Ref stops play at South Yorkshire game – to watch steam train go by!

Referee Kieron Lee
Referee Kieron Lee
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A football referee stopped a match in its tracks – to watch a steam train go past.

Nostalgic Kieron Lee, aged 46, blew time on the U15 Sunday league clash to admire the railway locomotive as it passed by.

Players and spectators were taken aback by the unexpected pause, but rushed to the sidelines to see the 13-carriage steam train.

Sharon Baxter caught the remarkable moment on camera as her grandson Adon’s match came to a halt.

Sharon, 55, said: “I was there screaming and shouting on the sidelines you do and all of a sudden, the game was stopped.

“I didn’t know what was going on and then my husband David shouted to me to get my camera and I realised there was a steam train coming.

“Everyone rushed to see the train and we all waved at the passengers on board, who waved back! It was a lovely moment.

“All the kids were laughing and then the ref said ‘Right the train’s gone, get back over here!”

The footage has been viewed more than 45,000 times by people all over the world who have praised referee Kieron Lee for his unusual decision to stop play.

Nostalgic Kieron said: “The game was underway and I could hear the sound of the steam engine in the distance.

“I’ve never seen a working steam engine before and knew something special was going to happen.

“I waited for a break in the game and then I blew the whistle. They all looked at me like I was losing my marbles.

“They’re all 14 and 15-year-old lads so they thought I was crackers but I thought, I’m the ref, and I wanted to see the steam train, so tough!

“It’ll probably never happen here again so it was a nice thing to see, and I think a lot of them would probably now agree.”

The steam train was on a one-off journey on Sunday when it interrupted the clash between home-side Pogmoor AFC in Barnsley and away-team Charnock Ridgeway, who had travelled from Sheffield.

Property developer Sharon said: “It was a lovely thing for the ref to do and not one person I’ve spoken to has said anything negative about it.

“I think it’s been popular because it shows everyone come together as a community.

“It’s nice to stop and smell the roses sometimes. People can get so serious about kids’ sport so this was a great way to lighten things a little bit.”

And whether it was a well-timed tactic or not, the ref’s actions certainly seemed to spur on the players.

“The away side were losing 6-0 before the steam train came along, and even they got back on to the pitch with a spring in their step,” Sharon added.

“And my grandson went back on and scored! My husband said we ought to have a train go past more often!”