REDSQUARE columnist Harry Pearson

The pie had thick pastry and the blow left him dazed and with gravy in his hair [Admittedly this was not the first time a Saturday out had ended with him in that state].

As he remarked afterwards it was painful and humiliating experience, "But it could have been worse - they could have made me eat it".

Anyone who experienced football catering back in the Eighties would have said 'Amen' to that. The Government made a whole lot of fuss about hooliganism, but by far the most dangerous thing you ever encountered at a football ground in those days was the tea hutch.

Back then the traditional football pie (so named because they are made out of old boots or "casies" - what you think is gristle is actually the laces) was acknowledged to be one of the most lethal substances on earth. The mere stench that emerged when the reinforced crust cracks was enough to kill a canary.

It was rumoured that South American Indians used the gravy to coat the tips of their arrows when hunting capybaras. The pastry, meanwhile, was a virulent, dense grey mass, as resistant to cooking as asbestos, which caused the sort of ingestion that makes the scene in Alien when the creature bursts out through John Hurt's chest look like an advert for Rennies.

At one time British secret agents had a miniature football pie concealed in a tooth when they went into enemy territory, and the instructions to swallow it if they were captured. It was a fine plan, but one that foundered on the fact that even James Bond can't swallow his own teeth.

By far the worst pie I ever encountered was at the Manor Ground in Oxford, where the catering staff had bunged them in the oven frozen, so that they were boiling hot on the outside and frozen in the middle, like some kind of savoury baked Alaska, though not much like one. 

The only things more terrifying than the pies were the burgers. Even starving feral dogs scurried away yelping when they scented them. In Siberia, nailing an English football burger to your front door was considered the only way to ward off marauding bears. In Spain, parents terrify naughty children by threatening them with "Los burgos terrazza Inglese".

Luckily in the mid-Nineties the UN successfully had both traditional pies and burgers banned under the Geneva Convention. So you are safe now. Unless someone throws one, obviously.

*This article first appeared in Boro's award-winning matchday programme REDSQUARE.