Pies and football go together hand in hand, but football is big business these days. This means that many clubs go down the route of using one of a handful of big pie manufacturers to fulfil their catering services, which does mean that football pies can be a touch overpriced and generic at many places.
One football club that has bucked that trend for a long time is Morecambe Football Club. As I understand it, stewardship of the all important job of baking the pies has changed hands a few times over they years, but they have always been bloody good.
Originally it was a local baker called Potts Pies (read more about them in Life of Pies) before Morecambe’s long standing chef, Graham Aimson brought them in house, winning awards year after year for his efforts.
Graham has moved on but his recipes remain and I went up there on Tuesday 18th January, to find out whether the pies were as good as ever. The night didn’t get off to the best of starts, after I turned up fifteen minutes before kick off (early for once, to ensure I snared a pie) only to find that the turnstile wouldn’t accept my ticket, and I found myself stood outside with a slightly disgruntled mob of 100 or so Wiganers for half an hour, all of whom supposedly had “already had their ticket used”.
Eventually, a good 10-15 minutes after the game kicked off, they marched us onto an already crowded terrace, no wiser as to what the reason was. Of course, rather than actually watch the game, I headed straight to the food bar. A lightning quick order of their signature Chicken, Ham and Leek Pie was placed, no peas, no gravy (though I think this was available) just a pie.
In yet another slight malfunction, I was given a meat and potato pie instead, and therefore overcharged by 50p. I recognised this on sight, the dots give it away. Nevertheless, I took the opportunity to take a peek inside and have a nibble, before handing it back and getting their mistake rectified. They didn’t tell me to keep it, mind you!!
A lesser man than myself could take all this personally but I’m a pie professional and there was only one question on my lips before tucking in: were the pies as good as ever? And I am pleased to report that they are. It should come as no surprise really, as they won quite a few awards at the last Pie Awards that I was judging at.
They differ from your standard football pies predominantly because they have huge chunks of real meat in there, but there’s also the addition of a bit of sauce to keep things moist.
The sight of hefty pieces of shiny white chicken breast and squares of ham make the pie stand out, it almost looks healthy!. It certainly elevates it from being a football pie to something you would pay good money for in a pub or a restaurant as part of a sit down meal.
I didn’t detect as many slithers of leek, or creamy sauce as I did with previous purchases, but I put this down to the difference between taking a pie home and cooking it, and buying it at a football match where it has been left to cool, and you have to eat it quickly whilst stood up. The flavours were still remarkably fresh though.
I started off with a fork but managed to eat the second half with my hands. Perhaps the photos don’t fully do it justice, but I guess another distinction with buying one at the match versus taking one home, is that I wasn’t in a position to find much time or space to set up a decent piccy, and I would certainly not be allowed to take a knife in. I mean, I was barely allowed in the ground anyway!
Whoops sorry, I don’t bear grudges, this was, as ever, one of the best pies I have had at a football match or elsewhere and it is great to see Morecambe Football Club continuing to pull out all stops for football fans. If I had my way, every football club would be forced to use a local supplier and put a regional twist on their pie offerings, but then I arguably care about pies and beer than football anyway. Life’s holy trinity, you could call it….
In addition to the Chicken, Ham and Leek Pie and Meat and Potato Pie (again, exceptional, from the bits I managed to nibble at), Morecambe also do a delicious vegetarian pie (Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Vegetable Pie) that a mate of mine described as “the best pie he has ever had”.
The match? Well, we won 2-1, away win.
Yet if we were lining up the club’s pies, in a “pie off” however, I suspect it would be a very different result….
Review date: 18th January 2022
Price: £4.00 for a Chicken, Ham and Leek Pie
Address: Christie Way, Westgate, Morecambe LA4 4TB
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