Town's football team to take on BT pub cup ahead of Brazil test
PUBLISHED: 16:12 18 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:13 18 April 2019
A women's football team has stepped into the national limelight following an appearance on the Robbie Savage show, as they prepare for a South American adventure.
Beccles Ladies Football Club will compete in BT Sport's Pub Cup after backing from their main sponsor.
And the team made an appearance on the former Leicester City footballer's show to promote the tournament.
Michelle Payne, landlady of The Ingate Free House in Beccles, has supported her local women's football team since the beginning of 2018.
Mrs Payne said: “It is unusual to sponsor female teams, but as a pub that is hugely putting back into the community it serves, it seems natural that if we sponsored the male teams, it would be predominately males that would come in.
“By sponsoring the women's team we had a chance that women would come into the pub more often, encouraging more women to come to the pub and the men would naturally follow.”
Last year, Mrs Payne and her husband Trevor Payne, who is the landlord of the pub, received an email from BT Sports for the team to enter the pub cup, but their application was rejected as they weren't accepting woman's teams.
Since then, BT sports have created a league for women's football and the Beccles Ladies Football club will compete in the tournament.
Mrs Payne said: “Wonderfully, BT changed their attitudes and they have entered us and we are accepted.
“This means we already have been offered brand new kits due to the competition for next year.”
The business owner said the tournament is a step in the right direction for woman's football.
She said: “I think there will be a lot of change, BT is paying attention to women's football.
“It is not a gender issue, it is that we wanted them to be respected in a game that they love.”
Since their appearance on the show, the women's football team have also been contacted by Red Bull to compete in a five-a-side football match in Brazil.
Last year, Mrs Payne was recognised for her unwavering support of her local women's football team with an award from BT Sport.
She received the manager of the month award from Reading and England midfielder Fara Williams.
At the time, she said: “We are so proud that BT Sport has recognised our achievements.”