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Can of worms

By Stewart Darkin

In the build-up to Monday evening’s eye-catching FA Cup fourth round clash between non-league Sutton United and Premier League giants Arsenal, the British tabloids - as part of the customary run-down of potential cup giant-killers - had noted that Sutton’s reserve goalkeeper was, for a footballer, a bit on the large side.

Can of worms

Wayne Shaw, affectionately labelled the “roly-poly goalie” by Sutton fans, is reportedly a fun-loving character with a light-hearted take on life. One bookie had even offered a market – with odds of 8/1 – on whether Shaw would eat a pie at some point during the match.

So it came as no surprise when, with a few minutes of the game to go at Sutton’s 5,000-capacity stadium and with no possibility of Shaw playing any active part in the match, he rather conspicuously consumed a meat-and-potato pie in the dugout, in front of a TV audience of millions.

Many have rallied to support Shaw, labelling his “antics” (tabloids love antics) nothing more than a bit of fun, all playfully hashtagged with the mock-serious #piegate. Gary Lineker, himself an FA Cup winner with Spurs in the nineties, tweeted: "Football is losing its heart and its sense of humour,” and, later: “So Wayne Shaw, who slept on a sofa 3 nights a week at Sutton to maintain and run the place loses his job over #piegate."

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