So Carl, tell us about how and why you got involved in Refereeing?
I played from an early age (9 years old) for school teams and local Hull Sunday Boys teams, eventually progressing to men’s football to a decent standard (Hull Sunday Men’s League 1 and Hull Amateur League Senior Division), but at 22 years old I had the urge to take the Referees Course at Hull YPI over a seven week period. I passed the exam in May 1993 and began Refereeing on The Hull Sunday League the following season having done a few preseason friendlies for work colleagues.
How does it feel to have now officiated over 500 English Football League games?
Looking back it seems unreal that I have covered this amount of EFL games as a Referee and I'm going into my 18th season in the middle. Obviously, I am proud to have reached this milestone and now I will push on to 550 games and beyond. In total I have covered 567 games including FA Cup, EFL Cup and EFL Trophy, also not forgetting I was an Assistant Referee for 6 years on both The EFL and FA Premier League and these games are not included in these totals.
What do you enjoy about Refereeing?
I enjoy being involved at the highest level, it was always my aim to Referee professional football, Wally Jude who was a work colleague way back when I started advised me “you're never going to be a professional footballer so why not referee professional football.” I also enjoy the camaraderie with both local Referees and EFL Match Officials at training sessions and on match days, sharing experiences both good and the not so good.
What are your greatest achievements in Refereeing and why?
I have been involved in some top class games as an Assistant working on a Champions League Qualifier, also Man Utd vs Chelsea, Liverpool vs Arsenal and as a Referee Newcastle vs Ipswich (when Newcastle won The Championship and had the Trophy presented in front of a 54,000 sell out.) I was also the Referee for the 2013 Play Off Semi Final 1st Leg between York City and Fleetwood Town. I again walked out at Wembley as the Fourth Official on The Johnstone's Paint Trophy Final (now EFL Trophy) between Crewe Alexandra and Southend United in 2013.
What is your best memory of Refereeing?
It has to be when you pick up a match ball and lead the 2 teams out with your colleagues at Wembley, an extremely proud moment that does make the hairs on your neck stand up.
What are your goals in the sport?
My aim is to stay healthy and injury free and continue until I know my legs won’t carry me to the level I have come to expect. I would love to finish covering all 92 clubs at their home ground (only 4 to do) and to Referee at Wembley would be the icing on the cake. I also take great satisfaction from helping to develop the next generation of local Referees climb to the level that I currently hold.
What are the biggest obstacles you have faced in the game?
I have been lucky with injuries and illness as I very rarely miss games, I have had disappointments along the way, 2 years on the bounce I wanted to be a Panel Referee but the letter never arrived. Looking back the wait was good for me as I gained valuable experience before moving to the level I craved.
Who’s had the biggest influence in your Refereeing career and why?
Many people have helped and coached when needed. Wally Jude, Col Render, Tony Youngs, Dave Sparke, Ian Blanchard and on the National List Alan Kaye, Andy D’Urso, Dave Allison and more recently, Mike Jones.
What advice would you give to young people wishing to get involved in Refereeing?
Always stay positive, it's how you bounce back from the disappointments that drive you on as a Referee, never get to high when things go very well and never get too low when things don’t go as you want. But most of all enjoy what you do.