Game 17, 2018-19
It's been a year or two since I last encountered 'Danny', the city's loudest youth coach, and when I saw his name on the team-sheet of the away team for a U19 game last weekend I wasn't exactly leaping through the air and pumping my fists at the thought of an emotional reunion. Still, everyone has the opportunity to change. Although in the times we'd met since I was a witness three years ago to him receiving a fat fine and a heavy warning from the disciplinary panel for unacceptable behaviour on the touchline, he hadn't changed one bit.
|"Hey, Danny - great to see you again!"|
Sure enough, Danny has coached a team in his model image. Right from the start they foul their opponents, and then complain loudly when I whistle. They are backed up by Danny on the touchline, who screams, "Referee!" every single time. It's an obvious ploy to intimidate both their opponents and the ref. By half-time they have three yellow cards - one for foul play and two for dissent. I've spoken to Danny twice and given him his first two warnings of the afternoon. Does he listen and shut up? Does he fuck.
Half-time: 1-0 to the home team on a straightforward penalty for a trip in the box. Hotly disputed by Danny who is standing 50 yards away.
On the way to the club house at half-time, I take his assistant to one side. I know him, he's a fellow ref. I tell him to please tell his players to stop fouling and stop complaining. Like Danny, he tries to argue the toss, but I cut him off. Then, joy of joys, Danny knocks on my changing room door in the