ONE football fan went to The Den yesterday to watch his beloved Millwall – but ended up as the linesman.
In a "chaotic" twist of events, Steve Perry was brought in as an emergency replacement for the Championship game against Bolton.
CameraSport – Getty1 There were bizarre scenes at The Den as the replacement referee went off injured and Millwall fan Steve Perry became linesman
Lee Swabey will now swap places with one of the linesman. The linesman is now the referee and the original replacement referee is now a linesman…🤨
(27) #Millwall 0-1 #BWFC 🐘🏰
— Bolton Wanderers FC (@OfficialBWFC) November 24, 2018
The initial referee appointed to the game was Tony Harrington but he had to withdraw at late notice due to illness.
It meant fourth official Lee Swabey took the whistle and Perry was drafted in to keep control of the dugouts.
But as if things were not crazy enough, Swabey then pulled his calf midway through the first half and had to go off.
So assistant referee John Leach became the ref, Perry was given some hasty instructions and ran the line and Swabey retreated to his initial role as fourth man.
24' – Play has been stopped here at The Den as it looks like we are having a change of referee. The referee who took charge of the first 24 minutes was already the original fourth official (0-1) #Millwall
— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) November 24, 2018
The back up Ref is injured. “You’re not fit to referee”
— TT (@MillwallTT) November 24, 2018
Perry normally referees in the South Eastern Premier Division but could not completely hide his love for Millwall during the first half.
Bolton manager Phil Parkinson said: "It was chaos.
"The first ref got injured in the warm-up so we had a Millwall fan as fourth official, who jumped up and applauded when Jordan Archer made that double save in the first half. We had a moan to him, jokingly.
"But then all of a sudden that Millwall fan became the linesman. It was strange and we were 1-0 up but then the assessor came down at half-time to say they had to speak to Dave Allison to see what the procedure is now.
"God knows what would have happened if another one went down.
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"It was a bit chaotic because, as you know, it can be difficult for referees and linesmen at Millwall at the best of times.
"But when you have got a Millwall fan who has come out of the stand and ends up running the line… Well, thankfully he showed plenty of integrity."
Millwall boss Neil Harris was also questioned on the unique scenario but praised the officials for how they dealt with it.
He said: "I think I am right in saying the guy that came and took over as fourth official and took over linesman was at the game by chance. It was a bizarre situation.