It was a great win for England and Leeds as the national team’s match at Elland Road last night scored a healthy boost for our economy, with fans making the most of what the city has to offer.
Fans from far and wide travelled to Elland Road last night to see England take on Costa Rica in an international friendly ahead of the World Cup campaign which kicks off later this month against Tunisia.
It meant hotels across the city were full and in the match build-up fans were soaking up the sunshine in beer gardens, bars and restaurants.
Wayne Topley, chairman of Leeds Hotels and Venues Association and general manager of The Queens Hotel said: “Hosting an international friendly match at Elland Road, so close to the launch of the World Cup, is a great privilege and fantastic recognition for the city. Not only has this meant a full house for bedrooms across the city, it has had a positive knock on effect to bars, restaurants and eateries and is a true testament to what our city can achieve.”
Fans spoke of their delight that a northern ground had been chosen to host the match as the rest of the city cashed in.
Karl Yates had travelled from Manchester and said: “I would prefer to have England travelling the country and especially for different communities. We are from Manchester and have come to Leeds because it is a ground I have always wanted to see.”
Mark Curry, 45, from Cheshire said the game being in the north had enabled him to take his son to an international and he had put £200 in the pockets of Leeds businesses.
He said: “I have been able to come after school with my boy without massive expense, travel and upheaval. It is a fantastic opportunity to bring your kids to see a game like that.”
City finance experts said it was a boost for the economy and the city’s reputation.
Mr Topley added: “Thursday nights are traditionally quieter but this match has meant hotels are fully occupied and, in return, made a positive difference to our financial performance across the city.”
City council leader Judith Blake said: “We are extremely proud that Leeds has been chosen as the venue for England’s final warm-up game before the World Cup begins. We don’t often get to experience international football in Leeds so to have our national side here in preparation for the World Cup is wonderful for football fans and the wider city alike.”