World pie-eating competition sets new record

Britain’s annual raspberry to slimming gurus and lettuce-based diets drew gasps as the record for demolishing a saucer-sized meat pie was demolished by an awesome 12 seconds.

Crumbs flew yesterday in the traditional setting of Harry’s Bar, opposite Wigan’s most popular multi-storey car park, as a middle-aged civil servant stormed to victory over the biggest bunch of rivals yet fielded.

Neil Collier, 42, took only 23.91 seconds to down the steaming slab of carbohydrate and snatch the coveted title of world pie-eating champion from 37-year-old Barry Rigby.

“He just seemed to open his throat and down it went,” said organiser Tony Callaghan, whose antics have boosted Northern pastry, meat and gravy for 19 years. “He’s from Bolton, mind, which is a crying shame for a Wiganer to have to say, but he’s certainly learned how to eat pies somewhere. Probably in Wigan…”

Next year’s championship is already heading for a place in history through the probable introduction of fifth and sixth officials, ahead of the international football authorities. Coining a new word, just to add to his satisfactory day at Harry’s, which he owns and runs, Callaghan said: “We intend to be particularly scrutineerinous of both competitors and pie meat. Adlington maybe, but our pies will only ever be sourced from the finest herds of beef-yielding cows that graze the majestic plains of the north-west of England.”

The previous record was 35.86 seconds, and other landmarks have included the brief and immediately discontinued use of vegetarian pies in 2007.

Fans of proper football worldwide will rejoice in the continuing saga of this aspect of food culture central to enjoyment of our favorite sport.