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Wayne Shaw: The 146kg goalie who ate a pie during an FA Cup match

The Sutton goalkeeper tucks in.

The Sutton goalkeeper tucks in. Photo: BBC

He did not even play for a minute.

But Sutton United goalkeeper Wayne Shaw has become a global sensation for his antics on the bench — and in the bar — during the non-league side’s 2-0 FA Cup loss to English giants Arsenal on Tuesday morning (AEST).

Fifth-tier side Sutton booked a dream meeting against Arsenal after upsetting another famous name in English football, Leeds United, in the competition’s fourth round.

As expected, Arsenal’s multi-millionaires cruised past Sutton, thanks to goals from Lucas Perez and Theo Walcott, but in the process, 45-year-old back-up goalkeeper Shaw became the bigger story.

With the eyes of Britain on Sutton in the build-up to the clash at the tight-knit Borough Sports Ground, the rotund shot-stopper became big news, so much so that club sponsor Sun Bets — associated with the eponymous tabloid newspaper — offered odds of 8-1 on Shaw eating a pie during the Arsenal clash.

The Sun reported before the match that Shaw had released a line of hot sauce — named Roly Poly Goalie – Wayne Shaw’s Heat Up The Arse’n ‘Alls Hot Chilli Sauce — and declined a request for a naked photoshoot, while The Daily Echo said that media outlets in Russia, Mexico and USA had made contact with him.

For Shaw, a Sutton stalwart who is the club’s goalkeeper coach and community liaison officer, no request was too big, as the non-league outfit lapped up the spotlight that a dream FA Cup tie brings to lowly-ranked clubs.

But come match day, Shaw was on the bench, after he had finished vacuuming around the ground and helping with the cleaning, only to pop into the bar at half-time.

The barely believable antics continued when the former ice cream salesman decided, once Sutton had made all three of their substitutes and there was no chance that he would come on, to consume a pie pitch-side.

But Shaw’s act has now backfired on him – and on Sun Bets.

Even though he insists he and his team–mates did not bet on it, Shaw admits he knew about the odds offer, and he has now resigned.

As well, the Gambling Commission has announced it will be looking into whether Sun Bets breached their licence requirement.

“Integrity in sport is not a joke and we have opened an investigation to establish exactly what happened,” Richard Watson, the commission’s enforcement and intelligence director, said.

Sutton chairman Bruce Elliott, referring to Shaw, said that the “fame has gone to his head”.

“A few of the lads said to me earlier on: ‘What is going on with the 8-1 about eating a pie? I said: ‘I don’t know, I’ve eaten nothing all day, so I might give it a go later on,’” Shaw told The Independent.

“I thought I would give them a bit of banter and let’s do it. All the subs were on and we were 2-0 down.

https://twitter.com/BigSportGB/status/833794036121141248

“I think there were a few people [who bet on it]. Obviously we [Sutton’s players] are not allowed to bet. I think a few of the mates and a few of the fans.

“It was just a bit of banter for them. It is something to make the occasion as well and you can look back and say it was part of it and we got our ticket money back.”

Sutton’s manager, Paul Doswell, said the incident was not a good reflection on the club.

“I think Wayne has become this global superstar on the back of being 23 stone [146 kilos]. He’s made that a chance to make some more media coverage off the back of it,” he said.

“I don’t think it shows us in the best light.”

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