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Keith Hackett’s Column

Keith Hackett

In 1960 I stepped onto a school football field at Cadman Road, Intake to referee my first game of football between Sheffield United Juniors v Hillsborough Boys Club.
Little did I think that it was a start to a career that would take me on a fascinating journey officiating in many of the great stadiums around the world,

Over the next few weeks in my Column I highlight some of the following experiences:

  • Wembley in 1981 to referee the 100th FA Cup final and having such a close up view of Spurs Ricky Villa dribbling around five players and scoring one of the great Wembley Final goals.
  • Azteca Stadium in Mexico City in front of 120,000 spectators.
  • Seoul Olympics in 1988 taking control of Brazil v West Germany.
  • Dusseldorf in 1988 officiating the opening game of Euro 88 West Germany v Italy.
  • Wembley in 1988 taking charge of the Football League centenary game where Maradona made an appearance.
  • Charity Shield Everton v Liverpool, League Cup Final QPR V Oxford United, 30 games officiating as guest referee on the North American Soccer League.
  • 1981-1991 I was a FIFA International referee and this together with my later role of Referee Ambassador for the Premier League resulted in me visiting over 100 countries.
  • Meeting Lech Walesa prior to him becoming the President of Poland and other famous people and athletes.
  • Officiating a game between West Berlin v Chemnitzer on unification night and watching the wall been knocked down.
  • Walking across Check Point Charlie on my way to Referee East Germany v Switzerland.
  • New Zealand v Australia World Cup qualifier at Eden Park, Auckland.
  • The players I have officiated, Best, Dalgleish, Carlos Alberto. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Platini and many more.
  • Former players Sir Stanley Matthews, Tom Finney, Nat Lofthouse and of course Managers Clough, Shankly. Paisley, Robson, Revie, Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson to name a few.

My Grassroots involvement

Throughout my active refereeing career at the professional level I continued to referee at grassroots level including visiting Penistone Church to officiate games,
My first visit to Penistone was very early in my career and with no car I caught the train to Penistone arriving around 10am. When I arrived at the ground there was a guy pushing a white line marker machine over the muddy pitch. He stopped came over and after stating that I was the referee for the 3pm kick off he announced, I am Arthur Lee the club secretary, welcome I will get you a cup of tea.

That day I ended up refereeing two games after a referee had failed to turn up, and Arthur kindly gave a great boost to my career by writing a lovely letter to the County FA Secretary Ernest Kangley.
Some months later I was invited to referee Purdie Cup games around the area.
So, when Dave Hampshire and the Committee invited me to be Club President it was a huge honour and I did not hesitate to say yes.

That is it for my introduction and I am a proud Director of Keys to Football so please keep checking our website and social media posts for up to date opinions upon the latest Football, Refereeing and Coaching issues.

Finally, I will also ask a question on the Laws of the game every time I produce a column.

Question 1:
The referee awards you a free kick and you decide to kick it towards your goalkeeper so he can boot it upfield. However, the goalkeeper slips and misses it completely and the ball ends up in your net.

A. Award a goal.
B. Award a goal kick
C. Award a Corner kick

I will post the answer on our Website


Keith Hackett