Red or blue, he’ll fly the flag for you

Simon Delaney of Manchester’s Firbank Pub is the BT Sport Manager of the Month for October

With City and United both flying high in the Premier League and comfortably progressing in Europe, it’s apt that our October #BTMOTM comes from that part of the world.

Simon Delaney, who has been the man in charge at community local The Firbank in Wythenshawe for 22 years, recently visited Manchester United’s training ground with BT Sport to receive his trophy from another manager at the top of their game – United boss Jose Mourinho.

United fan Simon said: “It was amazing to meet Jose Mourinho. It was a bit surreal but was incredibly warm and friendly and he gave me a big hug and a high five.

“Winning awards is great, but this was the icing on the cake.”

And while Simon is a United season-ticket holder, what made the #BTMOTM judges think he is the special one, is his ability to keep fans of United, City, and any other club you care to mention, happy.

He explains: “The Man United fan in me says this should be a Man Utd pub, that’s what normally happens with landlords and I get some flak for flying the red and blue flags. But we fly flags for both and if Man City get to a final we decorate the pub for them. That’s the landlord in me because it makes massive sense business wise.”

He manages the potentially tense atmosphere by appealing to all and ensuring any rivalry in the pub is strictly good natured.

“We want people in with children and the job does itself then. It creates that family atmosphere and we pride ourselves on that. It gets what we call ‘family rowdy’ but it is all friendly banter,” he adds.

He has steadily built up a reputation over his two decades at the pub, winning a host of local and national awards. Simon is also not shy of letting people know what the pub is doing with his prolific use of social media.

“It’s an important tool for us and we will use it to promote winning this – the whole world will know.

“It’s great winning awards because it puts you out there and shows you what we do. It shows our industry how it pays off to work hard and our customers love it that their pub wins awards.”

For now, Simon will be partying like it’s 1999, which for obvious reasons, was one the most memorable years for the pub.

“It was a great time with the treble,” he says, “and It’s great for Manchester now that both clubs are up there at the moment – although I’d like it the other way around obviously.

“I can see both teams progressing well in the Champions League and that is massive for us. Seeing them exit early is very frustrating from a business point of view.”

As well as winning the trophy and the title, the Firbank has also received a brand new 4K TV to make match days even more special.

And while Simon came out on top in October the judges were impressed with the high quality of nominated businesses from all over the country.

To name but a few we were wowed with the new business being built at The Sup & Chow in Cheltenham, the various innovations at The Fox & Hounds in Putney, London, and the community-based offer at Game On Sports Lounge in Totton, Southampton. Many others also look like potential winners.

These are all pubs that we intend to have a closer look at in the coming months to consider for future awards.

If you haven’t won this time, don’t despair, there’s plenty of action left in this season.

So, have you got what it takes? Or do you know somebody else who deserves to be celebrated?

Tell us who you think should be next in line for a #BTMOTM award and why they should win. Each winner will receive a 4K TV for their venue and the chance to meet a sporting celebrity.

 Just tweet us @BTSportsBars using #BTMOTM

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