First of all I’d like to thank you all for nominating me to become chairman of this excellent Association. As you are all aware, this Association has been very close to my heart over the past 12 years or so, so much so, that when I was interviewed for the post of referees’ appointments officer all those years ago, one of the first questions I asked was if this league had its own referees association.
It would be extremely remiss of me not to thank the outgoing chairman Mike Taylor for all the work he has put in over the last 20 years. It is without doubt a very big pair of boots to fill. Mike, thanks for the work you have put in over the years and it must have pleased you to see the association grow has it has.
To Bill Hamilton for all his hard work as membership secretary and banker, an ideal post for a lad from Dundee!!
So we now move into a new era, whereby I’ll do my best to keep the association held in such esteem by many people outside this league. I make no bones about the fact that due to many problems the association has not been as prominent as it should have been in the last couple of years. I am not and wouldn’t blame anybody for that, but as it most walks of life, problems always will happen with successful bodies.
So what visions do I have regarding moving forward. Firstly and I think most of you are aware of this, and that is for those who are 3yr members, their membership will be extended by a year for no extra cost and for those of you who paid a yearly subscription last year, will have that membership also extended for a year. We all think that this is a fair way to deal with the monies the Association received last year and you as members got nothing for it.
I must confess, that when this was discussed at a recent committee meeting the tears that were shed by Bill meant that we all spent about an hour clearing up the water in the pub.
Refereeing these days, and this is not knocking the older members, is very much a young man’s game and therefore it is up to all of us to get as many of the new and younger officials to be part of this Association. I would hope that the wise old sages will do all they can to encourage the youngsters to move forward whenever possible.
We as an Association are fortunate in that we have a very vibrant committee and they will do all they can to help and encourage all the new folk who sign up, along with the current members.
I fully appreciate that Rome wasn’t built in a day and there is a lot of hard work to be done by all of us. Let us get this association back to where it was, one of the finest referee’s Associations in the country. You all know I’m not just saying this, but it is a fact that we were held in very high esteem by the powers that be.
I would ask all current members to spread the word that the Association is back up and running. We need you to become members if you haven’t so far joined. The bigger the membership, the better and stronger we will become.
At the last meeting (our AGM) the SSMFL have invited us to co-opt a member onto the Referees’ Committed of the League. This in my view is a forward step and one which we will take on. This will enable the Association to take any problems to the League and vica versa. We have all been crying out for something like this to happen for ages. This again is moving forward and hopefully will benefit us all.
The Association will continue to provide you with varied and top class speakers, and their knowledge which they all pass on will most certainly help us all.
Finally, I wish all of you success for the coming season, and remember, we are here to help you.
The Association of Spartan South Midlands Football League Match Officials (“ASSMFLMO”) was founded in 1986 to promote the interests and welfare of referees officiating on one of the finest Feeder Leagues in the country. It provides a voice for 250-plus match officials drawn from eleven counties and geographical divisions.
Every member, from the most experienced to the newest trainee, has an equal say in the running of its affairs. Members are encouraged to raise any issues or concerns, whilst developing strong relationships with officers of the league, assessors and refereeing departments both at the county and national levels.
The Association holds regular meetings with keynote speakers, runs this active website, promotes professionalism amongst members (including encouraging all members to wear League ties and badges), and awards trophies to clubs whose sportsmanship and hospitality make refereeing a more satisfying experience. Outstanding achievement amongst members is also recognized.
Use the online membership form to join the ASSMFLMO or renew your membership. Alternatively, you can download the latest membership form and pay by electronic bank transfer or cheque. All the details of how to do it are included on the form.
It was great to see over 100 referees, observers, members of the league management committee, and guests attend the 1st meeting of the new season after a gap year in 2016/17. Many travelled a great distance. Thank you.
Re the Committee, I am pleased to say that the Right Honourable Mr Ewen was elected as Chairman. Mick will be ably supported by Walshee as Vice Chairman, the great Morro (Kevin Moore) as Chancellor of the piggy bank, myself (MR H) as Secretary, the Songman (Mr Wright) as Fundraiser & Mario (Stetakovic) as the web master and all things techie. Barry Firman will continue to keep us all in order as President.
In addition, Martyn Cannon, Dean Carney, Luke Gill and James Keane have been co-opted to assist with Membership, Sponsorship Deals, Supplies, Communication, the Web Site, and Social Media. Others have also volunteered to become involved where appropriate, which is great to see, especially as it is not just oldies but youngsters as well. With strong finances, the organisation is in a healthy state.
It would be remissful if I did not mention all the hard work Messrs Taylor & Hamilton have done in laying the foundations of the Association and handing it over in fine fettle. Hence in traditional style we duly recognised their efforts with a small presentation. Not often they are lost for words. It was also very fitting that Mike received the Carl Couzens award (the Claret Jug) for outstanding achievement.
With regard to the Oscars, it was fantastic to see Mark Mellor receive the Bill Jones Award in recognition of the unsung work Mark does in developing and encouraging referees to fulfil their potential. Mark, who was promoted to the Football League at the age of 50, demonstrates what can be achieved but it is perhaps what Mark puts back into the game that makes him a worthy recipient of the award.
Other Oscar Winners were:
Referee of the Year – Chris Bodell Runner Up – Dean Carney
Young Referee of the Year – Richard Wharton Runner Up – Iain Angus
Assistant Referee of the Year – Mark Mellor Runner up – James Keane
The main part of the evening was a Q & A session with the League Management Committee aimed at looking at the challenges facing the league. Issues addressed were Joint Travel, Appointments, Fees, Communication & other issues that impact referee availability.
Clearly we have challenges ahead such as do we adopt a flat fee structure for referees as some other leagues have done, how do we blend youth and experience which maximises the experience of many of our officials in the development of the younger referees.
Looking around the room & seeing the likes of Aidy Waters and Andy Williams in the audience ; this highlighted one of the strengths of the Spartan League and Association in the past. This was succinctly summed up by Micky Russell. There no set formula. You push referees through when they are ready. Observer feedback along with feedback from experienced officials also play a key part in identifying those ready for the next step up.
It is also to the credit of the league, that they have a created a space on their Referees ‘sub- committee for a representative of the Association to work alongside the committee to meet the forthcoming challenges. We will certainly avail ourselves of this opportunity, hence it is important that we hear your voices as without having you on-side, we cannot move forward & re-establish the Spartan South Midland league as one , if not, the premier supply league.
By the way we should follow up Mick’s example and make sure our glasses are at always at least half full !!
(Please click on the images below to view)
Yes that it is that time of year, when you too can pretend to be a Sky Manager of the Month , so forget the whistle or the observing for a time and pretend you are the man in the dugout.
One basic rule, do NOT blame the man in the middle if he sends off your star player, awards a dubious penalty or disallows a goal .
There is only one target and that is to knock Mr Pearson off his pedestal.
Date: Thursday 31 August 2017
Venue: Hemel Hempstead FC, Vauxhall Road, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 4HW
Kick-off: 7pm for 7.45pm
The season is underway, seems such a short time since May for those of you who were involved in Div2 catch up.
Hope you are enjoying a good rest, the fine weather, not getting wound up about the political situation or England’s less than average performances against Scotland and France. Still, perhaps the Lions rugby team can do a lot better.