THE YELLOW army are celebrating the announcement that pints will continue to flow at a Cowley pub threatened with closure.

Regulars at The William Morris at Templars Square shopping centre were shocked in September when they heard pub chain J D Wetherspoon would be ending its lease from March 25.

The pub, which opened in 2003, is popular with Oxford United supporters and crowds regularly meet there for a drink before games.

Fans lamented the loss of another local pub and feared it would be replaced with something less affordable.

But J D Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon has revealed to the Oxford Mail that the company has now rethought its initial decision and will instead be keeping the William Morris open.

He did not reveal the reason for the reversal but said: “We can confirm that The William Morris will remain as a Wetherspoon pub.

“We are certain that customers and staff will be delighted with the decision.

“We look forward to the pub playing an important part in the Cowley community for many years to come.”

Mark Gunther, 53, from Cowley, who is one of those who often visits the pub before attending matches said the news would be welcomed by his fellow Oxford United supporters.

He said: “We really didn’t want to lose another local pub after the Nuffield Arms in Littlemore Road went.

“Soon there wouldn’t have been any pubs for Cowley residents.”

A Facebook page was created by campaigners keen to prevent last orders.

Mr Gunther said regulars had been planning to meet next month to raise a glass for one final time at the pub.

He added: “We’ll still meet but now it will be more of a celebration now.”

Fellow U’s fan Roy Skelton, 57, from Marston, said: “It’s excellent news. It’s been just as busy as ever in there since they announced it was closing.

“My son went on Saturday and it was packed so Wetherspoon must be making money out of the place.”

He added as no reason had been revealed for the decision to close the pub, regulars had been left unsure what to do to prevent the closure going ahead.

Developer NewRiver’s £60m regeneration of the shopping centre, approved by city councillors in July, was initially blamed for the decision.

But the developer, which plans to build more than 200 new homes, shops, a 71-bed hotel and two new restaurants at Templars Square, as well as demolish the 470-space Castle Car Park, denied it was responsible for the closure.

Charles Spooner, director at NewRiver, added no matter what J D Wetherspoon decided they would seek to keep it a ‘community pub’.

The building will not be demolished as part of the centre revamp.