Dunfermline Athletic

Retiring keeper calls for VAR

Thursday, 2nd May 2019

Keeper Sean Murdoch reviews his decision to pack up the gloves and become a referee

Pars keeper Sean Murdoch has announced that he is hanging up the gloves and taking to the park as a whistler. The 32 year old told this website:-

“It is a bit unexpected but it is something that has been in my mind for some time. Nothing to do with the injury, I could still play on. I am fit, I am healthy and nothing wrong with my injury at all.

“It was always something that I wanted to do. I was a referee when I was younger. I built my way up quite high until I was at a stage where I would have to retire to go any further but I was only 28 at that point.

“I am in my early thirties now and still have as good chance to try and get to the top level. If I continued playing for another three years probably the time it would take to get to category 1 would be just too long even though I am more than half way there. If I wanted to be serious about it I would have to quit at 32. It was really an easy decision.”

Sean has always fancied being a referee. He is already qualified to category three development official and has previously taken charge of Sunday League and Junior games.

“I love it, I think it is a fantastic job being one of the main men on the pitch. Teams and fans expect you to be brilliant. In my opinion I have played football at a good level for a number of years and that can only help you.

“When I was second choice keeper at clubs I used to watch the referee in the middle, his man management, his fitness levels, his positioning all things like that.

Sean started his career at Dunfermline, was loaned out to Forfar and after stints at Hamilton, Hibs and Rochester Rhinos returned to finish his career at Dunfermline. He continued:-

“Dunfermline has always been a great club for me and hopefully I will be back some day in the middle, it would be good.”

It would seem that we can expect no favours if Sean every returns to officiate a Dunfermline match. He added:- “When you have worked so hard to be at that level, there is no way on earth that you would look to favour any team.”

Capped eleven times at Under 18 and Under 19 levels, Sean’s best experience with Dunfermline he claimed was winning the League One championship, it was his first ever trophy. His number of minutes clean sheet record still stands and that is the other big high for the keeper.

“Playing in the UEFA Cup was excellent for me and something no one can take away from me. Obviously I made a mistake but that is all forgotten about now.”

Sean is adamant that stopping playing to become a referee is something that he wants to do while spending time helping in the family business, Highland Fasteners in Oban.

“Those other interests probably helped my decision when you have to pay bills and put food on the table. I will be coming down at weekends for games and probably a Tuesday for referee training.

“My first game is on Sunday, I will be going training on Tuesday as well. It is the end of an era but it is also the start of an era and I am staying in football which I want.”

Having watched so long from the sidelines Sean gave his views on the person currently fulfilling the role as first choice keeper:-

“Ryan (Scully) has done really well. He came here a nearly broke my record as well. He came into a team where the boys were struggling and was a big part of getting five clean sheets on the bounce. I would expect to see Ryan here next season as number one.

“Cammy Gill needs to play games. He won’t get any better, he might get a little sharper. He knows this but he is 21. He is a fantastic trainer, a great lad who works his socks off but he needs to play.”

Sean has long dismissed any future as a goalkeeping coach, saying that does not excite him at all.

“Manager, Goalie Coach does not interest me one bit. I don’t want anything to do with it. I have played the game for so long that I have seen the stress that goes through managers, ups and downs so personally it is not for me.

“I am sure Stevie will do well. Next season is a big season for him, he is definitely the right man, he has the right kind of personality for a club like Dunfermline.”

VAR is something that Sean would welcome:-

“I have spoken to Bobby Madden about it. He has done some in the Under 21 championships, he says that it is night and day and we need VAR here in Scotland.

“If it helps you make a big decision, why not? Obviously the expense is a big factor, a fortune. I don’t know how the SFA can make this work. Being a referee I would happily like to have VAR.

”It has enhanced the correct decisions but the delays are just too long. You are talking three to four minutes and I have seen some take six, seven, eight minutes. That is far too long and fans get bored.”

Closer to his heart of course us goal line technology - ”I have seen in England eradicating altercations.”

Sean joined Dunfermline as a youth player in 2003 and made his debut in the first leg of the UEFA Cup against Swedish side BK Hacken in 2007. After 114 competitive appearances over two spells Sean made his last Dunfermline appearance in the 2-1 win over Brechin City in December 2017. An inflammation of the public bone was the injury that effectively finished his playing career.

Everyone at the club is sorry to see Sean leave but wish him well, with his new career. He is assured a really big East End Park welcome should he return to officiate.



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