Ref Watch - Peterborough United v Watford
The man in charge of the npower Championship match between Peterborough United and Watford is PHIL GIBBS.
A Deputy Headteacher at King's Heath Boys' School in Birmingham, he compares his day job to his refereeing responsibilities: 'Teaching is not that different to refereeing. No day, no match, is ever the same and the unexpected is always around the corner. It can be about how you deal with parents when they come to see you or how you deal with players when it's a hard match and tough decisions are called for. Really, there just isn't much difference.'
Gibbs, now in his fourth season as a League referee believes that coping with setbacks and the big disappointments are part of life and the best way is to confront them. A prime example was when he failed his interview to become a man in the middle two years in succession. 'I think that each failure strengthened me. It made me more determined and as I say to the lads at school: 'Never give up'.'
Gibbs started refereeing when studying at the University of Gloucestershire, progressing through the Midland Combination, Midland Football Alliance and Conference and, at the same time, attaining his Uefa B coaching licence.
He has the full backing of his school although combining his refereeing and teaching duties can be difficult. Whenever he has to travel for a midweek match, he can always be found at his desk at 7am the next day. 'It's my way of giving a bit back. The school has been very supportive, and the governors are fantastic in giving me time off to referee, so I'm quite happy to put in that extra effort for them.' said Gibbs.
Married with three children, Gibbs` career is likely to last only three more years. 'I've set myself that target,' he said. 'I'll know when to call it a day, when to let someone else have their opportunity. But, hopefully, I'll have done everything I wanted to and I will walk away a happy man.'
Gibbs has been in charge of 39 games this season of which 11 games have been in the Championship. He has issued 112 yellow cards this season while only producing the red card on 4 occasions.
He last officiated a Posh match on 24th August 2011 when Middlesbrough visited London Road for a Carling Cup match. Boro won that game 2-0 although no cards were issued at all in the game.
It was last season when Gibbs last took charge of a Watford match. That was back in September 2010 when they travelled to Bristol City and came away with a 2-0 win. Three yellow cards were issued; two for Watford.
Peterborough United v Watford
Location: London Road
Date: 21st April, 2012
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Photo courtesy of The Football League.