I have refereed many games over many years and even though the ball doesn’t always run kindly I try my best to deliver the best I can in that moment. But does every referee think the same?
I do wonder if my standards are too high sometimes. Refereeing at grassroots is a hobby with a few pennies for your trouble, however if you are being paid to do a job, you deserve to the best you can be.
I probably over run on the pitch and friends will laugh at this statement, but I officiate without assistants so I try and do everything: ensure I have the correct angle, get out wide for those tight offside decisions, plus to enforce credibility on decisions and let the teams know I’m trying my best to see everything – I’m working hard to give them the best game possible, and hopefully if possible to be unnoticeable on the field of play.
I’m from a different generation of match officials. Do I believe standards were higher? Yes, I do. I watch the lads I officiated with as they start reaching lofty heights in the game and the work they put in. I don’t always see this with the new generation of promotion seeking officials. Don’t get me wrong any official taking a penny for a game should be doing their best.
A few seasons ago I did a girls U9’s final, so it was a small sided game and I covered just over 4km. How can you do this on a small pitch? By working hard. At the end of that game it’s about the two teams who have played, and absolutely nothing is about you.
On Sunday I officiated a game, which was touch and go regards the pitch and the weather – but I was there in my kit and running around: the best I could in very trying conditions.
On the pitch next door was the young physically fit referee wandering around the centre circle, occasionally getting approx. 10 metres from the centre circle, but movement was only central.
The movement alone would worry me. If I was observing this referee I assure you the mark on movement would be non-existent. However, I would already be looking to mark down the official because they were refereeing in their coat. The thing about this situation is “if I had been observing” or if anyone had been observing, I guarantee the coat would not have been worn, the movement would have been considerably more and the official would have looked like they wanted to be there.
The respect campaign from the FA, we all know has been a disaster. I used to cringe when players and coaches would say respect goes both ways, in the sense I don’t see officials throw abuse for a misplaced pass, or missing an open goal, I know referees who gave back as good as they gave and that would upset players who believe they have a given right to abuse without a rebuke.
What I believe I think they meant, was officials like the one I describe, who couldn’t care who was watching, treated a senior county match with contempt and picked up their pennies. It looked bad, and does nothing for the image of a match official. Every game you should give the best you can and, if the game isn’t going right, then officiate with urgency and determination in 10 minute blocks. You will get through the game.
Remember at grassroots as a referee you are probably the only one being paid, your time is worth the money, but so is your effort!
(Read the article by Keith Hackett on 10 Minute Block refereeing at https://keystofootball.com/10-minute-block-refereeing/