The candid thoughts of Premier League referee Colin Preece, as recorded by our eavesdropping mole in the Duck and Peasant.
Okay, lads, I have a world exclusive for you tonight. You are the first people outside the referees’ professional body to know that Colin Preece has resigned with immediate effect and will no longer be officiating at the top level.
The reason, Dave? Because I want to live a normal life. Life for a ref is like being a political leader: you’re there to be shot at. And quite frankly I’ve had enough of it. And when it starts to get personal, you know, that’s below the belt. This weekend it seems some sections of the crowd had noticed my fall from grace as reported in the media.
None of their business, no, who I’m having a relationship with, and I’ve got nothing to hide in my relationship with Jody – yes, Baz, Jody, that’s her name. What’s funny? You see, even your own mates. I know there was a Chelsea player called Jody Morris. It’s a unisex name, like Kim. Could be either sex. Anyway, that’s beside the point.
What will I be doing now? Well, going back to my previous occupation, mate. Driving instructor. I went into refereeing because I have a strong sense of right and wrong. I like to see things done properly and people respecting the rules.
Yes, marriage has rules and I know I’ve failed in that respect and I’m sorry. But I’m only flesh and blood, Dave. Just because you’ve seen me standing firm in front of a crowd of 50,000 baying Liverpool fans. It’s not the same thing. That is having the courage of your convictions. But when you’re tripped up by your own weaknesses from inside, almost without noticing, that is entirely different.
Cheers, Gary, glass of sparkling water, please. Because I feel like it. It’s good for you, that’s why. Hydrates you, gets rid of the toxins. Okay, so I’m looking after myself a bit more.
And anyway, look at Tommy Docherty. Got a huge amount of stick when he had an affair with the physio’s wife. But now they’ve been together 30 years or something. It wasn’t just a quick thrill at someone else’s expense. Look at Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton.
No, I’m not comparing myself to great historical figures, I’m just saying these things happen. Destiny. And if I was destined to fall in love with a maths teacher 25 years my junior, who am I to argue? You’ve got to have some humility, Dave. We don’t have all the answers. We are merely pawns in the game of life. Yes, that’s a quote. Mongo in Blazing Saddles, I think.
Okay, we can talk about football if you like. Is it a penalty if the ball hits the guy’s elbow inside the box when he’s facing the other way and knows nothing about it? Technically yes. It hit the defender’s arm and you have to give it. Because there isn’t time to have an episode of Crown Court every time it happens, to establish the guy’s intent. It’s black and white. Hit his arm, penalty. By Christ I’m not going to miss this one bit, you know.