PUBS need all the business they can get these days.

Boarded-up buildings across our towns and villages are a graphic display of just how many have succumbed in the battle to survive.

Licensees and owners have had to come up with ever-inventive (and sometimes desperate) ways of getting customers in through the doors.

Football is a natural – but one full of pitfalls.

It is a stark fact that many pubs simply cannot afford to show the game because of prohibitive rates charged by Sky.

According to the figures, the soaring cost of Sky satellite subscriptions has prompted 20% of pubs to abandon sports screenings over the past five years.

Some have switched to other suppliers – but this appears to be a grey area with the jury still out on legalities.

We report today on two Huddersfield pubs where the screens have gone blank after the landlords were caught up in the uncertainties.

The Premier League is quite happy with the tie-up with Sky. It does, after all, bring in mega bucks.But officials need to be made aware that ordinary fans are missing out because of this deal.

Worse than that, they are being alienated from the sport.

These are the very people who will be needed if football hits hard times in the future – but the sport may well find them unforgiving.

Our beautiful game will be heading for a big fall if it forgets its roots.