Referee flees as footballer drives van on to pitch

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The Independent Online
A football referee was forced to dive for cover after a player he had just sent off drove a van on to the pitch.

Players from the opposing team had to surround the referee, Wayne Kirkham, and escort him to the dressing room.

The player has been suspended from the Nottinghamshire Combination League and the team he plays for, the Old Rose pub, may be expelled. 'I just dived for my life,' Mr Kirkham said yesterday.

The incident happened during a third division match in Basford, Nottingham. The game, during which three players were sent off, had just two minutes left when the player was dismissed. But he refused to leave the field and had to be escorted to the touchline by team-mates.

Mr Kirkham said: 'The next thing I heard was a woman shouting 'Wayne, watch out]'. I turned round and saw this van hurtling towards me.

'When I got up from the ground I saw his team-mates had run off and I shouted to the opposition team to leave the field as quickly as they could.'

Mr Kirkham reported the incident to Nottingham police. A spokeswoman said no one had been arrested. Terry Annable, secretary of Nottinghamshire FA, said the player had been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing.

A Sunday morning footballer was jailed for three years after he waited outside the opposition dressing room armed with a machete and a loaded gun, the Old Bailey judge heard yesterday.

Owen Marriott, 31, walked off at half time after a player from the other team threatened to kill him, said Simon Wild, for the prosecution. When he returned the match was over and the two teams were in the dressing room, but Marriott stood outside brandishing the gun and machete.

A match spectator saw him and dialled 999 on his mobile phone. At the time of the offence Marriott, of Brixton, south London, who pleaded guilty to firearms offences, was on licence from a six- year sentence for armed robbery.