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Referee Brian Savill
"Most referees are ex-players, but I was a goalkeeper, so I never really scored goals"
 real 14k

Thursday, 27 September, 2001, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Referee's sympathy strike
Referees are often depicted as a cold and heartless bunch, but Brian Savill could never be called that.

Savill proved he was all heart when he felt so sorry for a team losing 18-1 in a cup tie that he scored a goal for them.

It was during the Great Bromley Cup first-round tie near Colchester in Essex, that Savill decided to take the law into his own hands, or even feet.

With 10 minutes to go, the 47-year-old slotted home a volley to try to ease the struggling fortunes of Wimpole 2000.

"The ball came over from a corner, the Wimpole forward headed it and it came to me," Savill told BBC Radio Five Live.


I don't know why I did it - it was just an impulse
Brian Savill
"I chested it down, or armed it down, and the ball bounced up and I just volleyed it into the net."

Despite Savill's best efforts, it was not to be Wimpole's day. The scoreline ended up 20-2 to Earls Colne Reserves.

Even now, the referee claims his actions were not pre-planned.

"I don't know why I did it. It was just an impulse," added Savill, a Royal Mail manager.

"I roared up the field cheering, and got to the halfway line with 25-30 people watching, half of them staring in bewilderment and the other half clapping and laughing."

Savill said that one of the Earls Colne players even shook his hand and congratulated him afterwards.

But what else could they do as Savill was the referee?

He even admitted that he "armed" the ball down before taking his shot, but clearly did not penalise himself.

In the end though, it was all taken in the right way by the opposing side.

"It was absolutely wonderful and the game was played in the right spirit," said Earls Colne president Barry Mortimer.

Wimpole's coach was so impressed that he asked Savill to play the next week, having become the team's joint leading goalscorer.

It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase: "The ref is taking sides."

Links to more Funny Old Game stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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