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Referee Blows Final Whistle on 'Excellent Career'

Sunday 29th April 2012
March saw the final Premier League match refereed by Peter Walton. The official has hung up his refereeing boots, aged 52, after overseeing the Everton v West Bromwich Albion game at Goodison Park on March 31.

Walton's professional career spanned nearly some 20 years and, while most of the media are too easy to criticise officials, I'm a firm believer that they are the most important men on any football pitch. After all, without referees we wouldn't have the beautiful game. And, without Peter Walton, the game would have been far less beautiful over the years.

Based in Northamptonshire, Walton began refereeing in local leagues in 1986. By 1993, he was added to the assistant referees list for the Football League and, just one year later, he was an assistant in the Premiership. In 1996, Walton was appointed as an assistant referee to the FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Liverpool and also added to the FIFA list of assistant referees, officiating in Euro '96 in England.

Walton had to step down off the FIFA list of assistants in 1998 when he was promoted, domestically, to the Football League of referees. He enjoyed five years as one before being promoted to the Select Group of referees, those who take charge of Premier League games, in 2003.

It was this year too when Walton took charge of the Football League Trophy final, a Division 1 play off semi final second leg and a Division 3 play-off semi final first leg. Walton's first Premier League appointment came months later, in October 2003, when he oversaw Wolverhampton Wanderers' home victory over Leicester City.

Walton continued to excel in top-flight refereeing and was subsequently appointed the FA Community Shield in 2008, which saw Manchester United beat Portsmouth.

Now, Peter Walton has retired from refereeing but has moved to USA to become the general manager of the Professional Referee Organisation (PRO) for the Football Leagues in the USA and Canada. Having refereed nearly 500 professional matches in his excellent career, Peter Walton certainly is the ultimate refereeing pro and, as a ref myself, definitely somebody I look up to. Referees may not be everybody's cup of tea all the time but Walton was, during his time, indeed one of the best.
Bradley Jolly
National journalist, sub-editor and football referee. I currently in southwest London but I'm originally from Solihull, West Midlands.

Total articles: 10

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