Hear from the four finalists looking to make history at the home of football - Wembley stadium
The 11-a-side finals will take place at Wembley this Sunday August 8 where two teams will be crowned Pub Cup Champions.
Women's Final - Golden Hind vs Shifnal Town Sports Bar
Mens Final - The Victoria vs The New Line
Hear below what our finalists have to say following their successes at Bisham Abbey and Manchester City.
Meet the Finalists: The Golden Hind, Birmingham
It was a case of so near yet so far for Birmingham’s The Golden Hind in the first ever women’s Pub Cup final back in 2019.
They entered the St James’ Park showpiece as favourites but went down 5-4 to local rivals Shifnal.
Today the team will be hoping to go one better and lift the Pub Cup under the famous arch at Wembley.
It will be all the sweeter for striker Saddiqa Shan who missed out on playing in Newcastle due to injury.
She said: “I was devastated last time round as it was painful to watch from the side. It didn’t turn out the way we wanted it too, so this year I was eager to be involved.
“We are not going to waste our second chance. Everyone dreams of playing at Wembley so for that to happen we can’t really believe it.”
Manager Jamie Carter is also in dreamland. He said: “It’s an amazing experience to get to manage here especially so soon after the Euros in the summer. It will be incredible for everyone involved and we are grateful for the opportunity.”
Meet the Landlord: Tony O’Kereke
Tony has been in charge of Marston’s managed house The Golden Hind for 11 years.
Like many others, the community local has endured a torrid time due to the pandemic but customers are now starting to return to the pub.
This is helped in no small way by the pub’s link with grassroots sport.
“We have lots of local football clubs who use the pub and support us. We are very proud of the ladies. They were unlucky in the Pub Cup final in Newcastle two years ago and we hope they can go one better this time. It’s a fantastic experience and we look forward to welcoming them back to the pub afterwards.
Meet the finalist: Shifnal Town Sports Bar, Shropshire
They’ve already won it once and now Shifnal Town Sports Bar have a chance to defend their title.
In fact they were so proud of their 2019 victory that they customised the BT kit they wore in the semi-finals with a star representing their triumph.
The Shropshire team has gone from strength to strength and now has a second ladies team at the club as well as several at youth level.
Getting to Wembley will provide further inspiration and team captain Maria Bell can’t wait to get there.
She said: “The whole experience has been mint and getting to Wembley is amazing. It’s incredible to think I’ll get to a lead a team out there.”
Teammate Rebecca Bown scored the goal that took Shifnal to Wembley.
She said: “It just feels so good to help my team to get to the final. Now we need to make sure we win it and bring it home!”
Meet the landlord: Mike Trantor
Mike is a local entrepreneur who has changed the fortunes at Shifnal Town after taking over as managing director.
One of his many roles is overseeing the club’s Sports Bar, which is based in the town, just a mile from Shifnal’s home ground.
It was given a £100,000 investment a couple of years ago and has now reopened following the pandemic.
“We are investing in the ground which includes a new bar but we want to keep the sports bar going. We have had lots of new members join but it is also open to the public. It has been going really well and on top of the live sport we are doing live music too.
Meet the finalists: The New Line, Bradford
It was just over a year ago when a bunch of lads approached landlord Paul Taylor saying they wanted to represent his pub.
It went well on the pitch and The New Line were top of the league before covid curtailed their season.
However, things are looking up with a place at Wembley secured for the Bradford bunch.
Manager Ryan ‘Baz’ Doherty, who runs the team with defender Danny Rosconie explains: “We are just a group of mates who want to play football together on a Sunday morning, so we set it up. We only went to Man City for a day out – we never thought we would win it.
“Going to Wembley for us is unbelievable, it will be a better surface than the local park we are used to, that’s for sure!”
Danny adds that the relationship with the pub works both ways. “They support us and we support them by going in after games and putting money behind the bar. We had our presentation there. They are very accommodating.”
Meet the landlord: Paul Taylor
A builder by trade, Paul converted what was an 18th century property into Bradford’s newest micropub in 2018.
The freehouse features cask beers, continental lagers and a broad selection of gin. It also shows BT Sport, which packs the pub out on football nights.
We are a small pub and when the team come in with their partners we fill up really quickly. They are a great bunch of lads and we were really excited to link up with them with the new team. They are a lively bunch but they can really play football and they have done so well to get to Wembley. It’s an amazing achievement.
Meet the finalists: The Victoria, Brighton
Somewhat incredibly, The Pub Cup Final at Wembley will only be the second time that the Victoria team have ever played together.
The first was in our Southern semi-finals at Bisham Abbey, which turned out well for the boys from Brighton, winning 1-0 in the final on the day.
Captain Owen Scerri explains: “We are just a group of lads from down the local pub who know each other from school and college.
“It’s a great little local with a pool table and it always has the sports on.
“We can’t wait to get out there at Wembley It’s what dreams are made of and – I’m booking August 9 off work for sure!”
Their victory at Bisham Abbey was achieved with an evident team spirit and no lack of skill and tactical knowhow.
Goalkeeper Gregor Shaw added: “A lot of us are Brighton fans and know each other from going to games and going to the pub, it has brought us all together.
“We are buzzing to be at Wembley and we can’t wait to get on the pitch.”
Meet the Licensee: Zena Ives
Zena has been running the wet-led Star Pubs & Bars Victoria pub in the Portslade area of Brighton for 10 years.
Live sport is an essential part of the offer at the pub.
“We show all sport but football is the main one she says, but they’ll watch everything else until the football comes on.”
The lads are regular visitors to the pub and Zena says she could not be prouder of their achievements.
“They are a great bunch of lads and are the kind of people you want coming to your pub. Owen said he had a feeling they would do well but I’m not sure anyone was expecting this. It has given everyone here a huge lift and everyone is getting behind them.