Referee's college crowd control

12th November 2004 at 00:00
Former Nelson and Colne college finance director Mike Riley must be wishing he had cut his teeth in the playground of a tough secondary school instead of the relative calm of further education, such is the level of discipline among followers of the "beautiful game", in which he has immersed himself as one of the Football Association's best-known referees.

His moment of glory came when he presided over an FA Cup final while still in his post at the college, in 2002. To inject a little passion into FE people, he spoke at the Association for College Management two years later about the parallels between being a referee and a college manager.

Now he is in the headlines again, as the referee who was on duty when, Manchester United claims its players Gabriel Heinze and Alan Smith suffered foul play from Arsenal's Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.

This soccer lark sounds terribly rough. Still, not too late to invite him to the Association of Colleges conference, where his knowledge of rowdy behaviour could help him to advise principals on how to deal with all those 14-16 students who will soon be flooding into colleges.

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