ENGLAND take on Wales this weekend in the Six Nations tournament – and for some Twickenham residents, it’s pay day.
Savvy locals who live in the shadow of the iconic stadium say they can make up to £3,000 on big match days thanks to their lucrative side-hustles.Twickenham Stadium is right in the heart of a residential area in south west London[/caption] Caryn Riekstins lives across the road from Twickenham Stadium and flips burgers on her driveway for fans[/caption]
Some rent out their driveways to visiting fans, while others flip burgers on their doorstep – all turning a handsome profit.
She sets up a food stall on her driveway for big games and has stocked up on 300 burgers and 150 hot dogs ready to go for Saturday’s match.
Caryn tells us: “I make the most of our prime location and it has been really successful. If we get back-to-back games, we can do more than £3,000 on a good day.
“If it’s a 3pm kick-off you’ll have people here by 10am, so I might set up a bit earlier.
“But it all depends on the crowd size; I won’t get out of bed for less than 40,000 people.”
Known informally as “The Cabbage Patch”, Twickenham has played host to nail-biting games and rocking music concerts since it was built in 1908.Thousands dress up for the annual Rugby 7s tournament[/caption] Many make the 15-minute pilgrimage from the train station to the stadium, along residential streets[/caption]
Big fixtures attract swathes of punters – sometimes dressed in wacky outfits, especially for its notorious Rugby 7s tournament – who make the 15-minute pilgrimage from the train station along residential streets to the stadium.
One resident, Karen, who has lived by Twickenham stadium for 20 years, says: “The best part about the rugby is the costumes when people dress up for the 7s – my young lad gets a real kick out of it.
“I’ve had 17 Shreks in my front yard before.
“I know the police are trying to stop it or tame it down but I think it is a real shame – I love it, it’s brilliant, they are living their best life and are never any trouble.
“What’s wrong with a man walking down the road in a small dress and a big wig? It’s the way forward.”
She also enjoys rubbing shoulders with stars from the game – including Welsh legend Gareth Thomas, who she reveals once stopped to help her with her shopping.
The best part about the rugby is the costumes when people dress up for the 7s – my young lad gets a real kick out of it. I’ve had 17 Shreks in my front yard beforeKaren, Twickenham resident
Karen recalls: “I was coming home with my walking stick and my three-year-old when this tall, lean man approached me.
“He asked me if I was ok and picked up my groceries and walked them to my house.
“He stopped here for a while, I’m guessing he was getting away from the crowds. He really was just the nicest person in the world.”
‘Easy money’Mandy Wilcox rents out her driveway to touring rugby fans[/caption] Roads near Twickenham Stadium are usually closed for big games[/caption]
This weekend 82,000 fans are expected to attend the Six Nations clash, meaning some roads in and around the stadium will be closed.
For local Mandy Wilcox, who has lived here for more than 40 years, this throws up a money-making opportunity.
She says: “Everyone on our road rents out their drives, so eventually I thought I’d give it a go.
“It’s all legit, you register with a company. It’s mainly for people who come long distances to watch games. We’ve had people from Devon, Scotland and even Europe.”
While some of her neighbours charge over £100 per car, she allows fans to pay a nominal amount, which varies depending on their stay.
Mandy adds: “Sometimes they don’t even turn up. It’s a good way to make money.
“The thing is, when you look at the rugby crowd and the actual cars that some of them drive, you think, ‘Well clearly if you can afford to drive a car like that then you can afford to pay a few bob to park on someone’s drive!’
“It’s a perk for sure… we’re already booked up for this weekend’s game.”
Roaring tradeJon Moran runs the Eel Pie Pub in Twickenham[/caption] Jon anticipates pouring 5,000 pints this Saturday[/caption]
Local pubs are also gearing up for a busy weekend. Jon Moran runs the Eel and Pie – one of the liveliest rugby boozers – and anticipates they’ll serve more than 5,000 pints on Saturday.
He says: “It’s busy, busy, busy, non-stop – on rugby day you can’t see past the bar. But it’s good craic – win or lose, they have a fair few pints and it’s all a bit of fun.
“We’re talking more than 5,000 pints in a day, we just stand here smashing it out and they just keep drinking.”
One of his fondest memories is when Ireland won the Grand Slam on St Patrick’s Day last year.
“It was the 17th of March and we were snowed in here… the pub was jumping, people were singing, it was wild,” he recalls.
“There is no such thing as a quiet pint on match day – only maybe if you are the first person in.”
One eventful episode outshines the rest. “During a Scotland game, there was a kilted man hanging from a window outside,” Jon tells us.
We’re talking more than 5,000 pints in a day, we just stand here smashing it out and they just keep drinkingJon Moran, publican
“I don’t know how he got up there, but let’s just say there was nothing underneath – he was traditionally dressed as a Scotsman.
“Everyone was cheering of course, and I was thinking, ‘How are we going to get him down?’ But then a bin lorry came by and he just stepped out straight into the truck, and that was the last we ever saw of him.
“I presume he made it back to Scotland, maybe in a tip.
“All jokes aside, the rugby is a positive thing for the pubs and restaurants, especially during these tough times.
“Cups like the Six Nations can be a lifeline for the hospitality businesses in town.”
700 pints in two hoursLocal man Valter Garcias said he enjoys it when rugby fans come to Twickenham[/caption]
Valter Garcias, who has lived in the area for seven years and worked at The Crown pub, says although he’s a football fan at heart, living in Twickenham has given him a new appreciation for rugby.
Valter, who is Portuguese, says: “Match day is intense… in two hours I once served more than 700 pints of Guinness.
“The town is flooded with fans. Some people just come to be a part of it and go to the pubs instead to watch it.
Match day is intense… in two hours I once served more than 700 pints of GuinnessValter Garcias, Twickenham resident
“It’s great for local business, I believe they benefit hugely. What’s more, the rugby crowd are lovely people.
“One time some customers asked me if I wanted to come to a match with them to learn about the sport because they had a spare ticket, it was really nice.
“It may be an extremely physical game on the pitch but it’s a really nice, relaxed and calm crowd in the stands.”
Shop attendant Ravinder Kaur echoes Valter’s enthusiasm for the sport and believes Twickenham is grateful for the footfall.
She says: “I think they should encourage rugby more. Business is dead in Twickenham.
“It is very important, we have a huge stadium and we should be making more use of it.”Shop attendant Ravinder Kaur believes more rugby matches should be encouraged to boost local businesses[/caption]
Naturally, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets before and after the games, locals do have the odd complaint.
While the council provides portaloos for fans, demand often outstrips the supply. In 2015 one woman reportedly rugby-tackled a supporter after he was caught urinating on her drive.
But for Karen it’s just part and parcel of hosting an international event.
She adds: “It’s common to have street urinators. I don’t care though.
“Unfortunately people have to wee, but I kid you not, they are the nicest people.
“I’ve had plenty of people knock on my door first to ask to use my toilet – generally I just shut the blinds.”
Mandy adds: “It’s chaos here on match days, but it’s just the way it is. The positives outweigh the negatives.”Naturally, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets before and after the games, locals do have a few complaints[/caption] A 27ft tall bronze sculpture outside of Twickenham Stadium[/caption] Fans on their way to a game[/caption] There are more than 48 bars inside Twickenham Stadium[/caption]