Background and origin
The chant was first sung in 1894 by Sheffield United supporters, and directed at the club's goalkeeper William "Fatty" Foulke, who weighed over 300 lb (140 kg). In his early career he played for Blackwell Colliery, subsequently playing for Sheffield United and Chelsea FC.
If the tune used was Knees up Mother Brown, then it is highly improbable that the chant originated with Foulke who retired in 1907 and died in 1916; Knees up Mother Brown originated in 1918. Also, Foulke weighed 178 pounds (81 kg) in 1894, and according to sportswriters of the time, was nicknamed "the lengthy one" or "the octopus"; his weight gain came later.
The lyrics of the chant are:
- Who ate all the pies?
- Who ate all the pies?
- You fat bastard,
- You fat bastard,
- You ate all the pies!
A variation replaces the second line with "The burgers and the fries."
Adoption and inspiration
Part of the song (the third line - "You fat bastard") has been adopted by Roy "Chubby" Brown as his anthem and is enthusiastically chanted by the audiences during his stage performances. In addition, the entire chant was sung by Brown and the audience at the end of his 2013 DVD release "Who Ate All the Pies?"
This line was also chanted at gigs by '90s indie band Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine and included as the intro on their album 30 Something. It was chanted at their manager Jon Fat Beast, who had a tendency to appear on stage stripped to the waist, displaying his ample abdomen.
The Vegetarian Society have used a variant of this, "Who ate all the peas?", as a slogan. They displayed it on promotional hoardings in football grounds as part of their "Men and Meat Campaign", intended to combat the idea that vegetarianism is unmanly.
The chant has been associated with the striker Micky Quinn, who played for six football clubs in the 1980s and 1990s. He was particularly identified with the chant following an incident in a match between Quinn's then club Newcastle United and Grimsby Town in March 1992, in which a fan threw a pie onto the pitch which Quinn promptly picked up and ate. The chant even formed the title for Quinn's autobiography, which was published in 2003.
Wayne Shaw controversy
In a February 2017 incident dubbed "piegate", 23-stone Sutton United goalkeeper Wayne Shaw was fined and suspended by the FA for breaching gambling laws, after he ate a pie during a match and then admitted he saw there were odds of 8/1 on him doing so and tipped off his friends.
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- Phythian, Graham (2005). Colossus: The True Story of William Foulke. Tempus. p. 26. ISBN 0-7524-3274-5.
- White, Jim (26 November 1993). "Brown goes to town on the pin-stripes: Britain's crudest comic struts his smutty stuff before a hand-picked City audience". The Independent. independent.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2014-11-29.
- Roy Chubby Brown (2 August 2012). Common As Muck!: The Autobiography of Roy 'Chubby' Brown. Little, Brown Book Group. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-4055-2047-8.
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- Brown, Jonathan (28 July 2014). "Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine pay tribute to Jon 'Fat' Beast, dead at 51". The Independent. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
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- Mick, Quinn; Oliver Harvey (2004). Who ate all the pies? The life and times of Mick Quinn. Virgin Books. ISBN 0-7535-0803-6.
- Pye, Steven (2017-08-23). "The best debut in English football? Micky Quinn's four-goal start for Newcastle". The Guardian. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
- "As if the trophy isn't enough, now the Barmy Army wants to keep Warney as well …". Sydney Morning Herald. 2005-09-14.
- "Sutton's roly poly keeper might be in hot water after pitch side stunt". 21 February 2017.