ONE of WA’s great referees, Roy Stedman, made world headlines 50 years ago when he sent off the legendary Denis Law in Manchester United’s international challenge against the WA State team at the WACA Ground on June 27, 1967.
Roy has always been diplomatic regarding what prompted him to show one of United’s greatest strikers a red card.
“All I can say is that it would have hurt me very much to put the whistle where Denis Law suggested,” said Roy at a Football Hall of Fame WA function 10 years ago.
The former whistler added: “While I had problems with Law, his captain Bobby Charlton was terrific. He was a real gentleman and the best player I ever refereed in my career.”
Law had scored early on in the match before he received his marching orders.
The Hall of Fame will celebrate the 50th anniversary of that milestone contest – which United won 7-0 and drew a then record 20,600 to the WACA Ground – at a special function at Dorrien Gardens on December 12.
Unfortunately, Roy Stedman, who is now 92, will be unable to attend.
He had a stroke a few months ago and is now recovering in a nursing home in Perth.
Hall of Fame Committee chairman Louis Prospero said that the WA football family wished Roy a speedy recovery.
Stedman was inducted into the Hall of Fame’s Hall of Recognition category in the inaugural induction ceremony in 1996 – and he also received a special award in 2007 for his participation as a referee in the Merdeka Cup international tournament in Malaysia in 1967 and in several subsequent years.
Born in England, he came to WA after serving with the Royal Navy during the second world war and was a player with South Perth before a knee injury ended his playing career in 1953.
He took up refereeing the following year and became the second WA referee to receive a FIFA Badge which allowed him to officiate in international contests.
He was also a short-track ice speed skater of note back in his home town of Brighton. He maintained his love of the sport when he came to live in WA and he competed in the New York Winter Masters Olympics in 1967.
When he put away his whistle in 1972 he returned to the world of ice skating and went on to coach ice hockey teams.
PICTURED: Roy Stedman (right) with World Cup referee Eddie Lennie at a Hall of Fame function in 2007.