Friday, November 23, 2007

Sports Pie

I pass this on without comment, except to note that this is the first time I have come across the phrase, or indeed concept, 'sports pie'. A window on a strange, pie-shaped world...


November 23, 2007.


Wigan Pies of Wigan - formerly Heaton's Bakery - is to be the Official
Supplier to the World Pie Eating Championships, which will take place in
Harry's Bar, Wallgate, Wigan, from 12 noon on Thursday, December 13,
2007 - Pie Noon.

Wigan Pies has produced a special sports pie for the competition known
as the W-PEC PiEvolution.

The local choice comes as a huge relief to organisers after an
embarrassing row that put the 2005 championships in doubt - when pies
from McManus's Bakery in Farnworth were brought in as the Official Pie,
and pickets blocked the pub entrance as a consequence.

It also means the 2007 Championships are 100% meat and 100% Wigan.

"We're going for records this year. We've had an eye on Wigan Pies for
some time, they've put in some impressive ingredients. They have the
talent, they have the speed, great delivery, an eye for an opportunity -
and they have the experience to make a significant difference to this
year's competition," said Tony Callaghan, owner of Harry's Bar.

"We understand they're also going to give their newest van a debut on
Championship Thursday."

"The ingredients are carefully selected and sized by highly qualified
pie technicians so that each cube of meat and potato in each hand-made
pie is the minimum possible size permitted by regulations thereby
meaning less chewing and less chance of swallow-stall," said Rob Stewart
of Wigan Pies.

Tony Callaghan said: "It's a relief that this year's pies are 100% from
Wigan. It's bad enough that the World Vegetarian Pie Eating Championship
Official Pie last year came from Altrincham - not just a different town,
but a different county full of posh people.

"Fortunately, the selection committee didn't get too giddy and choose a
French pie with all them funny herbs in it. And as this year's event is
once again a sprint rather than a marathon - which did confuse some
competitors expecting chocolate - the quality is crucial.

"Nevertheless, once again, we need world-class hand-made pies - and we
got them. They're consistent in size and texture, are easily bitten,
chewed and digested while not lying so heavily on the stomach that it
prevents a fall-off in competitive eating standards later in the

The pies have to be produced to strict guidelines, and were tested and
tasted at a pre-qualifying event in Harry's Bar on a secret date
(November 16) to ensure avoidance of lobbying.

The cooked dimensions need to ensure a diameter of 12cm and a depth of
3.5cm, and a pie wall angle from base to top of between zero and 15
degrees. Minimum content cube dimensions are 1cm.


  1. Never heard of the sports pie Nige? Are you some kind of southern jessie? McManus of Farnworth produced Alan Ball's fodder that helped him win the world cup in '66. Crouchy looks like he could do with one - fill him out and turn into a bullock like the great Nat Lofthouse. Engerland would be unstoppable.

  2. Nige, you're very behind the times with this one. I reported about the Nike Sports Pie months ago.

  3. i knew a squat brute-temp who hailed from Wigan. He looked a bit like a pie on legs.

    i'm a bit disappointed that this blog - in many ways devoted to a study of Englishness - has yet to tackle the pie issue head on.

  4. From what I've read, rule changes have rocked the world of professional pie-eating to its foundations. This year, as part of the "fight against obesity", contestants will be limited to eating just one pie in the least amount of time, rather than the most pies in a fixed amount of time. And after "relentless pressure" there's even a namby vegetarian option. How can we expect our lads to go out on the park and give a good account of themselves when they've been hamstrung like this? A world championship limited to a single pie per head is like a game of soccer limited to one kick per player. The whole of Wigan must be gutted.

  5. Thanks for the link David - I missed that one. Seems reality has caught up with you.

  6. You're making me hungry writing like that.

  7. With the influx of so many foreigners to this country, young kids on the streets are turning away form the traditonal pie, and eating curries, kebabs and chicken fried rice.

    If English pie eating is going to reach the heady heights of it's once upon a time glory days, we need wholesale changes at grass roots levels; staring with mandatory pie eating for all school children.

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