Soccer Fan Joins Game as Replacement Referee

There was a bizarre scene during the Saturday match between Norwich City and Preston North End at Carrow Road, where a fan was pulled from the stands to work as a replacement referee.


The confusion started when a linesman was injured and needed to be replaced by the fourth official. However, there was no replacement for him, reports The Telegraph. At first, referee Tim Robinson thought about just ending the game at that point, telling players to leave the field.

However, Robinson instead decided to pull David "Spud" Thornhill from the stands to act as the fourth official. Thornhill was told to take off his shirt and wear the fourth official's black jacket. But he was still wearing jeans, which made for a weird scene.

After a 10-minute delay, the game resumed, with Thornhill holding up a sign to announce that 10 minutes were added to the game clock. The game ended with a 1-1 draw.

According to the Norwich Evening News, Thornhill is a qualified referee who works local games. He is also a die-hard Norwich City fan, with his home decorated with memorabilia. He was even featured in an April Norfolk Now report as "Superfan Spud."

Fans watching the game in England were in disbelief. "This is amazing," one fan wrote.


Another fan wondered how Thornhill could be impartial.


And others just thought the site of a referee wearing jeans was hilarious.


Photo: David "Spud" Thornhill/Twitter