Referee in the Spotlight

Jonny Lam provides an insight into his development and experiences so far in refereeing.

Jonny Lam provides an insight into his development and experiences so far in refereeing.

Name: Jonny Lam

When did you qualify as a referee?
I qualified in November 2021. Phil Sharp helped to run the referee course I was on who assisted Pierluigi Collina in the 2002 World Cup Final.

What are your early refereeing memories?
I went straight into refereeing adult football, the first few games were tough! Trying to take yourself out of the player mindset and remembering it was your job to make the decisions instead of just appealing for them!

Have you faced any challenges and how have you overcome them?
Going into the 22/23 season I broke my leg playing in the first Sunday League pre-season friendly for Cranfield United Sundays. I had been playing on a Sunday and refereeing on Saturdays, I made the decision after this to stop playing, getting back up to full fitness was difficult but after the lay off refereeing weekly helped with this.

Do you have any career highlights to date?
I’ve managed to achieve two promotions so far (hopefully another promotion around Christmas time to Level 4). Last season I was lucky enough to referee a County Cup final, a Sunday League Cup final and assisted on a Saturday League Cup final. This year I have been invited into the FA CORE programme which has helped massively with my development.

What skills have you learned through refereeing?
I think my people skills have improved in general. Every weekend you’re meeting 30+ new people. Communication is key and having to adapt to different players, management and officials you’re out with is great.

Why did you take up refereeing?
I wanted to stay involved in football and I wasn’t going to make it to the professional level by playing so refereeing is the next best thing!

Who is the biggest influence on your refereeing career?
I’m quite new to it so I can’t pick one person, but I’ve had a lot of support from the Beds FA, referee coaches and other referees. Some have become great friends outside of football.

What are your future goals and ambitions in refereeing?
Personally to get as high up the football pyramid as possible. I want to make it into the professional game, but it’ll take a lot of hard work! I’ve also just started mentoring and coaching new referees, so looking to help wherever I can.

Do you support a football team?
Luton Town (of the Premier League) I started following them home and away when they were in the National League and had a season ticket for 4/5 years.

Each month, Bedfordshire FA will celebrate the hard work of individuals and clubs. The Spotlight feature will give you an insight into the various roles that are held within football. These will include a range of volunteers, referees, clubs and those making football happen behind the scenes.