Referee Howard Webb: Cleethorpes is a premier league retreat (video)
WORLD Cup referee Howard Webb said there is no better place to get away from the tension of a top-flight football match than relaxing in Cleethorpes.
The 6ft 3in referee, who was in charge of the World Cup final between Spain and Holland in 2010 is a regular visitor to Cleethorpes from his South Yorkshire home.
A guest speaker at the annual Harbour Place celebrity evening at the Beachcomber, in Humberston, he said he once stayed at Thorpe Park in his sister's caravan before heading off to referee a clash between Stoke and Manchester United.
He headed straight back to the resort after the game.
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Mr Webb, 41, said: "Whenever we want to get to a beach on an afternoon it is always Cleethorpes we come to. We can do it in about 50 minutes and it is always a good day out.
"About three years ago my sister arranged to have us over to stay at her caravan but I had the Stoke v Manchester United game to referee, but I made sure I got straight back after the game.
"It is a great place to get away from it all."
He entertained up to 300 guests at the annual dinner in the Beachcomber.
He also signed photographs with guests, some of whom paid £60 for tickets in support of the homeless charity.
Mr Webb, who started his refereeing 21 years ago in the junior league in Rotherham, urged more young people to get involved in that side of the game.
He said: "People are seeing the opportunities. In my case it has led to full-time employment and wonderful experiences all over the world."
The instantly recognisable face of Premiership football added: "If you have a passion for the game which we all love, who knows where it can take you? "
He will be refereeing today's Arsenal v Spurs clash at The Emirates Stadium.
Harbour Place project director Allen Young said up to 15 people faced sleeping rough in North East Lincolnshire that evening.
The charity's aim is to ensure they don't spend a second night under the stars.
The charity needs £180,000 each year to provide its service to the homeless.
Mr Young said: "We are seeing more and more people come to us for help and have around 500 clients each year.
"Some are homeless, some we help with sustaining their homes and some are hidden around the streets sofa surfing.
"The numbers we are seeing now are higher then we have ever seen before."
The tickets sales for the celebrity event and auction prizes of flights, golf days out and raffle prizes generously donated by North East Lincolnshire businesses helped towards the anticipated total of £10,000 for the charity evening.