No retirement plans for referee Rogers

David Rogers
David Rogers

Referee Dave Rogers took charge of the 2,500th match of his career when he oversaw Sussex University Ladies’ victory over Reading University Ladies.

Rogers, 61, has been officiating for 26 years and reached the milestone on October 24, but says he has no thoughts of retirement on his mind.

He started refereeing at the age of 34, and remembers his first match in Hastings where he realised he was wearing shin pads.

“It was a force of habit really. I’d been playing football for 20 years so it took a little while to adapt,” he said.

After quickly working his way up the levels, he was on the list of Senior Sussex referees within four years.

Rogers made the decision to referee in the USA in 1993, calling it a wonderful experience having met fellow officials and players from all over the world.

One incident which sticks out for Rogers, is the time he assessed an American referee in the rain. The referee started the match and was running around holding an umbrella, earning the nickname of the Umbrella Man. There are plenty of fond memories and a wealth of experience, having refereed and assessed in over thirty youth tournaments in countries such as Norway and Canada.

Having always believed in being part of an association, he is a long-standing member of Eastbourne Referees Society, and is also a key committee member of the Sussex County FA council.

Over the years, he has officiated in many FA Cup, Trophy and Vase matches, while also taking charge of eight Sussex County Cup finals.

As a recently appointed Chairman of the Eastbourne FA, he made the decision to introduce the concept of rolling substitutes into local cup competitions.

Rogers offered his advice to any aspiring referees.

“On the field just give your decision and move to your next position, don’t get involved in discussions with players or managers,” he said.

He also made the point that the officials word should be the final one, and that players should be urged to “think it not say it” when contesting a decision.