A FORMER top flight whistle blower from Yate is relishing his new role as president of the Gloucestershire County Referees’ Association.
Bill Bombroff, 76, will be responsible for bringing the six refereeing branches in the county – Bristol, Cheltenham, Cirencester, Forest of Dean, Gloucester and Stroud – together socially and technically on the laws of the game and in-service training.
Bombroff is also a referee adviser for the Bristol Referees’ Association, where he is responsible for training referees and monitoring officials from youth football to senior level, but he is looking forward to his new challenge.
“I shall be very much involved in recruitment and retention and that sort of thing.
"Socially I will be involved and moving the county forward. It will be a hands-on role.
“I’m absolutely overjoyed. It is a tremendous honour to lead the whole county.”
Bombroff has been on the committee since 1966 and received an FA Long Service award from former acting chairman of the national governing body, Roger Burden, in 2012 for dedicating 50 years to refereeing.
He began officiating in the West Bromwich area in 1952 and passed his course ten years later before going on to take charge of matches in the Football League, including the old Division One and a European tie in Belgium, in the 70s and 80s.
Bombroff admits that Premier League referees these days have a much tougher job with the amount of scrutiny they are under but he hopes to make a difference to local football, where the officials are presented with different challenges.
“I don’t think I would think about refereeing today,” said Bombroff.
“You’ve got all these cameras that we never had. Within seconds of an incident you’ve got ten cameras showing you different angles.
“Referees don’t have that, they just have their own two eyes.
“There are other problems at grassroots level and that is pressure from parents and also the attitude of players towards authority.
“It concerns me now that yellow cards are meaningless to the players.
“I have my own standards. I try to bring people up to that standard, particularly on the Downs, and I think it is working but it is hard work.”