KING’S NORTON resident Susan Albrighton became the first woman to pick up the ‘Referee of the Year’ award for the Bromsgrove & District League.
In her debut season with the Bromsgrove League, the 39-year-old claimed the prestigious award after receiving a momentous amount of feedback from clubs and fellow officials throughout the course of the 2015/16 season.
Albrighton, who has also been officiating in the Midland League for the last three seasons, has been refereeing for eight years and began her career at Tipton Town Ladies before progressing into men’s football.
Since then, she has gone from strength to strength and is aiming to officiate at the highest level she can go but despite picking up the Referee of the Year accolade, Albrighton told the Standard she wished she got into refereeing at a young age.
“I am absolutely blown away to have received the award. The support I have received from the Bromsgrove League has been fantastic and to get 22 hand shakes at the end of each match I reffed in is great.
“Also putting on the black kit and officiating in the Midland League is just as good as they provide me with fantastic support.
“Both leagues are very helpful and any aspiring referee should get involved with them, my only regret is that I did not take refereeing up at a young age.
“I decided not to pursue it at a young age. Howard Webb and Sarah Garratt were my idols and with the opportunities that are out there, you can get yourself on the FIFA list.
“My rallying cry is a game of football cannot go ahead without the person in black and as much as more young people should take up the sport, more young people should take up officiating.”
Bromsgrove League’s referees secretary Colin Mortiboys was delighted to see Albrighton, who officiates two Sunday games each month for the Sunday league, claim the accolade.
“She has worked hard in her first season with the Bromsgrove League and we hope she has had a very good experience of officiating our games,” he said.
“We are pleased that she has picked up the Referee of the Year award and she should be really proud of her achievements.”
The Bromsgrove League are accepting applications for officials for the 2016/17 season. Anybody interested in joining should email firstname.lastname@example.org.