Magic of the FA Cup alive for young Sheffield United fan Tyler Machin, 19, as he fills in as fourth official for third-round tie against AFC Fylde
The magic of the FA Cup was alive and kicking at Bramall Lane on Sunday when Tyler Machin, a 19-year-old Blades fan and promising referee, filled in as fourth official for Sheffield United's third-round tie against AFC Fylde.
Tyler, fresh from refereeing a Sunday League game in the morning, arrived at Bramall Lane just in time for kick-off before answering a call over the PA system asking if there was a qualified referee in the house.
After some negotiating with a steward, Tyler volunteered and was on the touchline in the second half, alongside managers Chris Wilder and Jim Bentley, as United triumphed 2-1 and booked a fourth-round tie at Millwall.
"I heard the announcement and thought 'yes, here's my chance'," Tyler said. "I bombed down to the front but the steward tried to stop me. I don't think she believed me!
"There were two of us who volunteered but I was still in my tracksuit from the morning game so I got selected because it'd have been less of a delay. I was nervous, but my main worry was about screwing up the paperwork.
"But I went from refereeing in front of about 20 people in the morning, to officiating in front of 11,000 at Bramall Lane. I'm a Sheffield United fan so to do that at Bramall Lane was extra special.
"I've always joked it could happen but for it to actually happen was amazing. The goal now is to keep on refereeing and work my way up, season by season - hopefully to the top, if possible."