YOUNG football referee George Roberts has his sights firmly set on making it to the very top of the professional game.
Graham School pupil George, 15, has already taken charge of some of Manchester United’s stars of the future and is determined to become the “youngest ever referee to officiate in the Premier League”.
Former Holt FC player, George, said: “I started refereeing by chance at the age of 14. I was meant to be playing for Holt under-14s one Sunday and one of the younger age group game’s did not have a referee so I volunteered to do it and really enjoyed it.
“I refereed a few more games and continued to like what I was doing.
“I gained my qualifications and at one point I was reffing three games every Sunday.
“Initially I was keen to keep playing football so I would alternate between playing one week and then reffing the next, but now I am just concentrating on refereeing because I prefer it to playing.”
George has quickly progressed from refereeing locally to taking charge of some more auspicious fixtures.
He continued:“I started off refereeing locally but I have progressed to officiating in county cup fixtures and more recently I have been appointed to take charge of academy games between clubs such as Manchester United, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool.
“My ambition is to go all the way to the top, I want to be the youngest ever Premier League referee.
“The biggest game I have refereed so far was the Manchester United Academy game, but my best moment so far was doing an under-16s cup final between Cayton and Duncombe Park when I was only 14 myself.
“The referees I look up to are Howard Webb and Phil Dowd, but I have been inspired by watching some of the local refs and also by my parents who have motivated and helped me a lot.
“I really enjoy what I do, but I do get criticised by the referee assessors for not smiling enough.”
Neil Fryirs, George’s Physical Education teacher at Graham School, added: “George is an inspiration and role model to all pupils at Graham School.
“To achieve what he has at such a young age is really impressive.
“He is really dedicated and has helped out the PE department on a number of occasions by refereeing numerous football matches.
“He is very focused on what he wants to achieve and has the potential to go all the way to the top.”