FORMER Football referee Brian Stevens celebrated 50 years of whistleblowing last weekend.

The 73-year-old veteran man in black crossed the white line for a staggering 2,921st time to take charge of Charfield's Stroud League Division Two 2-1 defeat at home to Taverners Reserves on Saturday.

"It was a brilliant day," said Stevens, who refereed the likes of Alan Hansen and Paul Gascogine in a glittering officiating career.

"Unfortunately I had to send a player off, but before the game the players lined up and shook hands in my honour, which was a nice surprise.

"Steve Marshall (Stroud League secretary) asked me to sign a Stroud League ball each for both clubs."