Not that we are one’s to name-drop… but we were out in Madrid recently and who did we bump into? None other than Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale! I know, what are the chances?
Actually, the chances are pretty good, what with him being a BT Sport ambassador and us paying a pre-arranged visit to the Bernabeu.
So, you might ask, what did we talk about? Football? His recovery from injury? What that Ronaldo is really like?
Nope, not us.
We wanted to know all about his sports bar in Cardiff. Which got us thinking, who else from the world of sport has had a go at running a food and drink business.
- Gareth Bale, Elevens
Cardiff’s premier brewer Brain’s and the nation’s greatest footballer joined forces to open this impressive city centre sports bar earlier this year. Packed with big screens, tasty morsels, enough sporting memorabilia to get OJ excited and a range of brews that includes ‘Bale Ale’, it’s got everything the sports fan needs. So, what did Gareth reveal to us? Well, he’s looking at new ways of driving trade on days that don’t have major sports fixtures, he says his parents are regulars at the bar and that he spent his last visit there chasing his kids like defenders normally chase him. He also said that once the first bar is fully established he may look to open another. You heard it here first.
- Stuart Broad, The Thee Crowns
This Leicestershire local has not one but two seam bowlers working in tandem. England ace Stuart Broad and Notts teammate Harry Gurney joined forces with award-winning landlord Dan Cramp to open The Three Crowns just over a year ago. While Broad is currently focused on skittling Aussie wickets he has said that he is keen to expand his pub portfolio in the future.
- Ugo Monye, The Shack 68
Combine an England and Lions star with a pub in the heart of Twickenham and surely you’re onto a winner with the rugby crowd? Ugo Monye also had the good sense to go into business with a man with plenty of hospitality experience, Adam Saword, who helped build the Grand Union brand.
- Alan Brazil, The Black Adder
After a playing career that saw the Scottish Pele star for Man Utd, Spurs and the then mighty Ipswich Town, Brazil tried his luck as a pub landlord. By his own admission, things didn’t really work out, but the pub trade’s loss is broadcasting’s gain. He also launched his own brand of nuts a few years back (Brazil’s Nuts, obviously) with profits going to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
- Jamie Carragher, Carra’s Bar
The hometown boy who won the Champions League also had a go at hospitality, but his venues closed a few years back. However, visitors to New York may be familiar with Carragher’s Pub & Restaurant. It was founded by a Liverpool fan as a successful tribute to the Anfield club and one of its favourite sons.
- Class of ’92, Café Football
Is there nothing the Class of ’92 can’t do? The Neville brothers, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Ryan Giggs sold a 75 per cent stake in their Hotel Football and Café Football business to a Singapore consortium for £30m a couple of years back. That’s almost enough to buy their very own Victor Lindelöf.
- Lawrence Dallaglio, Havelock Tavern
He won the World Cup, two European Cups, five Premiership titles and was widely regarded as one of the best back-rows in the game. He was also a successful landlord before selling-up to become one of the most respected rugby pundits in the business.
- Rio Ferdinand, Rosso’s
He was as smooth as silk as a defender, is a classy and erudite pundit, so naturally Rio owns one of Manchester’s premier restaurants. Rosso’s is located in an old bank and now brings in cash from diners from across the North West.
- Mike Teague, Teague’s Bar
Iron Mike went into the pub trade after quitting the game he had achieved such success in, notably winning the Grand Slam and being named player of the series on the 1989 Lions tour. His rugby career is celebrated in the oval-ball mad town of Gloucester.