Tag Archives: Football

ED-209 meets the Respect campaign?

This is an interesting new take on the Respect campaign from The FA. A lot more than a mere tip of the hat to the ultra-violent RoboCop film as well!

I am now wondering whether I should take a cuddly toy onto the pitch to hand to the next dissentful player. It would certainly get some sort of reaction.

My End of Season Review

My football refereeing season of 2011/2012 is at an end. Now is the time for self-analysis in order to see how well I did, especially in comparison with my goals, and decide where I would like to go in terms of moving forwards.


  1. I GOT MY PROMOTION: I succeeded in going from level 7 to level 5 (a ‘double jump’ promotion) in one season. This required a great deal of commitment and I’m pleased that there was no drama along the way.
  2. CUP FINALS: I was very pleased to be selected for a total of five cup finals. This was nearly six but unfortunately I was away on holiday for the last one. It is always a honour to be considered for a cup final and they were a great way of rounding off the season.
  3. I DIDN’T GET INJURED: Well, kinda. I will touch on this more in the next section. Essentially, I got through the season without any major problems, which was important considering how many games I needed to get in for the promotion.
  4. I ENJOYED IT! Isn’t this the most important thing? I enjoyed my games, the challenges that they presented, and the various people that I met during the season: Players, officials and fellow referees. Some early advice I received was “Enjoy your refereeing” and how true that is!


  1. MY WEIGHT: Despite being so active, I managed to to put on about 10 kilograms during the season. This was down to eating very badly. It started to have an impact on my joints plus how generally nimble I felt when refereeing (twisting and turning, changes of direction and so on). Not only that, I’m not happy with how I was looking towards the end of the season!
  2. INJURY: Linked to my weight. My knees started to play up a bit towards the end of the season due to the repeated impact of the stop/start running. Essentially, a case of Runner’s Knee. Nothing serious as rest abates it but those extra 10 kilograms were hardly helping! Oh, and having an ‘out of balance’ body, but I will come to that later.
  3. LEVEL 4: I’m now going for promotion again, to level 4. I’ve had my first assessment and while it is a commendable result for my first assessment at my new level, it is not as high a mark as I would like.


  1. WEIGHT LOSS: This is already going very well, and I’ve lost over 5 kilograms so far. I’m sticking to a 2000 kcal diet, with exercise allowing extra calories! MyFitnessPal is an excellent site for tracking this.
  2. FITNESS: The off-season allows me to be more stuctured in my routine. I’ve been working on a combination of normal running, interval and speed training. This has included working towards my fitness test which needs to be done in August/September (I am well on track for this). I’ve also started CrossFit in order to keep my body in good balance, to aid in flexibility and injury prevention. I’m really enjoying this.
  3. I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO 2012/2013: I’m really looking forward to the new season. I feel like I’m going to be great physical shape when it comes around, and I have a level 4 to earn!

Bring it on 🙂

Cup Final Season

Cup Final #2 !

Now that the season is drawing to a close, the leagues are winding down and referees are put on rotation for the dwindling number of remaining fixtures. However, it also means it is time for the various Cup Finals!

To begin with, I was very happy to be appointed as Reserve Referee to the Surrey FA Women’s Cup Final. This worked out to be my third county cup final in two seasons. The game itself was very one sided, with Chelsea Ladies pulling a convincing 10-1 win over Fulham Ladies. However, I enjoyed it due to doing something new. In particular, controlling the benches (not that much needed to be done here, just minor tidying) and working the electronic substitution board as required.

My second cup final was as Assistant Referee for the Surrey County Intermediate League (Western). The sun held true and this was a really enjoyable game for me. It was strongly competitive and settled with a single goal. I ended up awarding an (obvious) penalty due to the referee being unsighted, although it was not converted, as well as making a (fairly obvious) ball over the line call (it wasn’t!). The big decisions were all correct and as a result the game had no drama attached to it. We had a strong team of officials. Here is a good selection of photos.

I have a final on my Sunday league coming up, and for that one I am the referee. I’m really looking forward to that it. Then I can go on holiday and put my feet up!

It’s certainly been a very enjoyable season for me with some real achievements. To be rewarded by being appointed to finals is a real honour. What will the next season bring?

An evening with Kevin Friend

I attended an FA ‘Have Your Say’ event recently, courtesy of Surrey FA. The guest speaker was Kevin Friend who is refereeing at the highest level in England, being part of the PGMO Select Group.

What struck me about Kevin, and in the same way as when I saw Darren Cann and Mike Mallarkey speak, was just how open, honest and down to earth he was. In fact, the bulk of the presentation focused on mistakes he had made and how he had bounced back from them to get where he is now.

He, of course, learned from them and resolved to keep going, despite the disappointment at the time.

