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Author Topic: Men & Women's FA Cup Final - Sat 15th & Sun 15th MAY 2022  (Read 3121 times)

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Combining my two interests of football refereeing and geography I have looked at the residences of Cup Final referees over the last 45 years. ( I know it's sad but there you go ) It shows what I had hitherto suspected that in senior appointments there has been a noticeable drift northwards in recent years. Here are my findings

In the last 15 years there has been only 1 FA Cup Final Referee to live south of Birmingham ( Lee Probert ) and 13 from north and 1 level ( Marriner )
In the 15 years before that there were 10  Referees coming from south of Birmingham and 5  from north
In the 15 years before that there were 9 referees coming from south of Birmingham and 6 from north.

The results from the most recent 15 years are skewed slightly because Taylor and Oliver, both north, were appointed twice.

When one looks at likely appointees to the FA Cup Final in the next few years  Tierney, Attwell, Bankes, A Madley, England, Coote then all are north except Attwell who is level with Birmingham.

I haven't done an analysis of present SG1 referees but I am sure most of them are from the north of Birmingham.

There appears to be a clear northern drift. I wonder why ? I have heard it said a few times ( and by people who have moved location from north to south and vice versa )that when a referee is making their way through the ranks then the Assessments and Observations are more kindly and positive in the north than the south.  I don't know. It may be that there is more referee investment in the north than the south.  Or it may all just be a statistical quirk. Any thoughts ?

Several theories on this.  A lot of people move to the South, especially the South East and London, when they are young but then move away when settling down and starting a family, not being able to afford the SE house prices.  Don't know if that applies to any of the current SG1, but it certainly applies to loads of L3s and above over the years who came through the ranks down here before moving away.

Also, for years the promotion system has been skewed in favour of the North, albeit accidentally.  As a L3 in the South you would have almost always been refereeing step 3 and 4 games, in many leagues further North they would be refereeing step 5.  As it is a combined merit table that was never a level playing field, I know from experience that refereeing step 3 is generally a lot more challenging than step 5.  Thankfully that has now been sorted out, so my theory will be proved or otherwise in years to come when we see if there has been a shift in the balance. 

One of the big problems I had as an L3 in London was travel.  I worked in the City, and that was well before working from home became the norm, and it caused me real problems as before going to the game I'd first have to go home and get the car.  Luckily I had an understanding boss, but it was still draining as I had to be up at 5 to get in for 6.30 so that I could leave in time to get to the game, which could easily be a 2 hour, or more for National League games, drive away.  Its no surprise that I saved all of my worst performances for midweek games, as often I was knackered before even blowing a whistle.  It took a period out through injury to make me realise I couldn't sustain that, and I know of several other London based referees who felt the same way, in that they couldn't continue in both their job and senior refereeing.
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