Both were voted onto the Association’s committee at the Essex Record Office in Chelmsford on Thursday 6th June and they’ll now attend regular meetings and continue to have a positive impact on grassroots football in the County from the 2013/14 season. Holmes’ region also encompasses Rochford, Castle Point, Basildon and Thurrock.
Inherently a rugby fan, Chris eventually became Club Secretary of Ghyllgrove FC in the Basildon Sunday League then got involved in refereeing after he shared his opinion of the quality of match officials to then County FA President Peter Crowhurst, who challenged him to “put your money where your mouth is!” He took the course and qualified in April 1989 before being promoted to Level Five (formerly Class One) in 2000.
Currently Chris is still an active Level Five, mainly officiating on the Greene King Essex Veterans and the Eastern Region Women’s Leagues, but he’s also a Contributory League Assessor, a Level Two Tutor and a Mentor for a couple of Level Four referees. In addition, he has been Chairman of the Basildon Referees Association since 2001.
“I’m looking forward to acting as the ‘link man’ between the Essex County FA and referees, working alongside James Lisher [Development Officer] and Director of Refereeing, Wayne Deller,” Chris explained. “I have worked a fair bit with James in my role as a tutor, and likewise with Wayne, and I think there are some very good initiatives underway on the refereeing front which I hope I can assist in promoting and developing.”
“It’s also my role is to push the Referees Association [RA] forward to ensure our younger, less experienced match officials can get all the help and support available at a local level in order to supplement the excellent training that The FA and County FA provide. The RA, both locally and nationally, is in a relative state of flux at present but there are some very strong local RAs and we need to push the positive elements and encourage all referees to join.”
Holmes, meanwhile, started playing at the age of 18 and soon became involved in management, coinciding the organisation of men’s teams throughout his days on the field. He currently runs Under 9s and Saturday Veterans Teams for Leigh Ramblers FC. Mark sees the new changes in youth football as a challenge to be tackled and hopes the Respect programme can maintain a fresh outlook to keep everyone “in love with the game” whilst improving all areas.
He added: “I’m looking forward to working with all the members of the Essex County FA and I’m hoping to learn more and use this to help others. I want to be a voice for clubs throughout the area and help them to improve, as well as leagues. A smooth transition for the new 5v5 structure for the coming season is important, and maybe we can also look at Under 21s leagues more closely too because this is an area of real potential growth.”