BOURNE’S man in black Andy Fuller was crowned Referee of the Year by the Peterborough Youth League on Monday evening.
Fuller, 55, of Stephenson Way, was delighted to receive the award at the league’s annual meeting.
The award is made following a season of feedback from managers and Bourne’s winner said: “It’s nice to know you are appreciated.
“Each team marks you out of 100 at the end of a game. I was surprised but it was very pleasing.”
Fuller first took charge of a game in 1991, and in the week when England’s Euro 2012 game with Ukraine sparked more discussion about the way games are governed, he insists “it’s only as difficult as you want to make it”.
He said: “I tell the players before games that I will always make mistakes but say that they will make more. Sometimes a good dressing down early on will calm players down.
“Preparation and organisation is key, and then how you handle the game. You have to have some football experience, otherwise trying to control people is very difficult.”
Fuller, who also won the award in 1999, has also taken charge of United Counties League matches in the past but these days focuses on games for U13 to U18 teams and he has a keen interest in youth football. A former player with RAF teams, he began refereeing games while he was involved with Bourne Town Juniors Football Club.
“I love doing it,” he said. “I have always been involved with kids - I used to run a team from U13s to U18s in Bourne.”
Fuller, who issued just two yellow cards this season, also reckons refs get less stick from the sidelines than in the past.
“It has got better thanks to the FA’s Respect programme. The parents used to be bad but it was never the kids.”
He is also keen to encourage a new generation of referees saying: “We need more younger referees, and it would have been nice to see one of the younger guys win.
“Courses are run over a long weekend and there are a few little perks to encourage young referees.”
To find out more about training to become a referee contact Lincolnshire Football Association on 08449 670708.