Referee explains orange tabbard

BIRTLEY-based referee Barry Gordon took to wearing an orange tabard during the course of Ashington’s Ebac Northern League first division derby at home to Whitley Bay on Saturday.

The clash at Woodhorn Lane had attracted an attendance of 328 but Mr Gordon mystified supporters 15 minutes into the first half when he called for a tabard.

After the game, the 41-year-old official said : “There were two reasons for wearing a tabard – the first was that two Ashington players passed the ball to me then shortly afterwards one of the Whitley Bay players came in to tackle me.

“With the sun dropping and players being off-sighted, one from each side asked if I could change into a different coloured top, but I’m not allowed to do that.

“For self preservation, I reckoned I needed to do something so for the first time in my ten-year career I opted to wear a tabard.”

Whitley Bay secretary Derek Breakwell, who works for the Northumberland Football Association, said: “Referees at this level are not allowed to change their tops and have got to wear black, but at the end of the day common sense prevailed in this situation.”