Local referee backs Brennan Butcher’s decision to resign

THERE has been a mixed reaction from the local football fraternity to Brennan Butcher’s story in last week’s column when he said that he enjoyed refereeing but he was not prepared to die for it.

The level five official had been involved in a couple of nightmare incidents and is ‘99% certain to hang up his whistle at the end of this season after 12 years refereeing.

Philip Blundell fully backs Butcher’s decision to stand down. He went on: “I know all the pressures having also stepped down as a referee early last year after nearly eight years.

“I sympathise completely with Brennan, however the psychological support that the County FA gives its referees I would describe as ‘non-existent’.

“My opinion is that so many people give up refereeing as nothing is being done to give that support, and the County FA should be publicly condemned for this.

“People don’t realise how much referees have to give to the game and the County, but how little praise they get in return.”

Andy Wilding is secretary of the Ipswich Branch of the Referees Association and he sees the appointment of Premier League referee Steve Tanner as Suffolk’s referee development officer as a big plus.

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“Suffolk grass roots football is fortunate to have some excellent people at the Suffolk FA to drive and develop football in our county,” he said.

“I have met county chief executive Phil Knight and Steve Tanner on a number of occasions and they are two of the most passionate people I have met.

“And in addition there is Tony Trevers, the county referees’ secretary, and Trevor Pollard, who promotes newly-qualified referees at the Ipswich Town academy. They are both working to help coach and develop new referees.

“The standard of refereeing and grass roots football in general in our county is very good and with the personnel and their enthusiasm at Suffolk FA standards will only get better and better.

“This is a wonderful time for football and referee development in Suffolk and I believe that other County FA’s in the country look upon us with much envy.”

And congratulations to referees who are making a success in the middle with the following recently gaining promotions:

From level seven to level six - Lee Abbott, George Byrne, Ian Carter, Tom Carter, Ryan Doctor, Andy Gray, Chris Holmes, Alan Saxby, David Seccombe and Bradley Webb. From level six to level five - Paul Andrews, Steve Bassingthwaighte, Paul Botterill, Mark Goudy, Andrew Howes, Sean Kilbourn, George Laflin, Matt Oakley and Callum Walchester.

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