Swindon referee Rod Wirdnam is celebrating forty years with the whistle.
Rod completed his referee training and passed his exam in 1976 then eagerly awaited his first ever official fixture, having previously run lines as Club linesman for Croft. It was friends who ran the Croft and their match referees who encouraged him to take up officiating in the first place.
Following a very wet early 1977, during which only a few games were played, Rod’s first game was a Swindon Sunday League game between P.O.Supplies and Isis which was played on a pitch opposite the Rat Trap Pub in Stratton. The game ended in an innocuous 0-0 draw and Rod felt he had done well for his first game.
To date, he has officiated in a total of 1574 games across the Wiltshire County League, Swindon & District League, North Wilts Youth League, Swindon Sunday League, Wiltshire Womens & Girls League, Swindon Borough League and North Berkshire League.
Throughout his 40 years, Rod says there have been “very few lows” but “so many highs”; the undoubted highlight of which being in May 2006 when a group of referees travelled to and officiated at Highbury, the former home of Arsenal FC. Rod had seen many games where when previously living in London, but to officiate there was just incredible.
Over the years he has also officiated in six finals at Swindon Town FC’s County Ground and also been given two beautifully engraved trophies from the North Wilts Youth League to mark his 30 years and 1500 games respectively.
Kevin Small, Referee Development Officer commented “It’s great to see Rod celebrate 40 years of refereeing. He has been a stalwart of grassroots football and I hope he has many more years of blowing the whistle”.
Thank you for this amazing contribution to grassroots football Rod and we wish you many more years in the beautiful game.