Sutton United unhappy with goalkeeper Wayne Shaw after pie stunt overshadows FA Cup match vs Arsenal

The 46-year-old goalkeeper comically ate a pie during Sutton's 2-0 defeat by Arsenal but it has since been exposed as a publicity stunt for a betting company

Jack de Menezes
Tuesday 21 February 2017 11:13
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Sutton United goalkeeper Wayne Shaw eats a pie during the 2-0 FA Cup defeat by Arsenal
Sutton United goalkeeper Wayne Shaw eats a pie during the 2-0 FA Cup defeat by Arsenal

Sutton United are not best pleased with the actions of the “roly-poly goalie” Wayne Shaw after the 23-stone goalkeeper appeared to take part in a publicity stunt on behalf of a bookmaking company during the non-league side’s 2-0 FA Cup defeat by Arsenal.

The National League side saw their fairy tale run ended on Monday night against 12-time FA Cup winners Arsenal, who go on to face National League leaders Lincoln City in the quarter-finals, as Lucas Perez and Theo Walcott ensured Arsene Wenger put a difficult week behind him by taking a step closer towards a record-breaking seventh FA Cup success.

However, the biggest talking point after the match was not of Arsenal’s success, nor of Sutton’s battling display and brilliant run to the fifth round, but of the actions of Shaw during the match.

The 46-year-old reserve goalkeeper caught the attentions of the cameras when, after manager Paul Doswell made all three substitutions, he tucked into a pie while standing in the dug-out. The incident caused great laughter both at the ground and on social media, but it quickly transpired that Shaw appeared to have an ulterior motive.

Before the match, Sun Bet tweeted an offer of 8/1 odds on Shaw to be pictured eating a pie during the match, and the fact that the same betting company had taken out a one-off shirt sponsor for the match was not lost on critics who felt the publicity stunt overshadowed the match.

Worse was to follow though. Shaw confirmed that he knew about the offer, which raises the prospect of a Football Association investigation into a possible breach of betting rules. The saga hasn’t painted Sutton in the best light, with both the chairman, Bruce Elliott, and manager Doswell speaking out against his actions.

"If you knew the roly poly goalkeeper you probably wouldn't be very surprised. But Wayne is a top man,” Elliott told BBC 5 Live.

"I didn't know anything about it. He has got himself in the papers again and the fame obviously has gone to his head a little bit, but we will soon bring him back down to earth, don't worry about that."

Shaw is also a part of Doswell’s coaching staff, and the first-team manager admitted it wasn’t the best look for the club to be involved in a publicity stunt like this one. "Wayne has become a global superstar on the back of being 20st,” Doswell said after the defeat. “He's made that a chance to get more media coverage off the back of it. It wouldn't surprise me. I don't think it shows us in the best light."

Sutton's good start was punctured by Lucas Perez's fortunate goal

After the betting stunt came to light, Shaw was quizzed on whether he knew about the odds being offered on himself, to which he confirmed: "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'.

"As I say what is that? 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."

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