We are very sad to learn of the passing of referee Phil Cain (pictured, right) recently, at the age of just 58. Phil was a popular character throughout AFA football as referee, referee tutor and long term member of Alexandra Park FC. He was also Old Garchonians referee secretary this season, having coached many of the club's players in their youth.
Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this time. Her will be sorely missed throughout AFA Football.
RIP Phil. A fine referee and a friend to so many of us.
The following is from John Morris of Alexandra Park F.C.:
Phil Cain RIP
The Amateur Football Alliance and North London football community has lost one its most colourful and passionate characters: Phil Cain. He was a one in a million person who's charisma, distinctive growling voice and opinions would light up many a changing room and clubhouse, and everyone who knew him will have their own tale or story to tell.
Phil's love and contribution to the beautiful game stretches back several decades through his roles as a much respected coach, club official and referee. His disciplined approach to both coaching and officiating were renowned, but always laced with humour, whether he was taking a training drill or issuing a red card! Off the pitch Phil was highly entertaining, with many stories to tell and jokes to crack, which made him such a big hit as MC at last seasons SAL dinner.
Having tried his hands at many occupations, Phil set up his own football coaching business in the early 1990's...The Palace Soccer School, and went on to coach 1,000's of youngsters in North London, many of whom are still playing/involved in football locally. Recognising the somewhat limited opportunity to play competitive youth football, Phil then established the Alexandra Park Youth Football Club and nurtured its development between 1995 - 2004, whilst also encouraging and assisting young players to join the semi/professional football ranks.
Phil also played for APFC in the latter part of his playing career during the 1990's, often skippering a side in his own inimitable way! Players would run through brick walls for him, but those playing against him would want to hide behind one. Regardless of the result, it was never dull and boring when Phil was around and in charge!
Phil went on to become an excellent referee with the AFA, and more recently shared his experience and knowledge of the game, together no doubt with some colourful anecdotes, with new referees as both a tutor and mentor. He was definitely a players referee, as he would talk to players, have a laugh, but fairly put them in their place when required.
His final whistle came far too soon, but his legacy within youth development and refereeing, individuals and teams, will last for generations.