Published: 06:00, 23 June 2021
By Kevin Redsull
Deal referee Nick Dunn was involved in the biggest game of his career so far on Sunday when he acted as one of the linesmen in the National League promotion final at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate ground.
The match, played in front of 6,606 spectators, saw Hartlepool United regain their place in the Football League after a four-year absence by beating Torquay United in a penalty shoot-out.
And for Dunn, 32, the match was his first since being informed earlier this month that he has himself been promoted to the Football League list of linesmen for next season.
It represents another significant step up the refereeing ladder for Dunn who first started refereeing when he was a 16-year-old schoolboy at Sir Roger Manwood’s and who has progressed from taking charge of matches in the old Deal Sunday League to being a linesman this season in the National League.
He said: “I refereed my first match in 2005 after taking a 10-week training course and started refereeing adult matches straight away, which I think stood me in good stead because it meant I started learning at a young age what it’s like to referee in local leagues such as the Deal Sunday League.
“And once you are in the system, the more refereeing you do the more rewards you get, as it were.
"The big carrot that’s dangled in front of you is that one day you might make it on to the Football League list, which has always been my ambition, and I’m delighted that I have achieved it.
"Now I’m looking forward to next season and going to lots more famous old grounds like Ashton Gate.”
Refereeing really does play a major part in Dunn’s life because his day job is working for the Kent FA as their referee development officer, which involves setting up training courses and workshops for would-be new referees across the county.
But Dunn, who lives in Sholden, is also keen to retain his strong links with local football and earlier this year he joined the Deal Town board, where he has taken on the role of commercial director for the Hoops.
He added: “I feel I have joined a good team, led by chair Natalie Benville, who have all got the best interests of Deal Town at heart and who are determined to run the club sensibly where the financial side is concerned both on and off the field. “
So expect Dunn to be a familiar face at the Charles Ground next season – apart of course from the Saturdays when he’s on Football League duty.