A couple of weeks ago, in-the-back-of-the.net got its 300,000th page view! That’s a milestone that demands celebration. How do we celebrate around here? If precedent is anything to go by, I celebrate by paying homage to some of the game’s least celebrated yet essential elements – referees! I marked the blog’s 100th and 200th posts with tributes that showcased some of the best photos I’d taken of match officials in 2012 and 2013 respectively. I dropped the ball a bit when it came to marking the 300th and 400th posts, but I doubt you care. It’s all good now because there’s another kind of 300 to get all excited about!
This time, rather than do the usual gee aren’t they swell thing I have done previously and you have hopefully (if you are paying attention!) read before, I thought I would focus on a very personal reason why I like New Zealand referees so much. They are always so nice to me!
I can be a bit of a pest at times, banging on the door of the referees room asking for times goals were scored, finding out who scored because I was too busy Tweeting to see a goal or six, and asking to photograph the team sheets. After 400 blog posts, that must be at least 300 grassroots football games at which I’ve made a nuisance of myself and out of all that badgering I can only think of one occasion when I got a grumpy response. That’s pretty damn impressive when you consider that a lot of those requests have been made when the folks with the whistles and flags have had or been having pretty tough games and been under considerable pressure.
So thanks to the men and women who do this thankless job! Here are the 18 best photos I have taken this year of you doing what you do. I hope you enjoy them and I look forward to seeing you around the traps again in 2015.
Categories: Other Football Topics
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.