Former leading rugby league referee Billy Thompson has died at the age of 87, his hometown club Huddersfield have announced.
He also made history in 1971 when he became the first referee to send a player off at Wembley, dismissing Leeds centre Syd Hynes for an alleged headbutt on Leigh player-coach Alex Murphy.
That was one of three Challenge Cup finals refereed by Thompson, who also officiated at three World Cups.
He was a life member at Huddersfield in retirement and Giants managing director Richard Thewlis told the club’s website: “He rarely missed a home game until illness hampered him in later life and was the first person that many of our guests would look forward to seeing and reminiscing with. He will be sorely missed by his many friends both in the UK and overseas.”
A character on the field, Thompson went on to become an accomplished after-dinner speaker.