Football ref ends 32-year career

Arthur Beaney has blown the final whistle on a 32-year career as a football referee and linesman
Arthur Beaney has blown the final whistle on a 32-year career as a football referee and linesman

A well known and well liked football referee and linesman is calling it a day after 32 years.

Arthur Beaney, who will be 67 this year, is retiring from officiating because of a long-term knee problem.

He said: “I love the game so much, but I’ve got to pack it in because I’ve got a knee that needs replacing and I can no longer run properly. I’ve already had two operations on it and I can’t do it any more.”

Beaney, of Sedlescombe Gardens in St Leonards, was a player until the age of 34 with the likes of Seeboard and Sedlescombe. He got into officiating after Pete Mitchell told him he would make a better referee than a footballer.

After passing his two-part exam with marks of 95% and 96%, Beaney’s first game was a Sunday fixture between West Hill and Old England on September 20, 1981.

Having been promoted to class two in 1985/86, he started refereeing in the Sussex County League Reserve Section and was senior linesman for Division One and Division Two matches. Beaney was promoted to class one some five years later.

Throughout the early years of his career Beaney was involved in many local cup finals, and was one of only a few people to referee and line all four Hastings & East Sussex Sunday League cup finals.

Career highlights include running the line in FA Vase and FA Cup matches, plus taking charge of a friendly between the now defunct Stamco and Hastings Town (now United) in which Brian McDermott, Jimmy Gilligan and Steve Gatting all played.

Beaney’s lowest point was being assaulted in a game between Hooe Sports and Hastings Rangers in February 1992, resulting in his one and only abandonment. His only regret is not starting early enough to make the senior list of county referees.

As well as his own officiating, Beaney - whose other passion is horse racing - is trained many other referees. He was also a registered FA referee assessor and a Sussex County referee assessor.

“I had tremendous banter with players because I would talk to players,” said Beaney, who works full time at a commercial vehicle factory in Tunbridge Wells. “I still love it and I just wish my knee was good enough to carry on.”

Beaney’s final game was last November when Battle Baptists II took on Sandhurst II at Claverham Community College, where he only ever refereed twice even though he went to school there and played for the school team.