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The Irishman

How one enthusiastic spectator managed to be sent off!

The Irishman

Dick Butler became a player of great enthusiasm and courage often taking up custodial duties behind the back line. Some of his decisions when he held the ball and decided to run at the defence rather than kick it, as prudence might dictate, left his team mates as wide-eyed in wonder as the opposition. He transitioned to refereeing with remarkable ease. He often gave the opposition greater leeway than Teachers West when he refereed their matches, a trait that didn’t endear him to his club’s members.

Dick’s most memorable moment in the annals of Teachers West Rugby Union Football Club came not when he was playing or when he was refereeing. Rather, it was one day when he was a spectator watching Teachers West play their mortal foe Brothers. Teachers West were struggling against a superior side on the day. Butts was in the crowd totally unimpressed with the decisions of the referee. Always a loud barracker, on this day he achieved maximum volume. This was fine in the beginning, until his critique of the referee became personal, his advice on decisions pointed and his language colourful.

Half way through the first half the ref had had enough. He called time off. Marked the spot for the next scrum. He walked to the sideline and addressed Dick directly, “This game will not continue until you leave the grounds. Your behaviour is making it impossible for me to control the match.” Verbal argy bargy ensued. Butler refused to accept the referee had jurisdiction in the stands. Finally, those around him convinced Dick it was best for everyone if he waited for the team at the Metropole for the match post mortem.

This is the only time in the history of the Club that one of its spectators has been sent off.

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