iCanRef: Arran Williams Q&A
Tell us about how and why you got involved in refereeing?
I played in the Yorkshire Old Boys league from 16-18 for my local club and Sundays in the Brighouse Sunday League.
I knew I wanted to be involved in football.
I found out about refereeing by chance whilst looking through what options were available and booked on to do the course in September 2011 at Oakworth Juniors.
The tutors on the course were Brian Hamilton, David Fuller and Gavin Scott but we also had appearances from Bobby Madley, Andy Madley and Mark Dwyer.
I went straight into open-age football in the Halifax Saturday and Halifax Sunday League.
What level referee are you and where do you officiate?
Recently I received the news I have been promoted to Level 3 (step 3 & 4) in the men’s pathway.
Prior to that I had been a level 4 (step 5 & 6) referee for 7 seasons.
The recent good news means I will now referee step 3 & 4, operate as an assistant at step 2 and 4th official at step 1.
What do you enjoy about refereeing?
First and foremost, I love football.
From that first kick as a child to that first whistle as a referee, doing my degree in football business and finance and spending my whole working career in football, I knew I wanted to do nothing else.
Some of the people I’ve met in refereeing have gone on to become really close friends and there is no better ‘seat’ than that of a referee.
Who are your role models in refereeing?
There are so many people I could mention.
Firstly, every single person who’s picked up a whistle and given it a go.
Nigel Bannister has been one of the most important people in my life.
His commitment, coming to games, being on the phone, celebrating with me but making sure I stay grounded and picking me up after a set back and getting me back on track.
I owe so much to him.
The people close to me know who they are (far, far too many to mention) and I owe them a great debt of gratitude.
What are your greatest achievements in refereeing and why?
Promotion to level 3 is the biggest step I’ve taken in refereeing.
I couldn’t be more excited for the new season but becoming a referee developer and being able to help people taking their first steps into refereeing is also of great importance to me.
Recently completing the observer course is also a great achievement and I’d encourage anyone wanting to help referees progress to consider it.
Refereeing 1st v 2nd on NCEL division 1 this season between Hallam and North Ferriby with 1200 people attending is by far my biggest game.
What is your best memory of refereeing?
Over 11 years there’s such an array of positive moments, it’d be difficult to highlight one.
Having my dad attend one of my games this season for the first time was a proud moment.
What are your goals for the future?
Progressing as high as I possibly can is my goal.
I’ll make short terms goals for this season and the mid-term, but I just want to get as high up the pyramid as possible, also remembering not to pull the ladder up behind me.
As the refereeing family we should celebrate our successes together and help each other where we can.
What are the biggest obstacles you have faced in refereeing and how have you overcome them?
Going from a moderately shy teenager straight into a world of adult football was quite daunting but it’s just like driving, once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature and I’ve not looked back.
You must never stop learning though.
What advice would you give to people thinking about getting involved in refereeing?
It’s cliched but just give it a go.
The support structures in place are phenomenal, the camaraderie is immense, you will enjoy some of the highest highs and when things go wrong people will come around you and build you back up.
I don’t know any other industry where that level of family occurs but I would encourage anyone to give it a try.