'The whole of Harborough is going to go completely nuts!' How England's Euro progression is bringing a feel-good factor back to our pubs
The town is now getting ready for the semi-final on Wednesday night
England's progression in the Euros are bringing a feel-good factor to the Harborough pubs during a tough time for the hospitality industry.
Harborough MP Neil O’Brien spoke as fans packed into pubs in Market Harborough as well as across the district to cheer skipper Harry Kane and the side to our biggest tournament knockout win for 55 years.
Click here to see our photos from the Harborough pubs.
“It’s just fantastic that we overcame Ukraine so powerfully to go into the semis," Neil told the Harborough Mail.
“The whole of Harborough is going to go completely nuts!
“It’s so good that we’ve all got this joyful news to celebrate after 18 months of misery during the Covid pandemic.
“Let’s just hope that England can now go on to win the European Championships - and finally bring football home again.
“I tuned in with millions of others on Saturday night to get behind our lads.
“I was so impressed by how professional we were.
“We hit four great goals, we rarely looked like conceding and we were in almost total control.
“Denmark will be much tougher.
“But I really do think we can see them off and conquer either Italy or Spain in the final on Sunday,” insisted Neil.
“It’s starting to look better on the Covid front too.
“Cases are still going up at the moment but deaths and the number of hospital admissions are coming down.
“So it’s all systems go for finally returning to normal on Monday July 19 – and the sun has come out too.
“And if we can do that the week after winning the Euros then so much the better!”
Elated Cllr Phil King, who leads Harborough council, said: “I cheered us on to a magnificent victory over the Ukraine and I’m thrilled.
“England really have given us all the fabulous feelgood factor back.
“It was great to get the better of Germany last week.
“But that would have counted for nothing if we hadn’t gone on to blow away Ukraine in Rome.
“We just have to make sure now that we continue to show self-belief and determination – because there’s no doubt we’ve got the skill,” said Phil, who grew up on Teesside as a Middlesbrough fan.
“Ukraine were no pushover – and the way we took them on head on from the first minute was very impressive.
“Denmark will be another level up.
“But I totally believe we can come out on top and charge into the final.”
The Conservative council chief said England’s phenomenal run in the Euros is giving Harborough’s local economy a sizzling shot in the arm.
“It’s going to be brilliant for our pubs, restaurants, shops and hospitality right across the board.
“Our top-notch local businesses have had such a difficult time over the last 16 months or so during all the lockdowns.
“So it’s so positive that they will also benefit so much and see much more custom over the next few days,” said Phil.
“I’d just call on people going out to watch us play the Danes and to celebrate this massive sporting occasion to behave themselves.
“Have a beer or two by all means and enjoy yourselves.
“But do so responsibly – we don’t want to see any trouble afterwards to spoil the joy and the drama.”
Cllr Phil Knowles, who leads the Liberal Democrats on Harborough council, told the Mail: “I watched us thrash Ukraine and loved every minute.
“Our manager Gareth Southgate is doing a first-class job using our entire squad and setting us up so well right throughout the whole competition.
“It’s brilliant to see Harry Kane back on the goal trail.
“He struck inside four minutes and that immediately fired up our confidence and put the Ukrainians on to the back foot.
“Harry Maguire’s monster header just after half-time sealed it,” said Phil, a lifelong Wolves fan.
“England have put a great big smile on the face of our whole community after such a difficult time over the last 16 months throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“But we can’t get over-excited.
“We all want to see more smiles and dancing about in the street – and no more tears as we’ve had in the past.
“Football is an incredible sport,” said Phil.
“And we’ve got to stay fully focused if we want to finally bring football back home again after so many years of hurt.
“I’m delighted that our excellent local economy will enjoy a mini-boom as people go back out into the pubs and hospitality venues to cheer on England as well as snapping up Three Lions flags and merchandise.
“A lot of our first-class businesses have been taken to the brink by the Covid lockdowns.
“So it’s such a relief and so great that they are now riding the crest of a wave throughout this astonishing tournament,” said Phil.
“I’ve been getting texts from my business colleagues in Germany, Sweden and Italy saluting our amazing wins.
“The Euros have helped to generate so much excitement and bring so many people together right across Europe, never mind Harborough.
“Let’s just hope we’ll be talking again later this week as we celebrate and look forward to us playing in the final at Wembley on Sunday!”