Officials ready for big stage


Referees have been under the spotlight in recent days, with some mind-boggling decisions making life tough for teams battling for titles, promotion and against relegation.

Supporters of North West Neasden will also recall when Jernail Singh, who at the time was a Football League official, took charge of the 2009 Peter Morrison Trophy final. He sent off Daniel Cole in the opening stages against Hendon, much to the bemusement of both benches. In fact some would say he ruined the game as a spectacle.

Like Martin Fox, the Referees’ Secretary of the JC MSFL, I’m glad that we’ve seen the return of Maccabi League officials for our show-piece finals.

Warwick Blake, the double referee of the year, has been schlepping nachas around the seder table this week after being confirmed as the man in charge of this year’s Jewish FA Cup final featuring Hendon and Oakwood on April 29. It caps a memorable season for Glaswegian Warwick who recently took charge of a match at Wembley Stadium. Stephen Levy and Aron Djanogly are the assistant-referees while Robert Benardout is the fourth official.

The pitch at the Harry Abrahams Stadium, home of Wingate & Finchley, will also play host to the two Maccabi League finals a week earlier. Martin Lavender is the man in the middle for the JC Barry Goldstein Trophy final between North West Neasden C and UJIA. Quentin Fox and Brandon Pieters will run the line, with Laurie Benson doing his best to keep order as the fourth official.

This will be followed by the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup final when Hendon hope to seal the first part of a possible treble, against Brady. Referee Andy Myerson will be assisted by Gary Silver and the recently promoted Dan Cohen. Martin De La Fuente completes the line-up.

Speaking about the appointments, Fox said: “Andy has been a standout referee this year. It was virtually a no-brainer to give him the final. His marks have been above average this season and he’s refereed with a smile on his face.”

On Lavender, Fox said: “After 32 years in the MSFL, it’s about time he got a bit more recognition.”
Familiarity can be a good thing on the big stage and I don’t expect there be any Jernail Singh moments in matches that will attract some bumper crowds.

Clearly, the appointments are a big thumbs-up to some of the individuals involved. Rarely does anyone ever remember a good cup final referee. Player, managers and supporters must remember this at all times.

See Danny Caro’s weekend round-up at Email and/or follow Danny on Twitter: @djcaro

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