Tony Hayes was the landlord of The Flying Horse in April 1980. Described generously by Annie Walker as “common and odious” he riled Fred Gee when he formed a Barber Shop Quartet at his pub and bragged that the Rovers couldn’t do better. Fred impetuously took up the challenge and dragged Bert Tilsley, Alf Roberts and Eddie Yeats into joining him.
Things went badly from the start when Ena Sharples pointed out that Fred was tone deaf and they should dump him. Renee Roberts was pushed into joining them when it was realised that a quartet needn’t be all men and the team practised for the big night.
Annie welcomed Tony to the Rovers with a round of free drinks and a remark that it would be wonderful experience for his regulars being at the Rovers rather than The Flying Horse as they had the best beer, the best staff and superior clientele. Mr Hayes didn’t rise to the bait and his team went first. The enthusiasm of the team from the Rovers was instantly dampened as they listened to the excellent vocal harmonies of their opponents but all was not harmonious when Renee stepped forward as a member of the host team. Tony objected to a woman taking part but was swiftly interrupted by Ivy Tilsley who ranted at him about his sexism and threatened a female boycott of The Flying Horse. He gave in but needn’t have worried as the Rovers' team was the inferior party and Fred was forced to concede and pay for the drinks for the victors.