Darkness & Light

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“You cannot defeat darkness by running from it, nor can you conquer your inner demons by hiding them from the world. In order to defeat the darkness, you must bring it into the light.”

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Pre-Christmas Report

As we head into the Christmas festivities and a little break from football activities, perhaps this is a good time for a little reflection.

Setting the Standards

In each of the divisions there have been some outstanding performances and the competition for the “podium” spots has gathered pace with very few ruled out of a decent chance of getting something from their efforts.

Sure, we have lost a team through a combination of losses and other factors, but most have continued the fight. It is most pleasing to see the attitude of teams wishing to fulfil their obligations by turning up despite being short of numbers.

But, let’s be positive, there’s an awful lot of genuine quality meaning the challenge for honours is at full throttle in each division.

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We have had more than one occasion whereby match issues have been reported to Essex County FA to resolve matters. There are many downsides to this.

  • We cannot rule on the game (if abandoned) meaning that if it is a cup game, delays are inevitable and the final date comes under threat. Final dates are usually set in stone as we have a few to fit in.
  • Football should never be resolved off the park. Competitiveness has always been part of the game but the way you sort out issues should never change. There is no mileage in taking matters beyond acceptable codes of conduct. What are you trying to achieve by taking matters outside of the scope of the game that has existed quite well for 150 years?
  • Leave personal issues at home, don’t go onto a field to try and resolve them…..it never works. Your friends are your friends and will always be there for you. 
  • Football is a contact sport and the standards most set should include behaviour too, don’t let the side down and react unprofessionally. Let the referee do his job and that should hopefully lead to the resolution for the best of the game.
  • What happens on the field, stays on the field. Shake hands at the end and have a beer!!

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We have experienced a shortage of officials this season alongside other leagues. This is accentuated on County Cup weekends when referees are in higher demand. Please bear wih us as we try and do the best in the circumstances and get your game covered.


This is an important part of your process as a team administrator to mark your referee appropriately. These marks are required by the FA & County FA and should be done in accordance with their guidelines.  Many of our officials are going for promotion and it is important that they are appraised over the whole 90 minutes. Isolated last minute disputed penalties, for instance, should not cloud what might have been an impeccable performance outside of one or two issues.  There are three sections for you to mark and anything less than 61 should be followed up with a report to the General Secretary. These would also flag up issues if they continually come up against the same referees. 

Other Issues.

As a referee going for promotion myself, I was a little disappointed to have accusations thrown at me on more than one occasion that “Committee teams” are favoured. I only ever see two different coloured shirts and decisions given are based on the passage of play and not who runs the team. On a recent game when being observed that despite all goals being uncontested, the reason for a disappointing mark was apparent bias, even though the Assessor found no occasion when this could have been true. Unfairly affecting promotion and undermining efforts is not the way to go and taking a step back before marking & considering the overall performance is advised.  The amount of times we see a ref marked down because you have lost a game is the standard.

I’ve stepped down from refereeing on the Combination as my enjoyment and pathway to what I want to achieve has been negatively impacted.

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Having moved to refereeing only on Saturday’s has given me an opportunity to get out there and see a few of our teams in action.

On one occasion I awoke to be greeted by frost & foggy conditions and thought it’d be a struggle to motivate myself to happen across to Hainault Rec. But I am glad I did. Two teams that fought out a well contested battle, each sideline had the passion for football and that spilled onto the pitch, where the game was the star. Respect for the occasion, for each other, the referee and it ended up an honour to be there and be part of it. A few words with many of the characters in attendance and I came away knowing that there’s still a lot right with the game. If Carlsberg did football games moment!!

I am hoping that your sidelines are as positively infectious as these two were that day. Sadly I have seen a few reports that prove otherwise so this is a message to all that your players usually reflect what’s going on from the touchline so let’s get back to staying within acceptable boundaries.