Accolade for veteran referee

THE contribution of a local referee has been recognised by the Football Association with a prestigious award.Well-known local official Keith Greensides was presented with the FA's 40-year Continuous Referee Service Award at the October meeting of Great Yarmouth Referees' Association at Legends Lounge Bar.

THE contribution of a local referee has been recognised by the Football Association with a prestigious award.

Well-known local official Keith Greensides was presented with the FA's 40-year Continuous Referee Service Award at the October meeting of Great Yarmouth Referees' Association at Legends Lounge Bar. The award was presented on behalf of the FA by Shaun Turner, chief executive of Norfolk FA.

Keith first registered in the 1963/64 season and his first game was Martham Reserves v Halvergate Reserves in the Great Yarmouth League.

He progressed via local football to the Eastern Counties League (now the Ridgeons League), initially as an assistant referee - in those days they were still called linesmen - and was then promoted to the referees' list of that league.

Then in 1970 he was appointed as an assistant referee on the Football Combination, the league for the reserve teams of the professional clubs - visiting grounds like Highbury, White Hart Lane, Stamford Bridge, Upton Park and Portman Road as well as Carrow Road.

When, due to age, he was removed from that list, he decided to return to local grassroots football, something that most referees who reach the higher levels of the game decline to do.

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He has remained at that level ever since and has since gone on to officiate in excess of 2,500 games.

It is a remarkable achievement, especially considering he celebrated his 70th birthday this year and still actively referees.

Keith has officiated in six County Cup finals in his time as a referee, but his contribution has not been just on the pitch.

For several years now, Keith has been Norfolk FA's Referee Appointments Secretary for the Great Yarmouth & District League and the North-East Norfolk League and for all Norfolk FA's Saturday County Cup competitions.

For the last four years, he has also co-ordinated Norfolk FA's team of referee assessors by appointing them to assess various referees seeking promotion or help in their performance.