Back in my days at Everton I once received a call from an excited man asking for the club’s support, like hundreds of similar requests we received each year, except this time something felt different.
An obviously nervous, yet effervescing character called Mal Lee excitedly accepted my offer to come to Goodison Park and explain exactly what we was looking for. As a local junior football team manager he had had enough of witnessing the at times appalling behaviour of a minority of parents towards, referees, team coaches, other parents and worst of all to young footballers themselves.
Mal had become exasperated with all the official bodies expecting everybody else to take responsibility. Referees were leaving the game in droves and who would blame them when many had been regularly verbally abused and others threatened with violence or actually physically assaulted. Children were also walking away in tears never to return. With no referees there are no games. Without players there is no future. Continue reading