UK's 'Toughest Pub' Where People Got Shot With Crossbows And Kicked Sheep
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If you think you’ve been in some risky pubs before, then you might reassess that after you’ve learned about this old pub in Manchester that was once described as one of the toughest in the whole of Britain.
It’s gone now, but in its heyday it was famous for people firing crossbows at each other and booting farm animals.
Yes, you read that right – but we’ll get to that story later.
The pub used to be in the central Manchester area of Collyhurst, and was called Billy Greens.
The brash boozer was – rather aptly – named after a local boxer and pub landlord, and it garnered a reputation as a pretty dicey place for a pint back in the early 2000s.
In truth, the pub had made such a name for itself that in 2004 a documentary crew from Sky showed up to film a show called ‘The Toughest Pubs in Britain’ there, asking locals to describe what the pub was like and tell their favourite stories.
As the show described: "Here we are again in the traditional British boozer; a local pub for local people. A centre for the community. A place to meet old friends and mix with like-minded souls – fat chance!
"Let’s continue our journey with a trip to sunny Manchester, and if you dare, to the notorious Collyhurst estate."
The first drinker interviewed told the show: "I call it Beirut; if you’ve not got a car burnt out outside your house in the morning you’ve had a good night.”
The man continued: "We’ve been in jail all our lives, so f*****g what, you win some you lose some. I’ve been stabbed eight times mate, eight times and survived."
Now, to the main event.
One drinker really opened up the taps with this tale: "The funniest thing I saw in this pub here was a mate of mine, coming back from United and Leeds away. Coming back from the game they’d nicked a sheep off the moors. They brought the sheep back to the pub on a lead."
“This other guy who was in the pub booted the sheep, and his mate had a crossbow behind the bar. He shot the crossbow at the guy that booted the sheep and it went right through his arm ‘ere.
"And he’s wriggling about on the floor. So, you’ve got like a sheep on the floor there, and you’ve got this geezer with an arrow in his arm.
“That’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in here, we all just hit the f***ing deck mate, it was just like so funny it was like, wow.”
Unfortunately, Billy Greens closed for the final time in 2011, and was bulldozed into a patch of wasteland shortly afterwards.
Whether that’s a good thing or not, you can decide.
Either way, it sounds like an interesting snapshot of the culture of Collyhurst during the time.