Give the poor Sutton goalie a break: this was pie-eating, not match-fixing | Anthony Clavane | Opinion | The Guardian


Football romantics hoping to witness one of the biggest upsets in FA Cup history on Monday evening were left disappointed by the sight of the mighty Arsenal brushing aside plucky Sutton at Gander Green Lane ground with a routine 2-0 win.

At least, in the 83rd minute, they could take comfort in the reassuring spectacle of the non-league side’s 23-stone reserve goalkeeper guzzling a meat pie in the dugout. Such moments tend to be ripe with symbolism, epitomising an apparently egalitarian competition that allows pub teams the opportunity to dream of toppling Premier League megabrands, destined to be replayed for years to come in humorous clip shows and more serious magic-of-the-Cupdocumentaries.

To TV viewers, the goalkeeper in question, Wayne Shaw, actually looked like he had just stepped out of the pub. He was even reported to have joined Sutton fans in the bar at half-time.

Until Monday, at least, Shaw was deemed to be one of the game’s “good guys”. Before Piegate, he was the club’s unsung hero – Mr Sutton. As well as making occasional forays on to the pitch, he was goalkeeping coach, caretaker of their plastic turf and community liaison officer. He often even slept overnight at the ground to help prepare for match days.

To many, he was the antidote to modern football: a larger-than-life character who put the fun and commitment back into a bland, corporatised game skewed in favour of a powerful, moneyed elite. But it turns out that Shaw was not the messiah, exactly. He had been, in fact, a bit of a naughty boy.

Before the game, Sun Bets offered odds of 8-1 that he would eat a pie on camera during the match. He knew about the bet and scoffed down the food, he said, for “a bit of banter”. For this one misjudgment he has been hung out to dry.



Source: Give the poor Sutton goalie a break: this was pie-eating, not match-fixing | Anthony Clavane | Opinion | The Guardian

One thought on “Give the poor Sutton goalie a break: this was pie-eating, not match-fixing | Anthony Clavane | Opinion | The Guardian

  1. The FA have just shown what they are ‘lonely out of date, old men who do not recognise commitment and fun, the old standards of the game. For today the game is all about profit and making money, no longer a game, but a business where profit is the main outcome and not the fun of the game.

    If this was truly about gambling then what about ‘Burnley midfielder Joey Barton, who was charged by the FA for placing 1,260 bets in the past 10 years, is still playing in the Premier League’. Surely a more serious incident and one that could have influence game results. For in Shaw’s case he was the reserve goalkeeper who had not chance of playing in the last few minutes of the match as the full allocation of the number of reserves that could be used had already been used.

    It is not Shaw who is guilty of demonising the game but the old codgers who run the game for the own importance. They should now all resign for where are they leading English football.

    Shaw was committed to Sutton and was just bring some humour into play, which is what the game should be about, entertainment and not a boring kick about. The old codgers need to get a life and on-mass retire from the game and then, perhaps England may then win a completion and show off a trophy, not just a squad of extremely over paid players earning even more fortunes.

    The game used to be about taking part and wining was a bonus, now no bonus for the supporters only the players.


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