We teamed up with the Premier League and Hospitality Ulster to take the trophy to some of Northern Ireland’s finest
It will soon be held aloft by the newly crowned champions of England, but ahead of that special day, the Premier League trophy took a little trip to Northern Ireland
BT Sport joined forces with Hospitality Ulster and the Premier League to give pubs the chance to drive trade by inviting customers to have their photo taken with it.
Here’s what happened…
Stop 1: Railway Arms, Coleraine
It’s an early start as we head north, straight from the airport to Coleraine. We’ve been told that we are likely to meet more Liverpool and Manchester United fans than any others on this trip, so it’s something of a surprise when the first shirt we see is one for Norwich City!
But soon enough, family run pub The Railway Arms, which has been a base for Liverpool supporters, proves the original point as fans in red shirts pour through the doors to meet the trophy.
Licensee Clare Johnston said: “It’s been unbelievable, we never thought we would have this in our pub. The customers are delighted but they’d rather see different colours on the trophy.”
Stop 2: The Grouse, Ballymena
It’s a lunchtime visit to mega-venue The Grouse. The freehouse has been extended over the years to transform what was a saloon style bar to incorporate a restaurant, sports bar and nightclub – and all designed exquisitely with exposed brickwork and Chesterfields.
As we approach the end of the school day we are joined by dozens of children who can barely believe that the Premier League trophy has made it to Ballymena.
“That’s not the actual one though, is it?”
Sure is folks.
Stop 3: Inver Park, Larne FC
It might not be a trophy the NIFL Premiership side can compete for, but that didn’t stop fans coming in to see it.
Players from the clubs successful youth set-up swung by to have their photo taken before or after training, hopefully being inspired by its presence.
Of course, plenty of adults took their chance too.
Danny Leitch, Larne FC bar manager, said: “We won the (County Antrim) shield two years in a row but this is the biggest trophy we have had here. It’s been great for everyone to have this here; my phone has been going off non-stop.”
Stop 4: Alexander’s, Lisburn
The live music and sport venue has been in the family since 1927.
Gary Alexander, picture below with grandchild and possible future licensee, said: “We’ve been here a long time but we’ve never had the Premier League trophy before. It’s brilliant though I think some people thought it was a joke when I told them. This is a big football pub so it is great to have it here.”
Stop 5: McKeever & Sons, Portadown
Another gem with that familiar Tardis feel you can get in Northern Ireland pub. Get beyond the bar (not that you necessarily need to) and you’ll find a dining area and a rooftop terrace. Plenty of people certainly found us, as they came in big numbers to meet the trophy.
Charlie McKeever, pictured with wife Bernie, said: “We attracted lots of people with Facebook and word of mouth and by contacting friends in the trade. There have been people we haven’t seen before and we hope to see them again.”
Stop 6: Keegan’s, Armagh
We took two trophies to Keegan’s, as we also presented licensee Laura with our BT Sport Manager of the Month award. You can read more about that here.
It turns out that the EPL trophy was a fairly big draw too.
Stop 7: Ryan’s, Belfast
Our final stop was in the capital itself. Professionals to the end, the BT Sport team visited Ryan’s the night before our visit for Champions League football and to sample their Guinness and famous chicken wings.
Suffice to say, the trophy was in a better condition than we were the following day.
Many more fans visited before we, and the trophy, headed back across the water.
Premier League Trophy Pub Quiz (Answers below. But no cheating..)
Need a round for your pub quiz? Put some of our Premier League trophy knowledge to the test.
- How many teams have their name on the Premier League trophy?
- Which club is the most recently added to trophy?
- Manchester United are on the trophy more than any other team – but how many times do they appear?
- How much, to the nearest KG does the trophy weigh?
- The trophy is made from solid sterling silver and which semi-precious green stone, representing the field of play?
- Seven (Manchester United, Blackburn, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Leicester, Liverpool)
- Liverpool (2019/20)