Fred Lindop Rugby League


I was saddened by the recent death of former Rugby League referee Fred Lindop. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.

Personal Tribute to Fred Lindop Rugby League

This is my personal tribute to Fred. I was first introduced to him as a teenager. I had a few School friends who played at Eastmoor. One week, they were short of numbers in the Under 17s and I was dragged along on a Sunday morning to play.

First Rugby League Tour to France

Fred was involved in everything at the club and his energy and enthusiasm rubbed off on everyone he came in contact with. At the end of that first season, a tour to France had been organised. I’d signed up for the trip, along with players like Haydn Kelly, Nigel Bell, and Neil Kellett. All of these went on to have good professional careers at Hunslet, Bramley & Keighley – Wakefield Trinity – Castleford, and Sheffield Eagles.

I have to admit geography was not one of my best subjects at school. So, playing games in Paris and Perpignan on the same weekend seemed ok to me at the time. But the 850 km (530 miles) journey took well over 11 hours, but Fred managed to keep the party entertained with his extensive repertoire of rugby songs.

Fred Lindop Outside of Rugby League

Our paths would cross over the next 40 years at various times. He’d regularly referee our matches in the professional game and combined authority with both common sense and a sprinkling of humour.

Outside of rugby, Fred acted as a Sales Rep for a printing company. I worked in an advertising agency and regularly placed work with his business. The attributes that made him an exceptional referee were also evident in his business life and he was a pleasure to deal with.

A good few years later, I was turning out for a local social Rugby Union team. I was surprised, to say the least when Fred turned up to ref the game. He did well too, his knowledge and running of the game was refreshing.

An Oustanding Career as a Rugby League Referee

He enjoyed a wonderful career in Rugby League. Firstly, he refereed 22 test matches. Secondly, the World Cup Final in 1970. Finally, he also refereed five Challenge Cup Finals.

Fred Lindop was awarded the MBE in 1989 for services to rugby league. Also, he was inducted into the Rugby Football League’s Roll of Honour in 2009.

In addition, Fred’s enthusiasm for the game included establishing the University of Sheffield rugby league team in 1969 and coached them. Also, coached junior rugby league at the Eastmoor club in Wakefield. In addition, the Oulton Raiders club near Leeds.

Fred – exuded warmth, positivity, and encouragement

The last time I bumped into Fred was at an RL Cares Players Reunion event at Headingley Stadium pre-COVID lockdown. He was his usual positive self.

I always think of the analogy used to compare people’s attitudes to life when meeting Fred.

There are two kinds of people: ‘radiators’ and ‘drains’.

Radiators cheer you up, they exude warmth and comfort and positivity and smiles, and encouragement.

Drains bring you down, they are dark and cold, miserable, moany, and suck your life and energy. Avoid drains, and stay close to radiators.

Fred was definitely a radiator. RIP sir.