News Archive


Howard Webb will explain key referee decisions to fans

Former referee Howard Webb will make himself available to explain key decisions to fans during the season as part of his role as technical director of the official referees’ association.  Read the full article here

What are your thoughts on this?  Head on over to the message board and join in the debate


NRA Golf Day


The NRA Golf Day at Brampton Heath Golf Club on Tuesday 19th August 2014 is nearly upon us, and the shiny new Trophy awaits the winner!

This is a final call for anyone who may be interested in playing.

The day includes a Full English Breakfast followed by an individual Stableford Rules Golf Competition (off handicaps), over 18 holes, to decide the winner of the inaugural NRA Golf Championship Trophy. There will also be nearest the pin, longest drive and nearest the pin in 3 prizes too, so there is plenty to play for! After your round Sandwiches and Chips will be laid on for all competitors.

All surplus funds are to be donated to the NRA benevolent fund.

If you would like to play, please fill out the attached form and email it back to me at the address below. I will then arrange the payment details with you.


Howard Webb retires from refereeing to become PGMOL’s technical director

• Former policeman took charge of 2010 World Cup final
• Webb: ‘I am very excited to start this new chapter’

Howard Webb

Full Article:  The Guardian


Head Injury Management

Hugo Lloris was knocked unconscious in Tottenham's game against Everton last November

  • The following has been issued by the FA to all levels from the Premier League, Football League. down to park football and covers what to do in respect of head injuries in respect of Concussion. Clubs will have also received this informationWhere there is no first Aid cover your attention is drawn to the last paragraph of the statementHead injury management
    •If a head injury occurs, the medical team will enter the field to attend to the player. The referee will signal assent in a match situation.
    •The medical staff will assess the injured player. If there has been a confirmed or suspected period of loss of consciousness, the player must be removed from the field of play, and not be allowed to return. If here is any doubt as to the course of events, elucidation may be sought from officials or other players. In the event that there is video replay available pitch-side or in the players’ tunnel, this could be used to clarify the course of events.
    •Where there is a head injury, but no loss of consciousness, an on-field or touchline assessment will take place using the Pocket Concussion Recognition Tool (Pocket CRT). This should be a standard part of any pitch-side medical kit. The decision whether the player is removed from the field should be made by the attending doctor.
    •If there is any suspicion of the payer having sustained a concussion, the player must be removed from the field of play, and not allowed to return.
    •If the player has been removed from the field of play because of a suspected or confirmed concussion, they should be monitored until deemed fit and able to leave the venue. If in doubt, further opinion from local hospital services should be sought via the accident and emergency department.
    •If allowed home, the player should not be allowed to drive, and should not be left alone, but with a responsible adult who is instructed that should there be any deterioration in the players’ condition, urgent medical attention must be sought.
    •The medical attendant must ensure that the responsible adult is in possession of all contact details of that medical attendant.
    If there is no medical attendant present, and if there is any suspicion of concussion, the player must be removed from the field of play and not allowed to return. In this case medical advice should be sought from the accident and emergency department.

If you are in any doubt whatsoever as to your role and responsibilities regarding serious injuries, and especially head injuries, please seek advice from your more senior colleagues.  Don’t forget our confidential helpline is also available at


Message from Thomas Cooke:

Ladies and Gents,

I have recently started working for Herbalife specifically based at FitLab in Northampton town centre. Herbalife offer a range of nutrition programs from weight loss to weight gain, hydration to strength and a fair few more. There is a team of us working with Herbalife through FitLab and we are offering a month of fitness classes free of charge throughout August. There will be Herbalife products and fitness advice available pre and post sessions to those wanting to try them but these will by no means be forced upon anyone! The company really does exist for the benefit of its clients and promotes an open mind which is what attracted me to them.

Alternatively, we are offering an introduction pack which costs £10. For that you receive: a 3 day nutrition program inclusive of product to supplement your diet, a full body composition scan pre and post 3 day trial (body fat, muscle mass, height, weight, hydration levels and more), nutrition and health advice during that time and access to the FitLab. This is great for those who want to see if the programs/products could work for them, get the results and then discuss after if it is something you want to pursue with regards to using the products and having full time access to a health coach.

