Every weekend, pub players around the country dream of emulating the stars of world football.
And after they make it through another 90 minutes, they return to the bar to remind their teammates about how they pulled off of a Messi-esque feint, a cool Aguero finish, or a defence-splitting Paul Pogba pass.
Working those skills on a park pitch is no mean feat, but thanks to the BT Sport Pub Cup those same players could now be representing your pub on some the biggest stages of them all.
Our grassroots tournament for pub teams is about to take over some of the most famous stadiums in the country.
In 2019, more players will get to experience stepping out on pro pitches with the Pub Cup tripling in size to just under 200 teams, including women’s teams for the first time in the competition’s history.
To accommodate the growth, we’ll be holding more heats at more stadiums than ever before – including debuts for Premier League grounds such as Anfield and St James’ Park. And to make sure pubs from all four corners of the country can take part we’ll be visiting stadiums in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Here’s where we are headed:
Ground: The Den
Date: Tuesday May 7
This season’s Pub Cup kicks-off where we ended out heats in 2018. Last year a plucky side called The Gun emerged as the regional winners at Millwall’s home ground. Hackney’s finest then went on to be crowned Pub Cup champions in a penalty shootout victory in the final at Leicester’s King Power stadium.
Ground: Liberty Stadium
Date: Wednesday May 8
A new ground for the Pub Cup in 2019 is the home of Swansea City. We’ll be hosting our first regional qualifier in Wales when we head to the Liberty Stadium.
Date: Friday May 10
If Wolverhampton Wanderers didn’t already know that they were back in the big-time thanks to their impressive return to the Premier League, they do now that they’ll be hosting a Pub Cup heat for the first time. Football Fact: Molineux hosted the first ever league game in England back in 1889.
Ground: Windsor Park
Date: Monday May 13
Northern Ireland is one of the Pub Cup’s new territories this year so we’ll be off to Belfast and the home of the national side. Pub quiz question: which Northern Irish league side calls Windsor Park home?*
Ground: Selhurst Park
Date: Tuesday May 14
London pub players who think they’ve got a box of tricks to match Wilfried Zaha will have the chance to prove it at the home of Crystal Palace.
Ground: St Mary’s
Date: Wednesday May 15
In its relatively short history, Southampton’s stadium has already hosted Premier League, Championship and League One football and seen performances by the likes of Robbie Williams and the Rolling Stones. The stage is set…
Date: Friday May 17
You don’t get many more famous grounds than this one. Home to Liverpool FC since 1892. Could it be home to the champions of England by the time the Pub Cup rolls into town on May 17?
Ground: The King Power
Date: Monday May 20
Leicester’s stadium has seen some glory in recent years. In 2016 The Foxes were the fairytale Premier League winners… and then two years later Hackney’s The Gun lifted the BT Sport Pub Cup on the very same pitch.
Ground: Bramall Lane
Date: Monday May 20
The oldest football ground in the country could be home to Premier League football again next season. It will be home to our Yorkshire qualifier first though.
Date: Tuesday May 21
Those taking part in our regional qualifier in Edinburgh will get to play at the national stadium. Don’t worry, we’ll bring the right shape balls.
Ground: Stadium of Light
Date: Wednesday May 22
We’re going to Sunderland’s home ground to fill the final places in this year’s Pub Cup semi-finals.
Ground: Manchester City’s Academy
Date: Monday May 27
The teams that qualify from the regional heats will be in for a huge treat, a semi-finals day at Manchester City’s state of the art Academy complex. Here the teams will compete for a place in the final under the watchful gaze of some of BT Sport’s star pundits. Read here to see what happened at last year’s semi-finals.
Ground: St James’ Park
Date: June 4
Finalists at this year’s Pub Cup can follow in the footsteps of legends such as Shearer, Gazza and Milburn by turning out at the famous home of Newcastle United. It’s a year of finals at St James’ Park which is also hosting rugby’s Heineken Champions Cup and the European Challenge Cup finals in May.
Entering the Pub Cup not only results in a great experience for the players but also consolidates that all important and mutually beneficial relationship between club and pub.
Bruce Cuthbert, BT Sport director commercial customers, says: “Pubs are at the heart of their communities and we want to help them thrive by giving their football teams the chance of a Premier League experience and to give something back to their local.”
On top of playing at a great stadium the eventual winners will secure £5,000 of equipment and free BT Sport for a year for their pub, as well as the glory of being Pub Cup Champions 2019.
But you can all be winners because by just registering all eligible teams will receive full Puma kit with their own pub and BT Sport branding for the season ahead.
Click here to register your team for the Pub Cup now. The BT Sport Pub Cup is open to any men or women’s amateur team who wants to represent their local BT Sport pub, either as an existing team or in a new side for the tournament. You must be over 18 to take part. Maximum one team per pub. T&Cs apply