Games 42-43, 2016-17
You should never set out with pre-conceived notions of what kind of a game you're going to be refereeing. I've written that several times before. Yet late on Saturday afternoon, as I cycle through the park and past the re-opened outdoor café with its patrons determined to enjoy the bright but still chilly spring weather, I'm thinking, "This game could probably do with an early yellow card."
|Hold it high, show it early, |
you pompous twat
How do I know that, an hour prior to kick-off and before even arriving at the ground? It's a boys' U19 game between two teams close to the top of the table. I've checked the statistics from when they met earlier in the season - seven yellow cards, two red cards, and two time-penalties (a 5-minute 'sin bin' sit-out for any player getting a second yellow. In the state where I ref there are no yellow-reds in youth football).
The two clubs are geographically very close, and there's a healthy crowd of around 60. I ask the away team to take their bench to the other side of the field, away from the home bench and spectators, and they seem quite happy to do so. I also locate two stewards, and tell them that they're responsible for crowd control. As we prepare to take to the pitch, I summon