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From Tigers commentary box to the touchline for unlikely hero Matt

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 11, 2013

call of duty:   Gloucester City fan Matt Yates running the line during the Tigers match with Bradford Park Avenue

call of duty: Gloucester City fan Matt Yates running the line during the Tigers match with Bradford Park Avenue

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ASK any football fan whether they can do a better job than the match officials and you would normally get a fairly firm answer in the affirmative.

Gloucester City fan Matt Yates got his chance to do exactly that on Saturday afternoon when he was called into emergency action as an assistant referee during the Tigers win over Bradford Park Avenue.

With the score locked at 0-0, an announcement came over the public address at half-time that a new official was needed after the referee pulled up with a hamstring problem.

And while at first Yates didn't answer the call as he was concentrating on his duties as the club webstite's matchday commentator, the situation soon became desperate.

"I was doing match commentary as normal and heard an announcement at half-time that they needed a match official," Yates said.

"I had done a bit of refereeing a few years ago but hadn't done anything in a while so didn't think anything of it.

"But when Ade Tandy from the club came over to me and asked whether I would because the game may be called off I jumped at the chance – it was a brilliant thing to do.

"It has been two or three years since I had officiated in a game – I used to referee Gloucester City ladies.

"I had my boots in my car because I had played football the night before and the assistant had some spare kit which I put on."

The 20-year-old took to the pitch to some chanting from his friends on the home terraces and proceeded to run the line and rule on offside decisions in the half City were defending.

And having completed his duties – fairly and professionally – he got a glowing reference from the full-time official at the end of the game which City won 1-0.

"I got a bit of a reaction from the Gloucester fans who were singing my name and I don't think that the Bradford fans knew what was going on," he said.

"I was running the line that Gloucester were defending and I knew that I had to be as professional and fair as I could.

"And the referee said that I had done quite well after the game, that I had kept up with play well and should get back to doing it again.

"But I'll carry on doing the commentary – I will get less abuse doing that. But I will probably give the referees and linesman a bit of an easier ride."

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