Stand­still for big

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Uk&World Update - By NICK REINIS

AS crowds of peo­ple flocked to watch Eng­land keep their World Cup hopes alive, Peter­bor­ough came to a sud­den stand­still.

The city’s usu­ally busy and bustling cen­tre re­sem­bled a ghost town as shop­pers put down their bags and cash cards and re­placed them with Eng­land flags ready to watch the big match.

Prior to kick-off for Eng­land’s crunch game with Slove­nia, many busi­nesses re­ported busier trade and solid tak­ings at the tills.

But, as soon as the clocks struck 3pm, ar­eas such as Cathe­dral Square and Bridge Street were de­serted. Only a few strag­glers re­mained, left to roam the quiet city cen­tre.

While many chose to take the day off to watch the game, oth­ers who had to work found any way they could to stay in touch with the Three Lions’ – with ra­dio com­men­taries a com­mon op­tion around the city.

Sonya Smith, man­ager at men’s re­tailer Moss, in Bridge Street, was lis­ten­ing to the big match in store.

She said: “It’s been re­ally busy dur­ing the day. We’ve had a lot of peo­ple in, but then ev­ery­one went off to watch the foot­ball.

“We would have liked to see a big screen up in the city cen­tre for the foot­ball so peo­ple could still shop at the same time.”

Su­per­vi­sor at Cathe­dral Square food shop Greggs, Trina Lan­caster, was hope­ful that rev­ellers would re­turn fresh from Eng­land’s glory ready for a bite to eat.

She said: “Busi­ness has been re­ally good through­out the day. But when the game started we weren’t as busy as you usu­ally would be at that time of the day.

“Hope­fully when it’s full-time and peo­ple leave the venues, we will be back up again.”

How­ever, staff at the O2 shop, in Cathe­dral Square, were forced to rely on the sounds of fans at nearby bars to find out what was hap­pen­ing dur­ing the match.

Sales ad­vi­sor Mark Jones said: “It’s been an av­er­age day for us but then it went re­ally quiet as soon as the foot­ball kicked off.

“We aren’t al­lowed to watch the match, so we have been watch­ing on our iPhones, but there’s so many peo­ple do­ing that, that it ended up crash­ing.”

The empty streets were a boon for non-foot­ball fans, like Dawn Cor­rea, of Sprig­nall, in Bret­ton.

The 31-year-old took her six-yearold daugh­ter Aaliyah Diaz for a shop­ping trip.

She said: “I’m not into foot­ball be­cause I think it’s point­less. I would be if I thought we had a chance of win­ning any­thing.

“It’s been lovely in town be­cause ev­ery­one’s been watch­ing the foot­ball in­stead of shop­ping.”

Aaliyah en­joyed splashing in the Cathe­dral Square foun­tains be­fore they were turned off at 4.30pm for when fans spilled out of pubs and bars.

It was a sim­i­lar story at Ser­pen­tine Green Shop­ping Cen­tre, in Hampton, Peter­bor­ough.

But while the aisles of the cen­tre were free from pun­ters, it left many staff able to find in­ge­nious ways of watch­ing the game.

Jenny Ridling­ton, deputy man­ager at Tesco, in Ser­pen­tine Green, said: “It is not usu­ally this quiet, but we were ex­pect­ing it.

“Half the staff are watch­ing the game in the staff can­teen and the other half have been watch­ing it in the TV sec­tion.

“We were very busy this morn­ing, with peo­ple stock­ing up for the game and for bar­be­cues.

“We had one man who filled his trol­ley full with beer and snacks. It is al­ways like this dur­ing the big tour­na­ments.”

How­ever, it was not just the city’s shops which took a dip in trade for 90 min­utes as Eng­land se­cured their progress to the sec­ond round of the tour­na­ment.

Taxi driver Mo­hammed Khan, who has been in the trade for five years, said it had been a quiet af­ter­noon for cabbies.

But in­stead of whiling away his ex­tra free-time as he waited for fares at Peter­bor­ough sta­tion, Mr Khan lis­tened in­tently to the match in his black cab.

He said: “It’s been a very quiet day. But I’m sup­port­ing Eng­land and I hope they can go on and win the tro­phy.

“If they play like they played in this match then I think they have ev­ery chance.”

A num­ber of Peter­bor­ough-based firms also let their staff move away from their desks to watch the game un­fold, in­clud­ing Nor­wich & Peter­bor­ough, in Lynch Wood.

Spokesper­son Ali­son Rolls said; “It was fan­tas­tic game we could re­ally get be­hind.

“The at­mos­phere was elec­tric, we were on the edge of our seats and we’re so glad we won.”

OFF THE STREETS: Peo­ple de­serted the city streets and crowded into bars in­clud­ing the Brew­ery Tap

EMPTY: Desks at Nor­wich and Peter­bor­ough dur­ing the big match. (METP-23-06-10RH30)

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