If either (or both) of these options sounds of interest to you here is the information you need:-

Sign up/orientation – Thursday 31st July 7:00 – 8:30pm or Sunday 3rd August 9:00am – 12:00pm

Classes begin Monday August 4th and will run 6:30 – 7:15am & 7:00 – 7:45pm most days

You choose which classes you want to attend!

If this is something that interests you as pre-season comes to a close, or you are simply looking to make some minor changes to your overall health and wellbeing to help you through the coming season please visit


Call/Text me on 07951 176523


Make sure you enter a team for the annual RA Sports Quiz – get your forms in early!

Please return your form to


Laws of the Game Amendments 2014/2015

Laws of the Game 2014/15

Law 4 – The Players Equipment

1. Modern protective equipment (…) permitted.

Where head covers are worn, they must:

  •  Be black or of the same main colour as the jersey (provided that the players of the same team wear the same colour)
  • Be in keeping with the professional appearance of the player’s equipment
  • Not be attached to the jersey
  • Not pose any danger to the player wearing it or any other player (e.g. opening/closing mechanism around neck)
  • Not have any part(s) extending out from the surface (protruding elements)

2. Basic compulsory equipment

  •  The basic compulsory equipment must NOT have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images.
  • The team of a player whose basic compulsory equipment has political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images will be sanctioned by the competition organiser or by FIFA.

All forms of players equipment or clothing must NOT have any Slogans of any kind

3. Undergarments

  •  Players must not reveal undergarments that show political, religious, personal slogans, statements or images, or advertising other than the manufacturer logo.
  • A player/team of a player that reveals an undergarment that shows political, religious, personal slogans, statements or images, or advertising other than the manufacturers’ logo will be sanctioned by the competition organiser or by FIFA.

4. Advice on signalling for a Penalty Kick

Some assistant referees use a flag across the chest to signal a penalty kick. This signal is not in the Laws of the Game and is not approved by FIFA, UEFA and The FA.

Use of the signal draws unnecessary attention to the assistant referee which can create dissent and management problems. It also potentially creates conflict if used at the same time as the referee is indicating/deciding not to award a penalty kick.

The FA Referees’ Committee (in consultation with PGMOL) has thus decided that this signal should no longer be used and the following procedure should be adopted.


When a foul is committed by a defending player near to or inside the penalty area, the assistant referee should first make eye contact with the referee to establish their position and actions.

In situations where It is clear that the referee has not seen the foul, and the assistant referee is better placed to make the judgement, and a flag signal is necessary to indicate publicly that a foul has taken place, the actions of the assistant referee should be as follows:

If the foul is INSIDE the penalty area, the assistant referee should raise the flag in the same hand that will be used for the remainder of the signal and agitate/wave the flag to indicate a foul has been committed. NB. The flag should NOT be placed across the chest.

Following the signal for the foul the assistant referee should make a clear physical sideways movement along the touchline towards the corner flag post keeping alert in case the referee does not see or over-rules the flag signal.

If the referee awards the penalty the assistant referee should stand just in front of the corner flag post until the situation is calm and only then move to the standard position.

If the foul is OUTSIDE the penalty area the assistant referee should raise the flag in the same hand that will also be used for the remainder of the signal and agitate/wave the flag to indicate a foul has been committed. Following the signal for the foul the assistant referee should make a clear physical sideways movement along the touchline towards the halfway line to a position level with the front edge of the penalty area and stand still.

IN or OUT?? Where a referee penalises a defender near the boundary of the penalty area and seeks guidance from an assistant referee concerning the exact location of the offence, if in a credible position to assist, the assistant referee’s action should be as outlined above without the flag being raised.

SUMMARY There is no ‘special’ assistant referee flag signal for a penalty kick.  When the foul is clearly inside the penalty area, if needed, the ‘normal’ indication for a foul should be followed by a clear physical sideways movement to the goal line – the flag should not be placed across the chest.  When the foul is outside the penalty area, if needed, the assistant referee should make a clear physical sideways movement to a position level with the front edge of the penalty area.





