WWFA Hon. Referees’ Officer John Gow (front eft) presents Phil Gale with his long service achievement award, in the company of WWFA instructor Phil Davies (far right) and Pembrokeshire Referee’s Society Officers, Danny Thomas (President) front right, Chris Stapleton (Chairman), back left, Jonathan Twigg (Vice Chairman) back 2nd left, and David Badger (Secretary) back 2nd right.
The Chevron and Eddies Snooker Bar sponsored Pembrokeshire Referees’ Society hosted the WWFA annual seminar after their last monthly meeting, when thirty seven officials from the County welcomed Hon. Referees Officer John Gow and guest instructor Phil Davies of Carmarthenshire, a former Hakin United goalkeeper.
Prior to the seminar starting Gow was able to present an award to local whistler Phil Gale of Letterson, who has completed twenty-one years service as a referee. A man who has carved himself a niche within sporting circles not only in Pembrokeshire but also across the Welsh League, Gale has a calm, measured and respectful approach to officiating. This has allowed him to referee 560 games in a career which started with his first fixture Feb 1990 between Haverfordwest and Letterston seconds.
He started playing football in 1965 for Hakin Juniors, Milford Sea Cadets and Letterston before joining the Police Force and being posted to Llanelli in 1969. There he signed on for Garden Suburbs, Burry Port, for three years before playing for Kilgetty as he was posted to Tenby.
In 1976, he signed on for Solva for one season following a positing to St. David’s before being promoted to the Police Training Centre in Cwmbran, playing for GWR Griffithstown in Pontypool. On returning to Haverfordwest in 1979he returned to Solva and stayed with them for four seasons. Work took him to Milford, where he donned the colours of Milford Athletic until he hung up his playing boots in 1987.
Gale commented that
“the highlight of my career as a referee was the Senior Cup Final in 1996 when Merlins Bridge beat Goodwick 3-0 on the Bridge Meadow. Another highlight was the deciding match between Hakin and Pennar Robins at the “Obs” in 1997, when Hakin were crowned 1st Division champions, for a record seven consecutive seasons.”
Gale further explained that as
“he passed his 60th birthday this year, he continues to enjoy refereeing and intends to keep whistling until the enjoyment disappears. The only unfortunate part is that a lot of the players today are the sons of players I played either with or against which shows my age!”
Society Vice Chairman Jonathan Twigg
“congratulated Phil on his achievement, pointing out he had always been a staunch member of the Society since he took up the whistle. A man who has the battle scars from playing he brought many assets to the Society including now experience, which has helped ensure he is one of our most appreciated and courteous members, a man who can guide others but is also able and willing to learn from his colleagues.”
President Danny Thomas concluded
“that any up and coming referee in Wales could learn from being in the presence of Phil Gale, not just from the upstanding demeanour of him off the pitch, but also from his style and commitment on the field.”
The Society’s December meeting will host the 2010 Christmas draw, which kicks off at 7pm on Friday 10th December at Neyland Athletic Club. PAFL Secretary Brian Hawkins is also endeavouring to organise the next referee’s course early in the New Year, where spaces remain available. Brian can be contacted for further information on 01646 698075.