England great helps celebrate 1,000th Red Lioness Pledge pub

Rachel Yankey marks the milestone at Sports Bar & Grill Marylebone

Pubs across the UK have been getting behind the Lionesses and helping to grow the love for women’s football.

At the end of last year we transformed the Red Lion in London’s Moorgate into the Red Lioness and urged pubs to sign our pledge and show their support for the women’s game.

Just a few months later and the Stonegate owned Sports Bar & Grill in Marylebone has become the 1,000th pub to sign the pledge.

It is one of 150 Stonegate pubs to commit to screen women’s football matches live, from the FA WSL through to internationals featuring England’s Lionesses.

Those that sign are also committed to creating inclusive and welcoming environments for women’s football fans.

Greene King and scores of independent pubs have also signed the Pledge – and you can do the same here.

Hundreds of football fans joined us at Sports Bar & Grill on International Women’s Day to watch the Lionesses triumph against Japan in the She Believes Cup and to hear from England and Arsenal legend Rachel Yankey.

She said how important it is for pubs to let people know when the games are being shown.

“Visibility is important. People need to know when the games are on and not just an hour before,” she said.

 People need to know it is on and feel welcome. It needs to be inclusive, we want women and men supporting women’s football. Put on good food and good drink and I’m sure you’ll get people in.

Rachel, who was the first registered female professional footballer in the UK and went on to win 129 caps for the Lionesses, also said much progress has been made with the women’s game but that there is still plenty to do.

“The right steps are being made with BT and the BBC showing the games on TV, kids play FIFA and can see there is no difference (between men and women playing football). In this country we are still a long way away, in America the mindset is different and it is seen as a female sport.”

She added that she was pleased to see the game growing and reaching new audiences.

“It has fantastic potential. The support we needed when I was playing we are getting now. Big investors are putting their money in. Obviously the game going professional helps.

“When I played in that England team, there were some fantastic players that came before me but they just didn’t get the opportunities that I got and these girls now have a better opportunity that I had.

 It’s pleasing to see that the great game is always moving on.

It is doing so at pubs across the country, with so many committing to the game and helping to grow audiences.

Bruce Cuthbert, director, commercial customers BT Sport, said: “With Stonegate’s support this weekend, we’re delighted to have reached 1,000 pubs who have now joined BT’s The Red Lioness Pledge. Women’s football is a great opportunity for pubs and clubs to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, and I’d urge all pubs to join the Pledge by visiting btsportprint.co.uk/redlioness.”

  • This season is BT Sport’s biggest season of women’s football yet, with more matches than ever before. Over the whole season, BT Sport will broadcast at least 30 live women’s football matches including the Lionesses, Barclays FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Continental League Cup and the Women’s FA Cup.

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