Thanks to Stevie Kirkland and the members for having the confidence and giving me the opportunity to become President. It is an honour and privilege to hold this position within the Ayrshire Association, where I have been an active member for over 18 years.
That seems a long time, but pales into insignificance when we consider that the Association itself is 75 years old and that gives me extra pride.
The fact the Association is still going strong is testament to those who run it now and also those who ran it before us. Everyone involved has the benefit of the Association and our members at heart.
I take over as President at a time of change for football and society in general. The global COVID pandemic resulted in our monthly meetings being held via zoom and training generally being carried out on an individual basis. However, we are now able to hold outdoor group training sessions and that coupled with the return of grassroots football, makes me hopeful for the future.
People often ask why I wanted to take up refereeing. Having played football at various grades in my younger days, refereeing has allowed me to stay involved in Scotland's national sport, stay fit and officiate at levels I would never have reached as a player.
Whichever grade you officiate at, the Association is there to encourage and support all members in their refereeing career. I'm delighted as President to see Ayrshire members regularly officiating at the top end of Scottish Football, and this is proof of their dedication, and the support they received from The Association in their early matches. At amateur, women and youth level, we are well represented at Regional and National Cup Finals and again this is down to the esteem that Ayrshire Referees are held in. I hope to see more of our members progress to the highest category they can and be an integral part of the game.
Of course progress requires attendance at training, meetings, and Regional Training Days to receive coaching which can help at any level you officiate at. To existing members, remember to listen to your mentors. To newly qualified members communicate your matches, and we will help you through the initial stages. To those looking to join, I can recommend a worthwhile positive hobby, which you will enjoy for many years.
Refereeing keeps you fit, you make strong, long-lasting friendships, and there is a really good social aspect too.
I trust everyone is keeping well and staying safe. If you require any more information, please contact me at email@example.com
Yours in Sport