Saturday 27th September 2008
Green Park, Millbrook
Redbridge 5-0 Burridge AFC
Last Saturday's match official chats openly to young hopefuls about his methods......
Refereeing a football match is non-stop decision making for ninety whole minutes. Sometimes even longer if I remember to add on time for stoppages. If anything less than every ounce of your concentration is given, then yes, you'll still be making decisions, but chances are they'll be the wrong ones.
Let me give you an imaginary scenario: the away side are screaming for a free kick, something about the home team’s right back leaving his studs in the left wingers shins - so what do you do? I know what you're thinking - as a referee I must uphold the laws of the game. That tackle was both late and cynical, I shall recognise this by blowing my whistle and awarding a free kick, right? Wrong.
I don't know what they taught you at referee school, but out here in the real world things are a little different. I didn't get to officiate games at the recreation fields of Green Park in Millbrook between Redbridge and Burridge AFC in the Southampton Senior League by simply adhering to the rules of the game, you know. Things at this level are far more complex than that.
There's so much more to be considered.
I mean it’s all well and good following the rules, but what’s the likelihood of the player who committed the foul deciding to threaten me with violence if I award it? Don’t beat yourself up, the Football Referee’s Association seldom cover that in Module Two - Application of the Laws. It goes without saying, if there’s even the slightest chance whatsoever of any confrontation I’ll do what’s required, by waving play on. That you can count on.
This kind of intense decision making can be pretty exhausting. The mind can wander off course. One minute the balls rolling out of play, the next a horde of angry players have surrounded you demanding you award them a corner kick. Which reminds me, have you ever been to Aspen during ski season? Oh, you must - the crepes at the St Regis are an absolute delight.
What’s that? Should you send that player off for aiming a head butt? Have you not listened to a word I’ve said? Here‘s a question for you, take a good look at my face. Does this nose look like it’s been broken? That’s right, it doesn’t and do you know why? Because getting my nose broken isn’t my business that’s why. Maybe you ought to make that your business too.