Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA affiliated referee, Tom Bramall, is getting stuck in to his first season as a top flight match official after being promoted to the Select Group 1.
Ahead of the 2022/23 season, 32-year-old Tom was the only referee chosen to progress to Select Group 1 by match officials’ body, PGMOL, following just one season in Select Group 2. Available for appointment for the top two divisions, Tom has already been the fourth official at three Premier League games and is looking forward to gaining more as the season unfolds.
Tom, from Sheffield, has advanced through the football pyramid in recent years going from refereeing in the national league in 2017 to being the man in the middle at the 2022 FA Trophy at Wembley. For the last four seasons, Tom has been an EFL referee, officiating over 60 games and handing out 180 yellow cards and ten reds.
His career on the pitch has been combined alongside working as a part-time PE teacher at Outwood Academy Valley in Worksop, which is where he was when news of his promotion broke in June.
Tom said: “It’s an amazing feeling and an exciting opportunity to referee at the highest level of the game as a lot of hard work has gone into achieving this. I was absolutely delighted with the news and couldn’t wait to let my family and friends know. When the phone call to me was made, I was about to teach a lesson and the hardest thing was not being able to tell anyone until afterwards.”
Tom first got involved in refereeing aged 17, having been asked by a friend from his junior football team to take the County FA referee course at Clegg House.
“It kept me fit and I also earned some extra money at weekends when we didn’t have a game or after we had played. But it turned out to be a good decision. Ever since I started the advice and support from the County FA, The FA and PGMOL has been incredible and has helped me to be in the position I am today.”
Having enjoyed it from the beginning, Tom quickly worked his way up from refereeing grassroots amateur games to semi-professional county matches in the NCEL. He also spent a couple of years as a linesman in the EFL before switching from flag to whistle to follow the referee progression pathway.
Tom was promoted to the EFL in 2018/19 season but an injury to his ACL in 2019’s pre-season almost jeopardised his career progression. However, after bouncing back, he made his Championship debut in March 2021 and his most recent promotion endorses his talent, dedication and drive to continually learn and grow from his decisions.
“At every level, you’re observed by ex-referees to develop and push on with a view to being promoted at the end of the season. People don’t really know what goes on behind the scenes but it’s not just about turning up on match days to referee a game. We have meetings and conferences, fitness tests, and your performance is constantly monitored with each game.
“Refereeing has been really rewarding and a great experience in many different aspects. It’s not just about the 90 minutes on the field of play, it’s everything else that goes with it as well. I’ve met a number of great friends in the game up and down the country. The most important thing for me though is to enjoy every single minute of it and remember each and every game that you do.”
Could you be the next top referee?
Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA deliver local referee courses across the local area. You can get involved in our referee courses from the age of 14.
Courses are delivered by FA referee tutors who will introduce you to the Laws of the Game through theory and practical work. Once you pass, you’ll have to put your new skills to the test by completing five games before officially qualifying as a referee.
Want to learn more? Visit www.sheffieldfa.com/referees/get-into-refereeing or contact Danny Guest, Education Course Administrator, at Danny.Guest@sheffieldfa.com