Simon Hooper

Hackett’s Verdict | A Good Weekend for Referees

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Well another good weekend for referees.

I decided to watch the Evostik Premier League game between Shaw Lane (Barnsley) v Stafford Rangers, a League that I officiated on in my early career and for which I will always have fond memories.

Frankly it was a competitive league and I was lucky to receive such valuable information from the Assessors and guidance from former FIFA referee Ken Dagnall, the then secretary of the league.

Shaw Lane have made quick progress up the various leagues thanks to the generosity of their owners of Aquaforce, a local plumbing company. You can see why they currently top the league with a team of skilful and hardworking players.

It is still a challenging league and one that will test your officiating in every game. The match was controlled very well by Martin Webster from Lincoln.

He worked hard and moved effortlessly about the field with an excellent detection of foul challenges. It was a very good performance and if I was to offer him any advice it would be to talk more. Keep players informed and be prepared to smile occasionally.

However the display of the weekend was that of Simon Hooper who produced an excellent performance in the Sheffield derby. Last year I was critical of his fitness and movement around the field of play.

At Hillsborough it was evident that Simon Hooper has worked hard on that aspect of his performance and his movement and positioning throughout the game was terrific.

His decision making was first class and it was good to see him communicate with the players.

Frankly I would not hesitate to offer him a Premier League game, to determine if he is ready for that step up.

I would say that he is ready and knocking on the door of promotion.