Britain’s oldest referee has no plans to blow full-time on his hobby – at the grand age of 89.
Sprightly Frank Foster has took charge of more than 5,000 games in a career spanning more than 40 years.
He started refereeing in November 1980 and still officiates men’s, women’s and children’s footie games three times a week for the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA.
And he expects to carry on dishing out red and yellow cards into his 90s as he ‘just loves being a ref’.
Great-grandad-of-three Frank said: ‘I just love it. Whether it’s girl’s football, women’s, boy’s or men’s football – I’m the same.
‘I just love football but you’ve got to play it to the rules so no diving. I like seeing that people play to the rules and that there’s no dissent.
‘I don’t accept any trouble, even from spectators. I make them understand the word of respect.
‘When I talk to the players before the match starts, I tell them to play to the whistle and all that jazz.
‘I tell them to not get into any altercations and tell them that I’ll sort it all out because if you retaliate, then it’s even worse.’
Frank played football with Bamford FC but had to stop in the early 1950s when he injured his knee.
He then decided to take up coaching and refereeing, and passed his referee exam in 1980, scoring 98%.
In his 40 year career, he’s refereed for thousands of players over the years, including England player Tony Currie who he said ‘wanted the ball at his feet.’
Frank, of Sheffield, South Yorks,. said: ‘I referred a team some years ago and they played a match where Tony Currie was playing.
‘I didn’t have to give him a red card or anything.
‘But if the ball was in front of him then he wouldn’t run for it, he just wanted the ball at his feet from what I can remember.
‘I can’t remember their names now but I once refereed Chesterfield’s centre forward and Barnsley’s goalkeeper some years ago.’
Frank refereeing under 7s during their football game at Goodwin Sports Centre in Sheffield (Picture: SWNS)
The Sheffield United fan is believed to be the oldest referee in the UK and he said that people sometimes comment on his age after matches.
Frank said: ‘There’s been times when I’m leaving the field and someone will come up to me and ask how old I am.
‘I ask them how old they think I am, they might say 67 but I’ll always say spot on.
‘I don’t even think about my age and I’ll be a referee until I can’t keep up with them.
Partnerships are often formed between individuals, agencies or organisations with a shared interest to address specific issues. Our evidence reveals that our members young and old often require mental, emotional, financial, medical help, support and guidance. The Referees’ Association champion the work of those agencies that provide this support in times of need. Should you require support please contact the relevant agency below or the RA Head Office.
Join the Referees Association
The National RA recommends that prospective members should join through their local LRA, the easiest way being to attend one of the many local association meetings that take place across the country on a regular (usually monthly) basis. Find your nearest branch now.
Alternatively, online membership is now available for any referee who wishes to take up central membership. The National RA will then allocate you a local branch. Join now.