Dan Elford Dan is one of the two Youth Referee Managers of the society, and has worked alongside Ed to run Aldershot Youth RA since November 2012. Dan is a Level 7 referee, and has just taken the dive into adult football over the past few months. You can usually find him chewing gum at meetings – something we are trying to make him stop! Here’s a little more information about Dan…

Why did you start refereeing?

The reason I started refereeing is simply because football is my passion, I have been interested in it my entire life and well basically it is my life. Since the age of five I have constantly had a ball at my feet playing for two youth teams up to the age of 16. Unfortunately whilst playing a few years ago I suffered an injury which put me out of football completely for a year. I didn’t want to go out of the game completely so I decided to become a referee, as I already knew quite a lot about the game, and wanted to stay involved.

What has been your refereeing highlight?

Although I only have been a referee for 2 years now, I have already had many memorable highlights – but the best so far has to be the RA Conference in Hinckley, where I got a chance to meet the best referees in the business. It was an excellent day, I learnt a tremendous amount and it was an experience I will never forget.

What was the toughest situation you have been in?

The toughest situation I have been in so far has to be my first ever sending off whilst refereeing in the Aldershot & District Football League on a Saturday. A hard illegal tackle from a player towards the end of a game with the scores level started handbags from numerous amounts of players from both teams. The players didn’t exactly co-operate very quickly or easily giving me a fair amount of grief but I sorted the situation out eventually and order was restrained.

What advice would you give to a newly qualified referee?

Only being a referee for 2 years, I have only recently got over being called “ a new referee” myself. The best advice I can give to a newly qualified referee is always believe in yourself, never feel negative about a game or a decision you make. When you’re out on that pitch be confident, show the players and everyone involved that you’re proud of your contribution to the game – this will definitely help you gain respect, and overall make refereeing much easier.

Anything else we should know about you?

Finally I couldn’t write a refereeing profile if I didn’t mention Fulham!  I am a HUGE Fulham fan, and have been a season-ticket holder for 13 years.

Want to talk to Dan – or ask anything about Aldershot Youth RA? Drop him an email here!