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Meet Sutton United's Roly Poly goalie Wayne Shaw

by 16/02/2017 19:01:00 0 comments 1 Views
  • Sutton United's former ice cream man Wayne Shaw is happily in the spotlight 
  • Shaw was sacked by Sutton in December 2013 for butting a visiting supporter
  • But he was re-signed to Paul Doswell's coaching staff and squad a year later
  • 20st stopper has been on the bench for four of Sutton's five FA Cup ties so far 

By Riath Al-Samarrai for the Daily Mail

Published: 17:30 EST, 16 February 2017 | Updated: 19:01 EST, 16 February 2017

The biggest man at the smallest club in the FA Cup is letting out a belly laugh. It gets louder and louder as he reclines on the office sofa that doubles as his bed. Turns out he has been made an offer.

'A publication asked if they can photograph me naked,' says the big man. 'Like, everything off, except a pair of goalie gloves, apparently. They said they'll position me in a way that covers me up, if you know what I mean.

'Not sure what I'll say to them. It's definitely the strangest thing that's happened to me in all this.'

Sutton United goalkeeper Wayne Shaw has become one of the faces of the FA Cup adventure Sutton United goalkeeper Wayne Shaw has become one of the faces of the FA Cup adventure

Sutton United goalkeeper Wayne Shaw has become one of the faces of the FA Cup adventure

Former ice cream man Shaw has not played a single minute of the side's run to the fifth round  Former ice cream man Shaw has not played a single minute of the side's run to the fifth round 

Former ice cream man Shaw has not played a single minute of the side's run to the fifth round 

The big man is Wayne Shaw, Sutton United's substitute goalkeeper, goalkeeping coach and tackler of multiple other odd-jobs in between, from caretaker of their plastic pitch to live-in community liaison officer.

The thing is, he has not played a minute in his club's wonderful run to the fifth round of the FA Cup and is highly unlikely to change that against Arsenal on Monday. But by virtue of the television cameras in the past two rounds, this 46-year-old has inadvertently become one of the faces of a great Cup adventure.

He is the former ice cream man who has gone on to feature in news bulletins from Argentina to Hungary; a 20st stopper labelled the roly poly goalie by others and sometimes by himself as well. It can sound unkind, except he says it isn't.

'My father-in-law thinks people are taking the mickey, but it's all a laugh,' says Shaw. 'If it gets Sutton a bit more attention, then great. The club deserve any attention they get, however it comes.

The 20st stopper is happy to be called the 'roly poly goalie' if it means Sutton getting attention The 20st stopper is happy to be called the 'roly poly goalie' if it means Sutton getting attention

The 20st stopper is happy to be called the 'roly poly goalie' if it means Sutton getting attention

Shaw has a role as a player but he is much more than  a goalkeeper for the National League side Shaw has a role as a player but he is much more than  a goalkeeper for the National League side

Shaw has a role as a player but he is much more than a goalkeeper for the National League side

 I gave up being an ice cream man so I could just work here

'Me? I've done nothing but sit there and be myself. Turns out I'm a big guy who people seem to want to look at.

'It wouldn't be the FA Cup if it wasn't for the unusual stories and Sutton is a great, unusual story with lovely people.'

Shaw is one of those delightful people with an amusing tale to tell after three decades in football.

'I wasn't meant to be a goalkeeper,' he says. 'I was a striker on associate schoolboy forms at Southampton. I remember going to a tournament in Sweden with Alan Shearer in our team.

Shaw is also caretaker of Sutton's plastic pitch as well as the live-in community liaison officer Shaw is also caretaker of Sutton's plastic pitch as well as the live-in community liaison officer

Shaw is also caretaker of Sutton's plastic pitch as well as the live-in community liaison officer

'Three months later he was in the first team and scored a hat-trick on his debut — decent player now I think of it.

