|Full name||Gerald R Ashby|
6 November 1949|
|Died||17 December 2001
|1982-1985||Football League||Asst. referee|
Gerald R. Ashby (6 November 1949 – 17 December 2001) was an English former football referee, who operated in the Football League and the Premier League. He was an accountant by profession, and was based in Worcester.
He became a Football League linesman in 1982, and three years later graduated to the referees' list at the age of thirty five.† His breakthrough came when the retirement age for FIFA referees was reduced to 45. This created five vacancies on the English allocation for the FIFA List in 1992, and he was one of the officials to be promoted. At the same time, he became a member of the new Premier League list.‡
He only had three years as an international referee before he also reached FIFA's retirement age at the end of 1994. However, he was able to carry on in English football, and on 20 May 1995, at Wembley, he took charge of the FA Cup Final between Everton and Manchester United. Everton won the match 1-0 via a headed goal by Paul Rideout.
On 24 March 1997, during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool, Ashby awarded a penalty to the away side, despite there appearing to be no contact between Robbie Fowler and the Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman. Fowler was honest enough to admit that he had not been fouled, and pleaded with the official not to award the kick. However, Ashby ignored Fowler's appeal and insisted on awarding a penalty, and as a result Liverpool won the match 2-1. Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, was quoted as saying: "It was a great gesture by Fowler and I would like to give him an award for fair play. But if he got that I would also have to give the referee an award for stupidity."
He remained on the Premier League list until his retirement just over a year later, his final match, on 3 May 1998, seeing champions Arsenal beat Everton 4-0 at Highbury. He then became a Premier League referees' assessor.
Gerald Ashby died of a heart attack in December 2001.¶
- †Football League Handbooks, 1982-1984.
- ‡Rothmans Football Yearbooks, 1985-1998.
- 90 Minutes magazine, late 1991 (details of birthdate and profession)
- ¶Rothmans Football Yearbook, 2002–2003, p54 (notice of death), p956 (obituary)