Dear Mr Wayne Lee,

So, Mr Lee, you felt that I was mistaken to send your son off for violent conduct?

Maybe you don’t think there is anything wrong with your Mike kicking St John’s goalie, pushing him on the ground and then jumping up and down on him. Their number one was left trying to save himself and your son seemed to be having a ball. I realise that in the heat of the moment I didn’t have time to reread the Football Association’s Referees’ handbook, but I am confident that booting the goalkeeper on the nose would be noted as a sending off offence A straight red card. In my book there is no such thing as a free kick.

However, to keep the facts correct, I have to inform you that I didn’t actually have a card with me, so I simply told him to go back to the classroom and wait for me there; beyond the touch line. As he marched away he managed to get an accurate kick at the corner flag and found the clarity of mind to wave a couple of fingers at me. I am not certain whether a player can be sent off twice in one match. I’ll check the handbook.

I must admit that I was very surprised to find both you and Mike waiting for me by the door so soon after the final whistle.

As soon as I turned the corner, you started your attack. You tackled me on my ‘humiliating decision’ to ‘early bath’ your son. Your language was in need of a good clean-up too. It was so blue but it deserved a yellow.

Then, you upped your game. You shoved your face into mine, shouting straight at my nose. My face was showered. The more fierce the swearing, the more powerful the spray. You were clearly not seeing this as a game and you realised that I was no match for you. Next you pushed me. That was definitely foul play. I am no diver, but I was happy to stagger all the way back against the wall, ready to throw in the towel (after mopping down my face with it). Fortunately, you didn’t follow through the move. Maybe you realised what the final penalty would be.

The two of you turned and moved away in perfect unity. Team work.

As you marched down the corridor, Mr Lee, I was quite impressed with your accurate flying kick at the fire extinguisher and I gave a rye, knowing smile, as you waved two fingers at me.

It is clear where Mike gets all his skills from. That training ground called ‘home’.


Originally published: The Times Educational Supplement