I’m pleased with the response from my new blog and amazed at the number of countries it has been read in! Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read it.
As I mentioned I did blog a little before so thought I would post them all.
Chapter 1 – how it all began
At the start of the 2001/2002 season I found myself working at a 5-a-side centre. My boss asked me if I could help out refereeing in a youth league on Sundays, even though I wasn’t qualified I said yes. A few tips was given to me and I went out out bought myself a kit, flags, red/yellow cards, note book and a whistle. The next day I was given the under 11s. I found it ok. No major issues, no real hassle from the kids or the parents and I carried on for the rest of that season. The first issue I recall dealing was a few years later when after a mistimed tackle the two players involved squared up. I called them over explained to the player fouled that there was no intent but just a missed timed tackle. I asked both to shake hands and carry on playing the game in a good spirit as prior to the challenge. This was seen by the leagues head referee and I was praised. So ten years later…… I am still part of that league but have never undertaken a referees course. In July I shall be doing that, after a conversation with a friend, who referees, inspired my to attempt to become a professional referee and reach the premier league. Let’s hope I get to the promised land!!
Chapter 2 – the course
I made my way to the Essex FA in Chelmsford. I felt nervous as I got there, not sure why as I was confident I would do well. The tutors were really friendly and welcoming which settled the nerves. The group was quite mixed, some youngsters, some people my age and a few a little older, all in all a really good group. Lots of mixed views and opinions which was good. Even though I had been refereeing for 10 years I didn’t tell anyone as I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself! I did learn a fair bit, for me the biggest thing I learnt was about throw ins! It was really interesting to know that both of the players feet can be on the pitch as long as part of them are on the line! I revised quite hard for the exam as I have always been useless at exams but when the results were called out I was surprised to be named top of the class with 96%! I went home feeling very pleased and couldn’t wait to get going as a qualified ref!
Chapter 3 – The First Six
The first game I refereed after completing the course was a pre-season friendly that a friend and fellow ref had asked me to do, with a lift home too! Nice and easy I thought. I couldn’t have been more wrong! The game itself wasn’t too bad, but in the second half the ‘fuck off ref!’ insults became to common so I called a player from the away team over and asked him to cut out the insults and from his reaction i thought I had gotten through to him and the rest of the players. About 5 mins later a player from the home side disagreed with a decision I had made and promptly shouted “fuck off ref you’re shit!” I thought enough was enough and called him over to be cautioned. When I asked for his name his reply was “John and that’s all you’re getting!” I noted that down along with the offence code and time then as I showed him the yellow card he walked away and said “prick!” I called him back showed him a straight red card. As he walked away He said to me “I’m not giving you a lift now!” I guess he thought that would bother me, it didn’t as I lived a 10 minute walk away! The offending players club apologised to me and arranged for another player to give me a lift home. What an introduction to men’s football tht game was!
The second game was given to me by the same friend and I had my fears it would go the same way as the first! But the manager of the home side was a qualified ref at one point had been a level 4, he assured me that his players would not step out of line. They didn’t, it was a complete contrast to the first game!
The 3rd game was the first men’s competitive game I had ever refereed. I was a little anxious as to what it would be like, but by chance one of the players was someone I had for quite friendly with on the referees course! He was quick to explain to his players that there would be no bad attitude towards me as I wouldn’t stand for it. The game passed with no real incidents apart from me falling on my face as I tried to keep up with a counter attack! I took the expected jeers with laughter and responded to a comment from a player “was you in the Olympics ref with Tom Daly?!” with “no, unfortunately I didn’t qualify!”. A nice bit of banter topped off a nice game.
Game 4 happened by mistake! I was asked to run the line at a fixture and when I turned up I was the only official! Luckily I had all my equipment with me! This game passed almost incident free until the final minute when a long ball over the top was deliberately handled by the defender, I had to make a descion whether to send the player off or not! As I looked across the line I saw he had teammates covering and the ball would’ve bounced through to the keeper so I just issued a caution. From the resulting free kick an attacker was trying to get into the defensive wall. He was leaning into the wall which resulted in him being pushed back. Words were exchanged and I asked the attacker not to lean in to the wall, he told me to shut up so I called him over to be cautioned.
The fifth game was another pre-season friendly. Which passed without incident, well almost!! A few minutes before the end the team losing 6-0 started arguing amongst themselves! It must’ve worked for them as they scored a last minute consolation goal!
The final game of ‘the six’ games required to move up to a level 7 was a good one to ref. The away team dominated but fell 2-0 down due to quick counter attacking goals. I began to wonder whether their attitude would be good or not but it was fairly good. There were obviously disagreements at some decisions that went against them but overall there wasn’t any abuse or dissent. The away team managed to pull a goal back before halftime and the second half was fairly quiet as both teams struggled in the heat! After completing the six games I look back over them and feel fairly please with my performances but feel there will always be room for improvement and I know I need to become a bit more vocal. I have been appointed to run the line on two games so will be taking notes on how an experienced referee handles things.
