This season we have seen a record number of referee promotion candidates. The new promotion pathway is certainly proving to be a success in Westmorland, and we have officials in both senior and youth football working towards promotion.
We have spoken to Mark Blamire 6-5, Alan McDowell 7-6 & Alex Richardson Y1-Y2 to ask their thoughts on the seasons so far.
How have you found the new Matchday Coaching?
Alex: I’ve preferred being coached because it gives you active feedback during your game so you can put it straight into practice in the match. It’s better because it’s face to face feedback and also because it’s after or during the game, decisions are fresh in your head and can be talked about in more depth.
How have you found the Donald Shepherd Academy?
I find the Donald Shepherd Academy a brilliant opportunity for all referees to come together, train, discuss past matches and personal experiences and decisions referees have made in bigger games. My favourite training session was when we analysed the fouls and decided which colour card it deserved and followed it up with making group decisions on the card back in the classroom, this helps rule out any mixed decisions between referees which makes the match fairer for both the teams.
Really can't speak highly enough about it, to have the opportunity to speak to officials far higher up the system and with so much more experience is invaluable. I’ve probably asked Jez that many questions he dreads me coming. Also, it’s great to see such a diverse group attending and giving all officials the chance to speak about recent experiences and share best practice.
The guest referee speakers have given a very detailed and informative clinic which again has given me an extra boost to referee games with much more clarity and confidence. This I think passes on to the teams and team officials on game day, as they appreciate you are showing a clear knowledge of the laws of the game and are demonstrating that in your game day performance. Each session is brilliant and both Pete and Jez are a massive help to the present and future development of all the referees who attend.
Most memorable game on the promotion pathway?
My most memorable game has to be Staveley v Ibis, in the 2nd round of the Benevolent Cup, which went to extra time, after the Ibis goalkeeper headed in an equaliser in the very last minute of 90 minutes, to take the game into 30 minutes extra time. What a fantastic advert for grassroots football.
Any message to people that are considering promotion?
You should definitely go for it. It’s a good experience of what is expected of a referee, a chance to be assessed by more experienced referees and to learn from them. Most importantly the reward of promotion for the hard work put in to being a referee.
Go for it!!! The level of support is immense from the F.A and if you are serious about pursuing it long term it can be the start of a brilliant career. Imagine being involved in football for a living. I only wish I had thought about it sooner than I did. Don’t be scared about making mistakes, it’s the best learning curve and your peers in the game will always be there for support during the great games and the tougher ones.
A big thank you to Alan, Alex and Mark for talking to us. You can also click the links below to access the 2022-23 Referee Progression Packs.
If any other referee would like to join the promotion pathway please contact Pete Leonard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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