About us

The Blackburn Referee Association was founded in 1899.  We are affiliated to the Football Association and The Lancashire Referees Association.  Blackburn is proud to be associated with Blackburn & District Football Combination, the Blackburn Sunday Football League and all local youth leagues.

The Executive of the Association thought it would be a good idea to place our profiles on record so the Members would know who we are and where we came from in football and Refereeing.

JOHN LILLEY Secretary 2010/2015

After leaving school at the age of 15 in 1960, there was only the Blackburn Youth League at under 18 level that I could hope to get a game. My brother played for Pleckgate in Division 1 of the Blackburn Combination so I signed for their under 18 team. No subs then and I struggled to get in the team. One Saturday the Combination team were a player short and they asked me to play even though I was too young, I scored the first 2 goals and my football career was off and running. Played for Pleckgate and Lynwood United until 18 then had to move to the Darwen League as Lynwood could not get in the Blackburn league as the 5 divisions were all full. When I started work at Star Paper Mills I signed up for the team and played for a few seasons for them, then moved to Mill Hill Old Boys, Deganwy Wanderers and Feniscowles before a broken ankle finished my football. Decided to try Refereeing and quickly attained my Class 1, but working shift work and Saturday mornings meant I could only cover local games between the Blackburn Combination and the East Lancashire League. I became a Member of the Clitheroe Referees Society until it folded and then joined the Blackburn R.A. I formed a local football team back in the early 70s called Three Arches F.C. under 18s and a season later we were asked to join up with Feniscowles where we eventually won the Blackburn Youth League and cup in our final season. Still doing a little Refereeing but mentoring is my main role for Blackburn R.A. and I hope that what we try to achieve through mentoring is appreciated by the young Referees who come under our guidance.

Awarded Referee of the Year in the East Lancashire League and Refereed the Final of the Presidents Cup for the same league. Refereed a few Semi finals and Finals in the Blackburn Youth League many years ago and was the Chairman of the league for a few seasons. One of my many roles at Feniscowles over the years was the groundsman for the football section which meant marking out 2 football pitches every Satarday morning after working until 10.30, then on many occassion running the line for the West Lancs game or the Combination game on the other pitch. Happy days.

I have been the Secretary of the Blackburn R.A. since August 2010 and previous to that an Executive Member.