'I left for an apprenticeship at Reading and then joined Basingstoke before going on loan to Bashley. One day they had a goalkeeping dilemma and the manager said I had to buy a pair of gloves. We beat Salisbury 1-0 and I've been in goal ever since.'

For 20 years or more Shaw has worked his way around non-league football, a well-regarded goalkeeper and predictable source of attention at Sutton, Gosport, Eastleigh, Totton and several others.

'People tend to look at me and think they are in for a good game,' he says. 'They aren't so happy when this 20st juggernaut charges up from behind them to get a high ball! 

Shaw has enjoyed three decades in football but he was originally a striker as a scholboy Shaw has enjoyed three decades in football but he was originally a striker as a scholboy

Shaw has enjoyed three decades in football but he was originally a striker as a scholboy

'I did actually take someone out once by accident and it wasn't pretty. It was a game at Fleet Town and the ball has come over the top and I cleaned out the striker as he came through, full body contact. Not intentional, but he is lying there sparked out. I had to pretend to be injured to avoid a red card.

'I obviously get banter from the fans as well. Usually it is good natured but sometimes less so.'

In December 2013, when he was warming up before a Sutton match against Kingstonian, a visiting supporter made a series of weight jibes. 

Shaw vaulted the hoardings and butted him. He was sacked by the club before being re-signed to Paul Doswell's coaching staff and squad a year later. He's been there ever since.

'I had a bad day at work,' he says. 'Usually it's good fun and banter but sometimes it gets too personal.'

Shaw showed his sterner side too when he headbutted a Kingstonian fan in December 2013 Shaw showed his sterner side too when he headbutted a Kingstonian fan in December 2013

Shaw showed his sterner side too when he headbutted a Kingstonian fan in December 2013

Shaw has worked his way around non-league football at Sutton, Gosport, Eastleigh and Totton Shaw has worked his way around non-league football at Sutton, Gosport, Eastleigh and Totton

Shaw has worked his way around non-league football at Sutton, Gosport, Eastleigh and Totton

Shaw's football these days is mostly limited to coaching, although he has been on the bench for four of Sutton's five FA Cup ties so far.

His role is diverse. 'Sutton has a 3G pitch, which we lease out to the public all day,' says Shaw. 'I meet the people coming in, make them welcome.

'Then, every 10 hours that the pitch is in use, I go out and sweep it because that's what you have to do to look after an artificial surface.

'I live down in the south so I come up here to the stadium to work Monday to Wednesday and then train on Thursday before going back home.

'I have to turn off the floodlights each night at about 10pm so I sleep here on the couch on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Not sure if that's the case for the Arsenal boys — I'll ask them.

Shaw predominantly coaches but has been on the bench for four of Sutton's FA Cup ties so far Shaw predominantly coaches but has been on the bench for four of Sutton's FA Cup ties so far

Shaw predominantly coaches but has been on the bench for four of Sutton's FA Cup ties so far

'I love it here. I used to work for my uncle for about 23 years as an ice cream man but stopped not so long ago so I could just work here.

'It's a great club. From the manager to everyone behind the scenes — all genuine.'

It brings the big man to a cracking yarn about Jamie Collins, the team captain who scored the winner against Leeds.

'What a guy,' he says. 'Night before the game, the plan was to meet at 8pm for dinner. JC, though, is hungry and decided to have burger and chips and a couple of pints of Guinness at seven.

'At 8.30pm he is tucking into his pasta and chicken with everyone else and six pints later decided to call it a night. OK then.

The larger-than-life character hopes he has the last laugh come 10pm on Monday night The larger-than-life character hopes he has the last laugh come 10pm on Monday night

The larger-than-life character hopes he has the last laugh come 10pm on Monday night

'Next morning, he is already up at 7.30am having a full fry-up. Then he has a kip before a second full fry-up.

'How does the game go? He scores the winner. Great bloke, great club.'

Shaw is rocking back on the couch again. 'The more he eats the better he gets,' he says. 'I'd like to say it's the same for all of us.'

Arsenal are next on the menu.

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