The question we all ask when watching a game: “Why would anyone want to be a referee…?”

The job is the sporting equivalent of the traffic warden because both of them book expensive purchases for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Both get abuse from the owners as soon as they bring the book out.

Why be a referee…

I can partly answer this with a personal point of view after watching my Dad ref a few games. It was many, many years ago before he got M/S and I was still in short trousers. But I have very vivid memories of him on the pitch, wearing the black.

In fact years later, just very very casually I was the ref for a few games between groups of people who wanted to play each other. (You couldn’t call them “teams”, more of a bunch of people who wanted to have a kick about.)

Why did I do it ? It wasn’t because I was on any power trip or anything. There were a couple of good reasons. Number one was that I was a really crap footballer. The other which was the main reason – I just wanted to help out. Nobody else wanted to have a go, so I did.

I’d like to say that I was a good referee, but I wasn’t. I missed so many decisions and made as many bad ones. There was only one time, once where I could say I was 100% certain about the call.

But my experience and my reasons are nowhere near the same as the professionals. Most who have answered the question reply because they enjoy it. How can anybody enjoy it when they are on the end of this sort of abuse ? Which resulted in the referee being smuggled out of the country after receiving death threats.

– Now we come to this World Cup and the referee chosen to officiate the England v USA match this Saturday is already being criticised even before the game is played.
Admittedly though reading those two articles and watching the videos they do have a point…

This post is reading like I have sympathy for the ref and I do, but I am guilty as everybody else when a questionable decision is made against my team. I’m cursing him as well.
We have bias, see it only one way. They are supposed to be neutral, which 99% of the time they are. But they are still the same as us. A human that makes mistakes. You can’t say that in their place you would have done it differently.

The ref » John Macleods XI – Dont Shoot the Ref

» Matt McGinn – The Footba’ Referee

» Half Man Half Biscuit – The Referee’s Alphabet

One Reply to “I’m Looking At The Man In The Middle”

  1. I think that being a ref is a thankless job & I guess people become referees for the same reason that they become schoolteachers or join the police force. However, I have a lot of sympathy for them as so many things are going on in a game and the sport has become so fast that it’s not easy to spot everything. Then you have the deliberate cheaters who can hide their indiscretions from the ref but not the cameras. As an Irish football fan, I don’t blame the ref or his assistant for not spotting Henry’s deliberate handball against Ireland in the playoff. I blame the player and the culture of cheating that allows him to get away with it. And that’s another great song by Half Man Half Biscuit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.