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Leagues: EPL

Beer And English Football: A Match Made In Heaven


Saturday’s match between Arsenal and Newcastle featured a glimpse of something you rarely see on television — someone drinking a pint of beer.

It’s ridiculous, really. Millions of football fans around the world drink beer either at home, the pub or from the refreshment kiosks when watching football, but it’s against the law in England to drink beer within view of the pitch. Meanwhile sponsors names such as Budweiser, Chang Beer and Carlsberg are so pervasive throughout the Premier League.

Beer and football go together like bees and honey. It’s hard not to imagine one without the other.

Breweries have had a long history of supporting English football, and English football fans have always returned the compliment. Here’s some interesting trivia of the close relationship between beer and football:

  • In the 2006 World Cup, organizers in Nuremberg revealed that the 70,000 England fans who flooded the city drank 1.2 million pints of beer – an average of 17 pints each.
  • That same year, Newcastle Brown Ale produced limited editions of its bottles crowned with the face of Newcastle legend Alan Shearer.
  • Breweries financed the football boom in the 1890s and early 1900s. Clubs such as Aston Villa, Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion all received financial backing from local breweries.
  • When Newton Heath, the predecessor to Manchester United, experienced financial trouble, it was Manchester Breweries who saved the team, changed their colors to red and white and formed Manchester United.
  • Anfield was a patch of land owned by brewers John and James Orrell, which was bought by fellow brewer John Houlding. The ground staged it first ever football match on September 27, 1884.
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  1. The Gaffer

    September 4, 2008 at 9:37 am

    The one thing I would say about alcohol is that it shouldn’t be blamed for hooliganism. You had all of that beer consumed during WC 2006 and there were few problems from the England fans.

    To me, hooliganism is often premeditated and more political than a result of drunken fans.

    The Gaffer

  2. Michael

    September 2, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    That’s exactly what I mean. I don’t think alcohol should be embraced as much as it is at sporting events there, and I’m glad to see the NFL taking positive steps to change the culture at stadiums here.

    Of course I don’t want to go back, but I don’t think the relationship between alcohol and soccer is a good one, period.

  3. Burt Reynolds

    September 2, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Now that you mention sponsors… Newcastle’s will be Carling next year…

  4. Tim

    September 2, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    You want to go back to how it was in the 70’s and 80’s? As. drinking was a major of cause of the troubles back then.

  5. Michael

    September 2, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    The lives lost and violence caused as a direct result of this mass use of alcohol far outweighs any of the positives that have come from it. It isn’t even close, and it’s a shame that this much drinking is still such a huge part of British culture.

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