REFEREE John Murray is determined not to blow the final whistle on being an official - despite being well past retirement age.

Mr Murray, who is 75, has decided he will not hang up his whistle until next season when he will have been taking centre stage for 50 years.

Mr Murray, of Walker, Newcastle, said: "I will be resigning next year when I reach my 50. I think I'll have done my bit for football by then."

Football is in the blood of the sprightly pensioner, who has followed Newcastle United all of his life.

He played at full-back for various local sides and once played opposite Newcastle legend Jackie Milburn.

Last week, he joined fans and professionals at the funeral service for former Newcastle player Albert Stubbins.