Herczeg to take charge of play off
Durham FA Referee Adam Herczeg will this Saturday referee the Vanarama National League North Play Off Final between Boston United and Altrincham FC
Adam sat down with RDO Alex Clark to discuss the final, promotion and his rise up the non-league pyramid.
Alex: Adam, firstly, congratulations on achieving promotion to Level 2A. How did you feel when you heard the news?
Adam: Thank you. I was delighted to have been promoted to Level 2A - I’ve worked hard over the last few years to achieve this promotion and during the current climate, with so much uncertainty for a period of time, it was a relief that all my hard work had been rewarded. I feel it also speaks volumes for the support we have received through Durham FA Referee Academy over the past 10 years, where a strong cohort of officials who have been part of the programme are now operating at some of the highest levels of Non-League football.
Alex: Next season will see you referee in the Vanarama National League and PL2, what are you most looking forward to and what do you think your biggest challenges will be?
Adam: From speaking to colleagues within the game, many have said that this promotion is the most exciting one with many opportunities to be involved within the professional game. I am honestly just looking forward to having football back regularly, along with spectators in the grounds and visiting many more teams and grounds. The biggest challenge whilst operating both National League and PL2 I'd say comes with increased media scrutiny of the games, with a lot of games now covered on TV or social media - but this can also be used as a great development tool to help improve performances on the field.
Alex: Turning your attention to this Saturday, how did you feel when you received notification of your appointment?
Adam: As you could imagine, once the appointment came through I was delighted to know that I will be refereeing the National League North Play Off Final between the two teams this coming weekend. In what has been a challenging few weeks and months for everyone, I'm just grateful to have the opportunity to be part of the final game of the season alongside my colleagues.
Alex: I know that your family are big supporters of you with your refereeing, is there any sense of disappointment that they won’t be able to be there with you on the big day?
Adam: Of course - my family have always been a huge support network of mine, travelling to many games throughout the season. They’re always proud of my achievements so understandably I’m disappointed they won't get the chance to travel down to witness the final live, but I’m pleased it is streamed online so they can watch it at home and won’t miss out being part of my achievements this year!
Alex: You have previous playoff experience having refereed the National Premier League play offs in 2017 between Spennymoor Town and Nantwich Town and you were part of the team in 2016 for the Salford City v Workington AFC game, is there anything that you have learned from those occasions that you will take into Saturday’s game?
Adam: What stands out most is that they are highlights so far in my career so it’s important to enjoy those fixtures when they do come around. What we don’t lose sight of is what is riding on it for both teams and that there is a job for us to do.
Alex: Saturday will be a unique experience for you in that the game will be played without spectators, however, you were 4th official for the Altrincham v Chester Play Off Elimination match earlier this month which was also played without spectators. How did you find this experience and is there anything you have learned from this to take into Saturday’s game?
Adam: There is no getting away from it, it certainly is a strange experience, as football just is not the same without spectators present in the grounds, but credit to the National League, their clubs and The FA for ensuring such protocol is in place to allow the games to go ahead safely and bringing the season to a conclusion. Due to the profile of the game being so high, the intensity of such a match won’t change and the demands and expectations are just as high for us as match officials with or without spectators. Practically, as we have seen in the Premier League and Football league, games have to now accommodate adequate water breaks, additional substitutes and a Covid-19 testing regime and action plan which is sent to Match Officials in the week preceding the game which has to be adhered to throughout the fixture.
Alex: It has taken you a few seasons to move from 2B to 2A after getting to 2B very quickly. How did you deal with this minor setback and stay positive to improve every season
Adam: I have always been ambitious and want to progress but sometimes you have to take a step back and reflect and realise how far you have come in such a short period of time. Although it was somewhat disappointing, I always have a positive outlook and surround myself with a close network whom I trust who have been a great support. As part of the FA CORE programme I have been lucky enough to work closely with my coach Colin Webster to analyse and develop my on field performance – reviewing match incidents and clips from games focusing on technical development as well as ensuring that away from my games I have done everything possible within my control specifically with my fitness and diet in order to progress.
Alex: You are a very dedicated referee to training and your own personal development, how do you balance your time as a referee but also with your full-time job and what challenges does this present?
Adam: I have to put on record that I have great support from my employer, who allows myself flexibility to be able to juggle my time at work with football commitments, which I wouldn’t be able to do it without such support. It is a tough balancing act; midweek games, many nights on the road and training so I’ve had to make many sacrifices along the way, missing out with time with friends and family, but being appointed to such games and progressing makes it all worth it!
Alex: Finally, if you could provide one bit of advice to anyone looking to take up the whistle, what would it be?
Adam: Get out of your comfort zone and give it a go – I’ve been fortunate enough to have some amazing experiences from refereeing; making friendships and developing myself as an individual along the way! Work hard, surround yourself with a strong support network and enjoy the journey wherever it may take you!
Alex: Adam thanks for taking the time to talk to us ahead of the game
All at Durham FA wish Adam the very best of luck in the game and we will be cheering him on.
If you have been inspired to get involved in refereeing please contact RDO Alex Clark on Alex.Clark@DurhamFA.com or 0191 3872929 (opt 2, opt 6)