Book Review: I gave my wife instructions for Christmas that she could buy me a football book, any football book. She bought me a book about a referee. I was not enthused. She said it was so I can see what the ref's viewpoint is.
With lines like the following I thought it would be boring and self-indulgent:
- "Transferring all the theory of my refereeing exams on to the pitch was tough."
- "I soon transferred through to the Whitbread-sponsored Sheffield and Hallamshire County Senior League, before being promoted on to the assistant referees list of the semi-professional Northern Counties East League."
- "My fellow referees line up to offer their congratulations, the likes of Viktor Kassai from Hungary, Ravshan Irmatov from Uzbekistan and Frank de Bleeckere from Belgium."
But I actually liked this. The book helps inform you as to what refs go through and how they arrive at decisions, how they feel when they have got it wrong, how they feel when they have had a good game and so on. And there are funny anecdotes too like how he struggled with CS spray in his policing days, how he graffiti-ed customers complementary diaries while working at the bank, how he swore at a player then explained it after by saying he had told the player he was a "foot off". There's an emotional moment too as he tells the tale of reffing in the Fabrice Muamba match.
And since reading this I have taken more interest in what the ref has been doing in matches, maybe even feeling a bit more sympathy for the "man in the middle".
I would say this book is ideal for aspiring refs, but it's okay for general football fans too.
Future reviews: I will no longer be posting my book reviews on this blog. From now on they will be on Amazon UK and Goodreads only.