When you turn up at a game as a scout and end up on the line

When you turn up at a game whether it be as a reporter, a scout or just a spectator you expect to watch the game, have a bit of a shout and then go home.

But for James Tedford on Saturday, the scenario was a little different.

The club secretary and head of operations for Southport was at AFC Telford United’s New Bucks Head ground on a scouting mission as they faced Guiseley in the National League North.

But when one official went down injured, Mr Tedford was thrust into the limelight.

When an official usually goes down injury a call goes out to fans to see if there are any qualified officials knocking about in the stands.

But with the current spectator lockout there wasn’t many people to choose from on a misty afternoon in Telford.

Then the man on a scouting mission stepped forward and helped the game to continue by running the line for part of the second period.

The strange set of circumstances even made the news on BBC’s Final Score, much to the amusement of reporter Mark Clemmett.

It’s always a funny sight to see a randomer from the crowd helping the game continue.

It isn’t the first time it has happened either.

Here are a few other times when the crowd have come to the rescue of a slightly embarrassed linesman.

January 2016 – AFC Croydon vs Sevenoaks Town

As an 83 year old fan at a non league ground in the winter, you’re probably more concerned about the cold rather than running around.

When the linesman went down with a knee injury in the non league clash, Alan Halfacre was watching on from the sides.

As a qualified referee who used to officiate in the local leagues, he was asked to take over the flag for the rest of the game.

There can’t have been many older officials around in the history of the game than Alan!

November 2017 – Norwich City vs Preston North End

With the game heading for a 1-1 draw in this Championship clash, one assistant referee went down with a muscle injury.

No problem, the fourth official then stepped in. But who takes over his role?

After a bit of rushing around on the sidelines, a man emerges from the stands and proceeds to put in an officials jacket.

Local referee David Thornhill, a qualified local official takes to the technical area at his beloved Carrow Road to help proceedings.

And when he puts the board up for ten minutes added time, the lifelong Canaries fan receives the biggest cheer of the afternoon.

David Thornhill

November 2018 – Millwall vs Bolton

When your first referee falls ill before the game, you think it is going to be one of those afternoons.

But when the replacement falls foul of an injury, things have gone from bad to worse.

However, lucky for the players and the supporters inside The Den, Steve Perry was sitting in the stands and comes to the rescue.

The supporter, a qualified official is able to pick up the flag and see out the game on what was a chaotic afternoon for the officials.

February 2019 – Stranraer vs Stenhousemuir

Just nine minutes into the game and disaster strikes for the assistant referee.

An injury means he can’t continue and he has to make the embarrassing walk back to the technical area.

But his blushes were spared and the game was able to continue, as qualified official known as Kieran emerged from the stands.

After a 12 minute break in play for the youngster to get changed, the game is able to resume.

He was to have a big say in proceedings too, as the 12 minutes added on at the end of the half for his change over resulted in two goals being scored!

Main picture – Twitter – Lukeshelley1

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