Chapter 4 – vets football
Today I’ve been appointed to a vets game. Wasn’t sure what to expect, a nice easy game as they’re older and more mature or a difficult one as they’ve had more years of making life difficult for referees!
Well overall it was an easy game to referee. One player who kept moaning/appealing for decisions but begun to look silly when he was the only one from his team calling for a free kick. One he wanted, he went running into an opponent, and as his opponent controlled the ball bounced off him and ended up on the floor. Only other negative was a two players had words with each other after a foul, I had played a great advantage (if I do say so myself!) but had to stop play to ensure no fisticuffs took place.
Have to say it was the quickest 90mins I have ever refereed. After getting changed I went into the bar to collect my payment. Was surprised when I was bought a pint and then given some chips! I chose to ignore the salad bar dodger joke, maybe because it’s true but as I head head home it’s nice not to be thinking ‘what a bunch of idiots they were!’
I look forward to picking up my whistle in the youth league tomorrow!
So today for the first time this season I was refereeing in the youth league where I started 10 years ago. Only preseason friendlies mind, but it was nice to be over there, catching up with fellow referees that I hadn’t seen since the end of last seasons.
I was given three games to do and all went well and more or less passed without any incident. Only one questionable incident, I gave a penalty and the manager was adamant that his defender got the ball bit I explained to him that I saw not contact with the ball and from the view I had it was 100% a penalty. He seemed to be ok and I think we agreed to disagree, we shook hands and all was well. However if this was a league game I doubt he would’ve been so calm.
It was nice to be back over refereeing in the youth league. I feel being officially qualified has given me a bit of extra confidence and I look forward to next week when the league games start.
Above emailed in!!
Chapter 6 – Getting used to life as a qualified referee
I wouldn’t say my style of refereeing has changed since passing the referees course but I do feel I’m refereeing with a lot more confidence. A few chapters ago I mentioned an area I know I needed improvement on, player management and discipline. I feel the extra confidence I now have, has improved that area a lot.
A key part of controlling the game as a referee is knowing when a word will be enough and knowing when to bring out the cards.
Today I refereed a college match. The game was played in really good spirit and I didn’t really have much to do. I spoke to three players throughout the match for three different things. Each time I explained my decision and told that anything similar and I would take further action. Each player responded in a great manner. Fully accepting they had done wrong and allowing me to finish speaking before apologising and then moving back into their position. The adults I have refereed should take note, especially the guy I sent off in my very first game as a qualified ref (chapter 2)!
I do not get as nervous now before games and feel this is allowing me to develop as a referee!
It’s been a while since I have written a blog, mixture of reasons but I’m back! Today I refereed a men’s group cup game, so no chance of extra time!!
I had to make decision before I’d blown the whistle. The weather hasn’t been great in my part of the world in the last week or so and the pitch was a bit boggy in the middle. I thought about and I spoke with both managers had said I was happy to start but if players kept diving in I would have to seriously think about calling off. The game started well and the middle actually became less sticky as the first half went on.
The game was played in a fantastic spirit and was really shocked when I gave a goal kick the attacking player, thinking it was a corner, called me a prick! I called him over and issued him with a yellow card and ask him to calm down. It wasn’t said in an aggressive manner so felt a yellow was enough.
Second half was almost identical to the first with little problems. The player on a yellow attempted a tackle but it was slightly missed timed. I played advantage and the shot went over. I called the player over to have a word with him. While he was walking over I was thinking if I should show him a second yellow. But I decided it was an honest attempt to win the ball so I told him he was on his last warning. After that he was no problem.
The game was ruined by a couple of players as I was walking back to the changing room some nasty comments were made. Almost childlike but still very nasty. I will report the team to the authorities as I feel there’s no place for that in football!
A sour end to a good game!
I need to stop taking breaks in blogging! A lot has happen since I last blogged!
I received my first assessment! I felt I refereed the game well but the assessor pointed out so many simple mistakes I was making. But at the level I am refereeing at the moment the main thing is to know the laws of the game and to be able to be in control of the match. Those were the strong points if my report so I was pleased with that.
The negatives I will turn in to positives. I now know what assessor will be looking for. Although they will differ in specifics I feel I can do excellent the next time I am assessed.
I received and email to be an assistant referee at a league two clubs ground. Thinking it would be a youth game or even a corporate game I accepted thinking it would an ‘easy game’. I couldn’t have been more wrong!!
I found out on the way to the game that the game was between Southend United and Stevenage Borough, and it was the first teams!!