Keith Cooper

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Keith Cooper
Full name Keith Cooper
Born (1948-03-21) 21 March 1948 (age 71)
Other occupation former Referees' Officer,
now Football pundit
Years League Role
1975-1982 Football League Asst. referee
1977-1982 (Supplementary List) Referee
1982-1993 Football League Referee
1993-1996 Premier League Referee
Years League Role
? -1996 FIFA listed Referee

Keith Cooper (born 21 March 1948) is a Welsh former football referee in the English Football League and Premier League, and was also on the Welsh FIFA list. During his time on the List he was based in Pontypridd.


Cooper became a Football League linesman in 1975. Two years later he was included on the Supplementary List of referees at the age of only twenty nine. This was the last year that a supplementary list operated - ever since, referees have been promoted directly to the full List. He did not gain promotion for the following season and indeed had to wait another four years before reaching the Referees' List for season 1982-83.

By the late 1980s he was a frequent performer in the top division. He was not selected initially for the new Premier League in 1992 but in January 1993 he made the breakthrough with a match between Aston Villa and Middlesbrough,[1] and remained one of its referees for the rest of his career. His most senior domestic match was the 1994 League Cup Final between Aston Villa and Manchester United.[2] Villa won this game 3-1, their last goal coming from a Dean Saunders penalty after Andrei Kanchelskis had handled on the line and was dismissed.

Cooper completed two more seasons, operating entirely in the Premier League and Cups (as was standard for Premier referees at the time) before retiring in 1996. He later became a Football League assessor.

At international level he handled a number of matches, including a European Championship qualifier between the Republic of Ireland and Luxembourg in September 1987.


Upon retirement, Cooper became Referees’ Officer for Wales.[3] He has now retired from that position, and has contributed to radio broadcasts as a football pundit.[4] He currently makes regular appearances on the Talk Sport radio station, usually giving his opinion of recent refereeing decisions.[5] He is known for his frank views, such as being in favour of returning to the old off-side rules.[citation needed] He also announces for Cardiff City's website Cardiff City World. He also works in education within Torfaen and Caerphilly County Borough Councils, working with children with special needs, especially children with sight problems.



  • Football League Handbooks, 1975–1981
  • Rothmans Football Handbooks, 1982–1996
  • Rothmans Football Handbook (1994) 1994-1995, Headline, p22
  • Ionescu, Romeo (2003), The Complete Results & Line-Ups of the European Football Championships 1958-2003, Soccer Books Limited


  1. ^ First Premier League match: website.
  2. ^ 1994 League Cup Final: website.
  3. ^ Referees’ Officer for Wales: Carmarthen Town website. Retrieved on 11 February 2008.
  4. ^ Football punditry with GTFM Access Radio Station: University of Glamorgan website. Retrieved on 11 February 2008.
  5. ^ TalkSPORT Radio Archived 2007-10-16 at the Wayback Machine, Cooper's contributions: website. Retrieved on 11 February 2008.

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