BILL Eaton gives a light-hearted insight into the life of a local referee. Today he talks about the history of the Bolton Referee’s Society and the role its members have played in the beautiful game

WITH around 80 referees aged 18 and under and 150 in all in the Bolton, Bury and District Football League, support is vitally needed from a number of great organisations, one of which is Bolton Referee’s Society.

Their historian, Bill Bancroft, begins a series of columns on how their society works to improve the development of junior to senior referees.

The society was founded in 1897 with the objective of providing a facility for educating, promoting and training officials in the art of refereeing.

It also attempted to provide the ever-increasing number of leagues, which were springing up both locally and nationally with officials.

It has, over the years performed this task with considerable success, having Bolton-trained referees being prominent on the local, and county leagues, as well as nationally.

We pride ourselves in being the oldest established town society in the country.

Training has always been a prerequisite of the society when weekly instruction classes on the basic laws of the game were held. this has recently been taken over by the County Football Association, but more-advanced instruction and advice is given at our monthly meetings when guest speakers, including FA qualified referee instructors attend.

To give some measure of the success the society has attained over the years, since our formation, we have produced five FA Cup final referees, three Charity Shield referees, three FA Amateur Cup Final referees, six FIFA referees, 27 Football League Referees, two Premier League referees and 78 Football League assistants.

This is a record of which we are justly proud, and are the envy of referee societies throughout the country.

All of this has been achieved by dedication and sheer hard work and will be the societies continued practice as more young referees are recruited and come through the system.