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How we won the Pub Cup: CJ’s story

Nuneaton pub shares memories of its success as it sets out on the road to Wembley

The legacy of CJ’s 2019 Pub Cup victory still burns brightly at the Nuneaton venue.

Trophies from their tournament victories on the way to the final are proudly displayed along with laminated newspaper articles about the team’s triumph and a shirt signed by every squad member.

The souvenir from the final hangs alongside Liverpool shirts from their most recent Champions League wins in 2019 and 2005 and another signed by Ronaldo.

This is a venue with football at the very heart of it and they are looking forward to competing in the Pub Cup again – which this year offers the tantalising prospect of playing the final at Wembley.

Looking back, landlord Shane Coates-Jarman can’t conceal his pride when he recalls how his team won 4-3 in the pouring rain at St James’ Park, Newcastle.

Shane watches on with Robbie Savage and his team
Shane watches on with Robbie Savage and his team

"It was an horrendous night but the lads loved it. It all started with the regional tournament at Leicester, which the lads won. Then they went up to Man City for the semi-finals and that was great. The facilities were amazing but the games were hard, there were some good teams there. We got a goal at the end and it got us through".

The final at Newcastle was incredible. They loved getting the coach to the ground, being in the changing rooms and having Robbie Savage as the manager.

It was a topsy turvy battle against Scottish side The Inn at Elderslie, which ultimately ended with CJ’s becoming the third Pub Cup champions. It created memories to last a lifetime from both on the pitch and then back at the pub.

The lads have all played a lot of football but this is the biggest thing they have ever done. They absolutely loved it.

Despite the challenges the pandemic has presented, the team and the pub have remained close and they will be ready for this year’s tournament. They’re all a little bit older but they can’t wait to get back out there. We’ll give it a good crack. The chance to play at Wembley is incredible and something that some pros don’t even get to do, adds Shane.

He, like all hospitality businesses, has had to contend with the toughest of times in the trade.

He used lockdowns to renovate the outside area at CJs and launch a hugely successful takeaway business, which is now bringing more people physically to the venue.

"I’ve revamped the whole pub and changed the garden. We’ve made it into a hybrid with the deliveries and the restaurant. We’ve created more income streams and loads of new people wanting to come in".

Shane with the winning trophy at CJ’s
Shane with the winning trophy at CJ’s

Sport remains central to the offer though, as the memorabilia on display and the giant TV screen – brought with the winning Pub Cup prize ­– testify to.

Now CJ’s will be looking to bring the Pub Cup trophy back to the pub ­– can anyone stop them?

  • If you fancy taking on CJ’s and creating your own football memories to last a lifetime enter here now. 
  • The tournament will be a seven-a-side format with semi-finals taking place at Bisham Abbey and Manchester City training ground before the finals take place at Wembley stadium.
  • It is open to men’s and women’s football teams representing BT Sport pubs.

For more information on the tournament format click here

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