To enter please download the form (link below) and return to


Entry Form Brampton Heath


As we approach the ‘quieter’ summer months, why not use the message board to let us know what tournaments you are officiating at.  Keep a check on this page also, as we will keep you updated with news from the NRA AGM, general RA news, fitness test information, World Cup chit-chat and any other useful information we can lay our hands on.   As always, please let us know if you have any ideas or comments to pass on to the website administrators.


NFA RDO Vacancy, please see the attached if you are interested in this role

Referee Development Officer v2 – Role Profile


Don’t forget your supplies for the new season


Referee Development Officer v2 – Role Profile


Also congratulations to Mark Wardell and Andy Humphpries on acheiving promotion to level 3.  Hard work and dedication has paid off.


Many congratulations to all referees (below) who acheived promotions this season.  If you didn’t quite make it this season, keep trying.



Towcester Races

Dear All,
If anyone is interested there is the possibility of running another minibus to Towcester Races on the 23rd May.
Bus will leave town at 4.45pm and get back about 11.30pm.
Cost last year was about a tenner. Only this time there will be no pay on the day as we had quite a few let downs last time.
If you want a seat can you let me know by Friday 11th April so that I can sort it out.


NRA Darts Tournament

Corruption, outrage and bad luck. These were just some of the words not mentioned for the performance of the distinctly average dart players on show at The Lord Byron on Sunday afternoon in the annual NRA Darts Championships. The field of 10 were in a class of their own throughout the tournament at the Kingsley pub. The news that Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Stuart Burt are entering next year will come as no surprise.

The prelim round saw heavyweight Snakey Chalmers crash out to his training/drinking partner Dave Avent. Chalmers was to go on to console himself with several bowls of chilli. It was to be a long afternoon of watching for the tournament organiser. The fact that both players did their best to lose will come as no surprise as a full half of football was completed before either hit a double. However, Avent sneaked through with an easier than it suggests 3-2 win. A deserved victory.

Wyndham Trusler was the next casualty as he was swept aside by the successful one in the Chalmers family, Snakey’s brother Paul. Beginner’s luck soon deserted Trusler who just continued to throw darts without the inconvenience of actually knowing that he had to finish on a double. Still, he seemed to be enjoying himself.

This led into the quarter finals with the first quarter seeing a quick return to the oche for Chalmers jnr. Despite the pressure of Rob Page’s heavy 26 throwing, akin to his weight, Chalmers brushed him aside with ease. Next up was the battle of the sumos as guest Fitzpatrick ate up the arrows of the wayward Armstrong. Pagey nearly spat out his burgers and chips as the lefties’ arrows failed to hit the board on several occasions, nearly giving several spectators new piercings.

Next up saw Gav’s mate Tibbs make an early exit at the hands of fellow guest Cooper before the NRA grudge match saw Gav Mack make his tournament debut against a hungover Avent. The Essex chucker behaved like a Strictly judge constantly scoring sevens. Despite Dave’s best efforts, Mack was to prove victorious on his return to the county.

The semi finals saw Chalmers junior follow the way of his brother as he crashed out to an inspired Cooper. In fact, Cooper was millimetres away from a magnificent 170 finish before Chalmers cleaned up the highest checkout prize with a solid ton finish. Not to be outdone, Cooper won through on the deciding leg to take his place in the final. Fitzpatrick could not follow his pub colleague as Mack pulled out his best arrows of the tournament to win through.

The final itself was a bit of an anti-climax with the nerves showing from both players. The match saw the worst averages of the tournament as both players went head to head. At 3-3 it was down to a decider. Solid treble 19s were flowing from Mack’s darts which gave him the upper hand. A solid one dart finish on double 10 saw the championship go to the Northants FA MEMBER. Well done Gav.

It was a great tournament with lots of laughs had. Thanks to those that supported, especially Bev and family from Potton, and a special thanks to the landlady of the Lord Byron for supplying us with food and great hospitality. We have been invited back for a summer tournament so watch this space! I’m back on the practice board!


The RA 2014/15 Membership form is available on our Downloads page. 

Remember to register by 1st April 2014 for continuous cover, and don’t forget this year you’ll get 5 months free with membership running all the way through to 31st August 2015!


