Shrewsbury Town's clash with Bristol Rovers brings up odd Weetabix ritual

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A number of pre-match routines for footballers up and down the country may be a bowl stacked with three or four Weetabix.

As the old saying goes whenever physical exertion is on the cards – 'I hope you've had your Weetabix'.

While other breakfast dishes are available, surely few have a football match named after them.

Well tomorrow brings about the first 'Weetabix derby' in almost five years, writes Lewis Cox.

The oddly-titled fixture, belonging to Shrewsbury Town and Bristol Rovers, carries some interesting history.

The tale behind it stretches back a couple of decades and has been re-told so many times its very origins have come under question – but most supporters stress the validity is genuine.

A number of exact dates are offered as to the stories' true birth – to pin it down would be a tough task – but the late 1980s-early 1990s seems likely.

A group of hearty Gasheads got together and raised a heap of cash for a Gay Meadow away trip. Once arriving via coach, some £300 remained in the kitty for the Bristolians to enjoy themselves.

So off to the pub they went, where £200 was put behind the bar.


As the gang grew hungry and having discovered the public house offered no grub, one slightly worse for wear visitor was ordered to a local supermarket to acquire some sobering snacks.

The story goes that the supporter returned with £75 worth of Weetabix – accompanied by no milk.

So the following day, when fans and Weetabix arrived at Gay Meadow, the away following noticed a group of birds on the pitch.

Kind-hearted as they are, they lobbed all their snacks towards the birds and the tradition was born as the Meadow penalty area quickly turned brown.


Jamie Padden, a lifelong Rovers fan, said: "I can't remember what the game was or even the exact date – it was late 80s or early 90s – but I do remember the Weetabix.

"It was all very good humoured. Most of it got thrown in the air when the teams came out on the pitch. But I do remember the Shrews goalkeeper being covered in the stuff because at the old ground the fans were very close to the pitch. The Weetabix flew in the wind.

"We always love coming up to Shrewsbury as we get a warm welcome and it is a great town to visit. The Weetabix just adds a bit of fun to the day."

Ever since, supporters have smuggled the cereal into games and began throwing it in each and every direction to mark the occasion.

Town boss Paul Hurst has enough to chew over already going into the clash, where Salop's visitors sit ninth on their return to League One.

His squad is threadbare, but one man he can call on following a return from suspension last week is Abu Ogogo – who knows not to take Rovers lightly.

"They'll be confident," said the Shrews midfielder.

"They're just outside the play-offs and they'll see the position we're in and think they can come here and roll us over. But we won't let that happen."

The combative midfielder returned for last weekend's memorable 1-0 win at Millwall and added: "It was frustrating being on the sides and watching the boys while not being able to help.

"So it was nice to go there, get the win and help get us get another clean sheet."


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