This week, starting last Saturday, everyone in the Netherlands working with referees is invited to issue a special ‘thank you’. It might still happen to me, but nothing noticeable last weekend.
I had a busy day assisting a rookie ref at 10:30 and was rostered to ref my own game at 3pm. I just made it driving from one game to the next to be told my game was 20mins late.
The rookie ref had a pretty good U13 game, despite start-up problems checking the player passes. My U19 game was the last on the schedule. The pitch didn’t look very appealing and after almost a full season on astro turf, I was now facing playing on grass which hadn’t been mowed for some days. On top of that the two teams had similar jerseys and the home team had one alternative color but without numbers. According to the rules I should have refused, but took the risk.
Whether it was the long grass preventing a good passing and control of the ball or just two teams that didn’t like each other, I will never know, but it turned out to be a real ugly game. I had to step on the brake regularly resulting in comments from one coach I was too strict and from the other I was tolerating too much.
Towards the end the game things almost got out of hand after a nasty foul. I blew the whistle for a free kick but the players decided they would like to start their own party. At least 8 players including both goalies started pushing each other but I couldn’t tell who started it as he had no shirt number. How stupid of me! And the ‘numberless’ team captain even asked me why I didn’t issue more cards for the brawl. Well, I couldn’t tell to whom unless I would have to point out players and ask their names.
I had my share of ‘ref bashing’ in the Week of the Ref. Putting it all aside and back to work. Next week a nice U16 pro game was assigned to me. Trust that will be played under better conditions.