Congratulations to the following officials for their appointments to the Northants Combination League Cup Finals:



Some more cup final appointments to announce, from the Sunday Combination, all to be played at Sixfields Stadium:

May 7th:- Captains Cup. Referee, Paul Hursey. Assistants, Mark Husband, Wyndham Trusler. 4th Official, Darrell Horner
May 8th:- Parker Cup. Referee, Mark Moreton. Assistants, Andrew Tweedale, Phil Arnold. 4th Official, Ian Rathbone.
May 13th:- Ken Parker Cup. Referee, Chris Knowles. Assistants, Keith Lawrence, Sam Brough. 4th Official, Trevor Martin
Congratulations to all involved.
County cup final appointments can be found below.


Congratulations to all match officials who received County Cup Final Appointemnts.  If you have some free time, why not go along and support your colleagues

Appointments as follows (Some dates / venues to be confired):

County Cup Final Officials 2014

Cogenhoe United V Daventry Town
Tuesday 8th April – Northampton Town FC – 7.30pm
D. Avent, M. Wetherall, W. Bright, S. Barry

Northampton O.N.Chenecks V Brixworth All Saints
Tuesday 29th April – Northampton Town FC – 7.30pm
A. Humpries, C. Druce, M. Lake, D. Hannah

Wellingborough Whitworths Reserves V Rothwell Corinthians Reserves
Tuesday 1st April – Wellingborough Town FC – 7.30pm
D. Glazewski, D. Johnson, A. Corner, J. Wetherall

Charlton & District V Corby Eagles Reserves
Wednesday 16th April – Bugbrooke St Michael FC – 7.30pm
S. Brough, K. Taylor, D. Gasson, K. Lawrence

AFC Corby Shamrock V Harpole
Friday 9th May – Northampton Town FC – 7.30pm
C. Goode, S. Ashfield, A. Payne, M. Wardell

Netherton United Reserves 0-1 Northampton Cotton Hill

P. Cooper, M. Husbands, W. Trusler 4th T.Martin

Duston & Diamonds V Northampton Windmill Warriors
Tuesday 25th March – Northampton O.N.Chenecks FC – 7.30pm
M. Reed, A. Burston, A. Tweedale, M. Smith

Northampton FC Ryan Munich V Hartwell Forest
Tuesday 22nd April – Northampton Spencer FC – 7.30pm
S. Cheney, P.Jackson, S. Law, M. York

Corby S & L V Peterborough Itter Park
Sunday 13th April – Irchester United FC – 2pm
P. Martin, D. Abbott, L. Martin, D. Smith

Northampton Lee Transport V Northampton Queen Eleanor
Sunday 13th April – Irchester United FC – 10.30am
T. Jeyes, M. Colbourn, A. Row, M. Spelling

Northampton Town V Cogenhoe United
Monday 14th April – Cogenhoe United FC – 7.30pm
P. Evans, A. Griffiths, C. Sheppard, P. McVey

Corby Stewart & Lloyds V Northampton Falcons
Sunday 27th April – Cogenhoe United FC – 3pm
A. Norton, A. Johnson, K. Davis, J. Jacob

Corby Kingswood V Northampton Falcons
Sunday 27th April – Cogenhoe United FC – 12.30pm
D. Horner, J. Durrant, O. Gravestock, P. Durrant

Eye United V Kettering Ise Lodge
Sunday 27th April – Cogenhoe United FC – 10.00am
T. Beeton, J. Woolmer, D. Warren, L. Chapman

Glinton United V Corby Diamonds
Sunday 6th April – Northampton Spencer FC – 2pm
TBC, T. Davies, J. Loveday, J. Thomson

Corby Stewart & Lloyds 2-0 Kettering Town

J. McGoldrick, J. Campbell NN4, P. Honeyman, 4th M. Moule

Earls Barton 3-1 Northampton Parklands

K. Hall, K. Abbott, M. McDonald, 4th Liam Cunningham

Northampton Gregory Celtic 4-1 Northampton Welland Valley

J. Reynolds, J. Annan-Ulrich, P. Horner, 4th S.Hoare



Our March meeting will include a talk from top Futsal referee Mark Birkett.  Mark gives a very entertaining and informatinve presentation, so please come along, we promise you will enjoy it.


