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Teen ref builds on early start to his career

May 27th, 2009 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

referee-mainPETER LINNEY has little trouble being the boss of men up to twice his age.

linney-mugLinney (right) is into his fifth season of refereeing Wellington football.

The Stokes Valley 17-year-old has refereed in a number of leagues, including champs premier, capital 1, national secondary schools and national youth league.

Last season he took charge of one match in the central league.

He says a suggestion from his dad got him started at the age of 13: “I wanted to see how far I could take it.”

He quit playing football soon after, believing that he had a brighter future as a ref.

“I copped a taste and I liked it,” he says. “I’m not going to lie. I loved the power and the respect.”

Being a young man in a mainly older man’s profession has made it hard for Linney.

Only five Wellington refs are under the age of 21, says referee development officer Jamie Cross.

“A lot of young refs have gone back to playing football because of a new under-19 league or they’ve got other things to do,” Cross says.

“It’s the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll issue.”

Linney has ignored all off-field distractions, but the distractions on the field are of more concern.

“Players, coaches, fans, they all abuse you,” Linney says.

Fans’ tempers can boil over. “Once during halftime a fan followed us all the way back to our changing rooms yelling abuse … and only stopped when Cross gave him a stern word.”

Linney says refereeing is not for everybody. “Some are born refs, some are made into them.”

The only thing that can be assured is the support of the tight-knit refereeing community.

With this support Linney intends to get his FIFA badge, which he hopes will open the door to many opportunities in the world of refereeing.

PICTURE: Peter Linney (right) in the midst of ‘reffing’ action.

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is a Whitireia journalism student and Taita College old boy. He loves sport, especially football - when Thierry Henry isn't robbing the Irish of a World Cup spot. Other interests include cats, pasta, having a laugh, journalistic banter and writing a good story of course. The 'dream job' would be that of a sports journo, but a role in mainstream news isn't out of the question.
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