WORLD Cup fever is gripping Bolton — and the town’s multinational restaurants are gearing up for a football food fight.
Bolton boasts a whole host of international restaurants and staff will be backing their native countries during the tournament — which kicks off today in Brazil.
One excited football fan who cannot wait for the festival of football to begin is Alain Job, the owner of Cameroonian food stall Nkono, based in Bolton Market.
Mr Job, whose brother is the former Middlesborough and Cameroon star Joseph-Desiree Job, who played in two World Cups, said: “My money is on England but my mind and my heart is on Cameroon — it is the perfect setting for my boys, with the heat in Brazil.
“We have a young, hungry team and we are ready to roar — I am making a special curry to inspire my team. It will be called Cracker and it will fire them to victory. I will be giving away five free curries every time Cameroon play.”
Apo Simsek, owner of Spanish tapas restaurant La Salsa based in Bridge Street, is Turkish but as his home nation will not feature in the tournament, he will be following both England and Spain.
He said: “I have to support both England and Spain, but if they were to play each other I think it would have to be England. I have been living here for 30 years.
“It is going to be a great tournament and on my staff we have people from Spain, England, Turkey, Serbia and other countries so there should be a lot of friendly banter between us.”
Joining the hoards of England fans backing the Three Lions in Bolton will be staff at Alice’s Chippy in Deansgate and the Great Ale bar in the market, who will be selling a special new ale called “England Expects”.
England’s first game is against Italy on Saturday night.
But one Bolton resident hoping for an England defeat will be Maurizio Scala who works at Luciano’s restaurant at the Middlebrook.
He said: “I want Italy to do well of course. Maybe we can go all the way this year, especially with the goals of Balotelli.
“I think we will have some good jokes with the England fans before the first game. We are going to put a TV in the restaurant so we can watch it.”
Brazil will play the first game in the tournament tonight, kicking off against Croatia in Sao Paulo at 9pm UK time.
England’s first game is against Italy in Manaus at 11pm on Saturday.