Here’s some tips about pitch inspections:   Pitch-Inspections


DartsWe are pleased to announce the details of the 2014 NRA Darts Tournament. The competition will be held at the LORD BYRON pub on the Kettering Road, Northampton on SUNDAY 23RD MARCH 2014  NB:  Date Changed to Sunday 6th April 2014.   They have offered to host the tournament and provide food and Sky Sports!

Entry Fee will be £10.
All details of prize money etc will be announced once we have details of entrants.
If you are interested in playing then please email Wayne –


February’s meeting we will be attended by Select Group AR John Brooks from Leicestershire.

This is a great opportunity for all members, especially our younger ones, to listen to and question John on how he managed to gain his place on the Premier League at just 21 years of age, and perform so well now in his 2nd season.

Make sure you come along on Thursday 6th February for a 7.30pm start.


Congratulations to team “Ask Abdul” – Abdul Kadir, Simon Adkins, Darren Brockwell and Louise Kinnear on becoming the coveted NRA 2014 Quiz Champions!   Click here for details and pictures


Futsal Poster

Futsal Poster

To reserve a space, please email

For more information please contact Stuart Smith, Football Development Officer, on  or telephone 07983 537025.


Happy New Year!

Don’t forget our annual quiz night is scheduled for the second Thursday in January – i.e.Thursday January 9th 2014.  Click for details


Wishing all our members a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas

If you have games over the festive period, good luck. If you don’t, but would like some, please get in touch with your referee appointing officers.  Don’t forget our annual quiz night is scheduled for the second Thursday in January – i.e.

Thursday January 9th 2014.  Click for details


NRA Christmas Dinner 2013

XmasDinnerSmWe have a table booked at RED HOT in Northampton for 9pm on Saturday 14th December. For those interested then please message Wayne ( and you’ll be on the list.  Please confirm before 5pm on Monday 9th December if you wish to go, and remember to let Wayne know if you are taking your partner.  Meet at the Hungry Horse, Sixfields from 8pm – even if your not coming to the meal, you’re welcome to join in for a christmas drink before-hand.


FutsalOnline Shop
FutsalOnline Shop
In January 2014, Northamptonshire FA will launch a new adult male Futsal league for Northampton.  Find out more here

If you are interested in refereeing Futsal, or simply finding out more about Futsal in the UK in general  then visit

If you already referee in Futsal or are interested in it, then you may be interested to know that the new on-line retail shop is now open


Congratulations to Tony Major on his 50 years service to the RA

Tony Major receives 50 year service award

Many of us receive appointments from Tony, and I’m sure everyone in the RA would join in congtratulating him on his 50 years service award.

More details about his award here




Already the season is in full swing and we have reached September. August has already been a very successful month for the Association with several members having been involved in the FA Cup and the Northampton Referees Association’s Centre of Excellence being launched.

Thursday sees our first meeting. We are delighted to announce that FIFA LIST OFFICIALS STUART BURT AND PETER KIRKUP will be producing a practical session called ‘IMPROVING YOUR GAME.’ This will cover a number of areas aimed at giving you those little hints and tips that can help you improve as a referee. ALL MEMBERS AND NON-MEMBERS ARE WELCOME!

Following this there will be the opportunity to de-brief the session in the clubhouse.

In addition to this, we will be having a SPORTS THERAPY demonstration from Kimberley Barton from Kimberley will be working in partnership with us once again this season and has some exclusive offers for our members.
Hope to see you there and looking forward to another successful season!
SEASON 2012-13


It is often a sad thing when a member decides to leave the Association or gives up refereeing in the county. On this occasion though it is good news, as Rob Desmond leaves us for pastures new.

As a youngster Rob made it to level 4 before taking a break from officiating due to university work. Rob will be taking another break now due to receiving good news.

The Abington Vale whistler has been selected for RAF officer training and leaves on the 14th April for  RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire. Although this will involve a break from refereeing in the short term, he will be registering with the RAF FA as a match official.

