Paul Bowden-Brown: From the Boardroom - Ramsgate FC vs Phoenix Sports
May I welcome the officials, players and supporters of Phoenix Sports Football club to The Southwood Stadium this afternoon. Hopefully, after a great game of football and some refreshments, you all have a safe journey home.
In welcoming you all here today, I just wanted to share a personal greeting to both Albert and Alan whom I had the privilege of working with at Thamesmead Town Football Club.
We are back at our home ground again after a couple of weeks travelling around Kent to face Ashford United and Hythe Town, having lost 3-0 and drawing 2-2 respectively.
I believe the 3-0 loss against Ashford United does not accurately represent our performance. It was goalless at half-time, and a couple of moments of misfortune cost us the lead and the game. Former Thamesmead forward Danny Parrish was always going to hurt us if given the opportunity to do so. While I’m incredibly disappointed we lost, It was personally great for me to see some of my former players from Thamesmead Town under the stewardship of Tommy Warrilow once again, and I wish Ashford all the very best for the playoffs.
During our visit to Hythe Town, I expected a tough game from a strong opposition. Not a lot separates the sides this season so it was clear it would be a challenging game from the off.
However, I believe this game will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, Rob Saunders was booked after 2 minutes of action, scored an own goal on the 18th minute and then was shown a second yellow after a challenge on the 21st minute, meaning Ramsgate were down to 10 men at 1-1. I’m sure that will be a game Rob will want to forget.
The ten remaining men of Ramsgate Football Club put in a tremendous display and were the stronger side with a man down. A moment of magic meant Hythe took the lead, but our team never gave up and equalised not so long after.
Kane Rowland was then sent off with a straight red card on the 81st minute, and in my opinion, that was a total travesty of justice. Fortunately, a 9-man Ramsgate held on for a point. We reviewed the footage of Kane’s sending off carefully earlier on in the week and appealed the decision to the FA disciplinary department. Hopefully, Kane can play today, which would, in turn, mean the appeal was successful, and the decision has been overturned. Otherwise, we will miss a critical player for three matches - something we can ill afford in the run in.
There has been a lot in local media outlets about the standard of refereeing this season. I must say I have personally given my views of the refereeing at our matches this season, but I now feel that if something is not done either at FA level or KCFA level, it will ruin the game of football we all love.
All the while referees continue to officiate as the referee did on Saturday against Hythe, jobs are at risk. Poor officiating can genuinely cost a manager their job, and for that reason, it must improve. To put into context, if a manager has ten bad games, he gets sacked because he is not meeting the required standards of his role, but the same doesn’t seem to apply to referees and officials at non-league level.
My first suggestion is that non-league clubs, the KCFA and the Referees Association need to sit around the table together and discuss all the views. The word “respect” is one that we must adhere too, but that works both ways. Officials should also treat the 22 players on the pitch with respect, unlike on Saturday when I have never seen such a condescending attitude from the man in the middle.
Another view we have looked at here at Ramsgate Football Club, is to offer a Referees Traineeship course that would allow future referees the opportunity to be taught the basic rules of the game by professionals. It would be on a full-time training basis; they would receive a basic salary. As part of their training, they will officiate matches. The KCFA may not support this idea, but until something changes, there will continue to be this impasse. We need to see improvements; otherwise, I fear football that we all know and love will become fragmented.
As we are approaching the end of March, the old Club House renamed as The Southwood, is still in its first month since the official reopening and rebranding. Stephen, the manager, has done an excellent job and expect the trade to grow and grow. We have noticed the increase in business on match days, and it's becoming a great meeting place for the Supporters, of both the home and away side. Keep up the good work Stephen.
Finally, we have a new member of staff joining the team. His name is Danny Claringbold who joins the club as our Commercial Manager, so welcome to our fantastic club Danny and I wish you well.
Enjoy the game,
Paul Bowden-Brown Director CEO