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Why is Shrewsbury vs Bristol Rovers known as the 'Weetabix derby'?

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

Fans celebrate the Weetabix derby
Fans celebrate the Weetabix derby

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.

Today brings back another 'Weetabix derby'.

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.

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