SCARBOROUGH referee Oliver O’Brien’s dream to officiate at the top level of the game is on track after he was rewarded with promotion for next season.
O’Brien, currently a Level Four referee, will take the step up to Level Three next season, giving him the opportunity to officiate at contributory league level and academy level under-19’s, as well as run the line at Premier League and Football League reserve level and at Conference games.
O’Brien, son of Mick O’Brien, who is respected as one of the best officials in the local leagues, is now in the top 8 per cent of referees in the country, and looks set to head straight for the top.
He said: “I’m really pleased with the promotion.
“I’m just two levels away from running the line in the Premier League now so I am happy.
“I’d like to realistically be reffing in the Premier League within seven years, which would be fantastic and would be a dream come true.
“I was speaking to a coach at the level I am moving up to and he said to enjoy next year and find my feet, then push on to then next level and take things from there, which is what I intend to do.”
Oliver is quick to point to a number of highly influencial figures who have helped him become the official he is today.
He added: “Obviously my dad has helped me a huge amount.
“From going to watch him ref to him giving me advice when I was starting out, he’s been great.
“I have to say that Steve Rowntree has been superb with me as well.
“The amount of time and help he has offered me has been a great help.
“Advice on things like fitness and commitment have been helpful.
“And Rich Hewitt, who reffed at a high level until he retired two years ago. He’s been supportive as well.”
O’Brien was also quick to offer encouragement to any youngster to is thinking about taking up officiating.
He added: “I took it up as I wasn’t the best player and wanted to make it as far as possible in the game.
“And now I have the chance I have now to mix it with the best names around in some of the best grounds.
“I would say young refs in Scarborough have a great chance of going all the way.”