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‘Devoted ambassador’ made a major contribution to the game

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Devoted ambassador: former referee Glynn Gilbert, far right, made a major contribution to football in Bermuda. He is joined in this photo taken at St George’s Cricket Club by Gregory Foggo, left, Wallace Robinson, David Brangman, Charles Swainson and Stephen Paynter (Photograph courtesy of Stephen Paynter)
Devoted ambassador: former referee Glynn Gilbert made a major contribution to football in Bermuda

Bermuda football has lost one of its most passionate and devoted ambassadors.

Glynn Gilbert, the former referee, died on Monday exactly two weeks after celebrating his 82nd birthday last month.

Throughout a career officiating matches spanning decades, Gilbert served his duties diligently and was a team player in every sense as he often went above and beyond the call of duty to assist his fellow colleagues.

“Glynn always thought about his colleagues, us referees,” Charles Marshall, the former Bermuda Referee’s Association president and founding member, said. “If he had finished refereeing a match and came to the field and your linesman hadn’t shown up or there was nobody available he would always come over, take the flag and help out.

“He was always that way and even when it was inconvenient for him, he always thought about us.

“Glynn has made a tremendous contribution to Bermuda football.”

Gilbert and Marshall, who is also a former Bermuda Football Association president, both started officiating in the late 1950s at youth level after passing their exams together.

“We started out when the BFL (Bermuda Football League) and BFC (Bermuda Football Combination) had junior programmes,” Marshall added. “We were segregated in those days and the junior leagues were the first integrated body and then the referee’s association was the second.

“Glynn was very knowledgeable. He knew the rules, knew the game and he had persuasive powers when things on the field were getting flared.

“He was not the guy that was in the starlight or made attention to himself. He always went about doing his job very efficiently, very consistent and he tried his best.

“Of course, like all the rest of us referees, we always have controversy and some people liked you that day and some people didn’t like you — but that’s part of the game.”

The late referee officiated in numerous cup finals as well as the former Diadora Cup youth tournament in the 1990s.

In a show of appreciation for his dedicated services on the pitch, Gilbert was honoured in 2011 by the organisers of the RO Smith Annual Over 40s Veteran All-Stars Football Classic between perennial rivals Somerset and St George’s.

“We honoured him because of his contribution to the sport and long service as an awesome referee,” David “Goat” Brangman, one of the event’s founding members, said.

Gilbert’s services were not limited to the pitch as he was also actively involved in various other BRA initiatives behind the scenes.

“Glynn was very supportive of everything we did,” Marshall said. “Every time we had people here to lecture and all he was very active and was always trying to learn about the game and the interpretation of the laws and how other people did it.

“He was always very supportive and I don’t think anybody can say a bad word about Glynn.

“He was a perfect gentleman and never raised his voice about stuff.

“Even when he disagreed, it was always of a very quiet sort of nature. Persuasively he would stick to his principles, but at the same time not get all emotional about his beliefs and all.

“Glynn was a good man who is definitely going to be a big miss to Bermuda’s football.”

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Published December 03, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 03, 2020 at 1:35 pm)

‘Devoted ambassador’ made a major contribution to the game

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