I love being a referee - but I’m not prepared to die for the job

BRENNAN Butcher has refereed hundreds of local games in the Ipswich area over the last 12 years – both on Saturdays and Sundays – but he wouldn’t recommend the profession to anyone.

He sees no benefit in FIFA’s ‘Respect’ campaign after being involved in two incidents when he felt for his own safety.

Brennan was the unfortunate official who had to abandon a recent Flair Recruitment League that saw Brewers Arms immediately suspended temporarily and led to three of their players being banned long term.

This was after being involved in a Licensed Trades League game last season when a Kitchener Taverners player allegedly threatened to “kill” him and another to “lump him from behind”.

“I would not recommend anyone to take up refereeing,” said Brennan.


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“We might wear a ‘Respect’ badge on our uniforms but it doesn’t mean that we receive respect.

“Sometimes the players act like animals. After I abandoned the game against Brewers Arms, I was arrested at 5am by police calling at my home because of alleged racism comments during the game. I was distraught.

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“The charge was not continued with.

“The Football Association has done their job by dealing with Brewers Arms and the players involved.”

A ‘senior county referee’ as a level five official, Brennan has the experience that the game can ill afford to lose.

But he has decided to hang up his whistle for at least a year at end of the season after 12 years in the middle.

“I love football and love refereeing, but I have not been enjoying it,” added Brennan, who says that the Referees’ Association insurance are not covering his osteopath costs for the whiplash injuries he says he suffered last month, and that Suffolk FA has not been able to help financially.

Following the Brewers Arms match an interim suspension order was imposed on the Ipswich-based club for 28 days.

This allowed the case to be heard before a Suffolk FA commission and chief executive Phil Knight has confirmed that the following punishment has been handed out.

Darnell Wright and Patrick and Francis McDonagh have been suspended sine die with no review for five years.

All three were fined �150. Wright also received a further �15 fine and an additional 14 days suspension for playing while suspended.

Brewers Arms player manager Gary Claydon was given a 112-day suspension and fined �75.

Brewers Arms were fined �100 for playing Wright while suspended and a further �50 and severely warned as to their future conduct for failing to ensure supporters conducted themselves in an orderly fashion.

A spokesman for the Flair League said: “We wholly condone and support the action taken by Suffolk FA in this matter.”

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