Thankfully new to League 1 David Rock behaved himself in our clash against the then League 1 leaders Ipswich Town which is good, nothing worse than a ref that wants to be centre stage like cuddly Brett, and they think the game is all about them, the good refs are the ones that make you think at the end of 90 minutes, I never really noticed them. But we know here at Ref Watch we are only ever one game away from a Huxstable wannabe, so we cautiously take a look at this weekend ref down at Fratton Park, but while we are mentioning Mr Huxstable we notice he is the man in the middle in the Cobblers versus Posh game, so that should add a bit of spice.

This week potential starring role goes to Lee Swabey from Devon who it appears has never ben involved before in a match with the Dons in any capacity, so we are going to take 5ft 6inch Lee on trust to behave himself.

He is joined by Assistants, Paul Lister, and Adam Ricketts with the Fourth Official as Leigh Crowhurst.

While we were researching Lee Swabey, we dug up this interview from the Guardian where he laid out just what he does every Saturday. Especially of interest was the pre-match planning, and the post-match briefing that makes us think tub of lard must get home at midnight most Saturdays, let it go…. never !


When the appointment comes through, I start my research for the weekend. Principally I’m trying to plan my positioning for the game. I’ll use previous knowledge of the teams or speak to colleagues to see what the styles of play are so I can base my game plan around that. I contact the club secretary of the home club to tell them what time I’m leaving home and what time I’m aiming to arrive at the ground.


For most games I tend to travel up the day before and stay in a hotel close to the ground. On a normal game day, I get up at around 8am and will eat a yoghurt or porridge followed by beans on toast at about 9am for breakfast. After that I take a walk into town for an hour or so then back to the hotel to get ready. If it’s a 3pm kick-off, I’ll arrive at the ground just after 12. On arrival I’ll meet the secretary, who shows me to the dressing room, and I then sort out all the bits I’m going to need. I meet my team [assistants and fourth official] at 12.30pm. We then spend an hour or so starting to build team spirit.


The referee’s room is a sterile area – no televisions or mobile phones, and no contact with anyone external is allowed – to protect integrity. At around 2.10pm the manager and captain of each team deliver the team sheets. That offers the opportunity for a quick, informal hello and can be handy for a conversation about laws of the game.


Post-match we spend time talking to the assessor and listening to his feedback. I then set off home and call Steve Dunn, the referees’ coach, and tell him how I felt the game went and talk about some of the points the assessor discussed.


On Sunday evening I sit down and watch the DVD of the game to look at areas I felt weren’t quite right or things the assessor may have said. I will clip some bits to send to my coach, sports psychologist, colleagues, or the Professional Game Match Officials Limited portal for feedback. This is a big help when it comes to my development, as it allows me to get an opinion from my peers on what they think and also from my coach, who can provide sound advice to support my development.

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