A long standing Grantham official has received an Outstanding Achievement Award from Lincolnshire County Referees’ Association.
Footballing stalwart Mick Massingham collected the annually-awarded Richard Taylor Memorial Trophy at the Railway Club. The award is presented to those who have made an outstanding contribution to refereeing. Lincs RA committee voted unanimously to put Mick in the frame for this year’s award.
Chairman of Grantham Referees’ Association, Mick received the award from Lincs RA chairman Gary Sutton, the highest ranked match official in the county, with European and Premier League matches under his belt.
Gary summarised 66-year-old Mick’s career highlights and achievements over the period which has seen him referee around 1,700 games in 34 years. He has put approximately 600 candidates through refereeing courses, becoming mentor to many over the years, with currently 25 years as chairman of the Grantham association.
Mick had a long and distinguised career as a player before picking up the whistle aged 32. He started out as a left winger for Lincoln City as a 17-year-old before transferring to Grantham in their Midland League days. He had a spell at Sleaford Town before returning to play with the Gingerbreads.
He ran Gonerby Rovers who played in the Grantham League and the Lincoln League. His playing career was ended by a troublesome knee, but he was still able to run with the whistle.
Mick said: “Age caught up with me, I think. But you don’t get tackled as a referee.”
He made a final playing comeback to represent the Terry Bly XI in the final match at London Road against a John Robertson International XI in 1990.
His officiating career began in the 1978-79 season as a Class Three referee in the Newark Sunday League. He was promoted to Class Two for the 1983-84 season and Class One in 1985-86.
Mick said the biggest games he had officiated at where Lincs County Cup finals, a Central Midland Alliance final, as well as a friendly game between Grantham Town and Rochdale
He qualified as a referee instructor in 1988 at Walsall University and became a licensed instructor at Bishop Grossteste College, Lincoln, two years later.
Mick is now a Level One instructor and has just completed his 25th year as instructor. He passed another course at Lincoln in 2002 to qualify him to mentor newly-qualified referees.
Mick said he could talk all night about player behaviour and the problems with the modern game. He said: “Eighty per cent of problems now are with dissent. It’s what comes out of their mouths. I think I played in the best era. It was a job for a referee to get a name in the book back then. It’s not nowaways.
“It must be awfully difficult to start out refereeing today. Let’s get back to good old-fashioned values.”