Welwyn Garden City’s Mark Halsey back in the Premier League
PREMIER League football referee Mark Halsey is on the verge of making his comeback at the highest level, just 12 months after he was diagnosed with throat cancer.
Halsey, who was born and raised in WGC, this week rejoined the Premier League’s list of 16 elite referees after passing a rigorous fitness test and could now make his return when the new season starts next week.
The 49-year-old last officiated a Premier League game on the opening day of last season, when Arsenal thumped Everton 6-1 at Goodison Park in front of 35,000 fans.
Halsey, who had a tumour the size of a golf ball removed from his throat shortly after this game, has since made a full recovery.
The married father-of-three told the Welwyn Hatfield Times he considered himself “lucky” to have beaten the disease.
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“I am absolutely delighted to be back refereeing,” the Bolton-based official said.
“I think everybody is amazed at the recovery I have made.”
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The former Russett Wood resident, whose wife Michelle is also recovering from leukaemia, said he had worked hard on his fitness during an eight week summer trip to Spain.
However, he also admitted there were times when he doubted whether he would ever get back on a football pitch.
He said: “There have been times where I’ve felt like chucking the towel in, but my friends, colleagues and family have been very supportive and made me carry on.”
Halsey will find out on Monday if he will be officiating a Premier League match on the opening weekend of the season.