Welwyn Garden City referee Mark Halsey returns to professional football
PREMIER League referee Mark Halsey has returned to football after beating throat cancer.
Halsey, who was born and raised in WGC, refereed his first game in nearly seven months when he took charge of Leicester City’s reserve team fixture against Scunthorpe last week.
The match, which Leicester won 5-0 in front of around 80 people, was a far cry from Halsey’s previous game at Goodison Park where Everton got thumped 6-1 by Arsenal before 35,000 fans on the first day of this season.
The married dad-of-three, who was diagnosed with cancer on the eve of the season, had a tumour the size of a golf ball removed from his throat shortly after the match at Goodison.
But following intensive chemotherapy, the 48-year-old Bolton-based official was given the all-clear at the end of December, paving the way for his return to football.
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Halsey, whose wife Michelle is also fighting leukaemia, told the WHT the last few months had been “very difficult” for him and his family.
But he admitted he felt like a schoolboy who had been picked for the school football team for the first time when he finally returned to action.
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“When I found out I had cancer, I did not think I would be back refereeing,” he said.
“I thought my career was over, but here I am.”
The former Russett Wood resident said he aimed to return to officiating in the Premier League as soon as possible, but admitted he would not be concerned if he had to wait until next season.
“I want to walk before I can run,” he smiled.
“I’m just happy to be back in football.”