Howard Webb The Ref of World Cup 2010

Ref a World Cup final? Howard Webb can't even control his own children, says wife.

Howard Webb is set to take charge on the biggest stage of all in Sunday's World Cup final in South Africa - but, according to his wife, the Yorkshireman struggles to keep control of his own children at home. Webb achieved a lifetime's dream after being named as the first English referee of a World Cup final for 36 years. The 38-year-old from Rotherham will take charge of Sunday's final between Spain and Germany at Johannesburg's Soccer City along with his assistants Darren Cann and Michael Mullarkey. He will become the first Englishman to referee the final since Jack Taylor in 1974 - who awarded the first World Cup final penalty, to Holland, just a minute into the match against West Germany - and follows in the footsteps of Bill Ling in 1954 and George Reader in 1950.

Webb is currently on a five-year break from South Yorkshire Police where he was serving as a sergeant in the force. The Yorkshireman, a miner's son who grew up in the shadow of the Orgreave Colliery, will become the first person to have refereed the Champions League or European Cup final and the World Cup final in the same year. Webb, however, is 'completely different' at home with wife Kay, children Jack, Holly and Lucy. Mrs Webb told GMTV: 'I don't know how he does it. He can't take charge of his own children. I don't know how he manages it on a football pitch.'

Webb refereed his first game at 19, and his father Billy revealed he had encouraged his son to give up after watching him take charge. Billy Webb, himself a referee for 35 years, added: 'It's in my blood. I encouraged my son to take it up. I encouraged him to take his first game. When I watched his first game, I encouraged him to pack up. 'My brother was with me at the time, he was a referee, and he said 'I can see something in this young lad.' History has proven him right and me wrong.'

Mr Webb, a former miner, said every time he thinks about the final he gets goosepimples. 'The whole thing is jaw-dropping. I just can't imagine my son reffing the World Cup final.' Webb's mother Sylvia, meanwhile, admits it is sometimes difficult to watch her son deal with all the flak from a heated encounter. 'When he first started out in smaller football, then he used to, but I think as they go up it's not too bad,' she said. 'I don't like it if anybody puts him down, obviously, as a mum. I don't like to hear it.'

The appointment of Webb and his assistants is seen as a major coup for the English game. Premier League referees chief Mike Riley, general manager of Professional Match Game Officials, said: 'It's not only recognition for their excellent tournament in South Africa so far, but also the progress they have made internationally over the last four years. 'Their appointment is fantastic recognition for English refereeing and should act as an inspiration for all young referees wanting to enter into the game. It just shows what you can achieve if you work hard.'

Webb's firm stance but friendly approach to the players stands him out from the rest of the pack.

Source: Press Association

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