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John Treleven

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Roger Kirkpatrick - Obituary
« on: Wed 30 Sep 2020 14:49 »
Leicester Mercury 12th November 2012

Referee Roger Kirkpatrick dies, aged 81

A "larger than life" character who refereed some of the biggest names in British football in the 1960s and 70s has died, aged 81.

Roger Kirkpatrick was known by players as Mr. Pickwick, after the Charles Dickens character, because of his stout appearance and bushy sideburns.

He refereed top class football from 1966 to 1979, officiating at games featuring players such as Manchester United stars Denis Law and George Best.

Law asked him to officiate at his testimonial against Dutch club Ajax.

Roger once sent off fiery Manchester City forward Mike Summerbee and said the striker sought him out in the referee's room after the match to apologise.

Kirkpatrick, of Narborough Road South, Leicester, featured in the 1978-79 season opening titles for B.B.C. Match of the Day programme and it was said he could run backwards faster than he could forwards.

His son Mark said: "If there is such a thing, Dad was a well liked referee. I'm not saying he got all his decisions right, but the big thing was he was respected by the players. He didn't swear. as he used to say 'if I swear, how can I pull up the players for swearing?" "Dad was a showman, he was aware of his nickname. He could have cut off his sideburns, but he chose to keep them. Me and my brother got to go to all the games. I remember once asking Alan Ball if he was a footballer and sitting two seats away from George Best. We always had footballers around and Brian Clough and Peter Taylor were big friends of the family. He was paid 21 guineas a game, plus expenses every weekend. You had to do it for the love of the sport. He enjoyed it and made the most of it."

Mr Kirkpatrick became a referee at 17 before joining the Fleet Air Arm where he continued refereeing for the Royal Navy. He also played cricket and rugby for the service. He met his wife Elizabeth, a Wren, and the couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary last year.

Mark said: "He was known as something of a disciplinarian. He wouldn't take back chat he would come down on you like a ton of bricks. He had an air of authority and a big, booming voice. I think he had something missing in the refereeing world today. I don't think there is the same respect from the players these days."

Leicester City ambassador Alan Birchenall has fond memories of Kirkpatrick. "I was playing for Chelsea and the pitch was a bit of a quagmire. Whenever Roger had made a decision, he ran off backwards at 100m.p.h. I "accidentally" put out my right foot and he fell over. He called me over and asked me if I had done it on purpose. I said "no" and he told me if he'd thought I had I would have been off. The story always brought a smile to his face. He was a lovely bloke and a top referee."

Mr Kirkpatrick was also a successful businessman, as a director of companies making knitwear and in the motor trade. In later years, he achieved considerable success in another sport, serving as Leicester Bowls Club president, Leicestershire county president and Midlands Counties president.

He and his wife played bowls for England and he was an England Bowling Association assessor for 10 years.

He died at home last week, following a long illness.

As well as his wife and son Mark, he also leaves another son, Paul, and grandchildren Leon, Alex, Holly and Rosie.

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Acme Thunderer

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Re: Roger Kirkpatrick - Obituary
« Reply #1 on: Wed 30 Sep 2020 21:26 »
There was only ever one Roger Kirkpatrick and we shall never see the likes of him again at the top levels of football. I saw him on two or three occasions at Selhurst Park, and we always looked forward to his 'showbiz' style of refereeing, with outrageous gestures, and which always began as he sprinted onto the field at 100mph to roars of approval from the crowd (in days long before the players and officials came out together). On one occasion, I think it was at Charlton, it was said he sprinted on to the field and then had to limp off back to the dressing room with a pulled muscle. As his son said, he didn't get all his decisions right, but we loved his style of refereeing nevertheless. A true showman was Roger and I for one love seeing him again on YouTube.   
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Hendo

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Re: Roger Kirkpatrick - Obituary
« Reply #2 on: Wed 30 Sep 2020 22:38 »
There was only ever one Roger Kirkpatrick and we shall never see the likes of him again at the top levels of football. I saw him on two or three occasions at Selhurst Park, and we always looked forward to his 'showbiz' style of refereeing, with outrageous gestures, and which always began as he sprinted onto the field at 100mph to roars of approval from the crowd (in days long before the players and officials came out together). On one occasion, I think it was at Charlton, it was said he sprinted on to the field and then had to limp off back to the dressing room with a pulled muscle. As his son said, he didn't get all his decisions right, but we loved his style of refereeing nevertheless. A true showman was Roger and I for one love seeing him again on YouTube.   

A total one off who reffed the games as he saw them, not one of the many automatons we see today
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BAFRA #217

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Re: Roger Kirkpatrick - Obituary
« Reply #3 on: Tue 20 Oct 2020 09:56 »
Some good footage of his unique "style"

https://twitter.com/1968Tv/status/1236574581319663616?s=20
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reflector

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Re: Roger Kirkpatrick - Obituary
« Reply #4 on: Tue 20 Oct 2020 10:33 »
Gosh, I'd  forgotton quite how eccentric and flamboyant he was.  But for all that ,  he was indeed a very good and well respected referee.  Makes Mike Dean seem utterly normal !
reflector

Acme Thunderer

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Re: Roger Kirkpatrick - Obituary
« Reply #5 on: Tue 20 Oct 2020 20:10 »
Thanks BAFRA, there was another lovely clip - possibly on Twitter again - showing Roger doing one of his famous sprints with a broad grin on his face. It appeared on the old ISOR and it would be lovely to see it again. Showmanship at its best I might suggest!