I love being a referee - but I’m not prepared to die for the job

PUBLISHED: 09:00 25 March 2011

Brennan Butcher, Ridgeons League referee from Ipswich

Brennan Butcher, Ridgeons League referee from Ipswich

BRENNAN Butcher has refereed hundreds of local games in the Ipswich area over the last 12 years – both on Saturdays and Sundays – but he wouldn’t recommend the profession to anyone.

He sees no benefit in FIFA’s ‘Respect’ campaign after being involved in two incidents when he felt for his own safety.

Brennan was the unfortunate official who had to abandon a recent Flair Recruitment League that saw Brewers Arms immediately suspended temporarily and led to three of their players being banned long term.

This was after being involved in a Licensed Trades League game last season when a Kitchener Taverners player allegedly threatened to “kill” him and another to “lump him from behind”.

“I would not recommend anyone to take up refereeing,” said Brennan.

“We might wear a ‘Respect’ badge on our uniforms but it doesn’t mean that we receive respect.

“Sometimes the players act like animals. After I abandoned the game against Brewers Arms, I was arrested at 5am by police calling at my home because of alleged racism 
comments during the game. I was distraught.

“The charge was not continued with.

“The Football Association has done their job by dealing with Brewers Arms and the players involved.”

A ‘senior county referee’ as a level five official, Brennan has the experience that the game can ill afford to lose.

But he has decided to hang up his whistle for at least a year at end of the season after 12 years in the middle.

“I love football and love refereeing, but I have not been enjoying it,” added Brennan, who says that the Referees’ Association insurance are not covering his osteopath costs for the whiplash injuries he says he suffered last month, and that Suffolk FA has not been able to help financially.

Following the Brewers Arms match an interim suspension order was imposed on the Ipswich-based club for 28 days.

This allowed the case to be heard before a Suffolk FA commission and chief executive Phil Knight has confirmed that the following punishment has been handed out.

Darnell Wright and Patrick and Francis McDonagh have been suspended sine die with no review for five years.

All three were fined £150. Wright also received a further £15 fine and an additional 14 days suspension for playing while suspended.

Brewers Arms player manager Gary Claydon was given a 112-day suspension and fined £75.

Brewers Arms were fined £100 for playing Wright while suspended and a further £50 and severely warned as to their future conduct for failing to ensure supporters conducted themselves in an orderly fashion.

A spokesman for the Flair League said: “We wholly condone and support the action taken by Suffolk FA in this matter.”


  • Not good to see the FA Respect campaign falling on deaf ears. Though I do believe that some of the blame must be seen to be levied at some of the so called professionals at the top of the game who the youngsters and adults are supposed to look up to but seeing the language and dissent given to referees each game does not help the situation. Start at the top and lets see if it changes the feelings at the grassroots !!

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    Nick Ward

    Friday, March 25, 2011

  • We had this referee officiate one of our teams games only two weeks ago, its unbelievable what he has gone through, he was a good referee and a genuine nice bloke, such a shame to see he won't referee again but then again I totally understand. The idiots that are described above ruin Sunday football for the rest of us, no wonder there are a shortage of referees

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    Shane Hurren

    Friday, March 25, 2011

  • Brennan will be missed, it has been a tough couple of years for him as he was also the ref in the match that Jamie Perry lost his life last March. I know the lads of RSSFC Sunday (formerly chantry rangers 1st team) always gave him their respect. It is shame that 'good' refs are being lost becuase of mindless idiots

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    lyn reilly

    Sunday, March 27, 2011

  • I know Brennan- he is a good referee and a really nice chap. The local game will lose a great fella if he hangs up his whistle. Whilst I hope he does not- I would understand if he did. As a local referee myself, I often wonder why I bother. 95% of the players, coaches and supporters are fine but a minority are a nightmare that are ruining the game and it is no wonder when some games do not have referees. It is not for the money- as Brennan says for the love of the game. I give up time with my family, invest money in kit and training, I have lost over two stone and joined the gym to get more fit but will contemplate over the summer if like Brennan, I decide to spend my time in a more worthwhile manner and without the abuse! We do not have to put up with it and should not have to.......................

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    Stevie B

    Saturday, March 26, 2011

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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