We should seriously think about a big screen for future tournaments

Why not try a giant open air screen for a future tournament, asks Alex Claridge

It may have surfaced too late in the day for this year’s tournament, but a giant screen in Canterbury for a future Euro Champs or World Cup is an excellent idea.

And the Dane John or the Victoria Rec – the locations mooted this year – would seem ideal venues, particularly the former.

One of the reasons I say this is that I, and a lot of other people of my age, have stopped watching England games in city pubs.

At nearing 44, I no longer want to stand in a sweaty baying throng, or have to push my past people just to get to a bar and then face the torment of trying to buy drink from overworked and stressed staff.

The less said about queuing to get into the toilet only to find it soaked in urine and devoid of bog roll.

An open air screen in Britsol at a previous football tournament

So instead I watched the England games alone with a tin of beer, the odd shriek of delight emanating from my flat in the Tannery.

I would have jumped at the chance to watch the games with a crowd in an open public area.

So now we’ve got two years ahead of the next European Championships, which will be held in 12 different countries at venues from the Aviva Stadium in Ireland to Baku’s Olympic Stadium in Azerbaijan, why not start planning for it now.

Canterbury City Council reckons the price of a screen and other costs to be about £20,000. It also says that in other parts of the country, this has been done by private firms.

If they can turn a profit, then why shouldn’t the city council chance its arm as well.

I’ve heard the comment that such a screen, however, would damage the income pubs in the city receive. Well, we won’t know that until we’ve tried it.

But I can’t see why that would be the case. Pub goers will still go to the pub, but an open air screen might well attract those, such as myself, who don’t fancy the pub.

What’s more, I watched as lots of foreign tourists looked for venues in Canterbury to watch their national teams play and often ended up feeling very uncomfortable in the boozy pub environment.

So why not use the screen to show matches involving Europe’s top sides who also happen to be the biggest visitors to Canterbury: France, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Italy and Spain.

Such an idea for a screen is not worth instantly dismissing when we’ve got two years to plan for it. Come on, let’s seriously think about it.


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