Rob told us, ‘I’ve been selected for officer training. I’ve been waiting for this call for a while as the 11 that have been selected are the first to go through the college since early 2011. The initial training is split up into 3×10 week blocks so I hope to graduate in December 2013.’ Rob will then start flight training which can take between 3-5 years.

Rob said that the skills in refereeing will be very useful in his new job. ‘They may sound like buzzwords but decision making, confidence, communication, people management, fitness and team work are all vitally important in a pressurised environment.’

Fitness is also a vital ingredient. Referees at level 4 and above are used to fitness tests but nothing like what is expected by the RAF.  ‘On initial officer training you do a timed 2.4km run which you must complete within 11mins 13 seconds. Then maximum effort push ups (with hands under shoulders) and sit ups (fingers not to leave temples) in a minute. The pass mark is 20 and 35 respectively. There is also a biannual fitness test for all RAF personnel which is the bleep test (level 9.10 is the pass mark) and push ups and sit ups again!’

Hopefully Rob will still be available for the sporting fixtures we have planned for the summer! Rob leaves us with our best wishes for the future and hopefully he will keep us up to date with his progress. Good Luck Rob!



It is with great pleasure that I have received this year;s promoted referees. Congratulations go to you all.

7 to 6
Stephen Biggs – Earls Barton
Sam Brough – Woodford Halse
Andrew Corner – Corby
Danny Johnston – Corby
Lawrence Martin – N’pton
Andrew Tweedale – N’pton
Chris Sheppard – N’pton
Kieran Taylor – Rushden

6 to 5
Richard Armitage – W’boro
Stuart Ashfield – Daventry
Craig Buettner – Corby
Chris Brawn – Corby
Craig Druce – Desborough
Stewart Francis – P’boro
Darrell Horner – N’pton
Mark Morton – N’pton
Martin Reed – P’boro
Piotr Roj – Kettering
Paul Speakman – N’pton
James Wetherall – Brixworth



It is with great sadness that news reached me today that Ian West sadly passed away on Saturday 26th January after a long illness. Ian was a good friend to me in my younger days as a referee and supported me on a number of occasions on the field of play. Ian was a member of our Association until he retired and refereed well into his sixties.

A keen Cobblers fan, Ian operated on all the local leagues including the United Counties League. Ian was also a keen supporter or youth football and was a regular official on the John Henry Youth League.

It was in youth football that I remember a particularly funny incident. I was appointed to the U16s cup final played at Spencer between Gregory Celtic and Grange Utd (I think!) from Kettering. This was one of my first cup finals as a referee and I was well prepared. After Westy had put his varying ointments and support straps on we got onto the field of play. It was at this point, following the toss up, that I realised my new notebook was missing a couple of important things. A yellow and red card. I felt a bit sheepish having to go over to Westy who gave me a good bollocking with that good old smile on his face! We often had a laugh about it over the years. I went on to enjoy Ian’s company on several more occasions on the UCL and when I appointed for the JHL, he would never let me down.

Ian was also a keen cricketer, particularly behind the stumps. I remember playing against Ian several times for both Bugbrooke and Whyte Melville in the Town League. Ian played for Prims and was always a keen competitor with a quick remark about something.

I will miss Ian. I’m sorry to say that we kind of lost touch over the last couple of years and I did not even know that he was ill. Hopefully the way the Association is going, this won’t happen in the future.

I know you will share my thoughts with Ian’s family at this sad time for them. RIP mate.



towcesterWe are holding another social event to Towcester Races on Friday 24th May for the annual evening meeting. We will be leaving Northampton around 4.45 from the old Fish Market and returning around 11.

The cost of this is £10 return. This is subject to 16 members attending. Last year we did have a few people let us down at the last minute so this year we are asking for payment in advance. This guarantees your place. Should more than 16 wish to attend then we can get a bigger bus.

Can you please let me know if you’re interested and then we can arrange payment etc at the next meeting.




On Sunday 24th March we will be holding a darts tournament in aid of the Benevolent fund. The entry fee will be £10 with a percentage going to the winner and runner up. There will also be spot prizes for highest score and checkout.

