As we approach the end of another long season there are only a handful of matches left with most local leagues finishing their season by playing their final few games. For some referees the football will continue for a few more weeks as there are a number of Youth Football Festivals taking place during the summer months.

Although it is the time of the year when players and referees can look forward to a couple of months rest, local referees' societies are busy arranging Referee Training Courses for the new season.

Some players who have played local football for a number of years may be thinking of finishing their playing career and be considering becoming a referee. Anyone over the age of 14 can enrol for a Referees Training Course that normally lasts about six to eight weeks at the end of which candidates sit a written examination on the laws of the game and this is followed by a question and answer examination at Durham Football Association. Successful candidates then become a referee.

Just over ten years ago Nigel Miller from Durham decided to become a referee and enrolled for a Referees Training Course with his local Referees' Society. As a newly qualified referee he took charge of local games within the Durham area. He then gained promotion and officiated in the Wearside League and Northern Premier (Unibond) League before being promoted to the Football League and to the Premiership. Tomorrow, Nigel will be assistant referee at the FA Cup Final at Cardiff in the Arsenal and Southampton match and joins the list of North-East referees who have officiated in an FA Cup Final. This list includes George Courtney, Peter Willis, Robbie Hart, George Tyson and Pat Partridge.

If you have considered becoming a referee you can obtain details of your local Referees' Society by logging onto the Darlington Referees' Society web site and asking for details about their next training course.

This is my final column for this season and I would like to thank everyone who has contacted me with details of match incidents. The column will be back in August and if you have played in, or been at, a game where there has been an unusual or amusing incident which the referee has had to deal with, please continue to let me know by logging onto