THREE pals from Stretford determined not to see one of the town’s landmark pubs go to rack and ruin joined forces to take it over.

Friends Mark Jones, Niall El-Assaad, and Mark Rowles have enjoyed drinking at the Robin Hood pub since their teens, but say they were moved to action after seeing what had become of the pub after a succession of high profile incidents destroyed trade, most recently the shooting of Giuseppe Gregory, gunned down outside in 2009 having earlier been drinking there.

But the trio want to put the pub’s chequered past behind it and say they are now looking forward to the Barton Road watering hole once again becoming a firm favourite with locals.

“We want it right back in the heart of the community where it always used to be,” said 34-year-old Mark Jones. “We’re all local lads and have been drinking here on and off for the past 16 years, but we couldn’t believe what had happened to the place when we came in one day.

“We sat down, had a think about it, and we decided ‘let’s give it a go’.”

The pals officially took over the pub on October 27 and didn’t waste any time in giving the place a deep clean with the help of family and friends, and also gave the interior a much needed lick of paint.

Getting the kitchens back up to standard was also part of their business model with a big emphasis on food. Pride of place on their new menu is a dish few in the town will be familiar with, despite the fact it was conceived here more than a 100 years ago - Stretford goose.

“As far as Wikipedia is concerned it dates back to the 1800s, but it’s not got any goose in it,” adds Mark. “It’s basically pork loin stuffed with apple and sage. We thought if we’re serving food why not serve something that’s traditional to the town and so far there’s been quite a lot of interest in it.”

The pub only started serving food last Monday, and Mark admits it’s just the first step towards getting the Robin Hood back to where he wants it.

“We’ve got the community behind us, and it’s been nice having people tell us ‘well done, you’re doing a good job’. We want to get the pub’s sports teams going again like it used to be. We’ve already got interest for a pub football team and we’d like to get a pool and darts teams going as well.

“We’re open to suggestions to. If anybody has any ideas they should come and tell us,” he added.