The small but perfectly formed Game On Sports Lounge is many things to many people.
It is a coffee shop to some, a place to gather after a game of squash or badminton for others, somewhere to take the kids for a cake and a Slush Puppy and, most importantly, a brilliant venue for watching live sport.
It may only have a capacity of around 40 folk, but it brings people together from all over the community. The fact that it is a multi-faceted space which gives sports fans and sports participants a perfect place to go is why licensee Godfrey Cook has been awarded the BT Sport Manager of the Month award for February.
Godfrey, who has run the venue in Totton, near Southampton, for four years, was presented with the prize by the safe hands of former Saints stopper Kelvin Davis.
The licensee said the aim when he took on the business was to put it at the heart of the community.
“From day one we have badged it as being a community facility that offers something for everyone. It has lots of different hats during the day. We try to cater for everyone as much as we can,” he explains.
The business is based in the West Totton Centre, which is home to badminton courts, squash courts, table tennis facilities and general function room hire. Godfrey ensures those participating in sport have a great venue to use afterwards to watch more action, have a drink, and discuss their own exploits.
“We have very strong links, especially with the squash club,” he continues. “When they have matches we do food for them, they have their committee meetings in here and watch squash on BT Sport. We are like a clubhouse to them.”
The venue is also the base for Forest Edge Rovers, the local football team that Game On sponsors, as well as providing a retreat for neighbouring businesses and residents.
Winning the monthly prize – which also includes a 4K TV for the pub – has come as a welcome fillip to Godfrey and his team.
“It’s nice to get some national recognition for what we do. It isn’t always easy running a business and things like this are a good reminder that we are doing the right things and it gives the team a boost,” he says.
Kelvin, who is now part of Premier League Southampton’s senior coaching team, was impressed with what he saw.
He said: “Sport is something that brings people together to enjoy themselves, have fun and stay healthy. It’s fantastic to see what they are doing here because it’s the best of both worlds – you can sit in the pub and watch football and get together with your mates to do some exercise.
“Godfrey has obviously put a lot of effort in, I love what he has done with the place so congratulations to him and his staff for winning the award.”
Godfrey is the latest licensee to win the monthly award. Previous winners include Michelle Payne at The Ingate Free House in Suffolk and Kevin McGhee of The Diggers in Edinburgh.
- Have you or someone you know got what it takes to be a BT Sport Manager of the Month? Make your nomination and tell us why by tweet @BTSportBars using the hashtag #BTMOTM