This week we are speaking to local referees from across the county as part of the new Respect the Ref campaign which aims to increase the respect referees receive when officiating and first up we have Will Annear.
Why did you become a referee?
I was coming to the end of my playing days and felt that my experience in the game could be utilised as a referee and keep me involved in football. I spent a lot of my time as a player questioning why certain decisions were/were not given and now, having officiated for a few years, I have a much better understanding of the laws of the game and football in general.
What does your life involve away from referring?
Away from football I can either be found selling houses, spending time with my wife & daughter or out walking the dog!
How long have you been a referee?
I have been refereeing for 3 years.
What league(s) do you referee in?
Any Saturday league up to the St Piran League as a referee or as high as the Western League as an assistant referee.
What do you feel is the best thing about refereeing/what do you enjoy about refereeing?
I really enjoy being able to maintain the social aspect of football without the aches and pains on a Sunday/Monday (or even Tuesday) after playing on a Saturday. You get to know friendly faces at clubs and it’s nice to catch up, talk about how their seasons are going and keep in touch. It’s also a great privilege to be able to referee at a much higher level than I could ever play. Some of the grounds and facilities we get to visit are exceptional and a far cry from the muddy village pitches I used to play on!
What are the toughest moments for you when refereeing?
Constantly being questioned and criticised during games for small mistakes. I accept that referees will get criticism for big errors but it’s infuriating when you get verbally abused for potentially getting a throw in wrong! I nearly didn’t continue refereeing after my first 3 games as I wondered what the point was considering the grief I got. I was a newly qualified ref and was bound to make mistakes! Once I got past those few games and started to grow in confidence is when I really started to enjoy refereeing.
What has being a referee given you?
I’m certainly a much calmer person now then when I was a player (short angry man apparently!) and I’m also far more confident than I was before. It’s a motivator to keep fit too as without refereeing I’d have no reason to keep myself in shape once I stopped playing.
If you are interested in finding more about the Respect the Ref campaign, please click here and for more information on how to start your refereeing journey please contact firstname.lastname@example.org