Anybody interested can contact me at

All members welcome!



sports quiz

On Thursday 3rd January, Northampton Referees’ Association will host their annual quiz. This is always an action-packed, fun event that not only allows the Association to raise vital funds but gives the winners the bragging rights for a whole 12 months!

This year will be no different with quizmasters Chalmers and Doherty in charge of affairs once again. There will be 8 different rounds plus a sporting pictures round with a half time buffet available for all! This year Christine Major will be supplying the buffet, let’s hope she brings the scones and cream!

The quiz will start at 7pm and there will be a few little twists on the night to keep you all entertained! Cost is £5 for members and £7 for non-members which includes entry and the buffet.

The quiz will be held at our usual HQ at Wootton Hall Park. We hope to see you there!



Saturday 8th December will see the first annual CHRISTMAS PARTY of the Northampton Referees’ Association. This event will be a FUNDRAISING event in aid of our own Benevolent Fund.

The Benevolent Fund supports members and former members financially in time of need. This may be due to injury, illness or hardship. The Fund is supported each month by our raffle but we do need to raise extra funds. This event will aim to do just that. Full details are  below.

Tickets will be available from Wayne at Thursday’s meeting or via email.



TIME: 7.30PM




We are delighted to announce that we have SELECT GROUP Assistant SIAN MASSEY coming to speak at our Association Meeting this coming Thursday.

Sian will be talking about her role as a match official, her role in the men’s game and taking questions from the membership.

We hope that you will be able to make what is sure to be another excellent meeting.


Sunday 14th October (3pm) will see the long-awaited rematch between Northampton RA Referees and Bedfordshire/Bucks Referees. The match this time takes place on Bedfordshire soil at Potton United FC. The cost to play is £15. This includes refreshments after the match. All proceeds from the game go to JOHN RADCLIFFE HOSPITAL. If you are interested then please email me at




We are really pleased that for our first meeting of the season this Thursday, we will be having a practical session at our headquarters at Wootton Hall Park starting at 6.30pm.

The session will be led by FIFA and SELECT GROUP assistant PETER KIRKUP (pictured left). The session will focus on restarts and will give referees of all levels a great opportunity to work with somebody who referees with some of the best in the world.

Following the practical session there will be a general meeting in the bar followed by an opportunity to feedback and ask questions about the session.

There will be member forms available in the bar afterwards where you can sign up for your membership. Remember full membership is £28 or £40 if you require physio cover as well.

We look forward to seeing you there at what should be an educational and fun evening.



In March 2012, The International Football Association Board permitted The Football Association to undertake a 2 year pilot where Leagues, who apply for a licence, can adopt repeat substitutions for all affiliated matches within their competition. Some leagues in Northamptonshire are adopting this practice this season. For example, Sunday Appointing Officer Richard Wilson notified me this week that whilst the Northants Sunday Conference ARE allowing repeated substitutions, the Northants Sunday Combination ARE NOT. Some NTFA and NFA competitions are also allowing repeated substitutions in their competitions.

Please make sure that you check and read the competition rules before your match as this is likely to help you as the match referee. There is a document available on the link below to help you with the procedure.

Guidance on Repeated Substitutions



Our brand new newsletter, edited by Graham Kinnear is now available. It can be viewed by going to our newsletter page. Thanks to all those people who have given up their time to be interviewed or write articles. It is well worth a read!



It is with great sadness that the website must announce the death of Les Homer today. Les has been around for many years in the refereeing world and has always been a keen supporter of local referees and local football in general. Even in his 80s, Les continued to assess up and coming referees and was always keen to pass on advice. Les was a Life Vice-President of the Northamptonshire Football Association and a Life Member of the Northampton Town League. As soon as we have details about Les’ funeral we will of course post them on our website. RIP Les.



After a summer full of a whole range of great sporting occasions, the football season could not come round soon enough for me. My first as a National List Assistant Referee.

Due to the non-stop tiresome life of being a teacher, I was sitting by a pool in Turkey on the day football league appointments for the first league games of the season were released. Fuelled with excitement as well as large quantities of Efes, the website was checked on more than an hourly basis.

