The Newcastle United v Wigan Athletic game at the St. James` Park this Saturday will be officiated by 49 year old referee Mark Halsey who has only recently returned to action, the Lancashire official missed almost all of last season when he was diagnosed with lymphoma of the glands and had surgery to have a tumour removed from his throat.
The former Barnet and Cambridge City goalkeeper underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy following the surgery and felt at the time that he`d never get back to refereeing, there is a good interview with Halsey in the Daily Mirror and he tells his own story much better I than ever could.
The Bolton based ref is now in remission and he returned to Football League action at the back end of last season when he took charge of the Rotherham v Port Vale game at the Don Valley Stadium in April, speaking after that game to BBC local radio Halsey said about returning:
‘It’s something I’ll never forget’
‘It was very overwhelming, I was crying. It was great to be back and the players were fantastic.’
‘Obviously those who’ve been through chemotherapy and radiotherapy know what it’s like to put poison into your body in the way that I’ve had to for four or five months.
‘I never thought I’d get back, especially when I failed a fitness test in February.
‘And like the fans today with their applause, the ordinary supporters have been fantastic with me and inspired me to get back to this level.’
‘It was great to be out there, to have the players and managers moaning at me’
‘I thought ‘welcome back Mark, some things never change’ and to show no yellow cards is fantastic, I’m very happy.’
Halsey returned to Premier League action when he took charge of the Latics v Blackpool game on the first day of the current season, we don`t need reminding of the result or scoreline, enough to say Saturdays opponents Newcastle suffered a similar fate when they played the Seasiders.
So Mark Halsey will be at St. James` Park this Saturday and he is certainly his own man as this snippet of an interview from refworld.com proves:
Who has been the biggest influence in your career and why?
No body has influenced my career I have just been myself and not copied anybody.
In your opinion who is/was the best referee?
In my opinion I don’t watch and rate other referees I just love football. Its all about the game of football not referees.
Fantastic responses and if only all ref`s had the same ethos
Games – 6, yellow cards – 13, reds – 0
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