THE first in a series of articles on Suffolk officials to celebrate Black History Month.
Derren Haynes, 61, is a Level 5 official who referees on the Suffolk & Ipswich League.
When did you take up refereeing?
I was aged 34/35, so around 1997.
Why did you decide to give it a go?
I was fed up playing for my Sunday side…sometimes we only had nine men, so I thought that's it I’ll take up the whistle.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a referee?
To me it's being in football the game I love, and coming off after a match knowing you did a good job even if both sides were difficult to start with, bringing them under control.
What do you think could be done to attract more Black officials?
Good question...maybe seeing more black officials in Cup finals in the middle and not running the line or being Fourth official.
What would you say to a Black person considering becoming a referee?
The same to anyone regardless of colour, you will never please everyone. Be yourself and never doubt your decision - you only get a split second to make it. You are the referee you are the official for that match.
Anything else you would like to add?
I have refereed for 27 years. I do it because I enjoy it and it keep me fit. If you lose that buzz or slight nervousness before a match it's time to call it a day.
Derren Haynes is pictured above chatting to fellow official Chris Dale at last year’s Suffolk FA Awards Ceremony when Derren received his 25-Year Long Service Award.
Suffolk FA have two Referee courses coming up as follows:
Venue: Needham Market FC
Dates: Tuesday & Wednesday October 24th & 25th, 9am-3.30pm
Venue: Walsham-le-Willows FC
Dates: Monday, November 20th, 6.30pm-9.30pm and Sunday, November 26th, 9am-5pm