Shane MMA
Shane Mansfield with You Are The Ref tutor Guy Beale

Shane Mansfield’s burgeoning referee career has been boosted after Wiltshire FA handed the official a double promotion, climbing straight from Level 7 to Level 5.

Mansfield – also a Mixed Martial Arts fighter – enjoyed a fine breakthrough season in 2014/15 which culminated in refereeing two local finals. He has continued to develop his game this campaign, something clearly recognised by his County FA.

You Are The Ref’s Guy Beale, a former Premier League assistant referee, has provided Mansfield with some tuition along the way, and we caught up with Shane to talk promotion, support, and working his way up the refereeing ladder.

Double promotion and climbing the ladder

Promotion from 7 to 5 is a double jump and clearly recognition for my ability and potential. I’m obviously happy and thank Wiltshire FA for that. I will be refereeing in the Wiltshire Premier Division next year, which will mean I have neutral assistants every week and to some extent I now get to sink my teeth into some ‘proper’ football.

On a personal note – I expected no less of myself. And I’m semi-frustrated that I have had to do two seasons in order to be doing this level of football. I was voted to do two cup finals at the end of my first season and felt I proved myself in those and was ready to start this season at a higher level.

But there is a system in place and it seems you have to follow that road. I just think those that break the mould and are capable of much more could maybe benefit from some sort of Fast-track Scheme. I know if someone walks into my MMA gym and has clear potential he wouldn’t be held back just because ‘he hasn’t been doing it long enough.’ If you’re ready, you’re ready.

Saying that, I do think the season I have at Level 5 will be invaluable to me. So I am very much looking forward to getting the further opportunities that come with being a Level 5. But I hold myself to a much higher standard. I am trying to conduct myself in that manner in order to be recognised and pushed on.

Support from You Are The Ref

I genuinely couldn’t have landed a better coach. I have a great MMA coach but it’s almost a shame Guy can’t cross over because he is able to make me tick.

What I love about it is he can just cut straight to the point and I understand what he is saying in order to be able to put it into practice instantly – I’m talking at half-time. I think we have a fantastic relationship. He knows he can say “Shane, that was crap” or “Shane, you were being lazy in that half, which meant you missed X, Y and Z.” And I just accept that he knows best and put it straight to work.

I also love that he judges me as a Level 3 referee. So if I walk off the field thinking I’ve aced a Trowbridge League game, he will say “I’m not going to talk about the good stuff too much, as I know you can handle these games fine. What we need to do is prepare you for where you’re going.” And then I get all these pieces of gold that you wouldn’t get without his input. And I can take that to other games I do when he’s not there and work on them.

I appreciate the distance Guy has to travel to see me. He picked me up as a Level 7 referee who had barely done a game. And really his group is Level 4s and above. So I hope my drive and ambition coupled with my double promotion is reward to him too.

We’ll have more from Shane in the coming weeks as he reflects on the 2015/16 campaign – keep it here at you-are-the-ref.com.