Who Ate All the Pies?

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William "Fatty" Foulke, in whose honour the chant may have originated.

"Who Ate All the Pies?" is a football chant sung by fans in Britain. It is usually sung to the tune of "Knees Up Mother Brown" and is aimed at overweight footballers, officials or other supporters.

Background and origin[edit]

In Britain, fans at football games sometimes eat meat pies before kick-off or at half-time. On occasion there are not enough pies to go round and so any player looking a little overweight gets heckled with the question "Who ate all the pies?"..[citation needed]

According to The Cat's Pyjamas: The Penguin Book of Cliches,[n 1] 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).[1]

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.[2] Also, Foulke weighed 178 pounds (81 kg) in 1894, and according to sportswriters of the time, he was "the lengthy one" or "the octopus", and the weight gain came later.[3]

The lyrics[edit]

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[edit]

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.[4][5] 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?"[6]

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.[7]

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.[8]

The chant has been associated with the striker Micky Quinn, who played for six football clubs in the 1980s and 1990s.[9] 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.[10]

During cricket matches, the chant is known to have been directed at players such as Shane Warne, by spectators belonging to the Barmy Army.[11]


  1. ^ Evans, Rebecca (2007-09-11). "Football legend inspired pie chant". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  2. ^ James Hilton (1941) Random Harvest
  3. ^ Phythian, Graham (2005). Colossus: The True Story of William Foulke. Tempus. p. 26. ISBN 0-7524-3274-5. 
  4. ^ 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 2014-11-15. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ Brown, Roy "Chubby". ""Who Ate All the Pies" video". Retrieved 2014-03-19. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ "Hitting the Headlines". Vegetarian Society. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  9. ^ Mick, Quinn; Oliver Harvey (2004). Who ate all the pies? The life and times of Mick Quinn. Virgin Books. ISBN 0-7535-0803-6. 
  10. ^ Interview with Micky Quinn - Thesun.co.uk
  11. ^ "As if the trophy isn't enough, now the Barmy Army wants to keep Warney as well …". Sydney Morning Herald. 2005-09-14.