It was a real thrill and a privilege to get a call from Surrey FA appointing me as 4th official to an U21s Premier League match. Especially so when it is Chelsea v Spurs! This is an appointment I now qualify for as a Level 4 referee, and so getting it as my first game of the season was excellent.
For professional reasons, I won’t comment on the match itself other than to refer you to the official report.
In terms of my own development, this was a game in front of nearly 3,000 fans and was also featured live on Chelsea TV. This meant there was a real buzz around the stadium during the warm-up (Which I participated in as part of ensuring confidence in my newly healed achilles). I have acted as 4th official numerous times before, including the use of the electronic board, so the role itself did not phase me, and having that previous experience was invaluable.
The increased level of this game meant I had to be aware of two additional items: I had to keep tabs with the tunnel safety officer and TV floor manager, to allow them to communicate key match information such as upcoming stoppage time ready for announcements and TV graphics. It really gave me a great insight into what is required at the higher levels, plus of course it was an opportunity to learn from more senior match officials.
It was a really enjoyable evening and certainly a turbocharged start to the new season. What else will the season have in store?