Dermot Gallagher

For the Irish civil servant, see Dermot Gallagher (civil servant).
Dermot Gallagher
Full name Dermot J Gallagher
Born (1957-05-20) May 20, 1957
Ringsend, Dublin, Ireland
Years League Role
1985–1990 Football League Asst. referee
1990–1992 Football League Referee
1992–2007 Premier League Referee
Years League Role
1994–2002 FIFA listed Referee

Dermot J. Gallagher (born May 20, 1957[1] in Ringsend, Dublin, Ireland) is a retired Irish association football referee, who lives in Banbury, Oxfordshire. He refereed in the Premier League of English football until May 2007.


Gallagher first took up the whistle in 1978 at the suggestion of an ex-Football League linesman called Dick Bartlett.[2] He was elected to the assistant referees' list of the Football League in 1985. Five years later he became a Football League referee at the age of only thirty-three. Even by his second season he was regularly handling top division games and was chosen for the new Premier League in 1992. He progressed to the FIFA list in 1994 after only three and a half seasons on the List.

His first ever Premiership appointment was the 2–0 away win by Coventry at Spurs on August 19, 1992, both goals being scored by John Williams.[3]

In 1995, he refereed the FA Charity Shield match between Everton and Blackburn Rovers at Wembley, which Everton won with a Vinny Samways goal. In the same year, he was man-in-the-middle for the FA Trophy Final, also at Wembley, when Woking beat Kidderminster Harriers 2–1 after extra time. And to finish a busy year he was put in charge of the Under 20 World Cup Final in Qatar, which was won by Argentina in a 2–0 win over Brazil.

In 1996 he was selected to control the FA Cup Final between Liverpool and Manchester United at Wembley, which United won by an Eric Cantona goal to nil.[4] That summer he refereed in the European Championships in England. However he suffered a serious injury during a game and was then out of action until early 1997.

Despite being born in the Republic of Ireland, Gallagher was a representative of the (English) Football Association, and as such he was able to referee a friendly international between his birth country, the Republic of Ireland, and Russia on February 13, 2002, at Lansdowne Road. Referees are prohibited from officiating in international fixtures involving their representative country. He retired from the FIFA List on reaching the mandatory retirement age of forty-five at the end of that year.

Gallagher served out several more years as a Premier League referee with the unique distinction of having served on it every season since its inception. He was the first referee since 1994 to be granted an extension beyond the domestic retirement age of forty-eight in 2006.

Since the year 2006, he has officiated in the annual series of national six-a-side tournaments called Masters football,[5] referees for which are FA-endorsed. This competition features ex-professional footballers chosen by the PFA, and is televised on Sky TV.[6]

The last Premier League fixture that he refereed was the game between Liverpool and Charlton Athletic, which took place on May 13, 2007 and finished 2–2.[7]

He officiated a pre-season friendly for Cardiff City vs Swindon Town FC on July 28, 2008

Dermot is distantly related to famous Oasis brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher. He cites his favourite Oasis song as "Don't Look Back in Anger".

Dermot now regularly appears on Sky Sports News to discuss the weekends controversial decisions where he has been applauded for defending his ex-colleagues. In addition to this Dermot is also an active public speaker offering advice to younger referees and footballers.


SeasonGamesTotal per gameTotal Red cardRed card per game

See also



  • Football League Handbooks, 1985–1989
  • Rothmans / Sky Sports Football Yearbooks, 1990–2006


  1. Birthdate and profile: the Football League official website.
  2. Birthplace confirmation, also earliest refereeing (1978): Irish Soccer Referees Society website.
  3. First ever Premier League game: website.
  4. FA Cup Final 1996 at website.
  5. Masters Football involvement: from website.
  6. About Masters Football: from website.
  7. Last ever Premiership match, Liverpool v. Charlton: report, website.

External links

Preceded by
Gerald Ashby
FA Cup Final referee
Succeeded by
Stephen Lodge
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