Ian all smiles after landing final

SPEAK to any local footballer - or official - about referees and Ian Smillie is assured to get the thumbs up.His man management and precise but fair officiating have won him the respect of most.

By Elvin King

SPEAK to any local footballer - or official - about referees and Ian Smillie is assured to get the thumbs up.

His man management and precise but fair officiating have won him the respect of most.

And it is a fitting reward that Ian's 30th year of refereeing has been rewarded with a top game at Portman Road.


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He is to take charge of the Stonham Aspal versus Hundon Debenham Leisure Centre Suffolk Junior Cup final at Ipswich Town's ground on Thursday April 19.

The Ipswich-based official said: “I was very surprised to be given this appointment, ten years after my last County final - refereeing Stowmarket against Newmarket in the Premier Cup at Sudbury Town.

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“I am excited and proud to be given the match.”

Ian has been a class one/level five referee for 20 years, and has been voted the Metaltec SIL level five 'Referee of the Year' five times in the last seven years.

“I like to think I am a players' referee and that I have earned to respect of the most important people in the game.

“I try to keep the game moving whenever possible.”

This is not Ian's first game at Portman Road as he has run the line in the Football Combination and also in various youth team floodlight competitions.

“But this was before the improvement of the ground with the North and South stand re-developments,” said Ian, who also had a number of fourth official appointments for Ipswich first team games.

“The most memorable was Sergei Baltacha's debut against Stoke.”

Ian will be assisted by Daryl Butcher and David Fowler in the Junior Cup final, and they have already teamed up on a couple of occasions since the appointment.

“This has given us a chance to work on our 'eye to eye' link-up and understanding our roles within match situations,” added Ian.

“I am now even more confident of my colleagues' abilities and experience and hope we can put it all together again on the night.”

Ian has refereed SIL Stonham this season and expects a close game.

“I will have to work hard with Hundon to establish a rapport, but wouldn't expect this to be a problem.

“The game is about players not referees and the success of any referee is based around good decision-making and respect between all parties.”

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