Lincolnshire FA would like to congratulate Declan Ford on completing his 400th professional appointment as PGMOL Match Official.
Declan reached the milestone on Saturday at the EFL League 2 match between Notts County and Forest Green Rovers, played in front of 10,648 spectators at Meadow Lane.
His first professional game was a National League fixture in 2009 between Stevenage and Gateshead, which saw a thrilling 5-3 victory for the home side, with his debut EFL appointment coming less than 12 months later at Elland Road - where Leeds United lost 2-1 to Derby County.
Michael Brader, Referee Development Manager at Lincolnshire FA, said: "Dec has spent the majority of his Referee Career with the Army FA, but when his postings brought him to Lincolnshire he was always keen to help and promote Refereeing in the County.
Since leaving the Army and settling in Lincolnshire permanently, he has become a member of the LFA Referee Committee and is a Referee Developer on courses for new Referees.
His willingness to support and inspire others through his calm demeanour and generous nature means he can regularly be seen at the side of the pitch supporting the up and coming Referees and, in addition to his role in the professional game as an Assistant Referee, he still turns out every Sunday to Referee on the Mid Lincs League.
To achieve the longevity he has at the top level is testimony to the ability and the discipline he possesses and an inspiration to any new Referee."
Declan received a Lifetime Achievement Award for services to Army football when he left the forces in 2018, where the former REME man served the Army Referees Committee for 13 years. He also refereed the Army Cup Final in 2006 and was responsible for the introduction of the Referees’ Academy in 2012. He was the first solider to officiate in a competitive fixture at the new Wembley at the 2010 Football League 2 Play Off Final between Rotherham United and Dagenham & Redbridge.
In 2013, Declan refereed the Army FA 125th Anniversary match at Reading FC between an FA Legends team (captained by future England manager Gareth Southgate and managed by then England boss Roy Hodgson) and the British Army, who were coached by Stuart Pearce.
Declan also featured in the Refereeing team for the 2023 Lincolnshire FA County Senior Cup Final, between Grantham Town and Spalding United at Lincoln City's LNER Stadium. Grantham Town won the Final 1-0.
Lincolnshire FA is proud to recognise the fantastic work Declan does and would like to congratulate him on reaching this fantastic milestone!
Do you want to follow in Declan's footsteps? Find out how here
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