A north Northumberland man, who has been refereeing for more than 10 years, has been recognised for his efforts.
Richard Clark, from South Broomhill, was presented with an award by Sir Trevor Brooking at a ceremony at Gosforth’s Marriott Hotel in recognition of his work with the Northumberland FA and the Football League.
The 36-year-old started off in 2004 in the North Northumberland and Morpeth Sunday Leagues.
He then progressed to the likes of the Tyneside Amateur League and the Northern League, and eventually made it to the Blue Square Bet Premier in the 2011/12 season, refereeing the play-off semi-final first leg between York City and Mansfield Town.
In the 2009/10 season, he was promoted to Football League assistant (linesman), before being promoted to the Football League referees list, which features the top 59 referees in the country, for the 2012/13 campaign. Only 16 select referees officiate at Premier-League level.
Richard said: “Like working in a prison, being a referee is a very demanding job on the field and off the field.
“We are constantly being tested for our fitness from sports physiologists as we have to wear Polar heart-rate monitors during training and games with the data being sent every two weeks to monitor our training patterns and stresses within the game.”
Richard, who has refereed 24 games in the Football Leaguef, five of which have been Championship games and which included walking out at Elland Road for Leeds v Yeovil in front of 25,000 fans.