Some key points:

  • STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF: At level 4, Kevin finished his first season in band C. Acceptable, but he wanted to improve. The initial advice he got was that he needed to be issuing more cautions. He tried this. Next season: Band D! “You are giving out too many cards, keep them in your pocket!”. He tried this. Next season: Band E! What happened when he finally refereed to his own feelings and enjoyment? Promotion!
  • YOU ARE CAPTAIN OF THE SHIP: Kevin told the story of an FA Cup game earlier in his career when due to an error by his Assistant, a team played four substitutes. This led to action by the FA and of course a blot on his copy book! Since then, he has always kept a record of substitutes even when delegating the responsibility to an Assistant (or nowadays a 4th Official). Ultimately, as Referee, you are captain of the ship and responsible for your Assistants.
  • NOT GETTING PROMOTION: Kevin was all set for his initial interview and hopeful promotion to the Select Group. The season had gone well. However, in a crucial play-off semi final just the week before, he disallowed a goal which replays showed should have been allowed. Even worse, there was no trace of a foul. This very public critical error was mentioned as a factor for why he did not get the promotion. He resolved to back again next year in that office, except this time being promoted!
  • KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PLAYER: In an infamous Portsmouth v Sunderland encounter, Kevin admits that he lost track of the player he wanted to dismiss for DOGSO. As a result, the wrong player was initially dismissed until the real culprit was identified and it was all sorted out. It looked really messy. However, lesson learned, to the extent of even bringing in a running commentary, e.g. “If number three brings him down now, that’s a red card….”.

The presentation concluded with a video highlighting a set of refereeing mistakes at European level, featuring a wide selection of officials. It just showed how important it is that we get everything right!

It was a great presentation and just goes to show: It is easy to keep positive when things are going well. However, the great referees are able to bounce back from major disappointments in their careers, and know it is down to them… and not blaming anyone else!

Mass Confrontation

I had an enjoyable game on Saturday at beautiful village green style pitch in the wilds of Surrey.

On paper, this game looked like there would be nothing in it: Bottom of the league v a team vying for a top three finish.

I had refereed the away side before but not made them particularly happy when I sent off one of their more vocal players for two cautions. By ‘vocal’ I do not mean the typical shouty/dissent sort of player which the word sometimes conjures up. He was clearly a strong leader within the side and would give out the good just as he was giving out the bad.

This set me the challenge of keeping a firm grip of the game to ensure that any ill-feelings from that game would not come back to haunt me.

The game itself was going pretty well all the way up to half time. However, there was then a horror tackle on a young home player. He reacted, albeit in a ‘handbags’ way, and the away player then put his hands round round his throat!

I was already well on top in terms of positioning and giving the whistle a good blow. However, I could then see everyone else piling in, including the benches, so it was time to just step back and let the situation play out.

Thankfully, the rest of the players and managers were being helpful, prising the away player away and protecting the home player. Pretty much all posturing. As a result, I dismissed the away player for Violent Conduct and cautioned the home player for his reaction to the challenge (Adopting an aggressive attitude).

I then made the effort to talk to the away side. They were upset that a home spectator had run onto the pitch, kicked the ball at them, and generally got involved in an aggressive way. I assured them that I had seen everything and that it would be reported. This was important, as you don’t want a team to go away from a mass confrontation feeling that the referee has not been fair to both sides. I also made sure to explain the difference being a ‘handbags’ style reaction to gripping someone round the neck in terms of the cards issued.

It was also important to thank the managers for getting involved in a positive way in calming their players down.

It was then half time! Certainly an interesting way to end the first half.

I was not sure what to expect in the second half. What amazed me was that both teams came out with a positive attitude and played a fantastic game of football. There was no trace of any aggression. If anything, it was good natured, with a home team player saying to me as he came out, “Shall we have another fight now then, ref?”. The game went right to the wire, with the away side getting the winning goal in the final play of the match.

Only one additional caution was needed, for a blatant block on a player making an attacking run up the wing.

This was one of those games where afterwards I felt I got everything spot on. A demonstration that the best way of easing any potential ill-feeling from a side is to just get out there and totally ‘nail it’ the next time you see them!

Here’s a bonus video of a fellow Surrey FA referee dealing with a mass confrontation which was a bit pressured! (Skip to 3m14)

Ask The Ref: Mike Riley on BBC 5 live

Mike Riley is the manager of the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) board, which gives him the responsibility of looking after the referees at the professional level in England.

He recently took part in a BBC 5 live special, discussing, you guessed it, refereeing, with a particular emphasis on the Premier League.

Also featured is Kenny Hibbitt (Match Delegate) and Paul Rejer (Senior Coach of PGMO Assistant Referees).

Some topics:

  • Should Assistant Referees turn professional?
  • The assessing and match delegate system.
  • What is being done about the swarming of referees following contentious decisions?
  • Are referees letting personal / ‘big club’ relationships influence decisions?
  • Should assessor reports be made public?
  • Goal line technology and the Extra Assistants.
  • Should referees explain their decisions to the media after a game?

The Podcast can be found on the 5 live podcast page.

Badshot Lea v Cove

Out and about with the camcorder again to take in a local New Year fixture. This time, Badshot Lea v Cove in the Combined Counties league.

There were five goals in the match, including a penalty, with an old-fashioned confrontation featuring as well.

Due to time pressures, I did not have time to fully charge the camera before heading out. As a result, I did not get the last 20 minutes of the game. Thankfully, all the goals were before!