Steve Stewart

Steve Stewart on working with players and continuous improvement

As part of Respect the Ref, we have been speaking to several local referees about their refereeing journey.

Steve Stewart, 67, has been telling us about his refereeing practices and hopes for the future.

What does your normal ‘day job’ look like?

I'm semi-retired now, but often fill in as a Supply Teacher in Physical Education departments in Secondary Schools. I am also an Examinations Invigilator for internal and external exams.

Do you have any hobbies or interests away from refereeing?

I am an avid reader and have begun writing my first book. I chair a local Referee Society, support Tottenham Hotspur and also enjoy gardening and following Ulster and Ireland Rugby.

Why did you start refereeing?

It was a key part of running my school football teams as a PE Teacher in Belfast in the 1970s.

How does it make you feel if you receive abuse?

I don't take it personally because I have built up a mental resilience. In reacting to, or responding to, any abuse, I always think of how I can help the referee who follows me the next week. That's why I always try and deal with any abuse or dissent early and assertively - using common sense and applying the law - including submitting all discipline reports.

What has been the best part of refereeing so far?

Continuing to improve and have fun - even after 44 years as a successful match official. My model for working with players is about Rapport, Relationships, Respect and Restorative Action.

What are your hopes for refereeing in the future?

That a greater number of older players, coming to the end of their playing days, consider staying in the game as referees because they can see refereeing is a positive, enjoyable and valuable contribution to The Beautiful Game.

Make sure you catch up on all the Respect the Ref stories on our website.