Leeds pub football pitch is a hit with punters

SUCCESS: Landlord Rick Firth on the pitch with some of the youngsters who use it regularly.
SUCCESS: Landlord Rick Firth on the pitch with some of the youngsters who use it regularly.
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A Leeds pub football pitch has proven a hit with local sports clubs.

Publicans Rick and Bev Firth spent £12,000 of their own money to create the five-a-side pitch at the rear of The Butterbowl Hotel.

It is now home to the Leeds Juniors under-14s football team while the pub itself has the become headquarters for Farnley Falcons rugby league club, which has 13 teams, including two girls’ sides. The pitch is used every weekend by up to 120 children.

Rick - who believes The Butterbowl is one of only two pubs in England with its own pitch of this kind - said: “I got a digger in to dig out what used to be a small hill, put down grass seed, and got help erecting the pitch surrounds. The work was spread out over a couple of years, and it’s been in use for around 18 months.

“It’s free to use, and we now want to encourage more local clubs and teams to come and use it.”

Rick and Bev also host bank holiday family fun days, and they have recently installed two full-size table tennis tables outside.

Rick, who was a customer at the pub for 40 years before taking it on with Bev, said: “She wasn’t too happy while the work was being done, but it’s been worth it, and the pitch has already paid for itself through the increased trade we’ve enjoyed on the back of the clubs using it.”

David Shipton, asset development director for pub owner NewRiver, said: “Rick and Bev are among our very best publicans, and what they’ve done at The Butterbowl, for the benefit of the whole community, is nothing short of brilliant.”

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