The Picture House says it is taking steps to increase the security for future England matches after a fan complained about her experience in the Leighton Buzzard pub.
In the wake of the LBO’s story about smoke bombs that were twice let off in the Lake Street venue during the Colombia game on Tuesday, Debi Wilson, of Leighton Buzzard, has come forward to vent her anger at the unpleasant experience she had during the game against Panama on June 24.
Debi had gone online and reserved seats in a tabled area in the pub to watch the World Cup game with two of her friends.
She told the LBO that during the celebrations her and her friends were covered in beer, witnessed a fight, as well as drinks and chairs being thrown around the pub.
She said: “We had a reserved area which was destroyed by rowdy men, one of the groups looked in their 20s and the other in their teens, some of them looked under 18.
“A young girl was even hit on the head with a flying chair whilst these so-called fans celebrated. Me and my friends were covered in alcohol with no help from bar staff or security. My England shirt still has stains on.
“The bar staff did nothing. The door security have no care for innocent people who want to watch a game of football.
“I told the manager I will never return to the pub, they have lost loyal, paying customers. It was two main groups of men that ruined it for everyone.”
On Tuesday night, during the win against Colombia two smoke bombs were set off in the pub, the first during the game, and the second after England scored the winning penalty.
After the second one went off the pub had to close to carry out safety checks and fans had to leave.
Debi has called for the pub to take action so customers can enjoy the game without chairs or drinks being thrown or smoke bombs going off.
She said: “I think they should make it over 21s for Saturday’s game. The group that caused all that trouble looked far too young, they even had a fight on their way out. They need more door men on the door and maybe a police presence.”
The Picture House has told the LBO it will be increasing security for Saturday’s quarter-final against Sweden.
A spokesperson for the pub said: “During the England versus Panama game, a small group of customers decided to celebrate England’s 6-1 win by throwing beers in the air and passing a chair around the pub.
“The comfort and safety of all our customers is of paramount importance and whilst we understand the fans’ excitement and desire to celebrate, we do not condone behaviour that impacts on other customers.
“We have therefore taken steps to increase the security for future England matches and will be increasing age verification and ID checks as well as carrying out random searches to ensure all customers remain safe and have an enjoyable time.”
It was the first time Debi had watched an England game at The Picture House and she says she will not be returning on Saturday.
She said: “I will be going to a more civilised pub in Leighton Buzzard. I left the Picture House and spoke to some people and they had been to the other pubs on the High Street and had no trouble at all.
“I understand it was an England game and I’ve seen some celebration videos online which are brilliant but these are in large open spaces not a small pub with furniture and low ceilings.
“The beer thrown was hitting the ceilings, as well as the cups it was in, and hitting people. The pub was not suitable for this behaviour and should have been dealt with.”
What’s your experience of watching England in Leighton Buzzard town centre been like? Email firstname.lastname@example.org