Top referee still struggling with injury

MICK Thorpe, the leading referee in Suffolk, is still struggling with injury. He has enlisted the help of England's official doctor Ian Beasley as he battles to return to the middle after 12 months out of the game.

MICK Thorpe, the leading referee in Suffolk, is still struggling with injury. He has enlisted the help of England's official doctor Ian Beasley as he battles to return to the middle after 12 months out of the game.

The Martlesham-based official is the only whistler in the county who is qualified to referee Football League matches.

It is coming up to a year since he took charge of his last professional game - Coventry against Burnley in the Championship - and is now waiting an MRI scan in an attempt to sort out a troublesome achilles problem.

Mick is frustrated by the time it is taking to recover with four cortisone injections failing to correct the dull ache that he feels after matches.

“The England doctor feels it might be more than an Achilles problem with a possible callous on my ankle bone,” said Mick. This might lead to an operation to cut this away.

“I'm waiting to have an MRI scan that Ian has arranged and hopefully more will become known. Then I'm keeping my fingers crossed there will be some light at the end of the tunnel.”

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When he felt his situation was improving, Mick took charge of a couple of Kingsley Healthcare SIL matches towards the end of last season.

But when he refereed an Under-16 game at the Ipswich Town academy he broke down again, and has not been fit enough to officiate again.

Mick was elected to the Football League list of linesmen in 1995/96 and this is his seventh season as a referee at this level.

“I can run okay and normally I have no problems during games,” added Mick. “But afterwards I suffer from a dull ache - not really a sharp pain - and I have been told that it is a similar problem to the one that England cricketer Kevin Pietersen suffered from before his summer operation.”

When given the go-ahead to re-start refereeing Mick will need six weeks' intensive training before he reaches fitness levels required for Football League officials.

So it will be some while yet before Suffolk has a representative at the forefront of the national refereeing scene.

But as he regains fitness, the SIL and possibly Ridgeons League might benefit as Mick gets his way back into the game.

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