Bad Idea Dept.: Giving Brit Soccer Fans Free Beer

The Bolton Wanderers have seen attendance dip in recent years as they have languished in the relegation zone of the English Premier League. So the DAILY NEWS reports that the team had a novel concept to get people to Saturday’s game against Blackburn: give the fans free beer. Let’s see, free beer plus English soccer fans? Nope, I can’t see how that could end up poorly at all.

British soccer riot

The first 1,000 fans will have the ability to enter the “Fan Zone” at the team’s Reebok Stadium and get a free beer or cider and deeply discounted food. For the rest of the game, drinks will be just £1.75 (roughly $3.00) for the rest of the match. No word if they will let you into the stadium if you are wearing a Dodgers hat, though.

Even though the problems with hooliganism in England have gone down dramatically in the past decade, it’s still not hard to imagine how this could wind up blowing up in Bolton’s face. For an American sports example, you only need to look back to the Cleveland Indians’ “10 Cent Beer Night” in 1974, detailed on ESPN.COM as a fiasco rivaling “Disco Demolition Night” for sheer ineptness in planning and execution.

The free beer will wind up a boozy couple of weeks for the town: the Bolton Beer Festival, one of the largest in the UK, just wrapped up this past weekend. And it runs against the trend in English soccer away from alcohol, as it is now illegal to consume beer within sight of the playing pitch while watching a match in England (as Newcastle owner Mike Ashley learned the hard way earlier this year).

The downside: it is England, so the beer will be room temperature. And also, the food will be inedible. Wait, what kind of deal is this again?

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