BILL Eaton continues to provide a light-hearted insight into life as a referee in his weekly column.

This week he talks about referees in the spotlight in the media WITH a weekend almost full of cancellations due to the weather, which directly followed the festive period, most referees will be looking forward to getting back on the pitch again.

Though the constant hammering of Premiership referees for their mistakes appear in all forms of the media, it only makes life a little more difficult for referees at grassroots level.

They say that sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.

The vast majority of us were brought up with this, but I feel to the detriment of football, Southampton FC have never heard of this.

They decided to make an official complaint (which was their right) to FA, Why, Because Mark Clattenburg allegedly made a comment to one of their players. Referees may say, it may have been the best of years or maybe the worst of years.

Dreams of better days ahead or maybe a promotional step up the refereeing ladder to look forward to.

Personally when things have gone badly on the pitch, I take a few minutes to read through one of the best poems I have ever read, I feel it is very adaptable to life as a referee. Rudyard Kipling wrote ‘If’ in 1895.

A few lines spring to mind.

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you. If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too. A great opening line I think.”

I’ve have slightly adapted the final paragraph to bring it more in line with refereeing. If you can fill a unforgiving 90 minutes with 5,400 seconds worth of distance run, yours is the pitch and everything that’s in it, And – which is more – you’ll be a referee.