Ref tragedy Former Premier League referee tragically Paul Alcock dies after two-year battle with cancer

The official known for taking a tumble after being shoved by Paolo Di Canio passed away at the age of 64

30 January 2018 - 13:05

FORMER Premier League referee Paul Alcock has passed away at the age of 64 after battling cancer.

The famed official is known for taking a tumble after being pushed by Paolo Di Canio when he showed the then Sheffield Wednesday player a red card.

The moment Paul Alcock sends off Paolo Di Canio

Alcock passed away yesterday afternoon at Maidstone Hospital in Kent - just two years after being diagnosed with the disease.

The debilitating effects of cancer forced the ex-man in the middle's weight to plummet dramatically.

He shed three stone in just 24 days while undergoing an intensive period of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Alcock will forever be remembered for the theatrical fall he took following Di Canio's push back in 1998.

 Paul Alcock speaking to SunSport last year
 
Jamie McPhilimey
Paul Alcock speaking to SunSport last year
 Paul Alcock begins his fall after being shoved by Paolo Di Canio
 
Paul Alcock begins his fall after being shoved by Paolo Di Canio

The Italian had been in English football for just one season following a £4.2million from Celtic when he raised both hands to Alcock's chest.

Still holding the red card, Alcock took several stumbling steps backward before eventually hitting the Hillsborough turf.



A fuming Di Canio turned away and stormed off after being given his marching orders in the clash against Arsenal.

Alcock told SunSport chief football reporter Neil Ashton of his battle with cancer last year.

 The whistler falls to the floor during the tussle in 1998
 
The whistler falls to the floor during the tussle in 1998
 Paul Alcock looks back in disbelief at Paolo Di Canio as the player trudges off
 
Paul Alcock looks back in disbelief at Paolo Di Canio as the player trudges off

He said: "Dealing with Di Canio was a doddle compared with this.

"The first time they told me I had cancer I broke down in tears. The second time was exactly the same. The third time I just expected it.

"My life fell apart in September 2015. They ended up cutting my face back, peeling the skin right back to take my jaw bone out.

 Cancer treatment saw Paul Alcocks weight plummet
 
Jamie McPhilimey
Cancer treatment saw Paul Alcocks weight plummet
 Paul Alcock was one of the top referees in the country
 
Paul Alcock was one of the top referees in the country

"Then another team cut my left leg open, took the bottom of my fibula out and constructed a jaw bone from it while my surgeon ate his lunch."

Alcock was one of the country's leading referees - and even had top names at all the big clubs noticing his presence.

He said: "The first time I walked down the corridor at Anfield I heard this dismissive Scottish voice say ‘Oh for f**** sake, it’s Alcock today’."

 Paolo Di Canio and Paul Alcock shake hands some time after their bust-up
 
Paolo Di Canio and Paul Alcock shake hands some time after their bust-up
 Paul Alcock reached the pinnacle of his profession
 
Paul Alcock reached the pinnacle of his profession

It was the King, Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool’s manager.

Alcock's close friend Bill Moss, 68, said: "He reached the pinnacle which any aspiring referee wants to reach by officiating in the Premier League.

"Even after he retired, which he had to do aged 47, he stuck with it and became a referee assessor.

"I went with him many times to matches and it was obvious how respected he was from people across the game.

"He was one of those faces that everyone knew, and everyone wanted a piece of him."

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