A REFEREE left with a broken nose after allegedly being headbutted during a game has thanked the football community for encouraging him to continue with his whistle.
East Durham match official Ronnie Chambers suffered the injury to his nose and bruising and swelling to his mouth and lips just seven minutes into the game between Welfare Athletics and DPM Carpets on Sunday.
But despite the pain of his injury and being anxious about stepping on to the pitch again in his refereeing kit, the 47-year-old, from Blackhall Colliery, says he will not let the incident get him down.
The dad of two, who works at Hartlepool’s JobCentre in Wesley Square, said: “You get knock-backs in all walks of life and you’ve just got to get back on the bike and get on with it.
“The laws of football are there to be imposed and I’ve just got to get back out there and do the job I’m there to do.
“I think I’ll be a bit apprehensive, but this was a one-off incident and I’m not going to let it get me down. I suppose it’s the fighting spirit in me and my love of the game that will keep me going.”
He added: “The support I’ve had from the football and refereeing community has been brilliant and has probably helped spur me on to carry on.”
The Hartlepool Sunday Morning Football League Division One game was called off following the incident. A 25-year-old Hartlepool man was arrested and has been charged with common assault. He is due to appear at before magistrates next month.