Who would voluntarily choose to be a Sunday League referee?
Meet Mo Awill
Childhood is seemingly the defining factor in what position someone ends up spending the majority of their life playing the beautiful game in. The sprinter on the wing, the disciplinarian in the middle and the big lad will play at the back.
These are formulaic standards that characterize most people’s earliest associations with football. For some people though there is a hole in this and it’s referee shaped.
Apparently not fussed by the glory of participating in the match, those who choose to be referees selflessly blend into the background so that law and order can be maintained in sometimes physically passionate circumstances.
The role of referee is in general a thankless one, just ask Mark Clattenburg. One mistake puts your position in the spotlight and the countless correct and acutely well observed ones are immediately forgotten about. After all if a referee has a good game, it isn’t back page news.
If a player makes a mistake though they’re are able to hide behind the potential successes of their team-mates, but a referee has no such safety, as if he makes a mistake he’s alone, often in a sea of disagreeing fans and players.
Thankfully some people are seemingly gluttons for punishment and are willing to accept these pitfalls and voluntarily choose to oversee games of all levels, but why? Mo Awill is one such person.
He isn’t though a Premier League referee, or even a referee in a professional division, he has the most thankless task in football. He’s a referee in London’s Southern Sunday Football League.
To make matters worse, when I go to see him it’s a bleak and cold winter’s day, pouring down with rain and it’s prematurely dark considering it’s only a little after midday.