WHO ARE YA? Bill Eaton, LFA referee, tutor, mentor and assessor

1) Who are ya?

Bill Eaton, LFA referee, tutor, mentor and assessor. Referee development office for the Bolton, Bury and District Football League. UAFA C Coach, Born and bred in Bolton.

2) Who do you support?

Support my local team of course, BWFC (GM – good lad)

3) What was your first game?

As a referee I turned up to do a game at a venue where there was ten games, referees where allocated to each game. Some kind referee swapped games. I was stuck with the Grantham Arms v Chamberlain Arms, two local pub teams who made my life hell for 90 minutes. Sent half a dozen of them to their local FA.

As a coach of Eastleigh Tornados in our first ever match, 27 years ago, my team was getting slaughtered when a parent asked me why I only had ten players on the pitch… I then noticed one of my players was sat next to the opposition goal keeper (Sean Wren) making a daisy chain!

4) What do you do for a job?

Work for the Cohens Chemist Group

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

Worked for the PFA at BWFC at the old Burnden Park as a school community coach and also as the clubs educational officer.

6) How did you get into it?

Started coaching by accident, went to join a men’s team and turned up early where kids were training. Manager needed a lot of help so stepped in.

As a referee, got asked to referee a friends team and really enjoyed it, so took the course and qualified.

7) What do you get out of it?

Love helping develop young referees, always gave u18s referees priority in games. Appointed over 200 of them to cup finals in the BBDFL

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

To young referees is to command your game, don’t let managers/coaches/spectators ruin your enjoyment. You’re there to support the junior players. Do as many games as you can. Always save a bit of your ref fee, so when things go bad, buy yourself something to cheer yourself up.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

Not giving up refereeing for about 12 years, not getting bird flu… I was flying a few seasons ago and getting superb appointments, got a county cup quarter final and a women’s FA Cup game. Then the bird flu kicked in, missed both matches, was ill for two weeks. Fitness never recovered.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Has to be Bruce Rioch and the Special One, great managers.