Referees' Feature - Roy Boswell - Part 8

Roy Boswell restoring calm at the Bridge Meadow Stadium


Roy helps create local footballing history

A little piece of Pembrokeshire footballing history was made at the Bridge Meadow Stadium when the  2009/10 Senior Cup Final saw Goodwick United beat Merlins Bridge 3-1 in an absorbing clash which was refereed by Roy Boswell, with his brothers Alan and Dean as his assistants.
It certainly attracted attention from the media because there can surely never have been a final before where three brothers were in charge – and it is unlikely that it will ever happen again anywhere in the country.
Roy has been involved in football since he was a nipper in Johnston and says he will never forget his special day out.
“I was thrilled when league sec Brian Hawkins phoned me to ask me what I was doing on the 17th April because he had a match for me – which was every Pembrokeshire ref’s dream of the Senior Cup Final.
“It got even better when I discovered that both Dean and Alan were to be my assistants – what a final treble!”

Special day out

Roy’s special day soon came around but he had to work in the morning, having some help from fellow postmen in Milford Haven to complete his round early so that he was home by 10am, had a cup of tea with wife Julie, easily his best supporter, checked again that he had everything before being picked up by Alan and whisked off to meet Dean and over 20 other refs for a pre-match brunch at The Friars, in Haverfordwest.
“I ate surprisingly well and wasn’t really nervous until Brian (Hawkins) came in to the changing room to say they were ready for the pre-match presentations” said Roy, “and once the game started I was fine – although I couldn’t believe how quickly it went.
“I had to book three players and give two penalties but the players were excellent in accepting decisions and the crowd was good as well, so it was a great day to be involved.
“It was a wonderful family day because Julie, our children Craig and Jade, plus Dyan and Dawn, who are my brothers’ wives, were also there. My elder son Jamie couldn’t join us because of work but everyone else helped to make it a great day.
“We had a few drinks with the players before we enjoyed ourselves in town and when Julie picked me up at 10pm I was more than ready to go home!” Roy Boswell in charge of the Senior Cup final between Merlins Bridge Goodwick United

Other memorable moments

“Another honour came when Alan and I were invited by John Gow to be assistant referees at a Wales A versus Wales B ladies match at Briton Ferry and we had a great day of excellent football where I tried afterwards to get a shirt as a memento – but no luck as they all wanted to keep theirs!
“Another memorable match, but for an entirely different reason, came when I was reffing Merlins Bridge in a West Wales Cup match on The Racecourse and I was chatting to Peter ‘Turkey’ Jones as I got changed.
“We had a good chat about football but when we went to go out of the changing rooms we discovered the door was locked! We shouted for about 15 minutes before some-one came back to look for us – and let us out!”

Great Johnston junior days and an 8-1 cup final loss – but chicken and chips was the consolation prize!

It was fitting reward for someone who has always been 100% in his involvement with football, from the time he started out with Johnston as an 11 year old. He played there, with an under 16 runners-up medal after the team, which included Mark Goodridge, Patrick Rose, Carl Ruloff and Rodney Kirk battled their way to the final against Pembroke Borough, who were very strong, with players from all over the county.
“Charlie Edwards had given us a good grounding in football and I always looked up to Trevor Morgans as manager – and we caused a bit of a surprise with a 3-1 semi-final win over Goodwick, with Snudge (Mark Goodridge) scoring two goals and I got the other.
“There was to be no repeat in the final, though, as we lost 8-1 to the Boro superstars but we were just pleased to be there and the highlight for us came when Brian Morgan, who was a great supporter, treated us all to chicken and chips at ‘The Dragon and Pearl’ restaurant in Haverfordwest on the way home!

Senior football and a few missed chances as a player  

In senior football Roy missed out on a Senior Cup winners’ medal with Johnston when a Chris Walters’ tackle in training the week before the final left him unable to play! But he was thrilled to be involved at that time because they had great players like Wally, Richard and Steve James, Gary Stephens, Micky Algieri and big John Codd.
He also sacrificed another chance of playing in Pembrokeshire’s main competition after moving to Merlins Bridge for a couple of seasons.

“I had played a decade for Johnston when Glyn Ruloff and Des Nicholas, who were pals of mine with The Bridge and coaxed me to go to training there – and the late Derek Roberts, who was a great manager, picked me for the first game in the Eddie Merry Cup – and that was that.
“In the second season I played at right back as we beat Hakin United 1-0 in the semi-final but then Dean phoned me to ask if I would go back to Johnston because they were struggling to avoid relegation.

Blood is thicker than water – except as a referee!

“I know it’s a cliché but blood IS thicker than water and I couldn’t say no – and when we went into our last match, against a Narberth side which was top of the table and needed just one more goal to reach three figures, we won 1-0 thanks to a Steve Hayward goal – and we stayed up!
“In all I played 25 years for Johnston and was captain for my last season – and scored 22 goals from midfield!
He also missed out on a Second Division Final as referee in unusual circumstances because the Boswell boys all played in a friendly to help charity and got injured.

“We had gone along expecting to officiate but all three of us were roped in to play: I went in goal and saved an Adam Morgan ‘special’ but broke my wrist and - big brother Dean reffed the final in my place but at least I had final the following year!”
Roy also reffed the last two jubilee Cup Finals and as well as enjoying them we watched them both and he had good games! Roy Boswell and brothers Alan and Dean

No favourites – and always straight with decisions

He took up reffing when he had knee trouble at 32, having taken the course a few seasons before – with his first match being Hook versus St Florence, when he had to calm down brother Dean, who was playing for Hook. He also showed that he has no favourites because he booked his son Jamie and one of his best pals in Peter James, to show that he wouldn’t take any messing about!
He also officiated in the second division final in 2011/12, when West Dragons beat Carew 2-0, and the third division final prior to that in 2005/06, when Clarbeston Road beat Angle 2-1.
Roy also had four seasons reffing in the Welsh League and loved it, but finally decided it was too much of a nuisance because as a postman he was expected to work Saturday mornings and so getting to matches ‘up the line’ was difficult, to say the least.

“We were being marked by both managers after games and it was nice that in one season both myself and brother Alan were rated in the top three, with a Swansea ref behind us.
“There were always interesting moments, like the time that Cwmamman were playing Monmouth in a top of the table clash and when I was on my way I had a phone call from the home secretary to say the pitch was a bit wet – and when I got there whole areas were waterlogged! I had no option but to call it off but received plenty of stick because they clearly had a full squad and wanted to play!”

And finally . . .

So what of the future for Roy? We asked the question and feel that his answer sums up perfectly what he is about:

“I have enjoyed every minute of being involved in football, especially as a referee, and have missed it so much that I have even been gardening on Saturdays and built a large log cabin in my back garden!

“I would encourage other ex-players to get involved because I’ve enjoyed refereeing in our county and the Senior Cup Final was the icing on my footballing cake so I will carry on for as long as I am able – because it is a pleasure to be involved!"

Roy, Dean and Alan Boswell