We are usually given the dates for the Blind League pre season so that we can plan around the fixtures, but the first date I always look for is the FA Disability Cup at St Georges Park.
It makes me proud to be part of the weekend as a referee on the Blind Cup Final. the fact that we have it live on BT Sports (now TNT Sports) not only adds to the pressure of the day, but also the enjoyment.
To be involved in front of a wider audience is something we should all be proud of, particularly the players themselves who play throughout the season, in sunshine and rain, and never complain.
From a refereeing point of view, I know that my performances throughout the season will put me in with a good chance of being selected for the final. I know both teams well, they are both very organised and skilful, and i know it won’t be an easy day for me! Brighton and Hove Albion Blind FC v RNC is always a competitive game.
Both teams have worked hard and played hard to get to the final, both play with a smile whilst trying to win.
The day starts for me as lead referee with a pre match briefing on timings and where we should be at any particular time. I then relay this message to my own team before we have our own pre match instructions. These instructions include gentle reminders of law, how we will see how the teams start off - is it a physical game where we have to get involved earlier or can we let them play a bit. We treat the fixture as we would any other game.
Come kick off time, some of us go a little quieter and this is where the lead ref has to put everyone at ease, we have done it before!
Once that whistle goes off, we do go into some form of auto pilot. Rainbow hits the post for RNC early on, Brighton break away and score an early goal. What tv cameras?? Its a warm day, concentration levels are high, lets not make a mistake now, keep close to the players.
There are a couple of good chances but no one can score and Brighton come out winners 1 - 0.
It’s been a top day. Really enjoyable and as always, it is even better now that we have finished.
But do you know what? I want to go through it all again!