Town’s Villa Park ref gets FA Cup final

PREMIER League referee Phil Dowd
PREMIER League referee Phil Dowd

IT is rarely remembered, or even realised, that the biggest match of Hucknall Town’s history was officiated by a man who has gone on to be one of the Premier League’s best referees.

Stoke ref Phil Dowd (49), pictured, was the man in the middle when Town played Essex outfit Grays Athletic in the final of the FA Trophy at Villa Park exactly seven years ago.

Now he is to take charge of an altogether bigger showpiece when he referees the FA Cup final at Wembley between Liverpool and Champions League finalists Chelsea.

Dowd, who has been a Premier League match official since 2001, also handled the 2010 Carling Cup final at Wembley between Aston Villa and Manchester United.

For the record, Dowd must have had a fine game at Villa Park. Dispatch Matchmarks awarded him eight out of ten!

FORMER Hucknall Town manager Kevin Wilson has been celebrating after steering Ilkeston to glory in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, Division One South promotion play-offs.

In front of a crowd of more than 1,600, Ilkeston beat Leek Town 2-0 to go up less than two years after going bust over an unpaid VAT bill of £47,000 while playing in the Blue Square Bet North.

Ex-Chelsea, Derby County, Notts County and Northern Ireland international Wilson (50) stayed loyal to the club, who reformed in May last year.

One of the goals against Leek was scored by Daryll Thomas, who is one of several ex-Yellows in the Ilkeston squad. The others are Gary Ricketts, Russell Cooke, Laurie Wilson, James Cullingworth and Francis Green.

Kevin Wilson bossed Town for 11 months between February 2006, having replaced FA Trophy hero Dean Barrick. But he was surprisingly sacked, even though The Yellows sat as high as seventh in the Conference North table at the time.