Ken Goldman

Football referee legend and commentator who helped professional youth teams


A stalwart of the world of Jewish football, Ken Goldman, who has died at the age of 81, was loved and respected as a referee by generations of players, especially in both the Maccabi GB Southern Football League and Maccabi Masters Football League (MMFL). He was also a man of many diverse parts.

Born in London at the outbreak of the Second World War, Goldman lived with his parents in Hendon and attended Bell Lane School and City of London School. He studied law and qualified as a solicitor in 1963, a profession he continued to follow until the age of almost 80. He married Ruth Sobol in 1966 and the couple lived in South Woodford, later becoming parents to son Danny and daughter Emma. The marriage was dissolved in the 1980s.

Goldman was passionate about football and one highlight was attending Wembley Stadium in 1966 to watch England defeat West Germany and claim the World Cup.

He was a talented player himself, a left back turning out regularly for the Maccabi London club. He held the record for the highest number of representative appearances for the Hendon & District League, and played with and against many amateur internationals.

He later moved on to play for the legendary Chelsea Casuals friendlies team, which included former professional stars, actors and journalists, based at the Royal Chelsea Hospital, home of the Chelsea Pensioners. He once had a trial for Queens Park Rangers (QPR), and later turned out for a Spurs Old Boys team that included several former stars.

Goldman qualified as a referee in 1969, though he continued playing well into his 50s. He became editor of The Normidian, the magazine for the North Middlesex Society of Referees, which led to a successful journalistic career.

He was a familiar man in black in the middle of the pitch at MGBSFL and MMFL matches, as both a referee and a linesman, even after he turned 80! His son Danny said: “In early 2019 my dad had a knee reconstruction operation – yet five months later he was back on the pitch refereeing. He just loved to do it.”

Fellow referee Nigel Kyte, co-founder of Temple Fortune FC said: “He always officiated in his old refereeing shirt that should have been a museum piece. But it was uniquely Ken Goldman. ”

Goldman also refereed matches at Wembley Arena in the 1970s for the Golddigger Trust tournaments, involving big-name stars including Rod Stewart, Jimmy Hill and Brian Forbes, with Elton John as a trustee. It raised money to help underprivileged children find somewhere to play the game.

He gained fame as a football commentator with LBC for many years and was a regular contributor to the Arsenal match programme and club commentary call. He also contributed to England match programmes, World Soccer Magazine and FIFA News.

Once he even found himself in front of the ITV World of Sport TV cameras. Danny explained: “In 1977 when Spurs had been relegated to the old Second Division they played Bristol Rovers at White Hart Lane and won 9-0. Dad was there for LBC, but it was not covered by TV as it was a div 2 game. But as it was such an amazing game he was rushed over to describe it on World of Sport.”

Goldman also provided match reports for some of the country’s leading sports news agencies. A football coach for over 50 years he was once secretary of the London Football Coaching Association. He had also written three paperback books on the subject.

He is survived by Ruth, son Danny, daughter Emma, four grandchildren and partner Michele Goodwyn.


Ken Goldman: born March 11, 1939. 
Died October 12, 2020

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