'Make it a double' - Hartlepool bars prepared for back-to-back Pools and England football games
Hartlepool is preparing for a super summer Sunday as bars across town screen two vital football matches back to back.
First up on BT Sport is Hartlepool United’s National League play-off semi-final at Stockport County at noon.
Following straight up on BBC1 at 2pm – and there could even be a cross over if the Pools game stretches agonisingly into extra-time – is England’s opening match in the delayed Euro 2020 tournament against Croatia.
With ongoing coronavirus restrictions reducing seating capacities, many bars across town are already fully booked.
Drinkers without reservations are urged to contact venues in advance to check table availability.
Down at Navigation Point, at the Marina, Leeroy Newsome, the general manager of Vibes sports bar, is bracing himself for a busy Sunday.
He urged football fans: "If you want to get in, get in early.
"I can't wait. I love Pools and I love England. I love my football.
"I'm really excited myself, even though I'm working.
"We always have a good atmosphere in here, nice and friendly, good banter and stuff.
"We've been inundated with calls and inquiries about it so we are expecting to be full very early. "
While the football fiesta and summer weather –temperatures are expected to reach up to 24 degrees Celsius in Hartlepool on Sunday – may tempt fans to indulge in alcohol on Sunday afternoon, road safety experts have urged people to also plan their journeys to and from pubs or other match gatherings in advance.
Official figures show a rise in the number of drink and drug related driving injuries during the last Euros tournament in 2016.
Peter Slater, from campaign group Road Safety GB NE, said: “We know people are looking forward to the Euros and have lots of plans to meet up with friends and family to watch the games.
“We don’t want to spoil the fun, but we’re asking people to be sensible.
"If you know you’re going to be drinking, plan your transport home beforehand, or be the designated driver. Ask yourself, could you live with it if you hurt or killed someone?
*A list of town bars showing both games appears on our www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk website.