My how we all laughed as Wayne Shaw, Sutton United’s ‘roly poly goalie’, crammed a pie into his face as he sat on the bench during last night’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Arsenal.
In the 83rd minute of the match (with Sutton having made their three permitted subs), Shaw – who had become something of a one-man side-show over the course of the day – pulled out a steak pie and ate it, safe in the knowledge he wasn’t going to be called upon by manager Paul Doswell.
However, according to the Mirror, there’s a chance Shaw may face an FA betting probe after it emerged the pie stunt was part of a PR ruse concocted by The Sun, Sutton’s one-off match-day sponsors.
Indeed, Sun Bet even offered odds of 8-1 that Shaw would be caught eating a pie live on air any some point during the game…
Speaking after the final whistle, Shaw himself told the press:
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.’
Sun Bets had us at 8-1 to eat a pie. 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.
I think there were a few people. Obviously we [Sutton’s players] are not allowed to bet. I think a few of the mates and a few of the fans [took the odds].
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.
Banter. We might have known.
— Sun Bets (@SunBets) February 20, 2017
Of course, FA rules strictly stipulate that players are forbidden to coerce or influence anybody’s decision to bet on the “result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in, a football match or competition.”
Players are also not allowed to give others insider details “any information relating to football” which has been “obtained by virtue of his or her position within the game”.
For what it’s worth, Sutton boss Doswell subsequently chastised Shaw for acting up in front of the cameras, saying:
I think Wayne has become this global superstar on the back of being 23 stone. He’s made that a chance to make some more media coverage off the back of it.
The reality is I don’t know [if Shaw ate the pie for a bet] but it wouldn’t surprise me. I don’t think it shows us in the best light.
The FA have so far refused to comment on whether or not they’re planning to launch an investigation.
UPDATE: The Gambling Commission have confirmed that they are now investigating whether Shaw’s antics constitute a breach of betting regulations…
Sutton v Arsenal: Wayne Shaw’s pie eating investigated by Gambling Commission https://t.co/7wYCnK7Zif
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) February 21, 2017
Never has one meat pie backfired so badly.