Give the ref a chance

I hate it when the opposition manager turns up and starts his preparations by telling the referee what he expects and what he will be looking for in the game, rather than just getting on with what he should be doing.

It usually happens when the referee is a young lad just learning his trade and the manager spots an easy target. It happened at the weekend when our Under 10s were playing.

The referee was a 16-year-old in his first season and the opposition coach marched over and demanded the boy took control of the game. He insisted the ref use his whistle through the game to ensure the players understood exactly what was going on.

I’ve always believed that the referee starts and ends each half with his whistle and if he doesn’t have to use it again during the course of the match, then it has been a good one, played in the right spirit. Unless there is some dispute or a bad tackle, there is no need to keep blasting away.

Keep calm

A calm referee who talks to the players is far better than a whistle-crazy one. I asked the manager why he didn’t wait to see how the match went before making his comments known. The ref in question is proving to be excellent at making decisions, and all the confidence of controlling a match is beginning to show.

But there will be occasions when he is unsure of whose ball it is or whether the ball has gone out of play, and then he relies on the parents on the touchline to help him out. The opposition manager was very vocal throughout, barking orders and pointing to where he thought his players should be standing.


But he really stepped out of line when he complained that the referee was not sure about whether it was a goal kick or a corner. “Make your mind up, ref,” he shouted, “no one knows what is going on.” Behaviour like this is not necessary.

His team was winning and he was still pressing for his players to be given the benefit of the doubt and awarded a corner, which the referee duly did. At no time did the manager of our Under 10s try to press for the goal kick, so the referee did what he thought was best. When the game was over I asked the referee how he had felt when the manager had come over and spoken to him so sternly.

“It made me feel a bit nervous about the match,” he said. That is a great shame for a boy who has only just started refereeing.

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