I got a Premier League badge from Howard Webb

I usually don’t get nice mail in my mailbox. It’s just bills, taxes or printed ads. This week was different. I opened the mailbox and there was an envelope with the text “By air mail”. I opened and and saw that I got a Premier League badge from Howard Webb. Fantastic!

Premier League badge from Howard Webb

Howard Webb autographed referee badge

Premier League badge from Howard Webb

I’ve interviewed Howard Webb once he went to Belgium to teach young referees. After Webb’s retirement I thought it would be nice if I could interview him for my blog – and so I asked via e-mail. I got no response on that yet, but he agreed to send me a referee badge with his autograph. So happy I got a Premier League badge from Howard Webb 🙂

I’ll send him a “thank you” e-mail and ask about the interview again. Not sure if he has time for that, but please let me know already what you want to know from him. So, what is your question for Howard Webb?

Check my badge collection.

Darren Cann’s World Cup lessons

It’s a special year for Darren Cann. First of all the big news of his long-term partner Howard Webb who announced his retirement this summer. Secondly, Darren Cann officiated his last international tournament during the World Cup in Brazil, because he has reached the age limit of 45. But Cann does not quit himself. On Monday 18th of August he got his first official match of the season with a whole new refereeing team. He is assistant of Michael Oliver and with fellow AR Stuart Burt – also not his usual partner Mike Mullarkey. A whole new experience for Darren Cann.

Now the Norfolk referee is back from the World Cup started the new season, he is also ready for some reflection on his experiences of this year. Here are 3 lessons Darren Cann learned from refereeing the World Cup in Brazil which will make you a better referee too. These lessons are based on an interview with the Norfolk FA, which also gave me permission to use the picture with this article (thanks!).

Darren Cann’s advice for referees

1. Don’t get frustrated

Darren Cann Photo Norfolk FA.“Like any refereeing trio we hoped to be used early in the competition, but it wasn’t to be. Whilst it was a little bit frustrating, we are professional so we trained really hard every day, applying ourselves day in, day out, so that we were ready when needed.”

That could also happen to you. The first appointments of the season are out and your matches seem boring at first glance. You might want matches on a higher level or between two better teams. Don’t get frustrated about it. Your nice appointments will come. Keep training hard, so you are definitely ready once you got that exciting cup tie or top of the league clash.

2. Make unpopular decisions if necessary

Darren Cann talks about the handball Howard Webb has to call against Hulk, a player of the host nation. “Of course, it’s going to be an unpopular decision against the host nation, but a referee’s job is to be fair and impartial at all times and we always are.”

You might go to a match where one of the teams can win the championship, but one of their players denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. You should send him off although that might reduce their chances of winning the game. That is the rule and you should apply it. Cann: “It’s important to make the right call and Howard certainly did that using all his skill and experience. It was a really pressurised situation.”

3. Share your experiences

Are you member of a referee organization? Do you go training there? Do it! No matter what level you are, you can always learn from your refereeing colleagues. That helps on the lowest amateur level and even right before the World Cup final. ” As it turned out, by staying until the end of the tournament we were also able to have dinner with the Italian trio after their appointment to the Final just 48 hours before kick-off”, Darren Cann says. “That was a really special and unique moment – the first time ever that a World Cup trio had been present to be able to pass on all of their experiences of what it’s actually like to walk out and officiate The World Cup Final…”

I hope you can use these lessons from Darren Cann in your personal refereeing career. What’s the best lesson you learned so far when talking to your fellow referees?

Read the full interview with Darren Cann.

9 quotes on Howard Webb’s retirement

Twitter exploded today after Howard Webb announced his new job as Technical Director. Here are 9 interesteing and inspiring quotes on Howard Webb’s retirement.

1. Howard Webb inspired many referes in England, as Pillaton-Referee tweets:

2. Also Sarah Grundy found Howard Webb inspiring for her as referee.

3. Howard got support from players in English professional football, for example from goal Kasper Schmeichel.

4. According to Massimo Busacca, Fifa’s referee boss, it was a “sad and special” day.

“Without passion and natural quality you can not reach the highest level. Howard was always a great example for every young referee. I am sure he will be able to transmit his knowledge and experience to many referees in England and around the world in his new role. My advice to him? Be like you were on the pitch.”

5. A great ambassador for the young referees, says Gayle Hope. That’s also why he went to Belgium and talk with young refs there.

6. FA’s Chairman Greg Dyke reminds a great story that explains Howard Webb’s character.

“One of the best images of last year was when Howard turned up at a Durham FA event in memory of Sir Bobby Robson. He had a rare Saturday off but still spent a couple of hours meeting hundreds of youngsters. He even agreed to referee an Under-7s match. What an experience for those kids to remember for the rest of their lives – to be inspired by someone who has reached the very pinnacle of their field.

Read full interview with Greg Dyke on FA website.

