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Hooper: To be at the top is a real honour

4 Oct 2018

Referee proud of taking charge of his first match as a Select Group 1 official

When Simon Hooper walked out at St James' Park to referee Newcastle United v Leicester City on Saturday, one person especially proud of his first appointment as a Select Group 1 match official would have been his father. 

As a 15-year-old in Swindon, Hooper first became involved in refereeing by his dad, who got him to take charge of matches involving his brother's team.

After a semi-professional career as a player, refereeing for him became a "love and a passion" that was fulfilled by taking charge of a Premier League match.

Saturday's match on Tyneside was Hooper's third in the Premier League, but it was his first since being promoted to the highest group of referees managed by Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL). 

'Doing it for everyone'

"To be at the top of the game now, is a dream come true," Hooper said shortly after being promoted to the Select Group 1.

"It still hasn't sunk in and I don't think it will until I walk out on Saturday afternoon, just to have that honour and privilege.

"It's not just for you, you do it for everyone around you as well."

A match line any other

Despite the landmark nature of the fixture for him, Hooper said he would treat the match like any other.

"I'll go through the same preparation I do each week," he said during pre-season training. "Be it training on the pitch, eating habits, usual routines.

"We'll do a lot of analysis so we'll look at the teams and the tactics they play. It would be very naive if we didn't do that.

"Then the hard work out here, putting the hours on the training ground. It is really rewarding in the end when you walk out at 3pm."

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