Ashington born Premiership official Michael Oliver ticked another box on Sunday as he refereed the FA Community Shield game at Wembley as Arsenal beat Manchester City 3-0.
The appointment of the 29-year-old – for what is the showcase curtain raiser and prelude to the new campaign – was acknowledged by his parents Clive and Deb, who travelled down to watch their son on the hallowed turf.
But Clive also revealed that the chartered progress made by Michael – who four years ago created history when he became the youngest ever to referee a match in the top flight of English football – is now widely acclaimed by the public at large.
“Deb and myself are very proud of Michael,” said Clive.
“And the area are proud of him too, even people who do not know him.
“We are naturally thrilled with the way things have panned out for him.
“He has been well managed by the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) and the Football Association, and the Community Shield is a prestigious game in the football calendar.”
Oliver began refereeing junior football at the age of 14 before progressing into the adult game two years later in the Morpeth Sunday League.
“Michael is no longer classed as a young referee,” added Clive.
“He is now a respected and trusted match official at the top level.”
Sunday’s clash represented the start of a busy week for Oliver junior, who was involved as an assistant referee at the UEFA Super Cup clash between Real Madrid CF v Sevilla FC at Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday.
He was then due to fly out to Geneva for a UEFA talents group meeting before jetting back in time for the start of the Premiership season this weekend.
Amidst all that, Clive added: “Michael never forgets the grass level roots of the game.
“Only recently he refereed games involving Whitley Bay against Gateshead and St Mirren and then Bedlington against Seaton Delaval.”