Published 29 December 2021 4 min read
'It's more than just a hobby'
Grassroots official Dani Mansour explains why being a referee has extended and increased his love of football and being involved
My name is Dani Mansour, I'm 24 and I'm from Northolt.
I've just graduated from university and am currently working in a nightclub. My first degree is in civil engineering and my masters is in structural engineering. In the long run, I would like to get my chartership.
I've always liked football but I was never that good at it, so I thought why don’t I go down the refereeing route so I can make some extra money and enjoy football in a way where it's more than just a hobby.
But I didn’t have the best start to refereeing. It was an U12 game and I forgot the score! So it was pretty weird the first time I refereed but I quickly realised how important refereeing was and I quickly improved.
I love doing the journeys to referee a game, I really enjoy the games themselves and I really enjoy everything to do with being a referee. I definitely enjoy football more now as a referee than I did as a player.
I've been refereeing for eight years now and I am a level four referee, meaning I do Combined Counties Premier in the middle and then do the lines for the likes of the Isthmian and Southern Leagues.
Park football and stadium football is very different, obviously with the bigger crowds and the teams having more to play for. If these teams lose then it is a very big deal for them. Whereas in park football the players are a lot more relaxed about losing.
29 Dec 2021
Respect the Ref!
Every match. Every league. Every championship. There's one person integral to it all...
So it does mean there's a lot more pressure on us because even if we're right with the decision, any of the decisions which the teams deem to be against them, it's something which they view as affecting the club in the long run because they could lose and then we receive abuse about that one decision.
I don’t receive abuse on a weekly basis and it often depends on whether it is a cup game or something like that. For example, in the latter stages of the FA Vase and competitions like that. The abuse is also not just from the teams though but also the fans as well. The emotions get heightened.
To people who are abusing referees, I would ask them to keep in mind that we are all humans and we all make errors. Not every footballer has 100 per cent pass completion in a game and they don’t get abused for it but then we do if we make a mistake.
I'm fortunate because I don’t really care what people say to me in that sense. I'm not someone who lets a previous game impact my next game. Once I've done my report then I'm able to switch off from that game. But then I am someone who is thick-skinned and if you're not, then it could affect you. So I would obviously make that point to people, that the level of abuse some referees receive could affect them mentally so keep in mind that we all make mistakes.
The abuse doesn’t take away my love of the game and I'm able to find a way of still enjoying it. I would 100 per cent encourage people to take up refereeing. It is a challenge at the beginning but then it becomes second nature.
In terms of my goals, we would all probably like to reach the top but that kind of thing takes a while if it's going to happen. I don’t try to force it as much as I could, and I try to take it each year at a time. It motivates me more when I don’t get a promotion because the next year I am like ‘let’s go again’.
Refereeing is a great way to stay involved with the game, it's a great way to improve your fitness and it's a way of you being able to have an influence on the game all while really enjoying yourself so I would definitely recommend it to anyone thinking about taking it up.