One of my colleagues in Sheffield was a soccer referee on the weekends.
He was working his way up through the system, hoping to make the grade and start officiating at league soccer games and then make it to the big time. From what he said it was a great little earner that the tax man seemed to miss each year and so was worth the trips to football fields far and wide in all sorts of weather.
But from his stories I could never see the attraction of the job/hobby no matter how rewarding it was money wise. We all know how referees are stuck in the middle, no matter how well they do by their own standards, 50% of the crowd will want their head on a stick by the end of the game. My former colleague used to tell me about parents of twelve year olds who were playing a Sunday game in the local park, shouting all sort of obscenities at him for calling a foul or offside. I have never understood how someone would want to voluntarily put himself in this position but they do exist. No amount of money would convince me otherwise.
I’m recalling this story after watching Inside Sport a few nights ago. They had a great interview with Graham Poll, the English referee who had been tipped to officiate the World Cup final last year before he went and gave a Croatian player three yellow cards in their game against Australia before sending him off. Thats a big no-no in anybodys book and resulted in Fifa sending him home from the tournament. He then underwent weeks of ridicule and abuse in the media for the simple mistake he made, albeit in front of billions of people. As WordPress won’t allow me to embed flash videos in the blog see here for a clip from the interview:
You’ve got to feel sorry for the bloke. Talk about a bad day at the office!