BILL EATON'S LOOK INTO LIFE AS A REFEREE IN 'TALES FROM THE DARK SIDE' : How I trained to become a referee

Bill Eaton

Bill Eaton

First published in Sport

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

This week he gets another up-and-coming referee William Broadbent to talk about his experiences I FIRST started refereeing as soon as I could, which was about five months after my 14th birthday.

My reasons for starting were that my game time for my club at the time was starting to decrease and the technique I had developed was starting to become inferior to the other players’ fitness levels.

I began to think that I should focus my attention on something else after about three years at the club and that something else just happened to be refereeing.

I concentrated on fitness instead of my technique as presently I still train with that club. I liked the idea of refereeing as I enjoyed being in charge of things and was happy with the sound of always having the final say.

When playing, I developed a false understanding of referees which consisted of turning up on a Saturday to make 22 people as unhappy as they possibly could and hopefully even show a red card or two.

So I did my basic training course in Boothstown in February, 2013, which contained two eight-hour Sundays with a group of 30 soon to be referees.

The two gentlemen who took the course were very experienced in the refereeing world so that they could back up their point with experiences from their careers.

All 30 people in that room qualified and surpassed the 60 per cent pass mark, only one of the 30 being a girl. The age range was from about 14 to 50, or maybe 60!

After passing the test I then went on to do my first games, which were nine-a-side games in Prestwich – no offsides, just playing the easy game, which it should be.

My grandad took me to my first game and I remember him saying that I needed to blow my whistle harder, to which I replied: “Grandad put your hearing aids in!”

Since that first day I have been a linesman for a final at the Bolton Academy training ground and have been a linesman for a semi-final at De La Salle in Salford, all in one-and-a-half seasons.

I would highly recommend it to anyone who wanted to take up refereeing as you get to meet new people of all ages and grow through the ranks.

Progression is rewarding in any sort of work and if you are young like me it is good money too!

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