Football fans could be in for a World Cup treat in Andover on Saturday.
The town’s new radio station 95.9FM Andover Radio is considering erecting a large screen in the High Street which will show the England v Sweden game.
“A call was made on Spotted in Andover by local man Adam North, asking for the town to arrange a large screen to show the match”, says the radio station’s David Harber. “Immediately we were inundated with people asking if we could help arrange such an event”.
Councillor Richard Rowles took the initiative to contact relevant parties before 9am this morning, including Test Valley Borough Council and the Police.
“Test Valley Borough Council have been really helpful, and whereas we are mindful of the existence of the Saturday market, we feel these two events could benefit each other“, says Cllr Rowles. “This is obviously a really important game, and working with Andover Radio I am sure we can pull something like this off in the short time we have available”.
As the High Street is a designated alcohol-free zone, organisers anticipate that this will be an alcohol-free event, with consumption restricted to licensed premises. Although Test Valley Borough Council have unofficially commented that the restriction may be able to be lifted.
Sarah Christopher commented, “Isn’t the market on that day ? How’s that going to work in town ? Kick the market off so you can put up the football on a big screen when pubs and clubs are already showing the football? … it’s ridiculously last minute and although everyone’s hearts in the right place I can’t help but feel this is only going to bring trouble and a whole lot expenses cleaning up all the rubbish after the event and not to mention the violence that will undoubtedly occur if England looses the game”.
Val Foley on the Andover Advertiser Facebook page says, “WHY it’s already in every ones home” (sic).
David Harber responds, “We are very conscious that not everybody likes football and we have yet to elicit a response from the manager of the market. The negative comments on social media might sway our decision about this Saturday. We are also very aware of the potential safety concerns.
“What is important is that this is seen as a positive thing for the town and that it encourages trade – not just in the pubs”.
On Facebook, bar manager Laura Goodge posted, “Andover makes me laugh!! Someone tries to do a positive thing for the community!! And yet people still have so much negativity on everything!! The fact England have got this far and how the community are absolutely loving it is maybe why someone has thought to do this!! No wonder Andover is going down hill when all people have is negative things to say however hi 5 to all the people supporting this event which may or may not go ahead!! Go David Harber“.
Cllr Rowles and Andover Radio have contacted the Andover Carnival about the possibility of providing a screen at the annual Vigo Park event for the World Cup final on Sunday July 15th. Ahead of a meeting this evening, initial responses from the carnival looks like the committee will not accept the offer.
Andover Radio have confirmed the availability of a 20 metre square screen, however a decision must be made by close of business tomorrow (Thursday 5th July).
The situation will be updated at loveandover.com, on 95.9FM Andover Radio and on the Love Andover Facebook page.
17:15 UPDATE: Andover Radio are considering moving the big screen to Vigo Park, with a bar and food.