Life on Tapp: Moment a parent issued a red card on my footy career
Blaise Tapp writes: The Football Association hopes the trial, involving approximately 100 referees officiating in adult matches, will test whether the technology will lead to an improvement in behaviour of those taking part in matches, and see greater respect towards the men and women who give up their weekends to ensure that games happen.
Back in the early 1990s, I finally accepted that the only things I had in common with England’s Chris Waddle was an iffy mullet and an uncanny knack of skying penalty kicks high over the crossbar so I gave up on my dream of making it as a professional footballer.
However, my ambitions of having a future in the higher reaches of the Beautiful Game remained undiminished as I convinced myself that I would make a cracking referee. How wrong I was.
After a few months of soul-sapping night classes, I took ownership of a shiny new kit, complete with my local FA’s badge and that was it; at the age of 15 I was qualified to take charge of children’s league matches.
To say that I was ill-prepared is an understatement of epic proportions and it wasn’t long before I realised that I really wasn’t cut out for the responsibility that had been bestowed upon me.
In truth, I wasn’t very good at it either and this glaring lack of ability left me exposed to the wrath of angry 10-year-olds with tramline haircuts, not to mention their parents.
The final straw for me came in a six-a-side tournament a year after I gained my badge when, in one 10 minute match, I endured so much abuse from one little darling and the neanderthal he called dad that I halted the game in a bid to regain control.
The tactic backfired spectacularly and resulted in me being lifted off my feet by the aforementioned oaf after he took exception to me asking him bluntly to tone down his behaviour. Although I wasn’t hurt, it was an incident which shook my confidence so badly that a few ‘friendlies’ aside, I was done with refereeing by the age of 16.