Pompey fan who stood in as fourth official shocked by the spotlight

Mike Hurdle. Picture: Plymouth Herald
Mike Hurdle. Picture: Plymouth Herald
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett was handed a fresh Fratton Park contract this week  Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey statement defies football’s knee-jerk nature

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He’s had photographers following him, he’s been pestered by journalists and he’s all set for a guest appearance on TV.

Mike Hurdle – the Pompey fan who was the stand-in fourth official at Newport County last weekend – admits it’s been an unusual week.

Mike Hurdle back on Devon Wednesday League duty. Picture: Plymouth Herald

Mike Hurdle back on Devon Wednesday League duty. Picture: Plymouth Herald

And it appears his stint in the spotlight has gathered pace thanks to the power of social media.

Hurdle, who is orginally from Fareham and is a season ticket holder at Fratton Park, said: ‘It’s been mental.

‘I’ve done six interviews for different radio and newspapers and maybe another five or six papers have covered the story.

‘It was shared on some Facebook pages. It was on the Royal Navy, Match of the Day and the Submarine Museum.

When it happened, I thought it might make The News. But I didn’t think it would be anything like this

Mike Hurdle

‘When it happened, I thought it might make The News. But I didn’t think it would be anything like this.

‘I wasn’t even sure it would be a story. I thought it might get a small mention somewhere.

‘I’ve enjoyed it. But I know that it won’t last very long so it’s just a laugh while it happens.’

After being tracked down by The News, the Plymouth-based 28-year-old leading engineering technician on the submarine HMS Trenchant had the Plymouth Herald taking pictures of him running the line in the Devon Wednesday League.

And on Saturday, he has been asked to appear on popular Sky Sports show Soccer AM.

Hurdle said: ‘Soccer Am want me to go on and I said I’d do it, as long as I get back in time to see the Pompey v Mansfield game.

‘I was running the line at a game this week and had the Plymouth Herald taking photos.

‘Thankfully, I didn’t pull a calf muscle and have to go off!’

Hurdle has also had to run the gauntlet from his work colleagues in the navy.

He said: ‘They have been giving me a lot of stick and calling me a celebrity.

‘My boss shouted at me and called me into his office on the Monday morning.

‘He asked me why he’d found out from his wife what I’d been up to at the weekend!

‘Thankfully, he was having a laugh.

‘Then as I was leaving work this week, a dockyard worker I didn’t even know was walking towards me holding up an imaginary substitutes’ board.

‘I’m refereeing in the first week of November so hopefully, it might have died down by then, otherwise I might be getting some more stick coming my way.’