Anniversary Ozzy ‘spot on’ for England’s penalty shoot-out!

Broad Street’s pubs and bars enjoyed what many said was their busiest Saturday night of the year as England defeated Switzerland on penalties in their quarter-final Uefa Euro 2024 tie.

And for Blues fan and grandad Kevin French, celebrating his 64th birthday weekend with family members of all ages from Redditch and Nuneaton, the upstairs bar at the Tap & Spile on Gas Street was a brilliant place to be.

The family members had stumbled across the room at 2.30pm and made it their own dining area for an evening which ended on a high with everyone punching the air and singing Neil Diamond’s latterday England anthem, Sweet Caroline, as you can see in our special video here.

The pub’s walls are decorated with the names of the giants of rock, from Led Zeppelin to ELO, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. Their legendary frontman Ozzy Osbourne is illustrated next to the main TV set holding up all five digits of his left hand – luckily that’s one for each penalty that England scored in the shoot-out.

06 07 24 WESTSIDE – EUROS – SWITZERLAND – Broad Street – Gas Street Basin – Narrowboat – Tap & Spile

The game kicked off at 5pm, guaranteeing full houses in many venues and putting punters in good spirits for seeing out the rest of the night in town.

The Walkabout was full to its 880 capacity and Heidi’s acres-ski bar had 1,100 in.

Snobs, Box and The Brasshouse were also rocking but the Tap & Spile pub had a special atmosphere all of its own given that it’s a Grade II listed building on Gas Street dating back more than 200 years – long before football had even been invented.

The Tap & Spile was so busy that anyone upstairs who had not ordered food before kick-off would have to wait until the end of the game to eat – when I had a plate of chips coated in tomato sauce like the flag of St George as I relaxed on an outdoor table overlooking a stunning twilight evening in Gas Street Basin.

06 07 24 WESTSIDE – EUROS – SWITZERLAND – Broad Street – Gas Street Basin – Narrowboat – Tap & Spile

Despite former Villa star turned England manager Gareth Southgate, freshening up his 100th team selection with substitutes including Ivan Toney for captain Harry Kane, the game finished 1-1 after extra time which meant penalties.

Kevin hoped that former Blues player turned Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham would score his spot kick.

“I saw him play quite a few times for Blues,” said Kevin. “He was a very good young player but I have to admit I didn’t see him as a world beater.”

England scored all five penalties with Ozzy Osbourne’s image next to the main TV screen looking as if he knew all along that England would not miss a single chance.

Especially as, incredibly, the date of the game was the 17th anniversary of the very special event on 6 July, 2007 when Ozzy drew a crowd of thousands before receiving the first Broad Street Walk of Stars award on a specially-constructed Centenary Square stage.

Kevin added: “I’ve had a great birthday weekend. This room has been brilliant and nothing beats being with your family. I am so pleased we all came here – the England win is the icing on the cake!”

REMAINING EURO 2024 GAMES

The first semi-final will be France v Spain, kicking off at 8pm on Tuesday 9, followed by England v Netherlands at 8pm on Wednesday 10.

The final will kick off at 8pm on Sunday, 14 July. Advance bookings online are advised at all major venues including The Distillery, on Sheepcote Street, which also has a large outdoor screen.

One Broad Street manager on Saturday told Westside BID: “It’s difficult to say at this stage if we’ll be just as busy for Wednesday night’s England semi-final, given that it’s a weeknight with many working the following day after what could be more extra time and penalties.

“But if England make the final and win, I think the Monday will be like a national holiday!”

Pictures and video for Westside BID by Graham Young

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