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[Football] Gary Willard R.I.P.



Barry Izbak

U.T.A.
Dec 7, 2005
7,346
Lancing By Sea
I was sad to learn this afternoon of the passing over the weekend of Worthing's former Premier League referee, Mr. Gary Willard.

Gary came along to meet Brighton and Hove Albion Supporters Club members at the Empire Club in Lancing in January. We had invited youngsters from locals colleges and Gary passed on his knowledge and advice to them regarding a career in the game.

As you will imagine he had a wealth of stories from his days in the Premier League and on the FIFA list.
One of these stories concerns the low esteem Barnsley fans held him in after a particularly memorable game in 1998. The game at Oakwell ended 3-2 to Liverpool, but only after Gary had sent three Tykes off in the second half and the game had been suspended for five minutes, with Gary hiding back in his dressing room. He subsequently needed a police escort off the pitch. Gary gave us all the gory details with a smile.

Barnsley fans remember it well and have a brilliant page on their message board today - https://barnsleyfc.org.uk/threads/gary-willard.330678/

I only learnt that evening that Gary was the year above me at Hove County Grammar.

We were grateful to Gary for coming along for what was a memorable evening.

He has left us far too soon at just 65 years of age. Great bloke. Very sad news. If anyone ( @Lenny Rider ) learns of the funeral details, please post below.
 




thedonkeycentrehalf

Moved back to wear the gloves (again)
Jul 7, 2003
8,882
RIP - even when he was working his way up the refereeing ladder he used to still ref local league games and we managed to get home to ref a few of our Sunday morning games.

Very nice bloke as I recall.
 


Nobby Cybergoat

Well-known member
Jul 19, 2021
7,607
The referees a ........ thoroughly decent chap by all accounts
 


robinsonsgrin

Well-known member
Mar 16, 2009
1,459
LA...wishing it was devon..
my close friend bought his house in Worthing, Cannot think what the saga was, but he was involved in something and the press doorstepped the house.... but of a cheek when you come to think of it.. but.. they obv werent aware he had moved.. good job really.
 


BN9 BHA

DOCKERS
NSC Patron
Jul 14, 2013
21,886
Newhaven
RIP Gary.
I met him and his family in Cyprus in 2011, they were staying in the same hotel. I had been for a swim and when I got back to my sun lounger my wife was talking to Gary and his wife, Gary had spotted my Albion towel and stopped for a chat.
 






Harry Wilson's tackle

Harry Wilson's Tackle
NSC Patron
Oct 8, 2003
53,195
Faversham
I was sad to learn this afternoon of the passing over the weekend of Worthing's former Premier League referee, Mr. Gary Willard.

Gary came along to meet Brighton and Hove Albion Supporters Club members at the Empire Club in Lancing in January. We had invited youngsters from locals colleges and Gary passed on his knowledge and advice to them regarding a career in the game.

As you will imagine he had a wealth of stories from his days in the Premier League and on the FIFA list.
One of these stories concerns the low esteem Barnsley fans held him in after a particularly memorable game in 1998. The game at Oakwell ended 3-2 to Liverpool, but only after Gary had sent three Tykes off in the second half and the game had been suspended for five minutes, with Gary hiding back in his dressing room. He subsequently needed a police escort off the pitch. Gary gave us all the gory details with a smile.

Barnsley fans remember it well and have a brilliant page on their message board today - https://barnsleyfc.org.uk/threads/gary-willard.330678/

I only learnt that evening that Gary was the year above me at Hove County Grammar.

We were grateful to Gary for coming along for what was a memorable evening.

He has left us far too soon at just 65 years of age. Great bloke. Very sad news. If anyone ( @Lenny Rider ) learns of the funeral details, please post below.
f*** sake. He was in my year at HGSB. No wonder the name is familiar.

But..but....I seem to recall ....any relation to Jesse Willard?
 


raymondo

Well-known member
Apr 26, 2017
6,381
Wiltshire
Does anyone know if he had an older brother at HGSB (would be about 69 years now)? There was a Willard in my year also.
 




SK1NT

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2003
8,758
Thames Ditton
Very sad news. My step mum worked with him and she always use to tell me of the prem referring stories he had for her to relay to me. Sounded like a genuine lovely guy. My step mum will be sad to hear the news.
 




knocky1

Well-known member
Jan 20, 2010
13,044
Very sad. In my year at school. On school camps to Cornwall and Devon I remember his wild choice of pattern on those huge collared shirts we wore around 1973.
Just a small correction @Barry Izbak he was only 64.
 