Then, just after 5pm on Monday 13th August, the email landed:

Saturday 18th August 2012

NPower League 2 – AFC Wimbledon vs Chesterfield

Assistant Referee

After reading the email numerous times something just didn’t seem right. I had assumed that to break me in gently they would start me off on the touchline as 4th official. Assistant referee! Brilliant.

In the days leading up to the game, it was proven to me how close the refereeing family and in particular the Northamptonshire community are. I had a number of messages and phone calls wishing me luck for the game which meant a great deal. Going into games like this knowing you have the support of great friends and colleagues is a great boost for confidence. Support from my family was also superb, with my hand being bitten off for complimentary tickets as soon as they were offered.

After quite a slow journey round the M25, I arrived at the ground just after 12.15, only slightly earlier than requested by the referee. After wheeling my nearly empty kit bag into the changing room, I breathed a sigh of relief when the referee Gavin Ward handed me a parcel. It contained a range of coloured kits and my tracksuit jacket all with the new Expedia sponsorship badges.

After some ice cold water in the board room and a walk around the pitch it was time for the team sheet exchange and to put the kit on for the first time ready for a warm up. Excitement was building by the minute. After a gentle jog around the pitch and a few stretches, we were met by the groundsman who took great pleasure in informing us that the temperature at pitch level had just reached 40 degrees.

The game itself went as well as I could have hoped for. My aim was to have a quiet a game as possible, avoiding any key match incidents that may come my way. Although I was nervous and excited through much of the game, I felt focussed and ready for anything that came my way. Other than a couple of offside judgements and ball in and out of play I had a quiet game.

Then just before 5pm, the final whistle blew. That was it, game over. The first game of my football league career had finished. Although slightly warm, and a rocketed heart rate, I was extremely pleased with the way things had gone. The match assessor felt the same way and the journey home seemed to fly by. It was then time to catch up with all of the people that had taken the time to wish me luck before the game to let them know the good news and to check thay had shared the same success.



Opportunities for progression in refereeing have never been so good. Sounds a bit clichéd but seeing relative youngsters like Michael Oliver achieve select group referee status at the ripe old age of 25 prove that it is now talent that matters rather than age. Naturally there will always be opponents of so-called ‘fast-tracking’  of referees. Often these are people not conversant with the hard work, dedication and a whole lot of skill needed to get to such a lofty position in the first place.

At local level, the future of refereeing continues to look bright. The local Supply League, the United Counties League, has recently taken delivery of some young, new supply league referees. To reach this level you need to have been a level 5 or 6 the season before and met specific criteria. Much of this is based on achieving good club and assessment marks and ensuring paperwork is also of a good standard. Being fit is also a requisite of achieving the standard. Currently this is a 2600m run in 12 minutes and 2x50m sprints in less than 7.5seconds. Once these have been achieved, and the Football Association requires referees of this level, you become a level 4 referee.

One of our new Northants Level 4s is Gavin McFarlane. Remarkably, Gavin only took up refereeing in January 2009. Little more than three years later and he is at a level of football that means he is in the top 10% of match officials in the country. We all have our reasons for getting into refereeing. Gavin’s is a familiar one.
Gavin told the website, ‘A decision was made on a televised game which I was outraged by. The lads at work said “do you think you could do a better job?” That stuck in my mind so I went online that night to enquire and then on a cold November morning, I called Mr Nicholson, started the course in January 2009 and haven’t looked back!’

Although Gavin has achieved a lot in a short space of time, he still has a number of short and long term targets.
‘I have been involved in all of the FA’s knock out competitions except the Trophy and I remain optimistic I will get some more FA competition appointments in the coming months.’ Further along the line Gavin has further ambitions. ‘Some say its ambitious, some say it’s unlikely but I truly believe I can make it to the top.’

There are many opportunities for referees now. Although ultimately progression is now to the attitude and ability of the individual, there has never been such a strong support mechanism in place. This is particularly prevalent in Northamptonshire. During our chat Gavin referred to the support he has received over the past three and a half years from colleagues. This is a common thread amongst many referees in this county.

The Referee Association has also played a major part in this. Opportunities exist every month at our meetings to ask questions of senior colleagues and peers. Get yourself along to our next meeting and be a part of it!

Article by Wayne Chalmers


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