy

"We've got people that are planning on camping outside and I must have fielded about 120 calls yesterday - I took more calls that what I sold pints.

"I've told them 'We're open at 10am, I'd advise getting down early - you don't have to drink we serve breakfast, coffee and food all day'.

"One guy said he'd be there at 9.30am with his camper chair.

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"That's the level of passion and anticipation people have. I'd expect to be pretty full by lunchtime - obviously on reduced capacity because of Covid.

"Now we're just hoping the customer support continues after the football, because city centre venues have had it hard."

Spots at Multistories, a new venue on top of the Merrion Centre car park, are already fully sold out, as football fans flocked to book onto a table.

Multistories co-founder Arron Fishwick said he's expecting an amazing atmosphere.

Mr Fishick said: "We're excited and nervous for the game

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"The games that we've shown here previously, especially the one on Wednesday night, the atmosphere was unbelievable.

"We're fully sold out, which is amazing.

"Even before Wednesday's game, people enjoyed other matches like against Ukraine so decided to go on and book the final in anticipation of us getting there.

"We've got so many messages our inboxes just just going mental just people wanting to come in

"It seems like a lot of people in Leeds want to come here and watch the game, which is great for us but obviously we've got our capacity and and that's all we can do unfortunately."

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Mr Fishwick thinks it will be a tough game, but is looking forward to inviting Kalvin Phillip's for a drink as a "Euro winner".

He said: "Personally I think it'll be tight and I think probably got down to penalties, that's my prediction.

"It's the best thing when so i would i for a long time and everyone's behind them and with it being a home fixture at Wembley hopefully that's to our advantage.

"Kalvin's been brilliant, he's been amazing for the team.

"The fact that he's Leeds player is even better, everyone's talking about him and hopefully we can get him up here one day once he's a Euro winner."

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The Home Office confirmed on Friday that pubs can continue to serve until 11.15pm on Sunday to reduce the risk of customers being told to leave before the match ends.

The British Beer and Pub Association reckons nearly 13m pints could be bought on Sunday.

It estimated 7.1 million of those would be sold within the course of the game itself if it ends within normal time – equating to almost 1,000 pints a second.

Chief Executive of Leeds BID, Andrew Cooper, said: “The England Football Team effect is having a positive knock on to the hospitality and retail sector in Leeds.

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"For the first time in 55 years, England are in a final and this has lifted everyone during what has been a challenging 15 months.

"The outside seating areas in the centre of Leeds have been positively received by consumers and we anticipate that over the weekend, people will be able to support Leeds businesses as they enjoy the match and what we hope will be the celebrations that follow.”