Pinkie Brown

Wir Sind das Volk
Sep 5, 2007
3,608
Neues Zeitalter DDR 🇩🇪
my close friend bought his house in Worthing, Cannot think what the saga was, but he was involved in something and the press doorstepped the house.... but of a cheek when you come to think of it.. but.. they obv werent aware he had moved.. good job really.
That might have been the incident where he was refereeing a European game and gave a player two yellow cards but didn't send him off for whatever reason. As I remember he gave up top level refereeing not long after although I believe he did continue at local amateur level.
 


DylanBailey44

New member
May 21, 2024
1
I was sad to learn this afternoon of the passing over the weekend of Worthing's former Premier League referee, Mr. Gary Willard.

Gary came along to meet Brighton and Hove Albion Supporters Club members at the Empire Club in Lancing in January. We had invited youngsters from locals colleges and Gary passed on his knowledge and advice to them regarding a career in the game.

As you will imagine he had a wealth of stories from his days in the Premier League and on the FIFA list.
One of these stories concerns the low esteem Barnsley fans held him in after a particularly memorable game in 1998. The game at Oakwell ended 3-2 to Liverpool, but only after Gary had sent three Tykes off in the second half and the game had been suspended for five minutes, with Gary hiding back in his dressing room. He subsequently needed a police escort off the pitch. Gary gave us all the gory details with a smile.

Barnsley fans remember it well and have a brilliant page on their message board today - https://barnsleyfc.org.uk/threads/gary-willard.330678/

I only learnt that evening that Gary was the year above me at Hove County Grammar.

We were grateful to Gary for coming along for what was a memorable evening.

He has left us far too soon at just 65 years of age. Great bloke. Very sad news. If anyone ( @Lenny Rider ) learns of the funeral details, please post below.
I knew Gary personally. He was my coach and mentor for this season in the Sussex FA Centre of refereeing excellence programme. He was a great mentor and above all, a kind, genuine, and wonderful person. His knowledge of football and refereeing was amazing, he told me great stories and gave me amazing advice. He was a EFL Championship referee coach for some of the current referees at that level and he still made time to fit me in and coach me even though he had to travel the country watching his other referees every weekend. He was keen on the progression of other referees and gave his spare time to mentor them (such as myself). He will be a huge miss to the Sussex football community.
Rest in peace.
 


aliawde

New member
May 28, 2024
2
I was sad to learn this afternoon of the passing over the weekend of Worthing's former Premier League referee, Mr. Gary Willard.

Gary came along to meet Brighton and Hove Albion Supporters Club members at the Empire Club in Lancing in January. We had invited youngsters from locals colleges and Gary passed on his knowledge and advice to them regarding a career in the game.

As you will imagine he had a wealth of stories from his days in the Premier League and on the FIFA list.
One of these stories concerns the low esteem Barnsley fans held him in after a particularly memorable game in 1998. The game at Oakwell ended 3-2 to Liverpool, but only after Gary had sent three Tykes off in the second half and the game had been suspended for five minutes, with Gary hiding back in his dressing room. He subsequently needed a police escort off the pitch. Gary gave us all the gory details with a smile.

Barnsley fans remember it well and have a brilliant page on their message board today - https://barnsleyfc.org.uk/threads/gary-willard.330678/

I only learnt that evening that Gary was the year above me at Hove County Grammar.

We were grateful to Gary for coming along for what was a memorable evening.

He has left us far too soon at just 65 years of age. Great bloke. Very sad news. If anyone ( @Lenny Rider ) learns of the funeral details, please post below.
 




aliawde

New member
May 28, 2024
2

Gary's funeral will be held at 12pm on Friday 7th June at

Worthing Crematorium

Kingswood chapel.

BN14 ORG
 


WATFORD zero

Well-known member
NSC Patron
Jul 10, 2003
26,706
f*** sake. He was in my year at HGSB. No wonder the name is familiar.

But..but....I seem to recall ....any relation to Jesse Willard?

A couple of years below you H, he was an old mate I played football with and in the same class as me, so would have only been 63/64. IIRC he lived in Valley Road when we were kids. RIP
 
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World of Sport

Well-known member
Mar 9, 2007
567
WSU
I was a couple years older than him at school. His nan and grandad lived next door to us in Portslade.
Very quiet lad, Gary must of been about 11 or 12 years old, when he used to watch me and my younger brother kick two tons of shit out of each other playing football in our garden.
I wonder if that's when he decided his future was in refereeing!
 


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