Wembley date a ‘dream come true’ for Mansfield referee

David Hunt (second left) with the other officials and the two team captains at Wembley on Saturday.
David Hunt (second left) with the other officials and the two team captains at Wembley on Saturday.

Stags might have missed out on a date at Wembley, but the Mansfield area was still represented there when one of the biggest matches of the non-league season took place on Saturday.

For David Hunt, who was born in Warsop and lives in Shirebrook, was one of the assistant referees for the Vanarama National League promotion play-off final between Salford City and AFC Fylde.

The final, which saw Salford win 3-0 to gain promotion to the Football League and replace Notts County, was a ‘dream come true’ for Hunt, who says he couldn’t believe it when he got the nod.

Clearly delighted, the teacher said: “When I received the call, I just remember putting the phone down shocked that I would be refereeing at such a tremendous venue.”

The 34-year-old Hunt has been refereeing since the age of 17. He was promoted on to the National League list in 2017, and his Wembley appointment put the seal on a memorable campaign in which he was also on the line for the FA Trophy semi-final between Fylde and Stockport County back in March.

He said: “I owe Saturday to my family. Without my dad Paul and my sisters Paula and Claire, I wouldn’t be in a position to officiate on such a grand stage. Their support has never wavered through the good times and bad, and I am truly thankful.”

Hunt, who also plays cricket, is a committee member of the Mansfield Referees Society, which he praised for its support and advice.