Can it really be 20 years since England last threatened to win a major tournament? Back then we were on home soil and had Scotland for company in the group.

This year the action takes place just a little further afield in France, and England are joined by another home nation in Wales.

So will the similarities continue with a promising England team making a major impact on the tournament? Could they even end the 50 years of hurt (yes, 50) or will Wales or Northern Ireland steal their thunder?

Whatever happens, Euro 2016 is set to be a major occasion for UK pubs with fans desperate to watch the action with friends and then celebrate or drown their sorrows. Here's our 1 to 11 guide to success at the Euros...

 

1. Turn the TV on and shout about it

TV coverage is split between BBC and ITV, but just pressing the on button and waiting isn't enough. According to Sarah Allaway, category development manager for Carlsberg UK, sponsor of both the Euros and the England football team, pubs need to do more to tell customers what they are up to.

She tells Inapub: "It's amazing how many customers don't know what's going on. The most important thing you can do is tell them. If it's posters or your Facebook page, tell them what's on and what they can get in the pub."

To help, Carlsberg is distributing 10,000 point-of-sale kits to pubs. It is also relaunching its Premier Sports Club as a digital support tool. Fifty pubs will be rebranded by the brewer as The Three Lions for the tournament, or at least as long as England stay in it.

 

2. Don't bank on England

Carlsberg predicts the tournament could be worth £60m to the on-trade but it could be even more if one of the home nations goes all the way. Judging by the last football World Cup you shouldn't bet your pub on that. In fact one company – Siepe Sports – is even offering insurance against England failing to get out of the group.

This is the biggest Euros ever with 24 teams and with the action close to home pubs have a great chance of celebrating the entire tournament.

Sarah adds: "There's a feeling of optimism and perhaps more so because the focus isn't just on England. There's more chance to get behind the competition. We are expecting more people to be getting out and into pubs than ever before."

 

3. Promote the smaller matches

It shouldn't be hard to work up enthusiasm for England, Wales and Northern Ireland games but what about the rest? Fans do want to watch the other games but you may need to tempt them out with promotions or themed menus. Albania v Romania, for example, may require some creative thinking.

 

4. Work out the staff formation

One thing football fans do not like doing is waiting four deep at a bar, missing the action while a junior member of staff struggles to find the "lager" button on the till. You need to beef up your squad and put your star players in the thick of the action for the big games. Pre-poured drinks, bottle buckets and table service are all options you could consider for the tournament.

 

5. Build an atmosphere

If you can't be at the game, the next best thing is being in a pub, says received wisdom. A screen and a four-pack at home are the enemy. Sarah says: "In the last few years people have invested in their homes so they have big screens but they don't have as many people and they can't generate the same atmosphere. Build around that and really celebrate it." Also use this as part of your social media marketing strategy.

 

6. Play your food up front

Of course football fans are going to want to drink but these days they eat as well. We know, the world's gone mad. But they are unlikely to want to sit down for a three-course meal, so quick and easy snacks may be the order of the day. Ayman Nasreldin, director of out-of- home at Walker's crisps owner PepsiCo, adds: "Special offers such as multi-buys on game nights can encourage additional purchases."

 

7. Make yourself heard

Fans want to hear what is going on. If a goal is disallowed they need to hear the commentator's explanation why. So set the volume accordingly. If you have separate areas for football, consider zoning the sound.

 

8. Exploit your space

The best sports bars have multiple screens so people can see the game from everywhere. If you can invest in more screens, think carefully about where you locate them. Some pubs have even installed screens in smoking areas and toilets.

 

9. Pick your target

Football fans are not all the same. Carlsberg has identified four types who will all want to watch the action: fanatics, fans, flirts and followers. The first two want to watch every kick, spit and act of simulation. Flirts and followers want the game on but are more likely to be distracted by food or conversation. Each group is after a different experience so consider which ones you want on your pub.

 

10. Keep them in

Die-hard fans will focus on the 90 minutes of action so you need a plan to get them in early and keep them afterwards. The Euros will bring lots of people out so there are also opportunities to get people after games with an alternative offer. Or perhaps your pub could be a haven from the football?

Sarah adds: "It's very difficult to please people who don't want to be around the match, so know if it is right for your

 

11. Use the sweeper system

Once the action is over the clean-up operation has to start. The mood of the night will change when the game ends and a sparkling pub will attract more in from outside.

 

My Euros: Steve Banks, The Chase

 

The Marston's pub in Rugeley, Staffordshire, had an early Euro treat when Carlsberg delivered the actual trophy to the pub for a few hours.

Manager Steve Banks said: "It was incredible to have that here, you don't get things like that in Rugeley very often. We had loads of people coming in to have their photos taken with it."

And more people will visit for the tournament in June, which Steve says is a key opportunity for the sports-mad pub. "We run three football teams, four rugby teams, darts and bowls teams.

We are open to all sport and the Euros will be good for business. We have lots of Welsh and Irish customers so it will appeal to lots of people. I'll be watching Wales and the Irelands as well, it should be a great tournament."

He adds that the pub will be decked out with the flags of the home nations and staff will dress up. "We also build up to games in the hours before by playing songs such as Jerusalem and then the National Anthem just before kick-off."

 

 

Key Fixtures

Friday June 10, France v Romania, 8pm

Saturday June 11, Wales v Slovakia, 5pm

Saturday June 11, England v Russia 8pm

Sunday June 12, Northen Ireland v Poland, 5pm

Thursday June 16, England v Wales, 2pm

Thursday June 16, Northern Ireland v Ukraine, 5pm

Monday June 20, Russia v Wales, 8pm

Monday June 20, England v Slovakia, 8pm

Tuesday June 21, Northern Ireland v Germany, 5pm

Saturday June 25 - Monday June 27 - Round of 16

Thursday June 30 - Sunday July 3 - Quarter Finals

Wednesday July 6, Semi Final 1, 8pm

Thursday July 7, Semi Final 2, 8pm

Saturday July 10, Final, 8pm