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Birmingham County League side Tipton Town, formed just over eighteen months ago, found it so hard to get referees for their matches that one of their co-founders, Susan Albrighton, decided to take up the whistle herself.
Things are going really well for Susan, who explained: "I am just over halfway through my first season as a qualified referee and my highlight so far was attending a fantastic meeting hosted by Solihull RA, where one of its guest speakers was Premier League referee, Howard Webb.
"He spoke to us for nearly two hours about what it is really like to be in his shoes. I have always admired Howard and he is my favourite top flight referee. He stood out for me when I saw him intervene between some burly Arsenal players who squared up to each other and pushed Adebayor away to prevent any further incident, which you may argue is not what you should do, but I was somewhat proud he did.
"He showed footage of recent Premier League matches, decisions he had made and explained why he made them. He also admitted openly to maybe missing a trick, when he didn't book Christiano Ronaldo for dissent. Christiano applauded Howard for giving him his first yellow card for a reckless challenge, but later on he jumped for the ball with two arms raised and handled the ball in the penalty area, which gave Howard no excuse but to yellow him again and send him off. He also gave insight into one of his own valuable lessons to always do the basics. After giving Vidic his second yellow card in the recent Manchester derby, he nearly forgot to show him the red, but thankfully a good team around him stopped him from making that career ending mistake. If he had followed his normal routine of writing on his cards, he wouldn't have missed it and urged us all to do the same.
"Howard fully supports the Respect The Ref campaign and even appeared in the advert to promote the importance of referees. The floor was opened up for questions. One was about the influence of Premiership footballers on our youngsters and the fact they are not penalised for obvious acts of dissent, he took this on board and said he will try and be more aware of what is being said.
"What impressed me the most about Howard is that he isn't afraid to admit when he has made mistakes and genuinely tries really hard to do a good job. I hope I can follow his big footsteps and be as good as him in the future."
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