Josh, 9, suffers red card shock
SOCCER: Has nine-year-old Josh Wade become the youngest goalkeeper to be given a red card? The Holbrook Primary School pupil was sent off playing for Holbrook Hornets against Claydon in an Under-10 cup-tie in the Felixstowe and District Youth League last Saturday.
By Elvin King
HAS nine-year-old Josh Wade become the youngest goalkeeper to be given a red card?
The Holbrook Primary School pupil was sent off playing for Holbrook Hornets against Claydon in an Under-10 cup-tie in the Felixstowe and District Youth League last Saturday.
He carried the ball outside the penalty area in a seven-a-side tie that Claydon won 8-3 on aggregate. Referee Daniel Blowers acted to the letter of the law and sent the young lad off the field. Holbrook, bottom of the table with just one win in ten games, went on to lose the game 5-2.
Young Josh has a goalkeeping pedigree as grandfather Doug was a Suffolk institution having played between the posts for Sudbury Town for many years.
Uncle Steve has also represented Suffolk and done sterling service for a number of Jewson League clubs including Stowmarket Town.
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Wade senior was never booked or sent off in his long career while his son Steve has never been booked, but did receive a red card once – in the Harwich and Parkeston dressing rooms after disputing a late decision.
Josh is the son of Steve's brother Charlie. Doug was at Saturday's match, and was surprised at the referee's decision.
"It left me wondering whether Josh is the youngest player to see red," said Doug. "I do not want to knock the referee who was obviously qualified as he was wearing all the right gear.
"But it does seem harsh. I have always encouraged Josh to come off his line and attack the ball. This time he came a little too far. He did not realise he had strayed outside the area until he was pulled up.
"It was certainly not intentional. What made it worse was that he had to hand over his jersey and was left standing in the rain in just his vest.
"It has not put him off, but it is something that will never be taken away from him. He will always look back on January 26, 2002, the day he was sent off the field for an error of judgement."
Games at this level are played on small-sided pitches and Doug often takes the whistle for Holbrook home games.
"I run the matches in a track suit and don't even carry cards," said Doug. "I have never experienced any
Josh said: "I was taken by surprise and it was a shock when a red card was shown. The first thing I wanted to do when I got home was to telephone Steve and tell him."
The referee involved is one of the growing crop of young officials now making names for themselves in the Ipswich area.
Daniel Blowers is just 16 and attends St Albans School. He lives in Bramford and was appointed for the Holbrook game by Claydon Juniors secretary Phil Bullard.
"Dan did a game for us at Under-13 level and he was first class," said Bullard. "He is a promising referee."
Daniel, who qualified as a referee in June 2000, said: "This was my first red card. A goalkeeper did a similar thing in an under-seven game I refereed and I had a word with his manager who brought a substitute on in his place.
"But a boy playing in this age group should be old enough to understand the laws. He jumped to collect the ball and landed outside the penalty area."