Saturday’s Championship game between Norwich City and Preston North End was rescued by a fan who volunteered to step in as the fourth official following an injury.
In the 84th minute of the game at Carrow Road, linesman Mark Jones had to leave the field due to an injury. This meant that the fourth official, Andy Davies, had to take his place, leaving the fourth official position uncovered.
All the players are called over and the referee appears to be considering taking the teams off the pitch as there's now no fourth official... #ncfc— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) November 25, 2017
NCFC 1-1 PNE (86)
The minutes dragged on as the referee team tried to decide if they needed to call the game off or call for emergency cover. Luckily, a hero in the crowd was willing to help.
Right. So we've got a local qualified referee about to get changed to operate as the fourth official for the closing stages it seems! #ncfc— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) November 25, 2017
Always bring your boots, eh?
NCFC 1-1 PNE (88)
David Thornhill, lifelong fan of the Norwich City and qualified referee, made himself known to the team by shouting down from the stands.
Unbelievably, soon after he was given the LED board and displayed extra time and substitutions on it.
Fans absolutely loved the odd situation, taking to Twitter to share their thoughts.
Incredible scenes at Carrow Road. The linesman has pulled up injured so a Norwich fan known as “Spud”, wearing jeans, is the new fourth official!— Peter Saull (@petesaull) November 25, 2017
In a serendipitous turn of events, Thornhill also featured in Saturday’s match day programme.
New fourth official is David Thornhill - featured in the fan section of the match day programme— Dave Seddon (@Sedds_lep) November 25, 2017
Local ref who stood in as 4th official at Norwich v Preston game is David 'Spud' Thornhill who also, by chance, appeared in today's match programme as fan feature. #bbcfootball pic.twitter.com/445QUfOllh— Marc Webber (@marcwebber) November 25, 2017
As Norwich City says: “Always bring your boots”. You never know when you may be needed!