Tributes paid to much-missed ref 'Send 'em off Sid'
PUBLISHED: 09:33 23 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:29 23 February 2019
If you were ever a Sunday League footballer anywhere between 1970 and 2003 and got sent off, the chances are the man holding the red card was Sidney Bennett.
Tributes are now being paid to the Norwich referee known as Send ‘em off Sid and Book ‘em Bennett, who died aged 87 on February 10 at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Mr Bennett was an active member of footballing circles in Norfolk taking charge of games for more than 30 years.
Widow Marjorie Bennett said he was obsessed with football.
The 82-year-old said: “We met in the Dance Hall on Norwich Road. He offered me a dance and we were together from then.
“Life was lovely with Sidney. For a long time he was football-obsessed and would be out refereeing on Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning and even on a Wednesday.
“Football took over his life but I wouldn’t go as I didn’t like football. He knew how a game was going to be played in about 10 minutes, and the players would have to fall in line.”
The couple were married for more than 65 years. Throughout his life the retired mechanic was featured in a number of publications, including the PinkUn and Norwich Evening News, due to his notorious refereeing.
He left being a mechanic and became a cleaner after he became frustrated with people wanting their MOTs completed as fast as possible.
Mrs Bennett said: “He was always a good mechanic, and whenever he fixed a car it would never have to come back to the garage.”
In later life, the couple would spend long holidays away in Cyprus.
The retired store assistant said: “We spent the last 13 years going over to Cyprus three months at a time.”
Mr Bennett is survived by his three children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A service is to take place at Earlham Crematorium on Wednesday, March 13, at 2.45pm.
Donations are asked to be given to FND Action or sent to the East of England Co-op Funeral Service, St Stephen Square, Norwich.