I want to say a big thank you to everybody who has taken the time to read about my experiences over the past couple of weeks on my return to the Falkland Islands, it is very much appreciated.
38 years on from the conflict things are very different in the Falkland Islands but it was great to go back and see how the islanders are flourishing and remember those who were lost, injured or who are still struggling.
Having proudly served in the Armed Forces and the Police Force for a long time and I am lucky enough to have been trained in certain aspects that help me get through the match. I am also very aware that there are many serving military personal as well as veterans who are referees and may have been helped by my blog, this gives me a great lift and I am glad to have helped in some small way.
Keep enjoying your refereeing and rise above the insults and criticism which is inevitable in our role. It can happen to all of us but with the correct support we will become stronger.
I recall in my early days in the County league reporting a minor assault by a club official only for the County FA to allow the offence to expire and the perpetrator be allowed to walk away with no punishment. This is where Ref Support UK come in and as we have seen over the past couple of years that there is now a strong voice to help prevent this kind of thing from happening, support refs when it does and keep the discussion of ref abuse on the national football agenda so all football stakeholders are aware of the problems we face.
Big thanks to Martin for supporting my trip and posting the blog, it means a lot to be able to share it with you.
Dave Ricketts. Referee, Referee Observer and proud veteran.