Shamed referee Bobby Madley has spoken for the first time of the threats to his family over his Premier League sacking – as re-starts his career at an amateur game in Norway watched by just nine fans.
Madley, 32, was dismissed from his glittering role as one of the country’s top football officials in August after a Snapchat post mocking a disabled man.
Opening up about the fallout which left his life in tatters and left his family considering police protection, the referee spoke as he took charge of his first match since the scandal broke.
‘Some of the stuff that came out was not right,’ he told Mail Online. ‘How can it be acceptable that you have police speaking to you about protection for you and your family? That’s not ok.
‘I just put a kit on and go out on to the pitch. I don’t deserve that.’
Referee Bobby Madley has spoken for the first time of the threats to his family over his post mocking a disabled man as he took charge of his first game in Norway since his sacking
Madley (pictured last night) was watched by his new Norwegian girlfriend Jenny Johannessen (right) a former pop singer turned nurse he met in the UK after the breakdown of his marriage
In freezing, biting winter winds, Madley swapped the Premier League glamour for the sixth tier amateur match in Norway watched by a handful of fans but insisted he has never been happier
He is living in Norway trying to rebuild his life and career with Jenny (pictured) who works as a nurse at Oslo University Hospital following his dismissal as a referee by the Premier League
In the freezing cold and biting winter winds, Madley was watched by just a handful of fans including his glamorous Norwegian girlfriend whose home he fled to as he begins a new life in Scandinavia.
Reflecting on his spectacular from grace as one of the Premier League’s top referees playing each week in front of 60,000 people, he said: ‘It’s just great to be being back and doing what I love.
‘It was strange for the first 20 minutes, but after that I really enjoyed it. I can’t say I am missing the Premier League.’
The father-of-two is rebuilding his life and his career since his dismissal in August when he joked on social media that he would beat a disabled man in a school sports day race.
He has never commented on the allegations with his refereeing governing body saying he quit for ‘personal reasons’ and was relocating to another country.
In Norway last night he took his first steps on the comeback trail as he swapped officiating in front of 80,000 crowds for a sixth tier amateur club in minus two degrees.
As he stepped off a floodlit pitch at the almost deserted football ground in a suburb of Oslo with his blonde girlfriend Jenny Johannessen looking on, he told Mail Online he is now happier than ever.
Bobby (pictured with Jenny) has never commented on the allegations with his refereeing governing body saying he quit for ‘personal reasons’ and was relocating to another country
In Norway last night he took his first steps on the comeback trail as he swapped officiating in front of 80,000 crowds for a sixth tier amateur club in minus two degrees
Speaking to MailOnline Bobby said that he wasn’t arrogant enough to think that as a former Premier League referee he would just walk straight into the top of Norwegian football
Speaking to Mail Online, he said: ‘It’s just great to be being back and doing what I love. ‘It was strange for the first 20 minutes, but after that I really enjoyed it. I can’t say I am missing the Premier League’
‘I absolutely love it here in Norway,’ he said. ‘I am picking up the language and tried speaking a bit out on the pitch. All the lads speak English, but it was nice to try anyway.
‘The people here are so friendly and the club have made me welcome. It is a new start for me.’
After the breakdown of his marriage to wife Rachel, mother of his two children, Madley met Jenny, a former pop singer, in a karaoke bar in the UK a year ago.
The couple left Halifax and now live in a suburb of southern Oslo where Jenny works as a nurse at the capital’s University Hospital.
She said: ‘I am just so pleased that Bobby is back doing what he loves.
‘He has been looking forward to refereeing and I so happy for him. It is what he has come to Norway to do and I know he will be a success.
‘He has really settled well and loves living here and we are both very happy.’
Madley told Mail Online his marriage had long been over when he began seeing Jenny and she was not the cause of the split.
Despite his fall from grace Madley, who refereed last year’s Community Shield match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley in front of 80,000 fans, said he had received good luck messages from his Premier League referees, Andre Mariner and Martin Atkinson.
He said he had meetings lined up with the Norwegian Referees’ Association but was told this week his name was not on a list of officials for the top league when the new season begins in March.
Madley told Mail Online his marriage to Rachel, mother of his two children, from Halifax, West Yorks, had long been over when he began seeing Jenny and she was not the cause of the split
Madley is now living with girlfriend Jenny (pictured) in Oslo, who said: ‘I am just so pleased that Bobby is back doing what he loves’
‘I did not expect to come here and just walk into the top league,’ he said. ‘It would be arrogant of me to say just because I was in the Premier League I should be in your top league.’
Madley said he didn’t mind that the game he takes charge of attract only a handful of fans.
‘Yes, the Premier League has all the prestige, the build-up and the fans, but when I blow the whistle it is just me and 22 players out there. That is all I think about.’
He joked that with smaller crowds it was often easier to hear derogatory remarks that fans make.
‘They could have been saying things out there about me, but I would not understand as they were in Norwegian,’ he said.
He left behind a six-figure salary but said he isn’t concerned if it does not get paid officiating in the lower leagues.
‘I have never done this for the money. Coming to Norway was never about the money, but a new start for me.’