by Russell Kempson, The Times

Wikipedia is an endless source of diverse information yet the font of all knowledge on the worldwide web is often open to abuse. According to its entry on Andy D'Urso, the Football League referee "had a cameo role as an extra in Men Behaving Badly", the cult 1990s television sitcom.

D'Urso chuckles at the thought of sharing a studio, let alone a house, with Gary and Tony, the beer-guzzling, babe-chasing flatmates. "That's news to me," he says. "If I have done it, I'd like to see it!" He won't, of course. The tape does not exist. It is just a figment of a wacky Wiki contributor's imagination.

Perhaps it is a subtle dig at D'Urso's officiating; referees are regularly accused of behaving badly. A tiresome cliche, maybe, but par for the course. However, another D'Urso entry on the cyberspace encyclopedia does bear close scrutiny - the infamous bust-up with Roy Keane and his fellow wide-eyed Manchester United ranters in 2000.

D'Urso has grown weary of revisiting the crime scene yet time has healed. Just about. "It happened ten years ago but people still talk about it," he says. "It's what my name is associated with and, I suppose, that's a bit unfortunate.

"But it happened and it's what you learn from it that really matters. It's what you do differently the next time it happens that counts. In hindsight, perhaps my appointment to the game had come too soon.

"It was my first season on the Premier League, first time I'd done United, the biggest club in the country, and first time at Old Trafford. If it had been a more experienced referee, I'm not sure if they [Keane and Co] would have done it.

"Sure, I wish I'd stood my ground. I wish I hadn't backed off. Maybe it was the players looking for a sign of weakness; that they did it to distract me from sending off a team-mate. I don't know.

"Let's face it, though. You're not going to be refereeing for 16 years without a few incidents getting talked about. I've had the occasional moment since then but rarely half-a-dozen players coming at me. Never a posse."

D'Urso, 46, is now more concerned with Coutts and Co than Keane and Co. He works for the "Royal bank", in its marketing department, and is allowed generous flexibility to fit in his assignments with the whistle, which have included the 2001 FA Charity Shield, the 2007 and 2008 Coca-Cola League 1 Play-Offs Finals and three FA Cup quarter-finals.

Taking charge of the 2001 European under-16 championship final between France and Spain at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland, was an education, too. Watching Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas at first hand, in their formative flushes of youth, proved memorable. The Spanish pair have not done that badly since.

Nor has D'Urso, even if seven years as a Select Group official ended prematurely and disappointingly in 2006. "I enjoyed 99.9 per cent of it," he recalled. "The Premier League is what I consider the best league in the world. I still believed that I could referee in it but, sadly, others felt otherwise. Life goes on, you move on. That's what I've tried to do."

As he did when progressing through the ups and downs of the Mid-Essex Colts League, Essex Business Houses League, South Essex Sunday League, Essex & Herts Border League, Isthmian League and beyond. Listening, learning and improving yet never forgetting his roots.

"I remember, as a teenager, refereeing men much older than me and having to make tough decisions," he said. "At times, that was difficult. But at least I was young and kept up with play. I think they appreciated that."

Just as D'Urso appreciates music, gardening, travelling to different countries and the occasional round of golf ... if he can find the time. One day, perhaps, he might even find a spare moment to watch the re-runs of Men Behaving Badly.

Pity, though, that he never got a walk-on part. An episode of Gary and Tony going mad with their new flatmate, Andy, would have made compulsive viewing!