And I only turned up to watch…..

29 08 2007
Bangor City Reserves 1 Mynydd Llandegai 1
Caernarfon & District League Division 2

I arrived early for this, an hour early. I thought all reserves kicked off at 6:30 but not this one. I’d failed to heed the Citizens-Choice message board; someone posted that the game started at 7:30. I thought that this was wrong; about 50% of these things tend to be. Well anyway, there I was chatting to Dewi outside the tea bar.

Dewi answered his phone. “I can’t run the line.” Pause. “They want to know if you’ll do it?” What could I say but Yes. I introduced myself to the ref. It seemed to be part of the role to gain access to parts of the ground I not allowed in normally. I’d only been a linesman 10 minutes and I’d been down the players’ corridor and into the Referee’s rooom. The main thing that stuck in my mind from this was seeing a Croatia sticker on the wall, I wondered if Kevin Parry was an ally of the Croat nationalists.

10 minutes later I was standing on the sacred turf as the ref, a lady!!!, laid down the ground rules. The ref was more bothered about us deciding whether the ball was out rather than offside, as if we’d cheat, the other linesman came from Llandegai. As I was running the line I noticed that Bangor’s president, GPO was standing behind me.

This could have proved a little unsettling for lesser souls as he was a FIFA ref but it didn’t for me. GPO didn’t give me any advice, I took this as proof that I was doing my job well. He quite possibly could have been impressed by my application; I tried to keep up with play, I used the right flag signals and I even did that “sideways stride and looking intensely at the situation” pose when I had to check for offside.

I looked at my counterpart and he couldn’t even be bothered to raise his flag for throw-ins, you obviously can’t get the staff these days. The ref seemed to have a good first half. There weren’t many bad challenges apart from one notable one from Bangor’s Antony Wilson. The challenge led to a small exchange of profanity-laced conversation.

I decided against the usual laissez-faire approach adopted by linesmen in relation to the ball, they usually don’t even pass it back to a player, even when they are nearly standing on it. I resolved to assist by getting the ball for the players. My approach might evn be the catalyst for a change inn the situation. I even got to touch the ball on the pitch, what power I now possessed!!

Being an offcial didn’t stop me from seeing that Bangor should have been leading at half-time. Instead Bangor were losing. 0-1 HT

A quite rehydrating drink at half-time and I was off to the other side of the pitch. Whilst on the way I recived some advice from primary school kids, everyone’s a critic!! I found out that the weather was colder on this side almost straight away. This might have been because there wasn’t much for me to do during this half; A couple of offside decisions (one contested), a bad foul and a dispute over whther the ball had crossed the line. The ref for some reasons allowed advantage to be played when there was no evident advantage in doing so but halted play when advantage should have been allowed.

Bangor, as in last week’s game, should have won. There was some good play; some good one-twos, especially down the right side. On the evidence of these two games the Bangor academy is producing teams of good technique. Unfortunately all Bangor had to show for their domination was an Antony Wilson equaliser. Llandegai looked dangerous on the braek through out. All in all this was a very entertaining game. All I had to do now was put the ball in the net and I accomplished this after the game.

Today I developed a new understanding of the work of referee’s assistant. Therefore the next time everybody else is brimming over with volcanic rage over yet another offside decision, I will have to take a step back. There was a story in the papers last year about a study into the reaction times of Linesmen. In the study the researchers discovered that it was impossible for Linesmen to notice all of the details needed to make a correct judgement.

I can sympathise with this problem now; no sooner has the ball been hoofed towards one goal goal then it is hoofed back in the opposite, then a misplaced pass, it’s enough to make your head spin when the ball pings back and forth. When you add in deflections the possibilities for confusion are endless. I found, on occassion, that just as I’d focussed on the ball and I missed the players or vice versa. Remmeber, the next time that your vitriol pours forth on to a match official, they are just humans like the rest of us.

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2 responses

3 09 2007
Gareth

I sympathise with your plight 100%. I’ve been linesman for Sunday League games a few times and I hate every moment of it. Gobby strikers from Caernarfon don’t help things at all.

2 09 2007
Gary

Uefa courses, fancy badges and trips to Kazakhstan, Bulgaria and Lithuania beckon …

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