|Where:||Atherstone, Warwickshire outside Barclays Bank on Long Street|
Atherstone Football takes place every Shrove Tuesday in Long Street – there are no goals and no teams and the winner is the player holding the ball at the end. It starts at 3pm when the large beribboned ball is thrown from Barclays Bank and finishes at 5 at the sounding of a horn; with up to 2000 people present the street can be tightly packed, especially in the last half-hour when competition is fierce.
Until the pace hots up towards the 5 o’clock deadline, play is very friendly and children can often have a free kick at the ball for luck. It’s all on the street so hard clean surfaces throughout; if you don’t like crowds in confined spaces hang well back. Around 2.30 there is a scramble for a golden penny and sweets, also from Barclays Bank. If you manage to snatch one of the ribbons from the ball you can claim a cash prize – they soon get torn off. Expect occasional flurries of flour and eggs – it is Pancake Day after all!
In 2018 it will take place on Tuesday 13th February.
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