Albert Eadon, who has died at 88, refereed in the Scarborough and District football leagues for nearly half a century and was still officiating at grassroots matches well into his 80s.
He had started in the Sunday League when it was formed in 1969 initially in Sheffield, before moving to the coast after some 20 years.
It kept him fit, he said, although he admitted to “wondering what I’m doing” when the temperature dropped and the rain came down.
He also lamented the attitude of some players towards the man in the middle.
“There is supposed to be a Respect campaign at the moment but a lot of the players these days don’t know the meaning of the word,” he said.
“There is no respect for referees – none at all.”
But he acknowledged that the standard of refereeing itself was not what it was.
“Too many referees have never actually played the game and how can you understand how to referee if you have never played football?” he mused.
“When I started refereeing you had to take a two-week course and then spend two weeks as a linesman and that helped you to learn what you were doing. Nowadays, I think it only takes a week to qualify as a referee.”
Nevertheless, the Sunday League stopped for a minute in his memory last weekend.
He had been recognised earlier, with an invitation to a garden party at Buckingham Palace.
He eventually blew his last whistle at 84 and was made a vice president of the Scarborough Saturday League. It put out a statement calling him “a gentleman”, and added: “There will be very few who won’t have a memory of him refereeing their games, whether they agreed with his decisions or not.”