BAR bosses say they are determined to turn around the fortunes of a well-known pub hit by a bad reputation for underage drinkers and drugs claims.
Robert Davison and Steven Atkinson have taken over the Wheatsheaf, in Monkwearmouth, and plan a host of changes to turn the venue into a family-friendly pub at the centre of its community.
Robert, 30, and Steven, 42, already run the Alexandra in Grangetown, The Thorney Close Inn and The Victory Club in Easington Colliery.
And while Sunderland match days are the Wheatsheaf’s biggest for business, the pair do not want any association with those causing problems.
Robert said: “We’ve only had it a couple of weeks and it nearly got shut down for underage drinking before, but we’ve put a stop to all that stuff.
“We’ve brought in live entertainment and trying to make it a community pub and get the community in during the week.
“We’ve now got licenced doormen and we want to make it feel a bit more safe. We’ve abolished all drug use.
“The building is absolutely massive, and we’re trying to make the most of that. We’ve opened the two floors and we invite people to bring their children in on match days and we’re both dads ourselves.”
The pair spoke of their plans after trouble between Sunderland and Leeds fans broke out in Roker Avenue, outside the pub, on Sunday following the clubs’ FA cup fixture.
A bottle was thrown through a pub window, while Steven was left with a head injury after another hurled in the street struck him as he tried to calm down troublemakers.
A Ford Mondeo taxi parked in Monk Street was also damaged during bother between the fans
However, the pair have stressed the disorder was not linked to the pub and that it happened outside its doors.
n Benjamin Haigh, 32, from Station Road, Huddersfield, has been charged with criminal damage and causing fear or provocation of violence in relation to Sunday’s disorder.
He will appear before magistrates on Tuesday, February 3, to face the allegations.