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Assessing the refs

David looks forward to Thursday night's show...

Features - David Jones Posted 9th October 2012 view comments

We were some way into our discussion on mental health issues on last week's FF Show when I asked PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle whether he could understand why some footballers chose to self-harm.

Clarke took a moment to gather his thoughts before revealing that he had tried to take his own life when he was a struggling player ravaged by alcoholism at QPR.

It was a shocking revelation for our wider audience and for me as someone who's known and worked with Clarke for several years, but never quite knew the extent of his personal battles with depression.

Man in the middle: former referee Riley will be on this week's FF Show

Man in the middle: former referee Riley will be on this week's FF Show

After going to our next break Clarke sat deep in his thoughts. I asked him if he was okay. "I've never admitted that publicly, not even my teammates knew that," he said.

He was visibly upset but we moved the discussion onto the issue of funding projects to help in this contentious area and Clarke returned to the role in which he's more comfortable, as the PFA chairman.

There are so many issues we hope to tackle. Such as tackling. And simulation. And why we never hear from refs after a game.

David Jones
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As an episode it was very revealing: only by talking openly and honestly about mental health issues can the process of recovery begin and Clarke still has some work to do of his own.

But he, Darren Eadie and Vincent Pericard were all incredibly brave, discussing their own problems and working so hard to help others.

The programme touched a nerve and we had a fantastic response from viewers, perhaps suffering from depression, who realised they no longer had to suffer in silence.

As our guests said, depression is not a lifestyle choice; it chooses you regardless of race, creed, colour, class or pay packet.

Issues

This week we have a very different show for you.

Mike Riley is head of the Professional Game Match Officials - the refs! His remit stretches far and wide but in a nutshell he looks after the 16 referees and 32 assistants who officiate in the Premier League.

Hopefully we will all learn something about the kind of preparation and assessment that goes into a match day, while, of course, there are so many issues we hope to discuss, such as tackling, simulation and why we never hear from refs after a game.

Ninety minutes may not be enough, especially as we're throwing Steve Harper, a Premier League goalkeeper and an amateur referee himself into the mix, along with the always interesting and considered Steve Coppell.

I do hope you can join us.

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