Friday, November 10, 2017

Heart Attack brings a sudden end to refereeing career: Now it's mentoring time

The season started so promisingly as well. A newly-promoted Level 5, I was looking forward to reffing at the top levels of the Kent County League and getting myself some good cup games to run. I had received my fixtures for September and ran the line in my first game in an academy Under 18s game between Millwall and Sheffield United.
But all my plans came to a juddering halt on a Thursday evening in the last week of August when, walking along Camden  High Street in London after a day at work, I suddenly felt seriously poorly, breathless and lacking any strength. I walked very slowly to the tube station and stumbled onto a train for Kent at Charing Cross. A sign of my state of health was that I sent myself an email describing how poorly I felt. I was sure I had a virus, or even pneumonia.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Going from bad to VARs in Russia

Frankly, the VAR experiment (Video Assistant Referee) has been a bit of a disaster fior FIFA here at the Confederations Cup in Russia.
I'm writing these thoughts after the Germany-Cameroon game, where the referee didn't help matters by getting the wrong Cameroon player to show a red card to. I was in Saint Petersburg yesterday for the game between Portugal and New Zealand, a one-sided affair which Portugal won easily.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

AP story and other Howard Webb quotes

So here's my story from today's interview with Howard Webb that I did over the phone this morning. He was absolutely charming and wished me well with my Level 5. Couldn't be further from my last chat with a top English ref, Graham Poll, who couldn't resist taking the mickey out of my weight when I spoke to him at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Well Mr Poll, the joke's on you!! You showed three yellows and I'm still reffing!!

Below are some of the quotes from Webb that I didn't use in my AP story. Interesting thoughts on how you make decisions.

"It's really refreshing to hear that some refs suffer from a lack of confidence. You have peaks and troughs of confidence throughout your career. They last less long the more experienced you become.
"Sometimes you see the ball so clearly it's easy to make a decision but sometimes you're going with instinct.
"Some of the very best decisions come from your instinct not from what you see. If you only relied solely on what yousaw you'd miss too many decisions to be a top ref.
"Mark Clattemburg, in his first premier league game, in the first minute, liverpool-arsenal; he made a big decision to penalise Robin van Persie after he lobbed the outrushing Pepe Reyna for handling the ball. He  felt something wasn't right
"Sometimes you have to go with a gut feeling. It's not guessing, it's following your experience and judgment. 
 "The best refs are those who are judged by their gut feeling being accurate

Monday, September 12, 2016

New generation of goalkeepers means times changing for refs' positioning

The day when the referee could run upfield to the half way line in anticipation of a goalkeeper's clearance are coming to an end - and referees need to be aware of it and take action.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Criticism of refs shows ignorance of what a tough job it is at the highest levels

Although we're in the same business, I don't know sports writer Martin Samuel. I've seen him in stadium press tribunes with the other Fleet Street royalty. But I'm just an anonymous news agency hack while these people are kings of their trade. I've enjoyed Samuel's writing over the years as well. I prefereed him at the Times, but that's just personal taste.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Back to the nitty gritty of The Cow Shed and Maidstone Civil Service CLub

OK that's enough of the fancy pants Kent County League Premier Division games, it's back to the nitty gritty of amateur football this weekend, with one game on a ground once dubbed The Cow Shed and another on Sunday morning around the back of Maidstone's Civil Service Club. Before you ask, I have no idea what elements of the Civil Service are based in Maidstone, but I'm sure someone out there in Blog Land could enlighten me.

I'll probably have to change course 180 degrees but it's always been a pleasure reffing in West Farleigh, one of the nicest clubs I've ever encountered. The village is on the slops of the Medway Valley just a couple of miles from my home so it's always easy to get to. (especially tomorrow, when most of Kent's motorway netwrok appears to be closing down after a lorry demolished a footbridge a week ago.)
The team and its officials are always friendly and swearing is frowned upon. Tomorrow's game is against a new team for me, Ashford Reserves. Their first team used to play in the Ryman league and the reserves have only recently joined my league.
The West Farleigh pitch is fine these days, although it slopes down pretty sharply towards the river. It was once upon a time considerably more rural and I remember about 10 years ago one of my reffing colleagues called a game off before it even started because the pitch was unfit - apparently wildlife had been left to graze on the pitch, meaning it was covered in unsavoury substances by the time Saturday came around.
These days they've built a pleasant changing room, although the pitch is at least 100 yards away, across a couple of 5-barred gates.
Aaah, the pleasures of reffing in the countryside!
Then on Sunday it's my first game of the season in the Maidstone & Mid Kent Sunday League, where no prisoners are taken.
I'll report back next week!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The big season for the not so-Fat Ref

It was only when I was clearing up some old papers the other day that I came across the document announcing I had passed my test to become a referee – dated February 2002. I’ve been a ref for 14 years!
 And finally, after all those years, I’ve got my act together enough to be reasonably close to getting myself to being promoted to Level 5.