7. Howard has to add something too:

“Refereeing has given me so much and it’s important that match officials who have had the rewards remain in the game to pass on their knowledge. I also have much more to learn about the business of refereeing and the best place for me to do that is with PGMOL. It’s an incredibly positive working environment and we all have a common goal of improving refereeing.”

Have a good time as technical director, Howard Webb. England’s Premier League will miss you next season(s). Congrats on such a great career!

IFFHS: Webb world’s best referee of 2013

The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) has chosen Howard Webb from England als world’s best referee of 2013.

Experts from 70 countries and from all the football continents took part in the 2013 annual election for the World’s Best Referee, the 27 th time it has been carried out by the IFFHS. The “Top 10” come from 9 different countries, only Italy is represented by two referees: Nicola Rizzoli and Gianluca Rocchi. The list is dominated by European referees. Ravshan Irmatov from Uzbekistan is the only non-European on the list.

    Howard Webb: "word's best referee of 2013" according to IFFHS.

    Howard Webb: “word’s best referee of 2013” according to IFFHS.

  1. Howard WEBB (England): 102 points
  2. Nicola RIZZOLI (Italy): 82 points
  3. Viktor KASSAI (Hungary): 53 points
  4. Felix BRYCH (Germany): 42 points
  5. Cüneyt CAKIR (Turkey): 40 points
  6. Bjorn KUIPERS (Netherlands): 38 points
  7. Pedro PROENCA (Portugal): 35 points
  8. Ravshan IRMATOV (Uzbekistan): 29 points
  9. Carlos VELASCO CARBALLO (Spain): 22 points
  10. Gianluca ROCCHI (Italy): 17 points

This list might help you with predicting World Cup Referees. You can win a complete Adidas outfit (sponsored by refereeworld.com) by guessing the World Cup referees via a page on this blog. Check this for more info.

Pedro Proenca was the winner in 2012, followed by Cakir (2) and Webb (3).

IFFHS has previously release a list with the best referees of the first 10 years in the 21st century. Markus Merk from German was the best according to their experts.

  1. Dr. Markus Merk Deutschland 135
  2. Óscar Julián Ruiz Colombia 104
  3. Ľuboš Micheľ Slovensko 96 and Jorge Luis Larrionda Uruguay 96

Read the full list with best referees of the first decade of the 21st century.

Alex Ferguson biography on referees

Alex Ferguson biography released and the former Manchester United coach is not positive about referees – as could be expected. Below some quotes from him during the presentation of the book.

UK refereeing: Alex Ferguson not positive about it in his biography.

UK refereeing: Alex Ferguson not positive about it in his biography.

Guardian journalists were at the press conference where Alex Ferguson released his biography. They wrote: “Ferguson also, perhaps predictably, declares that there are no “really top” referees in the modern game, damning them as unfit and “as a group, not doing their job as well as they should be”.

Even with Howard Webb, Martin Atkinson and Mark Clattenburg in Uefa’s Elite Referee’s group, Ferguson is not so positive about refereeing in the UK. “We haven’t had a really top Premier League referee for a long time”, he was cited on The Guardian.

The Daily Mail says about the book: “Despite the banal choice of title — My Autobiography — this book should really be called Settling Old Scores.” Ferguson talks about David Beckham as “obsessed with his ‘celebrity status'” and about referees that “they weren’t doing their job”.

Did you read Alex Ferguson’s biography? Did you find more about referees? Let me know.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore disagreed with Alex Ferguson’s opinion about British refereeing. “No, I don’t accept the criticism,” he said on ESPN. “I don’t. We are at the leading edge of referee development. We are at the leading edge of referee fitness. We are at the leading edge around Europe in terms of what we are doing with our referees.” He stresses that UK refs are not perfect, but would never swamp them for any other group.

Referee Howard Webb’s interviews on FAtv

A series of interivews by FAtv with Howard Webb. I made an overview for you with all six clips. Enjoy.

Referee Howard Webb Howard Webb on FA tv screenshot.

Howard Webb on FA tv screenshot.

Part 1: The World Wide Webb. “When I got to about 17, my dad said, ‘clearly Howard, you’re not going to make it as a footballer. Have you thought about becoming a ref?'”, says Webb.

Howard Webb recalls the the ‘amazing’ finish of last Premier League season in part 2. “I was lucky enough to be involved in the final day up at Sunderland, when they played Manchester United. And of course at the same time Manchester City were playing Queens Park Rangers.”

In part 3 Howard Webb talks about excitement in the Premier League. At least, that’s what FAtv tells us. It doens’t work on my computer, but let me know if it does on yours.

Howard Webb looks back to a wonderful 2010 season in part 4. “There are 23 little lads. (…) One little lad must be really disappointed, because he was told to be the referee’s mascot, but I held his hand anyway.”

In part 5 “Webb’s preparation” the English top referee talks about the time of the appointment at 3pm on Monday until matchday. “Before the game I’m okay, afterwards it depends how it’s gone.”

In part six (“Howard’s way”) Howard Webb talks about being involved in (high level) football. “The professional game has a big responsibility – the match officials, but the players as well – in setting the good example.”