Suffolk official Nick Cooper will never forget his Football League debut

SUFFOLK’S newest Football League assistant referee said he will never forget his first game on the line.

Nick Cooper joined an elite group of referees when he was promoted to run the line in the Football League this season.

The 38-year-old from Ipswich did not have to wait long for his first appointment – Dagenham & Redbridge’s npower League Two home game against Plymouth on Tuesday, August 21.

The match ended 0-0 and Cooper, a Level 3 referee who is qualified to take charge of matches in the Ryman League Premier Division, recalled: “It was slightly worrying as I didn’t get my FA kit until two hours before kick-off in the car park at Dagenham due to a last-minute change of sponsorship!

“But I will never forget the occasion. The atmosphere was very different to what I have been used to in the past – the crowd was much louder and I was using the headset to communicate with the referee.

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“I settled into the game very quickly and the referee was very assured and helped me to get through.”

His second appointment came last Saturday when he was assistant referee for the npower League One fixture between Stevenage and Shrewsbury, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

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Cooper said: “I have not yet had to make any major decisions, although I am sure some will come my way soon!”

He is one of three Suffolk referees now officiating in the Football League. The others are Ipswich’s Carl Fitch and Ady Sannerude of Lowestoft.

Cooper began refereeing in 2000 and is now in his 13th season as a referee.

Before becoming a referee he worked in construction and spends time looking after his two twin daughters, Megan and Jessica, who are both four years old.

He is also setting into his new role as referee administration officer at Suffolk FA, after taking up the post a month ago in succession to Tony Trevers.

His role involves working alongside Colin Hills, referee development manager, and co-ordinating appointments, referee registrations and carrying out general referee administration duties.

Cooper said: “I had to hit the ground running and it was a tough first couple of weeks, but the job is going really well.

“I am exceptionally happy to be a part of the team and am looking forward to working with referees at all levels, leagues and clubs in Suffolk.”

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