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Why retiring ref Halsey was one of the finest; Football Bet - the app for quick and easy betting on your mobile FOOTBALL Soccer boffin Kevin Pullein with another dose of betting wisdom PULLEIN ON FOOTBALL.

Byline: Kevin Pullein

RefeRee Mark Halsey was applauded by both sets of supporters after his final match before retirement, the Premier League fixture between Manchester City and Norwich.

Not many referees are cheered from the pitch, but then there aren't many referees like Halsey. In fact, I don't know of any. In my opinion, he was quite simply the most accomplished of all english officials.

Halsey tried to help players produce the best spectacle of which they were capable - intervening when necessary to protect the safety of players, but otherwise allowing the action to flow. The image of Halsey running with arms outstretched - gesturing 'play on' - will be my abiding memory of him.

Halsey, now 51, officiated at 280 Premier League games spread over almost 14 years. He also presided at the 2008 League Cup final.

The affection in which he is held by a great many supporters only increased after his brave fight against throat cancer, which kept him from our pitches for most of the 2009-10 season. Since then he has tried to use his experience to encourage and raise funds for others struck by the disease.

The Premier League will not be quite the same without him, although at least we will be able to hear his opinions on it next season in his new role as referee analyst for BT Sport.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:May 27, 2013
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