Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Hollands Pies and Manchester City - A marriage made in heaven?

A letter sent this morning to Leanne Holcroft. Brand Manager at Hollands Pies, in response to a grave situation at my beloved Manchester City.


Like any right minded pie fan, I was delighted to hear that Hollands have now become the pie purveyor of choice at my beloved Manchester City. I am originally a Rossendale lad and therefore approx 50% of my diet growing up, came from your Baxenden factory. In fact Leanne, the conundrum in our house was not whether to have a pie every day but which flavour to have.

I have also been a Manchester City season ticket holder for over 25 years and have always felt that putting the two things together would be a marriage made in heaven. It appears that all my dreams have now come true........


There is one very big cloud on the horizon though and I thought it best to give you early notice as to a very grave situation that will inevitably develop. You see, the pie vacuum created by the absence of Hollands Pies at Manchester City has been filled for many years by a very worthy substitute - the Chicken Balti Pie. The version that has been sold at Manchester City has seen us through several crises, umpteen managers, some very sorry relegations and some very worthy promotions. It has become somewhat of a pie-celebre and a Manchester institution. The Chicken Balti Pie and its natural bed fellow the packet of Rennie has been a staple part of the Matchday experience and for some, like me has become almost a reason for going to watch City in itself. (less so now there is decent football to watch but under Alan Ball, I almost cancelled my season ticket until I thought about the pie related consequences)

Therefore, when I heard that Hollands had been appointed as Official Pie makers to Gods own football team I was at first delighted, naturally. However, my delight Leanne was peppered with concern. What about the Chicken Balti pies Leanne? What would happen to our preferred pie? It began to claw away at me and in truth put me off this years transfer window. It's all well and good signing £100m+ worth of football talent but if it meant doing without a Chicken Balti pie then is it worth it Leanne?

In an effort to ease my rising panic, I logged onto your website to seek some re-assurance and lo and behold, amongst your stadia pies (including the extraordinary football emblazoned meat and potato pie) was a version of the Chicken Balti pie. I attended the pre-season friendly against Celtic with a slight spring in my step, my concern having dissipated and it felt like the clouds had parted and the sun was shining. Well actually the clouds had parted and the sun was shining both actually and metaphorically.

Anyway Leanne, I'll cut to the chase. I raced to the concourse and cut a swathe through the queues to obtain one of your comparison Chicken Balti pies. I bit into my savoury delight only to find something terribly amiss. It appeared that somebody had mistakenly placed a sultana in my pie. I removed the said item from my mouth and took another bite. Another one! Now, everyone likes sultanas Leanne, but not in a savoury pie. Worse, the pie was flaccid and distinctly lacking in spice and heat. For the first time in my life, I failed to finish a Hollands Pie.

Now, happily I can pick one of your other pies for the time being. I've tried the new Peppered steak variety and indeed they are a pie of innovation and beauty. The meat pie, Cheese and Onion Pie and even the humble Meat and Potato pie are solid dependable pies that will never let you down. However, not every City fan is as forgiving as me Leanne and there will inevitably be an outcry and howls of protest from the Chicken Balti faithful. I fear for your reputation and I think you must act with haste to fend this one off.

Fortunately Leanne, I'm not just bringing you problems, I'm bringing you solutions. My strong reccomendation is that you immediately acquire the manufacturer of the previous Balti pie. They did other kinds too but forget about them, just swap their Balti pie for yours. If you act quickly Leanne, nobody will notice and the rumour that your Chicken Balti has sultanas in will be go down as another urban myth. I mean seriously, who would believe that anyway?

I know that times are tight and buying companies in the current climate is no simple task. If you are struggling with the business case then ask the good Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan to help out. I understand he is partial to the odd pie himself and god forbid he finds a sultana in one. I'm sure he will be only too pleased to help you with your pie acquisition project as he wants every little detail of his football club to be perfect, even pie wise.

I thought I'd better flag this with you Leanne. My advice comes free and if you need any more feedback, you simply must let me know.

Thanks & Best Regards



  1. Awesome... Laughed my socks off at this clearly 'very serious issue' for all Man-City and Chicken Balti pie fan everywhere..

  2. Sultana's?! in a pie? are you mad?

  3. fabulous... did you get a reply?

  4. Yes, I was sent a batch loop of prototype pies which became the Balti MkII pie on sale today. I also went on radio Manchester to discuss the issue with the sales director of Hollands. It was a pyrrhic victory though, I put weight on and had chronic heartburn.