Following his resignation from Sutton United, former goalkeeper Wayne Shaw has a new job after spending over a quarter of a century playing football.
Occasionally, the F.A Cup proves to be a life-changing event, especially for a lowly football club far removed from the relative riches of the Football League. This year, the hands of fate delivered Arsenal to the humble surroundings of Sutton United, and many betting companies, like Sun Bets, were faced with a world of dilemmas.
The starting XI, who eventually fell to a brave 2-0 defeat to the twelve-time winners, will cherish the memories forever. However, one player saw his professional integrity destroyed, potentially, by a deadly concoction of meat and pastry.
Weighing in at twenty-three stone, reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw’s ample figure had already garnered the derision of social media, long before he took to the bench to watch his side resist the Gunners’ onslaught. An unspecified betting company subsequently offered odds of 8/1 against Shaw devouring a pie during the match, and he did just that – in full view of the BBC cameras.
Though claiming to be unaware of the existence of those odds, this was not enough to repel the combined wrath of the Football Association and the Gambling Commission. Upon learning of the investigation, Shaw resigned from Sutton United. Now forty-five years old, Shaw’s resignation also surely marks the end of a 27-year career in football.
Fortunately, for the man who once shared a youth dressing room with Alan Shearer at Southampton, a new calling beckons…
…as a pie salesman.
#wayneshaw Sutton sacked keeper is serving my pies today. Sells one, eats one…@TheSun @LOFansTrust Come on down and help the cause. pic.twitter.com/Oan7GadOyG
— Pieter Hak (@lotusunbeam) 11 March 2017
The eyes do not deceive. An unnamed local business has employed Shaw to sell pies, with an obligatory smile. Right now, it is unclear whether he will be staying at the pie shop, or fulfilling his desire to return to Sutton in the near future.
An interview on Good Morning Britain, with television powerhouses Susanna Reid and Piers Morgan is surely just the start of a publicity trip for Shaw that shows little sign of ending. Undeniably, Shaw’s life has changed massively since resigning from Sutton. However, far from merely becoming the most famous pie seller since the one encountered by “Simple Simon”, Shaw now stands to become one of the most divisive figures in football over the next several years.
With the continued publicity will come further division. Some may see Shaw as a Robin Hood-type figure, simply there to maintain the camaraderie between players and fans. To others, his appetite for steak and kidney has provided a precedent for copycat actions, any of which could make a mockery of betting regulations.
For better or worse, that is the legacy of Wayne Shaw.
Tamhas Woods is Staffordshire University’s 1,248th-best journalism graduate. He likes his words long and his holidays longer. If you can understand a single word of this article, apply to MENSA tomorrow.