Great year for referee Wade

Football / Fri 29th May 2015 at 03:39pm

Wade NorcottIT HAS been a season to remember for Harlow-based referee Wade Norcott, who ended the campaign amongst a list of local match officials who have achieved promotion, plus he’s enjoyed two trips to Wembley Stadium!

The Sky Bet Football League Play-Off Finals may have hit the headlines in Essex for Southend United’s dramatic penalty shootout promotion from League Two. But, exactly 24 hours later, there was another county success story when Wade stepped out onto the hallowed national stadium turf for the second time in just a fortnight as Preston North End took on Swindon Town in the League One finale.

Having picked-up a lucrative appointment as an Assistant Referee on the FA Vase Final between Glossop North End and North Shields – a tie won 2-1 by Shields after extra time – Wade clearly impressed as he returned under the arch in the same role not long afterwards.

Norcott’s career began as a fresh-faced 14-year-old back in 1998 and, still only 31, he has made huge inroads. Already a regular Assistant Referee on the Football League and a Referee on the Ryman Isthmian, promotion has now been earned to the Vanarama National League South for next season. His advancement in the middle has matched those on the line, and Wade can now look back on two highly memorable occasions at the end of this campaign.

Reflecting on his taste of a national final in the FA Vase, Wade commented: “I would say taking part in any form in a Wembley fixture, either as a player or match official, has got to be the highlight of any career. It’s a dream come true.”

“I guess we all start out playing football on the streets or over the local park dreaming of scoring the winning goal in a Wembley cup final, so to get there as a match official is just as satisfying. It was a massive surprise to receive the appointment. No matter which ones you receive during the season, or which rumours you hear, you can never expect to get the phone call.”

A lot of media attention is given to clubs’ preparations for their big day and it’s hardly different for the officials, just without the spotlight. Wade offered an insight into his build-up: “It began on Friday. We met as a team for a get together late in the afternoon at the hotel as the other guys were coming from either the south coast or up north.”

“We then went out for dinner as a group with David Elleray, Neale Barry [FA Head of Senior Referees] and Peter Elsworth [Senior Referee Admin Manager]. The day itself was pretty straightforward, with normal timings for breakfast – healthy, of course, no fry-ups – and then it’s back to your room to get ready before being picked-up around midday to go to the ground.”

“This was when it really hit me – walking out to the pitch and having photos taken with guests and your colleagues on the famous turf. At that point it started to sink in as to what we had been appointed to and what we needed to do.”

The game itself saw Glossop – once of English football’s top flight – take the lead before ultimately losing 2-1 to North Shields in extra time, with Wade welcoming the additional period: “It was the only game I have been pleased to see go to extra time!”

“The more time spent out in the middle the better it was and I was lucky that I had the full view of the crowd who were in the ‘main’ part of the stadium. When they were in full voice it was brilliant. To walk up the famous steps and see my friends and family who had come along to support me was also a memory that will take a long time to fade.”

Elsewhere, the congratulations of the Essex County FA have been extended to Rayleigh’s Nick Kinseley, who has been promoted to the National List of Referees so he can operate in the middle on the Football League next season, joining Fred Graham and Mike Bull in the professional game. Meanwhile, retiring from the top level after an esteemed career is Billericay’s Andy D’Urso, who has been a high-profile official for over a decade.

Referee Promotions for Season 2015/16

To Level 1 (Football League Referee): Nicholas Kinseley (Rayleigh).

To Level 2b (National League Referee): Elliott Kaye (Loughton), Wade Norcott (Harlow).

To Level 3a (Isthmian League Referee): Anthony Pope (Witham), Dean Skipper (Rainham), Ray Wells (Dagenham).

To Level 4 (Essex Senior League, Spartan South Midlands League or Eastern Counties League Referee): Kirk Edwards (Shoeburyness), James Beal (Tollesbury), Thomas Whay (Harlow), Carl Oliver (Colchester), Steven Marr (Westcliff-on-Sea), Brett Grant (Canvey Island), Mark Pond (Romford), Simon Hearn (Shenfield), Joseph Gray (Dagenham), Jack Lock (Frinton-on-Sea), Aaron Farmer (Colchester).

To Level 5: Daniel Baines (Southend-on-Sea), Jeffrey Caley (Havering), Christopher Cooper (Basildon), Lewis Farthing (Colchester), Benjamin Figg (Chelmsford), Paul Humphries (Havering), Kieron Lee (Rochford), Richard Lock (Tendring), Matthew Owen (Basildon), Andrew Simmonds (Thurrock), Paul Stratton (Havering), Christopher Williams (Braintree), Kane Woods (Castle Point), Patrick Yates (Harlow).

To Level 6: Alp Yavuz (Chelmsford), Alphie Ibrahim (South Woodford), Ashley Butler (Felsted), Benjamin Crow (Rayne), Charlie Bruce (Hutton), Daniel D’Urso (Billericay), Daniel Hill (Brightlingsea), Daniel Lambert (West Mersea), Daniel Norris (Harlow), Dumitru Vasile (Chelmsford), Endrit Malaveci (Dagenham), George Lowe (Stanway), James Harrington (Hutton), James Keeley (Bishop’s Stortford), Jamie Hunt (Chafford Hundred), Jamie Wood (Romford), Keith Mitchell (Cold Norton), Mahdi Elhalawany (Heybridge), Mark Hankin (Hornchurch), Mark Jones (St Osyth), Matthew Davis (Westcliff-on-Sea), Aaron Irvine (Westcliff-on-Sea), Michael Wright (Rayleigh), Paul Kemp (Loughton), Philip Molloy (Stanway), Reece Pinchback (Wickford), Robert Southgate (Dovercourt), Ryan Fox (Hadleigh), Ryan Johnson (Dunmow), Stephen Bartlett (Great Notley).

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