General feeling...


Active Member
Level 7 Referee
Fairly new ref did my course in June, done over 20 games now. Not really sure how to formulate my thoughts but i will have a go... Does or did anyone have quite a empty feeling after refereeing games? Sometimes feel I have had a great game and feel high, sometimes complete opposite, a lot of the time however I just feel empty? I am not a needy person by any stretch but I am not sure if it just a lack of feedback which equates to that or a lack of experience or what. It's strange because I am not really sure if I enjoy refereeing or not, I love football always have done and I enjoy the intellectual side of refereeing the interpretation and the knowledge etc but for example my next game next weekend I don't have a buzzing feeling just a kind of again empty feeling of almost apathy? Really strange. Possiby linked to missing playing (I am 28 and played last season) my current plans are to keep going for whole season and see where that takes me.
Thanks for taking the time to read a bit of a ramble! Would be interested to hear if any of the newer refs can relate.

santa sangria

Well-Known Member
I felt alone in my second year. Only did a handful of games in year one and they left me kinda stunned more than anything. My games 20-50 were tougher, on my own, thankless, missing feedback, hadn't started waffling on here... then, bingo, I started to do a lot more lines... with that I started to feel part of it, started learning every game, enjoyed the social part, could get and give feedback, was part of better games... and after that came better games for me... and now, 5 years in, it's great... better middles, better lines, just hope it keeps going.

Making the effort as an assistant really filled it out for me.

Sheffields Finest

Maybe I'm foolish, Maybe I'm blind!
Good Post TC, I can relate to where you are, switching off from the emotional side of scoring, winning or losing as a player can be a stark reality. One flys in the top corner and you want to join in with the huddle but as a ref you have to completely switch off.
I never seeked promotion so i didn't have to prove myself to anyone at any time, I made mistakes, who doesn't, I always seemed to be fighting a lone, lonely battle with idiots on the FOP. Sadly when I found that some of them idiots were at the FA too my heart sunk and that hastened my departure. It can be a lonely hobby, we must all be a bit mad to enjoy it..... No problem in doing both playing and reffing but as you get older the playing time will sadly diminish... Good luck and keep posting...
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Staff member
I'm not a new referee, far from it, but sometimes I don't want to be there and keep looking at the watch willing it to hurry up.

In terms of playing vs refereeing, if I could wind back the clock I would have carried on playing longer. I stopped playing to focus on the refereeing, but what I probably didn't think about at the time is you can carry on refereeing long after you retire from playing. Even though I feel that I could still more than hold my own at L3 standard refereeing had I not stepped down, I'd be struggling to get a place on the Dog & Duck's vets team bench as a player. If you have ambitions to make it all the way to the top as a referee then you probably will need to stop playing very early (assuming you even played), but if not think about how long you will actually be able to play for.
I know the feeling, Topcat! Theres times when I wake up Saturday morning and just wanting to go back to bed, or just not wanting to be there. Its a tough job, physically and mentally, especially on top of full time work and a social life!

Tino Best

Well-Known Member
The lonleyness of a level 7 ref! Mentally it is really challenging being on your own for 90 mins with 100% concentration. I find if there is a game on another pitch close by just having a breif chat with that ref helps just to take you away from the game instead of brooding about decisions at half time.


Well-Known Member
I found that as a L7, initially enjoyed it, then it seemed like i'd got stuck in a bit of a rut. I was gaining more experience from doing games, but because the only feedback I was getting from the players it was difficult to know if I was good or bad. Also as a relatively new L7, you tend to get the lower division games, not the ones further up the local league structure. I live in the middle of 3 Football League Areas. The first was west of me, with one division of 8 teams, the second north of me with 2 divisions each of 8 teams, the third was south of me with over 70 teams across 8 divisions. Because i'd done my course North of where I lived, i'd naturally fallen into the North and West appointments so was getting the same teams week in week out.

I then decided to move leagues and concentrate on the league south of me, which gave me a wider selection of teams and the standard was better (top division of the league North was about equal to the 4th tier in the new league), this made a big difference to the types of games I was getting.

Things further picked up for me when I joined the supply league AR panel. Going out, being part of a "3" and watching how higher level referees operated, picking up experience of having assessors at games critiquing the performance of my AR technique, but also more importantly what the L4's were doing really helped to enthuse me to try those things out in my game. As I did, I could feel my game improving.

After half a season on the supply league line, I then started to think seriously about doing a 7-6 promotion, something i'd never considered in the 2 1/2 years i'd been refereeing. I applied and passed and this promotion season i'm doing my 6-5. For me this has increased my enjoyment so much, as there are more leagues available for me to be appointed to.

To give you an idea as an L7 (and not doing supply league lines), I would generally be appointed to one of my local leagues in one of 5 divisions as the top 3 divisions would normally be given to L5's or 6-5 promotion candidates.

Currently i've got the opportunity to do games middles on around 11 Divisions (8 at Local league, 3 at County league), plus lines on one of 2 Supply League Divisions. The level of diversity in locations, grounds, players and types of football has made it much more enjoyable, plus getting more challenging games on bigger pitches keeps things interesting.

3 Years ago, i'd have told you I was happy being a L7 referee and didn't have an aspiration to go for promotion, now, i'm well on way to completing 6-5 (2 good assessments in the bag) and will comfortably reach the required number of games and i'm seriously split between having a year at L5, or trying 5-4 in the next promotion season.

Sorry for the long response, my suggestion is that what you are feeling may be based on the repetitive nature of the leagues you are on and a bit more diversity might help to improve things.


Well-Known Member
Know the feeling, knew the good games, knew the bad but the one's in the middle.........solved it by going for promotion, the observations and support really improved my confidence, belief and I always had a feeling of worth after a game. Still had plenty of crap performances but this time could tell you why I was crap........
It can feel really lonely at L7. I have sometimes felt really isolated and not wanting to get up and do the game. It's been harder for me with my daughter being so young. Sometimes you don't want to get up and go out for a couple of hours to do a game when you wake up to a baby/toddler wanting you to stay home and play.

I've gone through times when I have felt there has been little support. My local RA doesn't really engage as I would have expected it to and I can do a game at the weekend which is on a field with 4 full pitches but still not held a conversation with another official after the game as they all shoot off. A few years ago when I first started I thought I would get a lot more input and support from my CFA but this didn't happen.

Even now, I've attended CFA events and either me, or others around, I have seen go through entire sessions where no-one from the CFA has acknowledged they are even there, and this is for promotion related events.

Those that I have spoken to suggest that because where people are based, so far from the CFA or the bigger leagues in the county they aren't noticed so they get the feeling they are just there as the numbers needed.


Well-Known Member
I'm going to echo what others are saying, in that promotion will solve a lot of these issues. While you're going for promotion, you'll get an observer to support you at least 3 times a season, plus all the promotion events you have to go to. You'll also find yourself with opportunities to run lines in a team of 3, plus when you achieve level 5, you'll sometimes find yourself in charge of that team of 3.

I'm now spending a good portion of my matches either on a line or in the middle as part of a 3 and I find that gives me the interaction with and support from other referees that makes me more comfortable and confident in my refereeing. I had a game in the middle a few weeks ago that ended with 10 yellows and if that had happened with me on my own on a Sunday morning, I would have been seriously concerned that I let the game get away with me. Having that happen with two neutral assistants who could back me up with those decisions (and to be fair to them, point out one player who should have seen a second yellow) did mean that I could go home feeling comfortable that I did almost as well as I could have done in a match where both teams were looking to be difficult.