Shaw quits after eating humble pie

LONDON • The reserve goalkeeper filmed eating a pie while standing by the substitutes' bench during his side's 2-0 FA Cup defeat by Arsenal quit the club in tears on Tuesday after admitting a "costly error of judgment", Sutton United's manager said.

Wayne Shaw, 45, resigned within hours of the Gambling Commission and the Football Association (FA) announcing investigations into his actions after it emerged that a betting company had offered odds against any Sutton player tucking into a pie during the televised game.

"This decision was taken at board level," Sutton manager Paul Doswell said. "We felt we had to take very strong actions. The chairman spoke to him this afternoon and Wayne offered his resignation.

"I'm devastated, the chairman is devastated. I have spoken to Wayne and the guy is in tears, crying down the phone. It was an honest error and a very sad situation."

Shaw, who weighs 146kg, was caught on camera eating a pie minutes from the end of Monday's fifth-round game, with Sutton trailing 2-0 and having used all their three substitutes. He admitted knowing about the wager offered by Sun Bets, the online betting branch of The Sun newspaper.

"I thought I would give them a bit of banter," he said.

"All the subs were on and we were 2-0 down. I went and got it at half-time from the kitchen, I had it all prepared and ready to go. It was meat and potato."

Shaw denied he had placed a bet himself, but as his pie-eating antics made headlines in Britain, it became clear the stunt went wrong.

On Tuesday morning, the Gambling Commission, the regulatory body that oversees British gambling, announced its inquiry.

"Integrity in sport is not a joke," said Richard Watson, enforcement and intelligence director at the Gambling Commission. "We'll be looking into any irregularity in the betting market and establishing whether the operator has met its licence requirement to conduct its business with integrity."

Later on Tuesday, the FA also announced its own investigation into Shaw's behaviour.

Former England striker Gary Lineker, now a pundit, supported Shaw by claiming football is "losing its heart and sense of humour".

It is not the first time Shaw has left the non-league club. He was sacked in 2013 after a bust-up with Kingstonian fans, but returned two years later.

However, he may be in line for a new job soon as supermarket chain Morrisons have said that they want Shaw to become an official pie taster.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2017, with the headline 'Shaw quits after eating humble pie'. Print Edition | Subscribe