Gary Willard

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Gary Willard
Full name Gary S Willard
Born (1959-09-03) 3 September 1959 (age 57)
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

Gareth 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 involved in "astonishing scenes" at Oakwell Stadium after the end of the Barnsley versus Liverpool match in the Premier League, which finished 2-3. He had occasion to send 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 had been chased by an interloper. 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 and activities after retirement: The Argus (Brighton) website.
  3. ^ Fitness problems 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.

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