We are delighted to welcome Major Nigel Bamford RAMC to the board. Nigel replaces the outgoing Lt Col Gary Connolly REME who leaves the Army later this month.
Nigel is a stalwart veteran of the game and still eager to show off his prowess when representing the Army Crusaders Vets on the field, as well as applying the Laws of the Game in his referee capacity. He is a massive advocate for The Soldiers' Game. An avid Wolverhampton Wanderers fan he has recently handed over the role of Army Medical Services Manager to take up the appointment of Referees Chairman.
A comprehensive football resume started in 1993 where Nigel has represented every unit as a player. In addition he played for the AMS (Corps) between 1999 and 2007. He also has extensive coaching experience notably with his unit team for the past 21 years and corps between 2015 and 2020 and has coached junior civilian football too. He has also competed up to Tri Service Level in X-Country and Athletics whilst representing his Corps in Cricket and Hockey too.
Nigel commenced his refereeing career in 2007 and has progressed to Level 4. He served as Secretary BA(G) referees between 2008 and 2013 and Chairman UK North (2013/17).
Upon his appointment as Chairman Nigel said, “I continue to love the sport the military really introduced me to. I have enjoyed every minute on the FoP as well as the socialising and team building off it. I have managed to build up a great portfolio of contacts and skills that I have been able to transfer to my everyday life.
“I have been coaching since 1995, and qualifications and further development have followed ever since. I believe it is important to give back to these sports the same levels of enthusiasm and enjoyment they have given me. These coaching roles have kept me grounded and continue to assist me with day to day leadership and management techniques.
“I have been a Referee since 2007 and have seen the referee fraternity within the Army grow and provide an excellent service to grass roots football. I have been fortunate to climb the referee ladder to level 4 and have completed the tutor and observation courses allowing me to help develop the referees of the future.
“The role of Chairman of Army Referees is a great opportunity to give even more back to The Soldiers' Game, from this position I will be best placed to see and hear about Army Football, how its developing and then be in a better position to give support with an exceptional cohort of ever-growing referees.”
Departing Chairman Gary Connolly added, “My tenure was always only going to be for two years, it has been a privilege and honour to represent Army officials collectively and watch the individual progress of so many.
“The sudden end of the 19/20 season could not have been predicted, I’m confident football will return when the time is right and safe; I have utter confidence that the referee family will step straight back onto the field of play to facilitate and support the Soldiers’ Game.
“I am incredibly grateful to everybody including the central office of the Army FA for the support, guidance and friendship, not just during my tenure as chairman but the 16 years in which I have been involved with Army football. Collectively they have been outstanding. Special thanks also to the executive committee, divisional chairmen and all of the volunteers who make a significant contribution adding tremendous value across both Army and civilian football – thank you.”
“I look forward to staying involved; officiating, observing and watching the progress; specifically those new referees and those referees who have recently been promoted – well done and good luck. I hope to have the opportunity to return and say goodbye in the future, once the time is right and social distancing permits”.
Lt Col Gary Connolly has been an excellent Chairman of Army Football Referees. Gary- we sincerely wish you the best of health, happiness and success in the future as you embark on leaving the Army.
We will, indeed, ensure that Gary is recognised for his outstanding contribution at the appropriate function once the Covid-19 situation eases.