Academy referees officiating football game at Ipswich Town training ground meet David Beckham

David Beckham with Emily Heaslip

David Beckham with Emily Heaslip - Credit: Archant

Two young Suffolk referees had their photographs taken with former England captain David Beckham.

David Beckham with Oliver Hazell

David Beckham with Oliver Hazell - Credit: Archant

The global sports star, who played for Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy as well as captaining his country 59 times, was at Ipswich Town’s Playford Road training ground on Tuesday to watch son Brooklyn play for Arsenal Under-15s against Ipswich Town at the club’s Playford Road training ground.

The last time he was in Ipswich, Beckham caused a stir on social media.Emily Heaslip, 21, and 16-year-old Ollie Hazell, who both officiated in the match, were unaware Beckham would be at the training ground.

Ollie, who attends Felixstowe Academy, said: “I didn’t know he was going to be there.

“I was running the line and he said something and I turned round and saw him.

“I thought ‘that’s David Beckham’ and I knew it was him straightaway.”


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However, he didn’t get the chance to talk to the midfielder.

“I didn’t get chance to speak to him when I had my photograph taken – it was literally ten seconds and then he had to go,” he added.

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The pair officiating the game, have benefited from training via the Suffolk FA Referees’ Academy, which is sponsored by Globex Freight Management Ltd.

On Monday, around 30 Suffolk FA Academy referees and coaches took part in a Development session at Greshams Sports and Social Club in Ipswich.

The session on the fundamentals of refereeing and match scenarios was led by leading Suffolk referee Carl Fitch.

Colin Hills, Suffolk FA referee development officer, said: “This was a tremendous opportunity for the Academy referees to hear how Suffolk’s most senior referee has progressed to his current high level, and receive a number of practical tips.

“Carl, who is from Ipswich, himself started in the Academy in 2000 at age of 14 and ‘made it’ into the professional game in 2011.

“I am certain everyone who came along learnt from the evening and will be better equipped for their next matches.

“We are very grateful of Carl for taking time from his busy schedule to come along and share his experiences with the group.”

Anyone who would like to be part of the Academy as a referee or coach should email Colin Hills on colin.hills@suffolkfaa.com

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