The Plastic Hippo

February 22, 2017

Who ate all the pies?

Filed under: Media,Sport — theplastichippo @ 3:05 am
Tags: , , , ,
Image via BBC Sport

Image via BBC Sport

When the manufactured scandal has blown over and the dust has settled, the name of Sutton United`s reserve goalkeeper will return mercifully to deserved obscurity in about the same time as it takes to invent another scandal for the back pages of scurrilous tabloid rags.

In case you were not paying attention, the big story on Monday was not the Iraqi Army`s assault on Mosul or the Commons debating the Trump visit or the Lords debating Article 50 or even the sad death of Steve Hewlett which marked yet another loss of principled, intelligent and valued journalism. No, the big story was a fat man eating a pie at a football match.

In the days before sport became a global business, the simple pleasure of attending a mid-week, evening football match in the cold and the dark and the occasional fog could lift the spirits of a drab winter especially if the game was a cup tie. The joy of a Bovril and a pie at half-time would warm the hearts of those wishing to return to the bygone age when our only involvement with Europe was the Inter City Fairs Cup and It`s a Knockout. Thankfully, the days of Europe demanding unreasonably that our pies should actually contain meat rather than gristle are coming to an end and we will be free at last from swarthy migrants coming over here and scoring our goals.

The game on Monday night between Sutton United, universally described as “non-league minnows” and the mighty Arsenal, universally described as “the mighty” encapsulated, so we are told, the magic and the romance of the FA Cup. With the mighty clubs regarding the FA Cup as an irritating distraction to more lucrative competitions and a real danger in terms of injury to millionaire thoroughbreds on lumpy parochial pitches inhabited by ape-like centre-halves, the FA Cup is just about the only sporting contest that the BBC can afford to televise. Still, equipped with beer, a medium sized pork pie and a jar of English mustard I tuned in intending to support the underdog.

Even before the teams emerged from the rudimentary dressing rooms, my support for Sutton United began to wane. The tiny 5,000 capacity ground was festooned with hoardings advertising a betting firm owned by the Murdoch tabloid. As the plucky United team took to the field, it seemed like the Murdoch tabloid logo had been ironed on to their shirts obscuring the logo of the usual sponsor. It later turned out that this sponsorship deal was a one-off to take advantage of Sutton`s only appearance on live prime-time television. The game itself was surprising good and not as one-sided as the money would suggest. Arsenal deserved their two-nil victory but only just.

In the 83rd minute and with all Sutton`s substitutes played, reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw eating a pie in the home dugout was broadcast live to an astonished nation. Commentators and pundits alike made much of Mr Shaw`s considerable weight but all agreed that this was part of the magic and romance of the FA Cup. Strange then that Wayne Shaw has been forced to resign from the club and is now subject to investigations by both the Football Association and the Gambling Commission.

The misfortune that has befallen the tubby man of the people is the latest example of Murdoch`s determination to turn anything remotely enjoyable into something objectionable and poisonous. The vile old migrant might not have directly instructed the betting arm of his tawdry tabloid to offer odds on Shaw eating a pie during the match but the brazen propensity for wrongdoing that runs through the Murdoch Empire originates from Murdoch himself. Astonishingly, readers of this dreadful toxic scandal sheet regard the ruin of an overweight, gullible and rather dim attention seeker and gambling fraud in sport as just a bit of banter and just a bit of a laugh. One wonders if Wayne will ever buy the Murdoch tabloid again.

Wayne Shaw might be guilty of wanting to be famous for one half of a game of two halves and the BBC might be guilty of accidentally knowing exactly when to point a camera at a fat man with a pie (or possibly pasty which makes any bets invalid) but Murdoch is guilty of spoiling just about everything he goes near.

It is impossible to know the thoughts of the Sutton United players who actually took part in the remarkable cup run and given the Murdoch tabloid`s track record of racism and falsehood how black players felt about pulling on a shirt adorned with a logo that epitomises hatred and bigotry. Sadly for them, the most important game of their lives will be remembered for a fat bastard that ate all the pies and a bastard that continues to state all the lies.

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