Suffolk parent right to be banned from football – but if you’re asked to referee a game . . . I SUGGEST YOU DON’T

Glyn Dixon

Glyn Dixon - Credit: Andy Abbott

It’s been a sad few weeks for youth football.

It’s been a sad few weeks for youth football.

While I love non-league and love coaching at youth team level, I must confess to getting more and more tired of rowdy, disrespectful parents, win-at-all-cost coaches and the general demise of respect towards officials.

Not a game goes by now where I don’t hear parents and coaches at my youth games shouting at the referee.

It feeds into the youngsters.


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By the time you get to under-13 level, a coach can say all they want to his players before a game about not talking to the officials – but sadly coaches are not as influential as the Premier League stars of this world who get away with it on a weekly basis on television, thereby influencing our youngsters.

I shout a lot when I’m on the touchline.

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But I ONLY shout at my own players – never the referee.

I was involved in a debate on Five Live recently which was looking at why almost 4,000 misconduct offences have been committed by adults at youth level football.

I thought my story – of a deluded parent on the sidelines looking as though he was going to have cardiac arrest because the coach took off two of his team’s better players in a cup match last year – was sad

But it was nothing compared to the game (not in East Anglia I hasten to add) abandoned after a parent pulled up a metal post holding the Respect tape around the pitch, and went after the referee with said post.

Recently, I stood and watched in my own game as a parent who was running the line (not from my club) threw down his flag and stormed off after a disagreement with the referee over a goal.

It’s simply unbelievable.

From January next year, the FA is introducing a pilot scheme across 10 county associations offering new educational courses – the equivalent to the disciplinary speeding course that drivers are sent on.

The courses are not a replacement for fines or suspensions but are intended to get people to think about the impact of their behaviour.

They will predominantly be aimed at managers, coaches and in some cases spectators who have been found guilty of non-violent misconduct charges – such as abusing referees or threatening behaviour. The courses should be packed I reckon!

A couple of weeks ago Suffolk’s Glyn Dixon was banned from all football for three years, the Woodbridge Town parent found guilty of a charge of improper conduct, involving violent conduct and threatening and/or abusive language or behaviour.

He was refereeing an under-11 match.

Dixon will take his punishment and will sit out a game he has played for years,

Of course, in no way do I defend his actions and I’m sure if he could turn the clock back, he would.

I wasn’t at the game and I’m no old pal of Glyn Dixon’s – in fact I hardly know him – so I could be completely wrong on this.

But I’ll take a punt that Dixon didn’t go to that U11 game that morning intent on getting involved in any form of trouble.

And he offered to take on a job most on the touchline that day – and on many touchlines across the country at most youth games don’t fancy doing – refereeing a game so the children can play.

The worse ones prefer to shout sarcastic/abusive comments at the referee from the touchlines rather than doing the job themselves – shame on you if that hat fits.

Yes, Dixon was guilty . . . but I’ll wager he’s not the only person who needs to take a good, hard look at their actions that fateful Saturday morning.

PS: If you ever turn up to a youth game and there is no referee, take it from me – because I took charge of a game recently – I have to say – DON’T do it, it’s a horrible experience. You get shown NO RESPECT, even though you are just volunteering so the children can have a game.

What do you think? How do you see the behaviour of coaches and parents at youth games? Do you referee only youth games? Let me know mike.bacon@archant.co.uk

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