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A bruising experience with the beautiful game

Mrs Shearer’s attempt to referee a Year 5 football match at lunchtime left its mark

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“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

When a former Liverpool manager, the late Bill Shankly, said these words, he might have been inspired by watching something like this. It’s Friday lunchtime and the second half of a closely fought match between rival Year 5 teams is well underway. But what started as a friendly has turned into the mother of all cup finals.

For this particular group of children, the beautiful game is always more important than life and death. In ...

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