Congratulations to Declan Bourne who was appointed as a referee for the England v Argentina U18 youth squad game at Manchester City Academy Stadium, home to Manchester City Women, Manchester City Development and Manchester City U18.
You can read the full match report on The FA’s website here.
We have asked Declan a few questions on his day in Manchester and his time as a young referee.
When did you decide to become a referee and why?
I cannot remember exactly when I decided to become a referee but can say it was roughly around the age of 12 when I started to pick up a flag whilst my dad was refereeing on Sunday mornings. My greatest inspiration to become a referee was and still is my dad, without him I would not be where I am today. I would not lie, at that young age, the lure of being paid as well made some contribution to the decision.
How did you make your first step as a referee?
I went on to the basic referee course as soon as I could at the age of 14 and this was during the time that the course was run over a series of eight Monday evenings in a classroom environment; the learning environment for today’s new officials is brilliant where officials are now able to learn the job as practical as possible.
How did you feel when you found out about your appointment?
These are the type of appointments that you strive and aim for throughout your refereeing career so just to be recognised to officiate on these appointments is amazing.
Did you enjoy the day? Was there any particular highlights?
The whole experience from the point of which the appointment was officially released to the end driving home has been a wonderful experience. Probably the most resounding highlight is to stand for the national anthems with the two teams prior to the beginning of the game.
How did it feel to be refereeing at one of Manchester City’s grounds?
To be at any stadium is an absolute achievement and to be able to officiate in front of any audience is a pleasure and positive experience.
Did you face any language barriers you had to overcome? Or any other hurdles?
When you are involved in an international game you have to be acutely aware that although English is the international language that not all persons involved will have either learnt or have a grasp of the language and to be honest my Spanish is relatively poor. Hence I had to rely much upon the use of body language and whistle to communicate what was needed to the players.
Do you have any advice for an aspiring referee?
There are a number of bits of advice that could be passed on to aspiring referee’s aside from never losing the drive to achieve your goal of what you want in football. Succinctly put, whatever you want to achieve in refereeing you will be able to achieve this, make sure you utilise the resources that are available through your colleagues, FA and RA.
Did Declan’s story inspire you to become a referee yourself? Visit our Get into Refereeing page to find out how you can start your career.
If you are under 16 you can still start on the refereeing pathway by taking our Young Referee course.
For any further information on refereeing please contact our Referee Development Officer, Marc Birkett on 01159837415 or firstname.lastname@example.org.