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Guest Speaker - Paul Howard (Football League Referee)

Our 2023/2024 Season of meetings kicked of on the 14th September with Football League Referee Paul Howard as our guest speaker. Paul started by reflecting that it did not seem long since he was sitting in an AFA & Lonsar Society meeting, as he was setting out on his refereeing career, to him now coming full circle, and returning to one as a speaker!

He then split the 33 strong meeting into groups before showing five clips from a match that he had recently refereed, asking each group to judge time wasting/delaying tactics, based on three criteria: Clear, Impactful, and Deliberate, while making the point that that there were now clear instruction from the FA to clamp down on participant behaviour in these areas. Each group gave their verdict and a very lively debate followed!


Paul then expanded on the debate, providing his views that refereeing was all about communication and stated that he regularly asked himself in a match, "Can I stop something happening", and, "If with it"! His process was simple: 

  • Review

  • Speak

  • Learn

  • Grow

He also encouraged us all to do the right thing and not change our style depending on if we are being observed or not 

After a short break (during which Deryll David treated the room to some snacks!), Paul moved on to participant behaviour, focussing on Conversation vs Confrontation. He stated that at times we all suffer with Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) and encouraged us to reach out to people when we are having a difficult time or dealing with difficult situations, concluding that, "Tings happen, how we deal with them is our choice". 

Ronnie McGibbon gave a heartfelt vote of thanks on behalf of the Society, and Paul took a few questions before we closed.

It was a really good evening enjoyed by all and as I stated to all in attendance in my closing remarks, "If you didn't learn anything, then you weren't been listening"!!!

Steve Kelly

AFA & Lonsar Vice Chair

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