A Norwich fan who was featured in the club’s match programme had to step in to ensure their game with Preston North End could be completed, writes Stephen Barry.
The Carrow Road fixture was thrown into doubt when the linesman suffered a hamstring injury. While he could be replaced by fourth official Andy Davies, referee Tim Robinson hadn’t anyone at hand to deputise for Davies.
With Robinson considering taking the players off the field, it was then that Norwich fan David ‘Spud’ Thornhill stepped in.
Amid the confusion, the local referee made himself known, was asked to take his top off (presumably due to the Norwich colours) and wear only a jacket in the cold conditions.
Chaos at Norwich...November 25, 2017
He was taught how to use the board and his first duty was to signal 10 minutes of stoppage time.
Norwich vs Preston:
🚑 Linesman Injured
🔄 4th Official Replaces Him
🤔 No 4th Official Available
👀 Look Into The Crowd
😂 @Spud1902 Made 4th Official
✅ Already In Match Programme
👏 Carries Out 4th Official Duty
Unbelievable Jeff! 😂👏 pic.twitter.com/p8Gyc12bM2— SPORF (@Sporf) November 25, 2017
Right. So we've got a local qualified referee about to get changed to operate as the fourth official for the closing stages it seems! #ncfc
Always bring your boots, eh?
NCFC 1-1 PNE (88)— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) November 25, 2017
Lino injured at #Norwich, off down the tunnel. Norwich fan fourth official for the remainder of the match. Was topless so had to put on a coat.— James Lynch (@FRfootballJames) November 25, 2017
Local ref who stood in as 4th official at Norwich v Preston game is David 'Spud' Thornhill who also, by chance, appeared in today's match programme as fan feature. #bbcfootball pic.twitter.com/445QUfOllh— Marc Webber (@marcwebber) November 25, 2017
Incredible scenes at Carrow Road. The linesman has pulled up injured so a Norwich fan known as “Spud”, wearing jeans, is the new fourth official!— Peter Saull (@petesaull) November 25, 2017
Caption competition!November 25, 2017
It ended 1-1, although Corkman Alan Browne came oh, so close to helping PNE to a spectacular victory.