Birmingham pubs avoid trouble after England exit

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Licensees in Birmingham were showered with praise after helping to prevent trouble when England crashed out of Euro 2004 to Portugal.By serving...

Licensees in Birmingham were showered with praise after helping to prevent trouble when England crashed out of Euro 2004 to Portugal.

By serving drinks in plastic glasses, heavily staffing doors and keeping customers in for 15 minutes after the final whistle, pub operators in the city ensured a calm atmosphere during and at the end of the match.

The police and council were delighted with the outcome after outbreaks of violence in Birmingham following England's opening defeat against France had marred the start of the tournament. It had not helped that during that match fans had been able to drink alcohol outdoors as they watched the game on a big screen in Birmingham's Centenary Square.

Both the police and council admitted this was a mistake and enforced an outdoor alcohol ban for the Portugal game, but licensees still had to control thousands of people as they drank in pubs.

Martin Murphy, licensee at the Sports Café in Broad Street, one of Birmingham's busiest pubs, said: "We made sure we were prepared for the situation. We only experienced one problem during the France game so we were confident it would be under control.

Jacqui Kennedy, head of trading standards and licensing at Birmingham City Council, said: "We have some of the best licensees in the country in Birmingham. They are responsible and committed to the safety of the people here.

"Supermarkets have a lot to answer for," she added. "Selling cheap alcohol doesn't help."

There was also a heavy police presence on Broad Street as part of the efforts to support the trade during an exceptionally busy night.

Inspector Tony Cole, who heads the West Midlands Police entertainments team, said: "We were pleased with the way it went. The licensees on Broad Street communicate with each other and this shows it works.

"To that end we will now push for a Pubwatch scheme in other parts of Birmingham."

In contrast, incidents were reported in other parts of the country, most notably at the Portugese-owned Red Lion pub in Norfolk, which was attacked by a mob following England's exit.

Disturbances were also reported on Jersey, where police had to use CS gas to disperse troublemakers after an angry crowd clashed with the island's large Portugese community. Trouble also flared in Croydon, Surrey and Boston, Lincolnshire.

Related articles:

England defeat sparks pub attack (25 June 2004)

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