Gary Willard

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Gary Willard
Full name Gary S Willard
Born (1959-09-03) 3 September 1959 (age 59)
Worthing, Sussex, England
Other occupation Inland Revenue Officer
Years League Role
1990-1994 Football League Referee
1994-2000 Premier League Referee
Years League Role
1996-1999 FIFA listed Referee

Gary S. Willard (born 3 September 1959[1]) is an English former football referee. He officiated in the Football League and the Premier League, and for FIFA. He comes from Worthing in Sussex.[2] He has continued to maintain an involvement in top-class football since retiring in 2000.[2][3] His other occupation was as an officer for the Inland Revenue.[4]


Willard became a referee for the Football League in 1990, and was promoted to the Premier League list of referees in 1994. He became a FIFA referee in 1996.

On 27 January 1998, he was referee for the Football League Cup semi-final first leg between Liverpool and Middlesbrough, which was a 2-1 home win.[5] He also controlled the semi-final second leg the following year in the same competition, when Spurs won 1-0 at Wimbledon on 16 February 1999, for an aggregate win by that score.[6]

On 28 March 1998, Willard was a red card gun slinger at Oakwell Stadium, Barnsley versus Liverpool match in the Premier League, which finished 2-3. He completely lost the plot and sent off three players from the home side - Darren Barnard, Chris Morgan and Darren Sheridan - in the second half, causing play to be suspended for five minutes after Willard, having been chased by an interloper, sought refuge by cowering in the dressing room toilets. He had to be given a "police safety escort" off the pitch after the game.[7]

His final Premiership game was West Ham's 4-0 win over Middlesbrough at Upton Park on 16 May 1999,[8] but he continued to referee for FIFA. The English referees' chief at the time, Philip Don, stated that Willard had not taken any Premier League appointments due to "personal reasons".[9]


  1. ^ Birthdate confirmation: website.
  2. ^ a b Town of residence[permanent dead link] and activities after retirement: The Argus (Brighton) website.
  3. ^ Fitness problems[permanent dead link] in 1999, and activities after retirement: The Argus (Brighton) website.
  4. ^ Other occupation: Daily Telegraph website.
  5. ^ League Cup semi-final first leg, Liverpool v. Middlesbrough, 1998: website.
  6. ^ League Cup semi-final second leg, Wimbledon v. Spurs, 1999: website.
  7. ^ Three players sent off and crowd trouble, Barnsley v. Liverpool, 1998: BBC News website.
  8. ^ Last ever Premier League match, West Ham v. Middlesbrough, 1999: website.
  9. ^ Three yellow cards equals one red, Lausanne Sports v. Celta Vigo, UEFA Cup (also Philip Don's quote): Daily Telegraph website.

External links[edit]

  • Gary Willard Referee Statistics at (incomplete)
  • Mark Hodkinson's view of the Barnsley match: excerpt from "Life At The Top", Mark Hodkinson, Queen Anne Press, 1998, ISBN 1-85291-602-8